Reviews of our favorite courses
"un oiseau dans la main a une valeur de deux dans le buisson"
The St Malo area:
|Freslonnierre: Near Rennes|
This is a fabulous golf course and we couldn't wait to get back there for the 2006 and 2008 tours. It is cut through the woods and is therefore tight and demanding. A good example of this is tiny island green on the 8th hole. From the back tee it is only a firm nine iron but there is no bail out. Once on the green, your problems are not over. There are severe contours that make taking only two putts a big achievement. You can heave a big sigh of relief if you can write down a three on the card for this hole. (Clarkie has never made 3 here, in 2012 though he put his first in the water, then reloaded and shoved a nine iron to four feet and holed the putt for a four).
Most of the holes are tree lined and the S shaped par five 14th requires you to hit your best drive between the two high trees followed by your best three wood through a narrow gap in the woods. Providing you have hit two great shots to the perfect place then you probably have an eight iron to a tough green. The greens are great, very small and with very awkward borrows. Although this is not a particularly lengthy golf course it is very pretty and places a huge premium upon accuracy. On most of the holes if you put your drive in the wrong place then there is no second shot, and if you put your second in the wrong place then taking only two putts becomes highly improbable. You need to bring your best game here. The views are nice and the course is dotted with statues, lovely trees and rhododendrons. . In summary, Freslonnierre is well worth a visit. You will find it just west of Rennes on the main road to L'Orient in a place called Le Rheu.
WARNING: the greens in 2008 were in poor condition but playable. For 2009 they were not much better and in 2010 they are terrible. The staff are giving away wine vouchers as compensation. We were lucky and found this out before playing. Phone before you go to make sure, they may recover later in 2011, but we are giving it a miss in 2011 also.
UPDATE:@ Played it in 2012 and it was okay.
Freslonnierre Golf Club
Le Bois Briand
F-35650 Le Rheu
|A great favorite. Everyone wants to play here on day one and we never miss this one. The second oldest course in France, a great links with breathtaking views on the back nine. Great greens. Nice friendly clubhouse and excellent food. This one is a must. Like a lot of links it does not photograph well, but take our word for it, this is a lovely golf course.|
The picture shows Cock driving on the 14th. It finished dead behind the only tree on the hole.
8km west of Dinard. 15km west of Saint-Malo
Dinard Golf Club
Boulevard de la Houle
There are two courses here, the main 18 hole layout is very nice and well worth the trip. A couple of fairly dull holes have been squeezed in to make the layout work but these are more than made up for by the really good ones. Le Tronchet has always had very good greens and there are some interesting shots over and alongside the river. Holes 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16 are fabulous.
Surprisingly the 9 hole layout is also very nice and provides the ideal location for a rest from the main competition with a nine hole Texas Scramble or similar.
23km south of St Malo, off the RN 137
The picture is from the 2004 tour and shows Short Stuff admiring his drive on the stroke index one fifth hole.
He was dreading the long iron over the ravine and there was a degree of inevitability about what happened next.
The back swing was a little shaky but looked more or less okay to start with but then the wobble at the top combined with the backward step ensured that the shot was in trouble from this point. A further half lurch kicked in on the way down and Short Stuff made frantic attempts to take corrective action but it was too late. The ball scurried off at head height down the right hand side but with a top spinning hook. For a moment it looked like it wouldn't make it but then, like a surprise ending in a badly made thriller, it just cleared the ravine to the left of the bush. Oh that it had stayed there but no, upon landing, it took a vicious kick to the left. It scampered across the fairway and, with its dying breath, finished underneath the fir tree just short of the bunker on the left. Options were limited. Short Stuff decided against the penalty drop and instead elected to hack it about ten feet. His wedge approach overshot the green and his chip back on came to rest just eight feet away. Short Stuff casually rammed the putt straight into the back of the hole and added a routine 6 net 5 for 1 point to his card.
Golf de St Malo le Tronchet
35540 Miniac Morvan
Tel (010 33) 99589669
This is great. Big wide American style fairways on most of the holes but some from the original nine run tight through the woods. The signature hole (and the one you see in the brochures) is the tenth. This involves a tight drive over water to a fairway that turns right and runs away from you. A well placed shot will leave a nine iron through the trees and over some more water to a small green and a tight pin. They had a little bit of trouble with the greens a few years ago so always check them before playing but we think that you will enjoy this layout as a fairly straightforward day out. In May 2010 the greens were in very good condition. A lovely clubhouse and nice food, Des Ormes featured on our 2005 itinerary. Be careful about playing here at weekends as it can get very busy and slow.
