Paris is one of the world’s most exciting golf destinations, with an array of top courses and a never-ending stream of things to do away from the course. With the Ryder Cup coming to the French capital this September, there’s never been a better time to discover the fantastic courses that the city has to offer. From Le Golf National to Golf De Saint Germain here are seven of the best courses you need to play.
From humble origins, Le Golf National has risen to become France’s premier golf destination.
Located on a former rubbish dump, the long-term home of the French Open will become the focal point of the world’s attention this September when it becomes the first course in France to host the Ryder Cup.
Built ready to host the transatlantic event, the last four holes are situated in a stadium-like bowl. With each surrounded by water, there is sure to be plenty of drama come Sunday. Stretching over 7000 yards the course is arguably the hardest layout in the Paris area.
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Originally designed by Tom Simpson in 1929, Golf Lys-Chantilly occupies a beautiful parkland setting. Most of the holes carve their way through dense woodland, often playing a precedence on accuracy rather than length. Indeed, golfers will not encounter their first par-five until the fifteenth, one of just two three-shot holes on the par-70 course. Known for its fantastic condition and peaceful setting, golfers most navigate challenging bunkering and fast-paced greens.
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Golf de Fontainebleau is one of France’s most charming and beautiful courses.
Situated in the country’s largest forest, the course is a regular feature when it comes to ranking the best courses in Continental Europe. Despite the course’s inland setting, the layout plays more like one of the great venues along the English sandbelt.
The club is charmingly understated. Instead, the setting and timeless Tom Simpson design are left to speak for themselves. Devilish bunkers, thick pine forests that line the fairways, and small, challenging greens characterise the course. Close to Paris and in an area of great historical importance, Fontainebleau is a magical place to visit.
Another of Continental Europe’s top courses, Golf de Saint Germain is a delightful parkland course. Designed by Harry Colt, who is associated with many of France’s and England’s best inland courses, the layout has hosted the French Open on several occasions. The most recent winner here was Seve Ballesteros who shot a course record 62 on route to victory.
With every hole playing through a funnel of trees, this is a course that rewards strategic thinking. To play well you must avoid the avenues of trees that line every hole and the cleverly positioned bunkers that guard the greens. Be sure to warm up at the club’s fantastic practice facilities before taking on this unmissable gem.
If you haven’t had time to visit the Eiffel Tower yet, then why not head to Golf de Saint-Cloud. One of France’s earliest courses, Saint-Cloud boasts fantastic views over the city and its famous monument.
Located in the Paris suburbs, the course was once the home of the French Open. The course no longer possesses the length to host a European Tour event. Nonetheless, the Harry Colt design remains a top-quality course. A timeless classic, the clubhouse is once said to have housed Napoleon’s lover.
Located fifteen miles to the west of Paris, Saint Nom La Breteche Golf Club is one of France’s most exclusive clubs. This is a venue with a rich championship heritage. Since opening in 1959, the venue has played host to two French Open’s. The club is best known however as the home of the Trophée Lancôme, which at the time was one of the richest events on the European Tour.
Renowned architect Fred Hawtree would design both layouts at Saint Nom La Breteche, with the Rouge largely considered to be the better of the two courses. Seve Ballesteros, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player are among a number of players who rank Saint Nom La Breteche among their favourite courses.
Meanwhile the clubhouse, a grand manor house, is one of the finest 19th holes in France, if not Europe.
Stade Français Courson Golf Club is one of the most prestigious sporting venues in France. Located 45km south of the city, the club is a popular retreat for Parisians looking to escape the city. At the heart of the spectacular resort is four loops of nine holes.
Despite being designed in an American-style, the course has a links feel, with many of the holes carving their way through crafted dunes. Opened for play in 1991, the golfer must be sure to bring their best approach game. Particularly so on the Green and Black courses, which are considered the finest of the four loops. Featuring huge, multi-tiered greens, hitting the green is rarely enough to guarantee a two-putt.