Play, Stay and More
5 French Golf Destinations Worth Checking Out
France is known for many things, most prominently its notable cuisine (croissants, quiche, coq a vin) and its rich culture (Hemingway, Picasso and Baldwin drew on Paris as a source of inspiration). A not-so-known fact about the country is its long-running passion for the game of golf. France is the home to the oldest golf course in Europe (established 1865) as well as an impressive 600+ active courses. This deep devotion undoubtedly nudged the country to the front of the pack to win the bid for the 2018 Ryder Cup, solidifying France as a must-play destination on the golfing map. This summer we covered over 1,000 miles from the capital to the southern border (and back) to find the best places worth playing.
Versailles: The Regal Countryside
Play: The 2018 Ryder Cup Course (L’Albatros )
Golfers revel in the chance to hit a shot like a pro — or better than one, if they get lucky. Le Golf National offers the opportunity to do so at a great price. The biggest advantage this course offers is that it is kept in tournament-ready condition all year long: you’ll be able to play like a pro on your schedule.
Green Fees: $219-$249 | Learn More
Stay: Trianon Palace Versailles
Staying at the royal palace is not an option, but this four-star Waldorf Astoria property is a great fallback.
Rates per Night: $268-$3,224 | Learn More
Eat: Alain Ducasse’s Beef Tartare
In September 2016, Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse opened Ore at Chateau Versailles. The menu, designed around locally sourced produce, provides reimagined takes on classic French dishes.
Lunch Entree Price: $38–$43 | Learn More
Biarritz: The Historic Coastline
Play: La Phare Golf Course
This 18-hole course by Willie and Tom Dunn is one of the oldest courses in France (it was built in 1888) and its front nine offers beautiful vistas of the city while the entire course is easily walked. There’s no water in play, but the coastal winds and expertly placed greens make the course challenging yet enjoyable.
Green Fees: $63-$94 | Learn More
Stay: Hotel Du Palais
Napolean III originally built this five-star palace as a summer retreat. The chipping/putting green in the front yard is a big plus.
Rates per Night: $333-$1,598 | Learn More
Drink: Cocktails on the Bay of Biscayne
Mojitos are a thing in France; order one (or three) at Le Surfing and watch the sunset from your table. There’s not a bad seat in the house.
Entree Price: $13-$19 | Learn More
Seignosse: The French Woodlands
Play: Blue Green Seignosse Golf Club
The rolling, tree-lined fairways on this Robert Van Hagge course offer a unique experience for players of various skill levels. The 18th hole is an irresistible challenge for long hitters to attempt reaching the green in two — it’s a 666-yard, par six.
Green Fees: $67-$90 | Learn More
Stay: Relais de la Poste:
This charming hotel located in the small town of Magescq surrounds guests with only the essentials; homemade meals, best-in-class spa treatments and tranquil woodland views.
Rates per Night: $259-$613 | Learn More
Eat: Dinner at L’Auberge Côté Quiller:
One of the highlights if French cuisine is bourgeois fare, the day-to-day food that most families eat at home. Chef Jean Coussau takes these humble meals and elevates them to Michelin-star status.
Entree Price: $25-$55 | Learn More
Medoc & St. Emilion: Wine Country
Play & Stay: Golf du Medoc Resort
Many resort courses lean on excessive bells and whistles (a.k.a. waterfalls) in their course design to add intrigue. The Chateau course at Medoc does the opposite; nature sculpts each hole, creating a playing experience reminiscent of traditional Scottish golf.
Green Fees: $68-$102 | Learn More
Play: Grand Saint-Emilionnais Golf Club
This family-run, Tom Doak–designed course is a true gem of the region surrounded with sweeping views of the countryside. Each hole is a unique puzzle that will test every aspect of your game. Playing it twice is highly recommended.
Green Fees: $100-$124 | Learn More
Visit: Six-Generation Family-Run Vineyard
The Lignet family continues to make some of the best wine in the world. Two tips: ask for Vincent to give you a cellar tour and buy a bottle there, because finding one back home will be next to impossible.
Tours: $18/person | Learn More
Traveling internationally is a trek on its own; adding golf gear to the list won’t make it any easier. Here are three tips to make your journey as smooth as possible.
1. Get a proper “check” bag. The last thing you want is your gear to show up in pieces.
2. Bring only the essentials. Have a two-hybrid in your bag that you rarely hit? Leave it at home. Bring a few sleeves of your favorite ball; you can always reload at the course if you find yourself among excessive hazards.
3. Avoid roaming data fees. There are tons of GPS apps for yardage; now is not the time to use them. Get a laser rangefinder; it’s extremely accurate, works everywhere, and won’t leave you guessing how many yards 153 meters equates to.
Last Bag Collegiate Golf Travel Cover w/ Free Stiff Arm & TSA Lock by Club Glove $260
M1 Driver, 3 Wood & Hybrid by TaylorMade Learn More
M Grind Wedges by Titleist Learn More
Select Newport 2 Notchback DB Putter by Scotty Cameron $400
Pro X2 Rangefinder by Bushnell $499
GP Edition Walker Bag by Mackenzie $399+
ProV1 Custom by Titleist $56/dozen
Charcoal Tweed Headcovers by Seamus Learn More
Lunar Command 2 by Nike $135
The French Board of Tourism hosted us in France to experience the golf, cuisine and cultural experiences each of these locations had to offer.
These thoughtfully designed, entertaining par-3 courses are challenging but approachable, puzzling, but forgiving, and they take only about 90 blissful minutes to play. Here’s a selection of the country’s best. Read the Story