Chateau Des Ormes
35120 Dol De Bretagne
Tel (010 33) 99 73 49 60
|Planeouf Val Andre|
Like so many courses in France, this seems to have been an original old nine with a new nine tacked on. The newer front nine has some interesting holes and though some will find it a bit new and perhaps lacking features for their taste with several holes running alongside each other. It was barely tolerable a while back though we have found that it has matured over the last few years and is now quite enjoyable. The back nine though is worth the trip by itself. The views along the cliffs from the 10th and 11th are fabulous. the twelfth is a really tough uphill par four (and you should stay away from the bushes on the right hand side). The following par five is a tough driving hole across a valley and there are some really nice par threes and interesting fours to finish. Well worth a visit.
The course is on the coast, 30km east of St Brieuc. 60km west of St Malo
The picture shows the drive
from the par five 11th tee.
Rue de la Plage des Vallées
You will not find this gem in most of the guide books but it is worth the trip here. We were last here in 2001 and 2008 and really enjoyed it. This will not be to everyone's taste as it is short but tight, very hilly, great views and, on balance, we thought a good day out. Some of the holes are a little on the trick side, such as the par five fifth that does not offer a tee shot, and a couple of the holes at the very top are just slaps in a field, but, on the whole, worth playing once. 30km west of Saint Malo.
Golf Club Pen Guen
22380 Saint Cast le Guildo
Tel (010 33) 96419120
Again an original old nine holes that has been extended to 18. The new holes are a bit ordinary but the old holes are fantastic and for that reason this is recommended. It is very nice with good greens and we are glad we played it. 6km south west of Frehel. 30km west of Dinard
Sables D'Ors les Pins
+33-(0)2-96 41 42 57 (Tel.)
|Rennes St Jacques|
Very near to the airport and a very nice parkland course. Some lovely holes and excellent greens. We went here again in 2010 and really enjoyed it. Good quality greens and some very good holes.
Mixed feelings about this one. we didn't get a very good welcome here but maybe they were having an off day. There are a few interesting holes such as the par 3 second over water, the par 4 ninth through the woods and the last hole which provides for an interesting tee shot but otherwise we found it a bit flat and dull. One redeeming feature is that the greens are fabulous. Probably worth a trip if you have not played it before but we shall not be bothering again.
This is an absolutely fantastic true links course. Originally laid out in 1912, it is a mature links with interesting holes and very good greens. It is about 70 miles from St Malo and well worth going out of your way to play. We usually play it on the last day as it is on the way to the fast boat that leaves from Cherbourg. We were here on the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 trips and, though photographs can make it appear to be a little on the bleak side, it is always a true delight to play. Sometimes the fairways are not always cut very low so you might want to introduce a placing rule for this round but that is a minor quibble. The greens are great quality and often very undulating making two putts a real challenge.
Overall the course is mainly not too tough though there are some longer par four holes such the dog leg 5th and the uphill 15th that will demand your best drive and best second shots. We think that the par threes are a real feature, all different and all really pleasing to walk off with a three. In 2008 they had let the rough grow too long and we found it a real monster.
There is only one piece of water on the course, a tiny brook in front of the par five 14th green.
Despite a good drive and a great second, T.C has now managed to find
this tiny bit of water with his third shot on every visit.
There are two courses here, make sure that you book to play on the 18 hole links course (and not the nine hole course in the dunes).
The course is near Granville
(towards Coutances and Cherbourg)
and is well signposted.
Route de la Plage
Pavillon du Golf F-50290 Bréville sur Mer
The picture shows the tough par three tenth hole. Normally a solid four iron but depending upon the wind this is an eight iron or a driver.
|Clecy Golf Club|
This course can be visited from the St Malo area as a last day course. It is a little further than Granville but well worth the visit. Tiny greens, very hilly (the electric buggy is a must here)
Great golf course and great food. There are those who do not care too much for Clecy claiming that some of the holes require trick shots. We don't agree and we think that you will love it. The 10th hole is directly up and very steep hill and T.C was foolish enough to walk it. It took him 15 minutes to get his breath back. At least he now has a T Shirt to prove it. Not a long course but very tight and a high premium upon accuracy. You should play Clecy once in your life.
