The Most Beautiful Golf Courses in France


Northern FranceParisLoire ValleyCôte d'Azur - French RivieraProvenceBordeaux

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Reading time: 0 minPublished on 4 January 2023, updated on 16 April 2024

In October of 2009, Golf World published its ranking of Europe’s 100 most beautiful golf courses. France ranked well with 18 courses, including 4 in the top 10. First place went to Les Bordes near Orléans, ousting the eternal Valderra in Spain. The Golf National, meanwhile, continues to improve its reputation, which will hopefully benefit from the organisation of the 2018 Ryder Cup. The ranking includes both private clubs and public courses accepting players on payment of a daily green fee. France boasts a wealth of outstanding courses.

Below is the rank of those on the 100 most-beautiful list:

1st place: Les Bordes

2nd place: Morfontaine

4th: Golf National

8th: Chantilly

11th: Fontainebleau

18th: Prince de Provence

22nd: Sperone

31st: Saint-Germain

41st: Seignosse

47th: Le Touquet

52nd: Saint Nom-la-Bretèche

57th: Golf du Médoc

62nd: Terre Blanche

64th: Chiberta

83rd: Hardelot

85th: Hossegor

92nd: Royal Mougins

Note that certain courses are not easily accessible to non-members. If these courses are excluded from the ranking, then the National course takes the top spot, followed by Sperone, Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Seignosse (to mention only the leading ones).

1st place: Les Bordes

Amidst an ancient forest in the heart of the Loire Valley, on the former hunting grounds of Baron Bich, the Bordes course offers an extraordinary golfing experience just ninety minutes from Paris. It was designed by Texan architect Robert von Haage during his most inventive period, hence its ‘American touch.’ Water sparkles along two-thirds of this course, which even experienced players will find challenging (the course record, held by Jean Vande Velde, is only one under par). You will find the Bordes course, at par 72 over a length of 7,061 yards with a slope of 148, both difficult and competitive. Indeed, it has earned a reputation as a paradise for golfers seeking to perfect their game.

Private club, members only.

• Par 72. • Length 7,008 yards.

2nd place: Morfontaine

The course at Morfontaine (Picardy) dates back to the 15th of October in 1913 when Armand de Gramont (duke of Guiche) converted a former polo grounds in the Parc de Vallière. The duke had Scottish golf architect Tom Simpson design a 9-hole course (Vallière) for his friends. Simpson was a highly successful designer, and his work is still being imitated today. After World War One, the duke decided to open the course to players outside of his family and friends, and in 1927 he founded the current sports club with the financial backing of Edward Esmond, Armand Benedic, René Thion de La Chaume, and Edouard de Rothschild. He once again asked Thompson to design the full 18-hole course (Grand Parcours) which was officially opened by Simone Thion de La Chaume on October 9, 1927. That same year, Pierre Maeuvrier became the first French champion in Morfontaine’s history.

Private club, members only.

• Par 72 • Length 6,632 yards.

4th: Golf National

The National golf course in the greater Paris area (Ile-de-France) provides a perfect setting for the French Open, one of the best-endowed tournaments on the European tour. The stands, shrewdly placed along the most spectacular holes, reinforce the sense of a natural stadium already created by thetournament course, known as Albatross. The special care lavished on the course results in top-notch play throughout the year. Outside of the tournament season, the National runs a high-level training centre which is an ideal place to enrol in a golf workshop. Indeed, the National’s remarkable training programme is taught by instructors from the FFG’s Académie de Golf.

Two 18-hole courses - one 9-hole course - a short-game area, unique in Europe (4,000 square yards in surface area) - a driving range - Mizuno fitting centre.

Par 72 • Length 7,321 yards

8th: Chantilly

Just north of Paris (Ile-de-France), the Chantilly Golf Course opened in 1909. It was designed by British architect Tom Simpson (the designer of Fontainebleau, Hossegor, and others). The latest extension to 36-holes was done in the late 1980s under the supervision of Donald Steel. The creation of 13 new holes combined with the existing 9-hole Longères course resulted in a new linkswith a different character, as well as a pitching and putting zone where young, budding golfers can enjoy themselves. Long listed as one of the most beautiful courses in France, Chantilly has long hosted the French Open on its favourite course, Vineuil.

Its two 18-hole courses are strictly private, restricted to members of the club and their guests.

• Par 71 • Length 6,995 yards.

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