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There’s a reason that the South of France has long been the preferred holiday destination of the rich and famous. Beautiful beaches coupled with year-round sunshine make it the ideal spot for sun-seekers, while the Alps and Pyrenees have long drawn hikers and snow-sport enthusiasts.
The South of France also serves up a host of great golf courses. The two world-class layouts at the highly-acclaimed Terre Blanche make the outstanding resort a must for all golf lovers, while there are a fantastic array of courses to be unearthed across the region.
Here are eight of the best courses in the South of France:
As locations go, you couldn’t get much better than Terre Blanche. Situated on the edge of the French Riviera, the two Dave Thomas courses, Le Chateau and Le Riou, enjoy 300 days a year sunshine.
A true golfer’s heaven, the Chateau is consistently ranked among France’s top ten golf courses. It’s easy to see why. Opened to much acclaim in 2000, the undulating course stands out for it spectacular water features and immaculate year-round condition. Carving its way through dense woodland, the Chateau is a course that requires brains, not brawn.
Le Riou, whilst not reaching the same standard as its sister course, is also a great track, and plays host to an annual LET Access Tour event. This course offers great views of the nearby Provencal villages. Strategy again takes precedence, with the undulating terrain sure to test your shot-making abilities. Although the easier of the two courses, Le Riou is certainly no push over. It is, however, a lot of fun to play!
Terre Blanche has more up its sleeve than just a world class golf facility. This is one of Europe’s great golfing destinations and is also home to a Michelin-starred restaurant. ‘Le Faventia’ is French cuisine at its best. Seasonal and local produce are used to create refined and elegant gastronomy.
Another of the highlights at Terre Blanche is the spa. Time in this peaceful cocoon will leave you feeling soothed and refreshed. The spa menu is comprehensive and luxurious. Whether you need a massage or a beauty treatment, you will find exactly what you need. The whole facility is like a Provencal garden and is a great place to just unwind and forget about your troubles.
Visitors to Terre Blanche will inevitably be captured by its charms. Luckily you can have your own slice of heaven through the real estate offered on the property. Overlooking the Estérel mountains the plots range in size from 2000 to 14000 m2, so you can choose the perfect size to build your dream villa.
Situated in the foothills of the French Alps, Pont Royal represents a visually stunning but rather hilly test of golf. The only Seve Ballesteros design in France, Pont Royal’s display of do-or-die holes perfectly encapsulates the Spaniard’s legendary approach to the game. Much like Terre Blanch above, this course is one that will test your strategy. Pont Royal is a thinker’s golf course and one that will test your entire game.
Dramatic elevation changes and tree-lined fairways make for a tough challenge with players required to carefully think their way around the course. The result however is a jaw-dropping array of scenic holes. The signature hole is the long par-3 11th. Players must endeavour to hit a pin-point accurate tee shot to the small green which perches precariously on a rocky outcrop in the distance. The wooded gorge lies in wait for those who fail to make the carry.
The resort is also home to the David Leadbetter academy, which offers its pupils first-class technology, tutelage, and facilities. Remember you can follow David Leadbetter’s activities on All Square too, click here now! There is also a six-hole course on-site for those looking to sharpen their skills or for new golfers.
Idyllically situated in a sleepy corner of Provence, is the charming Domaine de Manville. Bunkers supported by stone walls and grass bunkers characterise the Thierry Sprecher and Anne-Laure Ricci designed course.
Located in a luxury five-star resort, the course is close to the roman amphitheatre at Arles and the two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Avignon. Built to very specific environmental constraints, the stunning layout blends seamlessly into its surroundings.
Constructed on former agricultural land, the course features some unique geometric bunkering. The effect is seriously cool and provides a nice talking point for after your round.
The hotel at Domaine de Manville has a unique story behind it. When travelling the world, the owners of the hotel missed their native Provencal land. It has, since they returned, been their mission to make sure that others see this land the way they do. This is your home for as long as you are here, and you will certainly feel it when you stay.
