With almost 300,000 spectators on-site during the week and more than 1 billion TV viewers worldwide, the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National was an epic match resulting in a famous victory for Europe over a highly favoured American team. Although the "Moliwood" pairing of Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood led the way for the players, it was the amazing Albatros course at Le Golf National that stole the show.
A fantastic test of golf that challenges all your strategic and shot-making abilities, L'Albatros poses conundrums from the opening tee shot to the closing approach. Sharp dog-legs, dramatic elevation changes, domed greens and sprawling bunker complexes guide you through stadium style dunes to a dramatic stretch of do-or-die closing water holes. It's a bucket list course every golfer should experience, so make this the year and imagine the bragging rights as you hit the final green in two!
In addition, France is blessed with a multitude of superb courses that are perfect for a Top 100 Golf Tour. Indeed, it may surprise you to learn there are more Top 100 Continental Europe courses in France than any other country. But France's lack of recognition as a golfing super power is your gain as, for the most part, you can play a fantastic variety of courses at a fraction of the price you would expect to pay at some of the more established European destinations - without any sacrifice in quality.
For example, extend your trip to Paris Golf National to take in the 'Sunningdale-esque' Fontainebleau and Chantilly, or take the Eurostar across to the super accessible Opal Coast and the famed Hardelot and Le Touquet resorts. Whichever option you choose, with great golf, great wine and fine dining, what other reasons do you need to hop across the Channel?
The Opal Coast:
Home to the 2018 Ryder Cup in France, Le Golf National is risk/reward design that will test your game in an almost infinite number of ways, yet remains inviting and easy on the eye. It's a bucket list course every golfer should experience on a golf tour at least once in their lifetime.
Designed by the eccentric Tom Simpson, Fontainebleau is the #3 ranked golf course in France, set within ancient hunting forest to the South of Paris. Expect an attractive heathland course of the very highest quality with sandy soil, tree lined fairways and well guarded greens.
Another classic Top Simpson design and home to the French Open on numerous occasions. Set amidst forest just to the North of Paris, Chantilly is reminiscent of the UK's traditional heathland courses and one of France's most glorious golf courses.
Les Pins is set among a pine forest, but its close proximity to the sea has blessed the course with firm, sandy links golf soil. Recent renovations have opened up the golf course, returning it to the original ethos of Tom Simpson's design and putting it firmly back amongst France's elite.
A Harry Colt masterpiece dating back to 1931, Le Touquet's La Mer course is a rolling sandy links, winding its way between coastal dunes with formidable bunkering and firm, fast greens. Elevated tees provide wonderful views of the course and sea on this superb French Open venue.
Opened in 1992, the aptly-named Belle Dune plays out over natural, rolling sandscape. The combination of pines and dunes inevitably make it feel like a hybrid of Hardelot's famed Les Pins and Les Dunes, and it is every bit as enjoyable as the name suggests it should be.