As I sit here wondering where to take my next golf vacation to, I notice the Food Network in on the TV in the next room and my wife is watching an old Iron Chef replay and one of her favorite Iron Chef’s is cooking some kind of French-fusion cuisine.
Hmmm….maybe France would be a nice place to play golf, do a wee bit of fine dining and travel by train. Sounds pretty durn fine now, don’t it?
And if you’re gonna play golf someplace you’ve never been, why not play the best of the best?
So I did a little investigating and I found the 5 best golf courses in France and found out a little more about them.
Here’s what I found:
1) Morfontaine – This course dates back to about 1913, when the Duke of Guiche obtained permission from his father to transform an old polo pitch in the park of Vallière into a 9-hole golf course for the pleasure of the Duke and his friends.
The opening ceremonies included professional golfer James Braid, who played against French champions Jean Gassiat and Arnaud Massy.
Pretty snazzy beginnings and even today it’s mentioned in the same breath with Royal Lytham & St Annes and Ballybunion, so I’m sure it would be a great golf experience.
2) Les Bordes – Private since about March of ’08, so you can only get so much info, but I did find that Les Bordes was the brainchild of Baron Marcel Bich.
It was designed by Texan, Robert von Hagge, and it’s been said that when he designed this beast he was at his most wickedly creative.
Les Bordes opened for play in 1986 and it’s a supreme challenge. The unforgettable Jean Van de Velde holds the current course record of 71 (one under par) so don’t show up with your fake 6 handicap and try to tell them you’re gonna set the fairways on fire.
Les Bordes has a slightly American feel to it, both in terms of the design and impeccable conditioning but it leaves no doubt that you are in France. There is more style here on this tournament condition layout than just about any other course in France.
3) Golf de Chantilly – One of the most beautiful courses in all of Europe and set amongst the forest of the Ile de France, about 30 miles north of Paris.
It was originally built 1909 and has played host to numerous French Opens, including the 1913 French Open.
The very best have golfed their ball here at Chantilly, including the great Bobby Jones from long ago and The Golf Channel’s Nick Faldo from recent memory. Faldo even won the French Open.
The whole Chantilly experience is very traditional and it’s said that it has a very distinct British feel. With 36 holes (Le Vineuil and Les Longères) and a clubhouse that is very reminiscent of that at Sunningdale, you may doubt that you are indeed in France?
So there you have a great start to planning a European vacation and getting ready to play golf in France.
There’s no way I can cover it all in one blog post, but I hope it’s got you thinking about the possibility of some very fine French cuisine, some very stylish golf attire, some very friendly people and some darn good golf.