Dolce Frégate is situated within the beautiful Bendal wine region and is fittingly set within a working vineyard. The championship layout, designed by Ronald Fream, consistently ranks among France’s best courses.
Arguably the most breath-taking course in the whole country, golfers are treated to panoramic views of the Mediterranean Ocean on almost every hole. The course winds its way through the vineyard and olive trees, with players hitting their approach shots into large, lightly-bunkered greens.
For a less punishing test, the Fregalon course is the one for you. This course may be less technically challenging but it possesses the same views and character of its sister course. There is also the option of the comprehensive academy where golfers of all levels can work on their skills.
The resort itself resembles an old Provencal village and is within easy reach of the famous Les Lecques beach.
This course is Gary Player’s first project in France and what a course it is! The unique test sits around 1000m above sea-level. There are some wonderful vistas for you to enjoy as you make your way around. A captivating challenge awaits golfers of all skill levels thanks to many teeing options and hazards that are not overly-penal. The green complexes at Chateau de Taulane are well-protected. Seven lakes dotted around the course will also help give you something to think about out there. The whole facility has a real feeling of tranquillity about it. This is a fantastic place to escape from the stresses of modern life with a fun round of golf.
Player has created a course here that gives golfers a great choice in how challenging they wish the course to play. A wide range of teeing options create a course that is playable for all. The panoramic views at the course are wonderful. Chateau De Taulane is a golf course that is great fun to play with friends and also in serious competition. This is a beautiful course that you will enjoy from start to finish.
The best word to describe the experience at Saint Endreol is tranquility. This course in the heart of Provence is a joy to play. The course winds its way through the rolling hills and around the River Endre. In designing the course, Michael Gayon paid close attention to its situation at the base of a mountain and the naturally undulating land that made up his canvas.
Saint Endreol is a beautiful course, but it is also a challenging one. The short but tricky par-3 13th is the signature hole. With an elevated tee down to an almost island green, you’ll need a well struck tee-shot here. The course is set between forests and lakes, and gives you a feeling of seclusion throughout.
After your round you’ll have the pleasure of visiting the Provence-style farmhouse that is now the clubhouse. The delicious food served is guaranteed to be the perfect end to a great day.
Whether you’re having a short break with friends or a family holiday, the hotel at Saint Endreol is the perfect place to stay. With comfortable rooms right up to full holiday rentals, there is an array of options to suit everyone. The golf course is on the doorstep of the hotel, as is the acclaimed spa.
The spa is modern and has a wealth of treatments available for you to pamper yourself with. The pools are a great place to take a dip and let your bad shots from the course dissolve into the water as you prepare yourself for the next day’s play.
Just minutes from the famous ‘Promenade de la Croisette’ lies Cannes-Mougins Golf Country Club. One of France’s most impressive courses, the layout originally opened in 1923.
It would be a significant overhaul by Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas in 1978 however that would rejuvenate the layout and help shoot it to stardom. The wooded gem is now the ultimate spot for golf lovers on the French Riviera.
Located in the protected Valmasque forest, the course has a distinctive feel from other layouts in the area. It is a long course, with wide fairways and large, subtly contoured greens. Feature holes include the 4th, which doglegs left and slightly uphill to a raised green, and the downhill 17th, where the putting surface lies beyond a threatening pond.
Founded in 1993, the Royal Mougins Golf Club is a course of exceptional quality. Located just twenty minutes from Cannes, the Robert von Hagge layout merges effortless into the peaceful countryside. Situated in a medieval Provençal village, the luxury spa and resort provide the perfect escape from the stresses of modern life. Just a stone’s throw from the beautiful sandy beaches of the Côte d’Azur, the magical setting once made the village a popular haunt of Picasso and Cocteau.
Olive trees and ancient stonewall terracing feature throughout, making good course management and accuracy essential. A beautiful maintained layout, water and strategic bunkering will ensure that your long game is tested to its limits.
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