Golf’s hidden gem: Quebec, Canada
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During six decades as a golf course architect, Robert von Hagge is credited with the design of more than 250 courses in over 20 countries. His designs are known for punishing, demanding layouts, tight fairways and precise shot making.
All Square takes a look at five of his greatest courses.
Home to the annual French Open on the European Tour and host venue to the 2018 Ryder Cup, Le Golf National is an extremely challenging championship level course. Its well protected greens force players to use their imagination and pretty much every club in the bag. The course, near Versailles, also know as the Albatros course, combines the traditional feel of a links with the modern features of American-style target golf. The greens are expertly shaped around water features, so mistakes are costly. It makes a great match-play course and provided a fitting venue when Europe beat the USA 17.5-10.5 points in 2018. The course is also scheduled to host the Paris 2024 Olympics golf tournament. Standouts are holes 15, 16 and 18 which are set in a partially enclosed area in front of the hotel and framed by water hazards. All Square users can book to play the course and stay at the hotel here.
Les Bordes is a luxury retreat built on a secluded hunting estate deep in the Loire Valley’s ancient Sologne forest. It is perhaps von Hagge’s greatest work and is rated by All Square as the number one course in continental Europe. The entire golf course blends perfectly into its woodland setting and the local wetlands seamlessly come into play on at least a dozen holes. He moved huge amounts of soil to raise the fairways above the wetlands, and to form links-like mounding on some holes. Typically of one of his courses, it punishes mistakes, has isolated target areas and contoured putting surfaces. Most entertaining, and worrying, are its huge water carries. The bruising closing hole features a long all-carry approach into a shallow green with a steep step. Classic von Hagge.
This course is all about its stunning Provencal location. Lying in the Mougins area just ten minutes from Cannes on the beautiful Côte d’Azur in southern France, it’s a golf vacationer’s dream. The majority of the course stretches across the secluded Vallon de l’Oeuf, with its peaceful countryside, olive trees and ancient stonewall terracing. Good course management and precision play are the two essential elements if you are looking for good results on this rolling course, with its rivers and lakes, and plentiful bunkering. Poor shots are usually penalised; typical of von Hagge. The second hole is perhaps the signature, with its elevated tee to a green guarded by a lake and a waterfall. The estate also has a four-star hotel, where guests have access to the golf course, exclusive spa, outdoor pool with terrace and fitness centre. All Square users can book to play the course and stay at the hotel here.
Located near Strasbourg in France, Le Kempferhof occupies the forested grounds of a mansion that dates back to the 1800s, with the clubhouse converted from a hunting lodge from the period. Von Hagge’s US roots are evident in the design of this course, with his preference for water hazards, bold placement of bunkers and manicured fairways. Players need to be straight off the tee with the fairways tight and tree lined. The par 5’s require discipline and course management and the par 3’s are tricky for high handicappers, with one straight over water from the tee. The noble residence from the 1800s has been transformed into a luxury hotel full of character and personality. All Square users can book to play the course and stay at the hotel here.
The original course at Cinnamon Hill was built in the 1960s, but the contemporary layout, which opened in 2002, is the work of Robert von Hagge and his team. The course is situated on what used to be a large sugar plantation in Montego Bay in Jamaica. All Square rates it as the second best course on the Caribbean island. The centrepiece of the grounds through which the course runs is the historic Rose Hall Great House, now a luxury hotel and spa. It was built in the middle of the 18th century and the property has changed hands repeatedly over the years. At one point it was owned by singer Johnny Cash, during which time it was used as a location for the filming of the James Bond movie Live and Let Die. Typically challenging, it has an open wind-swept front nine followed by a tougher back nine with fairways bounded by thick vegetation. ‘Majestic Blue’, the par-4 fifth is perhaps the signature hole, with its green shielded on three sides by the beautiful ocean and beach. All Square users can book to play the course and stay at the hotel here.