Paris may be perpetually popular with tourists, but there is also an array of fantastic golf courses within easy reach of the capital. Paris will come into the spotlight next year, with Le Golf National playing host to the Ryder Cup, so there’s never been a better time to showcase the region’s great selection of golf courses.
Home to next year’s Ryder Cup, Golf National was destined to great things since opening its fairways in 1990. Long-time home to the French Open, the course, built in the backyard of the Chateau of Versailles, is styled more like a Floridian course than something you’d expect on the continent. Despite this, excellent drainage means that the course is at times reminiscent of a classic links. Tipping out at over 7000 yards, the Albatross course offers a firm but fair test, although it is without doubt the toughest track in the Paris region.
Le Golf National has earned a reputation as one of the best on the European Tour circuit, partly due to four thrilling closing holes, which will ensure a tense climax to the Ryder Cup. The stadium finish is set in a bowl, with each hole encircled by water. The sign of a well-designed course is one that requires a player to use every club in the bag. This is without doubt the case with the Albatross, which with well-protected greens will test every aspect of a golfer’s game.
Forming part of one of France’s largest sport’s clubs, there are four loops of nine here. Golf du Stade Français Courson opened for play in 1991, the club is located just south of the capital, and is immensely popular with Parisians. Despite being designed in an American-style, each hole has been moulded between crafted dunes, which creates a secluded feeling to each.
The key to scoring well around each loop, the green and black are considered the finest, is a solid approach game. Huge, multi-tiered greens, mean that well-thought out iron shots are essential. Beware golfers, firing to the wrong parts of the green will put you in three-putt territory.
The first Arnold Palmer design in France is located just fifteen minutes from Disneyland Paris.
The 7,000-yard Vignoly course is the jewel in the crown, and features several strategically positioned lakes. Despite its length Palmer’s imaginative design means Domaine de Crécy remains a thinker’s course. Full concentration is required throughout your round here. The exceptional green setting in the heart of Brie has been enhanced by fourteen water hazards, which will be sure to keep you on your toes.
After your round make sure to head to the clubhouse. The authentic 17th century farmhouse is known for producing high quality traditional cuisine. There is also a 9-hole course perfect for beginners and high handicappers.
Lying just north of the capital is the quaint Golf Lys-Chantilly. Set in rolling parkland, the course was originally laid out by Tom Simpson in 1929, a designer who had a hand in many of the era’s top continental European courses. 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, the golfer most navigate challenging bunkering and fast-paced greens.
There is also a second nine, Les Bouleaux, added in 1979, as well as a swimming pool and tennis courts.
A pleasant, relatively flat course, Golf Dolce Chantilly is set amidst the beautiful Chantilly region. Easy-walking, making it ideal for holidaymakers, Dolce Chantilly will suit a mixture of abilities. Tipping out at 6,781 yards, the course is situated just 35 minutes north of the capital and features an abundance of fauna and wildlife. Boasting some beautiful woodland scenes, the par-72 layout is known for its impeccable condition. The resort spectacular hotel houses 200 spacious rooms, which enjoy views of the golf course.
Saint-Cloud Golf Club was one of the first courses in the region and was formed in 1913. The course would be notable if just for its location, with the golfer afforded fantastic views of the Eiffel Tower. Once home to the French Open, the Harry Colt design now plays host to the annual French Junior International Championship. Despite not now boasting the length necessary to attract a contemporary pro event, the course remains a timeless classic. Undulating, with narrow fairways, the highlight is the elevated eighth hole, which allows a breath-taking view across the city.
The clubhouse is warm, welcoming and steeped in history. In fact, this was once the home of Napoleon’s lover. Saint-Cloud Golf Club is listed is in the Rolex Guide to the world’s 1,000 best courses.
Set against the backdrop of a magnificent chateau, the course carves its way through woodland, with the l’Essonne river also featuring on several holes. At just 6500 yards, the par 72 layout is not the longest of courses. However, don’t be fooled several elevation changes make for an interesting and challenging test. The 18th hole is a gem. Your approach to the final green sees you taking aim at a green situated in front of the elegant chateau.
The 13th Century chateau d’Augerville and its two listed historical outbuildings also offer 42 luxurious rooms.
There are an incredible four golf courses to choose from at Golf Mont Griffon located in the heart of the Ysieux Valley, just 30 minutes from Paris.
The “Les Lacs” is the jewel of the resort. The greens here a renowned for their quality and the view of the National Park provides the perfect backdrop. Meanwhile the two adjacent nine-hole courses are more open and compact, making them ideal for all levels of golfer.