Golfing in France
Enjoy a relaxing day in the sun from only £23 from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle
There are few activities more relaxing than a day of golf in the glistening French sunshine.
Casually making your way round 18 holes on a lush green course, before heading to the 19th for a spot of dinner and glass or two of the local wine.
Whatever your level of golf, whether you're a complete beginner or have a handicap of +6, there is a French golf course for you.
Before you start piling your woods and irons into the back of your car, check out Eurotunnel's guide to getting the most out of a golfing break in France.
What to Pack
France has about 500 courses, with a huge variety of terrain and hole length, so you will probably want a nice full bag of clubs to be prepared for any situation (don't get too cocky and leave the sand wedge at home).
The majority of these courses are beautifully maintained; most clubs will expect you to have a similarly immaculate appearance.
When considering clothing you will want at least:
- Smart trousers (not jeans)
- A casual shirt to golf in (not T-shirt) for men or a top that covers the shoulders (not strapped) for women
- Proper golf shoes
- Evening wear for the club house (including a jacket and a tie for men)
- Bermuda shorts in Summer (these are being accepted by an increasing number of golf clubs in recent years)
Don't just look the part – act it too; polite behaviour is expected at all times on the courses so remember to observe common niceties such as letting smaller/faster groups play through.
Planning your trip
With a certain amount of prestige surrounding most golf courses it is understandable that you can't just turn up and expect to walk straight into a game.
There are many clubs and courses which allow non-members to play (including all the ones listed in this guide), but often these clubs will also have regular member-only days. It is always best to ring before and book your round; with the more popular clubs try to do this as early as possible, particularly if planning to visit during the peak summer season.
Most courses have an attached hotel, although these vary wildly in quality, so it pays to do your research and shop around for accommodation.
Where to Go
One of the joys of golfing in France is the pure variety – from the coast to the outskirts of Paris, wherever you visit you are guaranteed spectacular surroundings and more-often-than-not fabulous weather to accompany your game.
Fees are generally cheaper than in England and often courses are blissfully quiet, allowing you to relax and get round in your own time.
Here are a few of Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's picks for some of the top golf courses in France:
Aa Saint Omer
Host to the European Tour, this prestigious golf course will provide you with a fantastic yet challenging round of Golf. Straight driving will need to be accompanied by accurate approach work to hit the large undulating greens.
This golf course is among the most famous in France with a 27-hole parkland. La Val is an 18-hole showpiece course and La Haute Drève is a 9-hole academy course.
Info: The Golf Club is open 7 days a week, 9am to 6pm and just a 30 minute drive from Calais.
Golf de Chantilly
Open to the public weekdays only, this resplendent club, set amidst woodland about 30 miles north of Paris, has played host to the French Open several times since it was created in 1909.
With some unforgiving bunkers and dense forest lining many of its 36 holes, a round at Chantilly can prove an enjoyable challenge.
The fact that the nearby Château was used in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill as the billionaire villain's home gives an idea of the opulent feel of the area which spreads to the club.
The clubhouse is small and welcoming with a delightful terrace, salon and well-stocked bar.
Info: The club is open to non-members Mon-Fri, but closed Thursdays. 250km
(2hr 30mins drive) from Calais.
Golf de Belle Dune
This 18-hole course flirts effortlessly with the coastal dunes of north-eastern France to create an effect which has left it acclaimed as one of the most stunningly scenic in the country.
A gentle course, this is well suited for beginners, though strong coastal winds can often add an extra unpredictable challenge. The immaculate fairways are consistently voted some of the most beautiful in Europe and the fast greens offer the opportunity to brush up on your putting.
The accompanying restaurant has a lakeside terrace and is open to golfers and passing walkers, though it is advisable to book ahead.
Info: Open all week, but prices go up at the weekends. Must be booked in advance. 90km (1hr 10min drive) from Calais.
Golf de Chiberta
Commissioned in 1926 by the Duke of Windsor to create 'the most beautiful golf course in the world' architect Tom Simpson clearly took his brief seriously.
Tucked down in the south-western corner of France Golf de Chiberta is excellently maintained and enjoys excellent weather most of the year round. As a result the course is particularly popular and must be booked well in advance.
There are two courses with a great variety in holes, starting with tree-lined fairways and moving on to links right up against the beach, with spectacular views of the Biarritz lighthouse.
The accompanying club house in the Hotel de Chiberta has a bar and restaurant offering local specialities.
Info: Open all week during July and August, but make reservations well in advance. 1,060km (10hrs drive) from Calais.
Golf de Orléans Limère
A great course for all levels of player, Golf de Orléans Limère will test every aspect of your game. The course may seem short but don't be fooled into thinking it is simple; there is a reason national championships are played here every year.
Set in the forest of Sologne and featuring a generous scattering of water hazards players must concentrate on both line and length to avoid potential penalties waiting for them on every hole.
The attached club house and hotel may leave a little to be desired, but renovation plans are afoot and the course more than makes up for this.
Info: Welcomes non-members, but should be booked in advance. 420km (4hrs drive) from Calais.
Whether you're looking for spectacular scenery, well-kept courses, or a new challenge for your game then France has the golf clubs for you.
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