The French - Cheese, baguettes, the Eiffel tower, red wine and now to our surprise great golf...
As the host nation for the 2018 Ryder Cup France needs to be seen as a golfing country but I have to admit, I don’t see it as that.
For some unknown reason, if I was to consider a golf trip abroad, France would not make my shortlist.
However, recently Your Golf Travel (You know... TELL THEM DARRRRRRNNN SENT YOU etc) invited us to play a few courses in the northern region of France to try and change our minds about putting France on that shortlist.
Here is what we did and what we thought and whether Francais is now a plausible golfing destination.
How can you get to France? Plane, ferry, Eurostar, Eurotunnel or if you're feeling brave a cheeky swim... although might be tricky with a pencil bag jammed packed with golf holiday Top Flites on your back.
Lazily we went via the Eurotunnel, which I was going on for the first time since I was a kid going to DisneyLand, which might suit my golf better tbf.
Anyway in just a 35 minute crossing we popped out at Calais and drove 30 minutes and we were at our first golf club.
Not bad, within 2.5 hours I went from my front door to a golf course in France and I only got out the car once and that was for a cheeky wee on the EuroTunnel (In a toilet obvs)
It was a pleasant surprise how easy it was, let's be honest we've all had that nightmare trip stuck in airports for hours on end, this was decent.
But realistically for us, it's all about the golf isn't it?!
AA Saint Omer Golf Club
Saint-Omer is a Challenge Tour venue and has some of the biggest elevation changes at a course I have ever played on. Seriously you need a cable car at some points!
It is a quaint golf course with some incredibly challenging holes, especially the Par 3 second which is 185 meters (not yards!!) but must be a good 30 foot drop down to the green. Try clubbing that without a scope!
It was a true parkland course with some really interesting holes but the most impressive part was the conditions of the greens. They were immaculate, like proper immaculate. Fast and true which at the time of year we went you have to appreciate.
Golf Du Touquet
Firstly, they have a new clubhouse that has just opened that is like no other clubhouse I have ever been to, it’s like a modern country retreat. Whether you’re bothered about clubhouses or not, one thing you can’t knock is the setting!
But the golf course...
It was a links course that hands down could rival some of the best courses in the UK.
As well as being in incredible condition with firm fairways and greens, the holes were interesting, challenging with some greens that I can imagine in summer would be horrendously tough to putt on if you put yourself in the wrong spots... which I almost certainly would.
If you are links fan and lets face it, if you’re not, you should be, then Le Touquet has to be on your list to play.
As well as a fantastic course, Le Touquet town itself is a cracking place for drinks and food.
In the summer, it is full with French and English holiday makers and you could tell it would be a strong night out.
And if losing the skins match on the course wasn’t enough, there is one hell of a casino for you to lose all the money you came with or win it back!!
If you want great golf and a place to get smashed, Le Touquet ticks all the boxes.
Our final stop was another links course on the coast just 20 minutes from Calais and being so close to the UK you could even pick up Radio 1... whether that’s a good thing or not is another matter.
Again, another quaint golf course with excellent facilities and the food was incredible (but by this time gout was starting to set in!).
As with all the other courses, the greens were in fantastic condition and there were some really neat little holes including teeing off a World War Two bunker, which with a bit of perseverance you can get inside! (Insert Hitler golf gag here)
The second hole, a par 3 was probably the most spectacular looking tee shot on the early morning we played it. A strong test with an almost blind tee shot but with a view like that. Who cares where the ball goes (or that’s what I tell myself).
At Wimereux you're right along the coast and when the wind got up it becomes a very different challenge compared to when we started the round in benign conditions. That and the fact you could see back to the UK made me upset that my trip was almost up.
Well probably that and about 12 gallons of French red wine over 3 days!
Three things struck me about this trip which easily sum up my thoughts...
- It is so easy and quick to get to Northern France that if you want a one day trip or weekend trip away then you have to consider it.
- The pride the clubs take in their courses, especially the greens is impressive.
- If you’re a group of mates looking for a small road trip, to play some good golf courses at a relatively cheap rate then northern France delivers.
If you fancy the short trip over the channel for some class golf and even classier wine check out the links here for Your Golf Travel and Saint-Omer, Le Touquet and Weirmeux golf courses.
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.