Clecy is 30km south of Caen on the D562 and well signposted
Manoir de Cantelou F-14570 Clécy
The Caen, Deauville and Le Havre area
|Golf du Caen|
Nice course, 27 hole parkland layout, all good. Parts of it are hilly and wooded. Great place for a 27 holes day out. Excellent greens, nice friendly clubhouse with good food.
Location: From Caen follow road to Ouistreham car ferries and the right to Chateau de Beauregard.
Tel: (02) 31947209
|Deauville, Hotel du Golf|
Great place to stay and to play golf. The main course is 18 holes of nice parkland golf, scenic and interesting with some excellent holes and very enjoyable.
The original nine hole course is also good, very old and makes this an ideal place for your 27 holes day.
Location: On the south-western side of Deauville with the sea to the north.
Well worth going here. The course is on two levels. What appears to be an original nine has some very tight holes through the woods and the newer middle holes on top of the hill are a bit wider. The 15th tee offers great views of the channel. The course was designed by Peter Allis and Dave Thomas in 1980 and it is very enjoyable.
Location: Just behind the beaches at Houlgate and about ten minutes from Deauville.
Hameau de Tolleville Gonneville-sur Mer F-14510 Houlgate
|Champ de Bataille|
Wonderful, tight fairways through the woods and excellent greens. This has been compared to Wentworth and Woburn and claims to be in the top 25 of the most beautiful courses in France. It has a dull start but gets rapidly much better. The feature must be the short 16th played across the ravine though we loved it all. You must play here if you get the chance.
Location: South west of Rouen about 28km north west of Evreux.
This is fantastic, if you are in the area, you must go here. this must be one of the best links courses in France with great views. Tough and always windy, fast greens. The first nine go through parkland and the back nine opens out over the cliffs. The par five tenth is worth the trip by itself. See their web site for more details.
Route du Havre - 76790 Étretat
Big wide fairways and big greens, great views from the 6th green. Lots of history around here and well worth a visit.
All 27 holes here are good. If you are catching the Caen ferry this is perfect. It is also handy for the Cherbourg boat. See their web site for more details. We returned here for the 2007 tour and were a little bit disappointed, the greens were as good as ever but we thought the place looked a bit scruffy.
Location: Take the Caen ring road towards Bayeux follow signs to Port-en-Bessin.
Large greens but if you want to hit them in regulation it is important to be straight off the tee so its quite tough off the back. This is a pleasant and fairly hilly parkland course that is worth a visit if you haven't played it before.
Location: On the A13 leaving Pont l'Eveque near Deauville.
This is quite nice. There are three nine hole courses here, one of which is very new, quite flat, wide open and not up to much. However, the oldest nine is worth the visit. It is interesting, quite hilly and very tight through the woods.
Very old links course, some interesting holes, we enjoyed it in 1993 but we haven't rushed back.
A lovely traditional parkland course well worth a visit. Has had a recent redesign and improvement done.
10km north of Le Havre.
Le Havre Golf Club
La Baule / Nantes area
|Saint Jean de Monts|
|Saint-Jean-de-Monts golf course is superb. You will first go through a pine forest and a links on your way back, with splendid views over the sea and the island of Yeu. This very aesthetic course is strategically designed, each hole offering a new challenge. The most difficult hole is the 11th which is heavily influenced by the strong breezes from the sea. Some of the holes are very tight indeed from the tee and you will need to bring your best game.|
Saint-Jean-de-Monts, Golf de
|The La Baule Golf Club was established by the Lucien Barrière Group in 1976. It has two 18 hole courses and a junior academy 9. The original layout was designed by the British architects, Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas. La Baule International Golf Club has hosted many major golf tournaments, including the French Open in 1978. The oldest (red) course is the better of the two but you won't be disappointed with the other one. |
Golf de la Domaine de St-Denac
Phone: +33-(0)2-40 60 46 18
|Savenay Golf course is located on the Brittany Sillon, overlooking the river Loire. Savenay is an internationally famous course. It is built around open valleys, chestnut plantations and splendid water areas. The chance for a birdie is at the 8th, though there are two water hazards to be mastered. The most difficult hole is the 10th, a long par 4 of 417 metres/456 yards with a raised green completely surrounded by trees. This is pleasant and not too difficult parkland course with very good greens. Perfect for a holiday golf day.|
Savenay, Golf de
|Situated deep in a magnificent forest this course has narrow fairways and difficult greens. The forest covers an area of some 200 hectares/494 acres and borders on a vast lake which surrounds a picturesque castle. La Bretesche offers visitors a great variety of wonderful views in the open countryside with its numerous species of trees, shrubs and flowers. The holes are pleasantly laid out on this very well manicured course. The greens and bunkers are difficult but not impossible. A course which is nice to look at and pleasant to play.|
Bretesche, Golf de la
UK Courses to play before catching the Portsmouth ferry
Fabulous course, very friendly members, a delight to play. This is not a long golf course but it is very interesting. in immaculate condition, well kept with really good greens. Every hole is different and you are presented with a series of tough challenges and choices. The par threes are a real delight and some of the tee shots are beautiful. Like all good courses, hit a good shot and the reward of an easy wedge follows, hit a bad wedge and a bogey results. Fantastic, we loved it and we are sure to return.
