Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Golf Courses in the South of France

If you are golfer, then Provence and the South of France are your ideal holiday destination. The courses are too numerous to list them all, however here are a few of our favourites. A full list of courses in the area can be found here.

St Donat near Mouans Sartoux about 15 miles north of Cannes is a very beautiful and testing 18 hole course. The terrain is hilly with streams, ditches and a lake offering spectacular looking hazards. There is quite a lot of tree cover and unless you are reasonably fit then a buggy is recommended. The clubhouse is modern and air-conditioned and the restaurant is top notch, set on a sunny terrace overlooking the lake with its feature fountain. There is a nice driving range but slightly limited putting practice.

Opio/Valbonne golf course is sometimes called Chateau Begude where the course is situated. It is about a mile north of the beautiful 12th century village of Valbonne. It is quite an English looking course, with more tree cover than St Donat which is good I'm summer when shade is at a premium, but tends to have some frosty holes in the depths of winter. The greens here tend to be a little slower than St Donat but nonetheless they are good and true and it also has a nice terrace for lunch. the practice area has a nice driving range a quite a big putting practice green

The Grande Bastide is just north of Plascassier which again is about 15 miles north of Cannes. It is more like a link course with fewer trees and a lot of sand together with gentle undulations rather than hills. Its protection comes mainly from the greens which are tricky and difficult to read. This is a good course to play in winter as it is mostly in the sun, but you can roasted a bit in the summer. This is another course with a nice bar and terrace and a welcoming attitude, although the restaurant is not quite as good as Chateau Begude or St Donat. The practice area is very limited, except for putting which is quite good.

If 9 holes is enough for you then Le Provencal at Sophia Antipolis formerly known as St Phillippe is a nice short course, with just one par 5 and a brand new clubhouse, again with a sunny terrace for lunch. The mainly tree-lined fairways make it seem a little narrow for a big hitter but again, the greens are very good. Practice facilities are excellent.

The 18 hole course at Royal Mougins is exceptional in every way. The views are sublime the course excellently tended and there is a wonderful restaurant and spa for after the game.

All of these courses are easily bookable, speak English, indeed they have a great number of ex pats who play regularly and the nice thing is that they are within about 10 minutes drive of each other. That means that if you can find a private villa to rent for the week somewhere central then you can play each course.

The best places to stay would be Valbonne, Mouans Sartoux, Plascassier, or Opio, but Roquefort Les Pins, Le Rouret, Chateauneuf are also very convenient. One could also stay a little further out, maybe at Grasse, Le Cannet or Mandelieu or even in Cannes itself.

Getting to the area is very simple, Nice airport, the second busiest airport in France is only about 20 - 30 minutes drive away and cars are easily hired from the airport. If coming from the UK there are flights daily from each of the four main London airports, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, East Midlands and Southampton.