Romsey Road, Nursling, Southampton, Hampshire, SO16 0XW
Call: 023 8073 4637
This is a wonderful golf course and of all the courses we have played before getting on the boat, this is surely one of our favorites. We went back here for the 2007 tour and found it just as good as we remembered in 2003. Some really lovely holes over the hills, through the gorse and heather. Very pretty, quite a tough golfing challenge and an absolute delight to play. Nice clubhouse and very friendly and welcoming members. Very highly recommended. Very good web site will tell you everything you need to know.
Monks Wood Close, Basset, Southampton SO16 3TT
Tel: 023 8076 9272
This is a wonderful golf course and rates as one of our favourites. It is by no means the easiest that we have played but it is very pretty and a good challenge. There are five par fives including the first and the last and water comes into play several times. The five par three holes are all different and a real feature of the course. The greens are always in very good condition and the clubhouse is warm and welcoming.
The web site is reasonably informative and we recommend this golf course very highly.
Cherry Tree Avenue, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Hants. PO8 8AP.
Tel: 023 92 263388
|West Surrey Golf Club|
The 2004 tour saw our first visit to this lovely old woodland course. A charming and friendly clubhouse and a top class golf course with some excellent holes. A welcome addition to our list of courses and one that we all highly recommend. They had all the greens dug up and redesigned a some years ago and it is now fabulous.
West Surrey Golf Club, Enton Green, Surrey, GU8 5AF
Tel: 01483 421275
Much has been justifiably written about Liphook. It has been showered with praise by golf writers for quite some time, so we would like to add our comments too. By any standards, this is a truly fabulous heathland course, there are some wonderful holes, the greens were in superb condition and we really enjoyed it. It was further out of the way for us coming from the Midlands but well worth the trip. You will be assured of a friendly welcome and a great golf course. Bring your best game though because it is not easy. Very highly recommended. Click on the word Liphook in the title above to access their informative web site.
Location: One mile south of Liphook on B2070 (old A3).
Address: Wheatsheaf Enclosure, Liphook, GU30 7EH
Tel: 01428 723785
We all loved this friendly parkland course, the holes are interesting and varied, great greens and we recommend this very highly. Before playing I suggest that you take a look at their excellent web site. This gives hole by hole descriptions, an interesting history page and very good directions.
We went here again in 2010 and remembered why we had enjoyed it so much. Very friendly welcome and a lovely course.
Address: Links lane, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire, PO9 6AE
Tel: 023 9241 2784
We were here in 2005 and they made us very welcome. This is a friendly place with a great clubhouse and a fabulous golf course. We loved it and you will too. As the blurb on the web site says, this is tough, tight, uncompromising links golf at its best, always in immaculate condition, wonderful views and great greens. Very highly recommended. If you are a higher handicap it might be just a little too tough for holiday golf if the wind blows but you will have a good time anyway.
The club's web site is very informative and will tell you all you need to know
Address: Links Lane, Hayling Island, Hampshire, PO11 0BX
Tel: 023 9246 4446
Lovely old parkland course with some interesting holes, some great views and challenges, the long second down the steep 18th is a thrill. We loved it. Highly recommended and we suggest you look at their very informative web site.
Item to note: Hockley is twinned with Etretat.
Hockley Golf Club, Twyford, Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 1PL
Tel: 01962 713165
Alresford Golf Club
Lovely golf course with some tough holes, though easy enough from the yellow tees and a good starting course for our holiday.
The course features small excellent quality greens with some very severe slopes.
Very friendly place to visit, we recommend a visit here.
|The New Zealand Club|
|We played here on the 2006 tour and it is fabulous. It bit on the expensive side at £75 per round but worth it. Very nice people, friendly and welcoming and a lovely golf course.|
Woodham Lane Addlestone Surrey KT15 3QD
We welcome any views and reviews that you might have.
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