When we think of golf, images of strolling in the countryside, through mountains or along the seaside often come to mind. But as the sport has developed throughout history in France, it is also revelatory of aspects of cultural heritage, gastronomy, and much more, embodying an everyday “art de vivre”, or art of living.
Golfing and culture
When the sport first arrived in France, the high cost of playing golf made it exclusively available to the upperclasses, who built courses on their estates. But its roots eventually led to it becoming more democratized, a spirit which is certainly still present within it today.
Amongsome of the most historically significant are the courses at Château de Cheverny, near Blois, l’Abbaye des sept Fontaines (located between Reims and Metz), Château des Vigiers in south-west Bergerac, and St. Gatien.
Golfing and nature
Today, 250 “rustic” courses exist throughout France’s countryside.
Located at the gates of the Mercantour National Park, the Golf Rustique d’Auron sits atop mountains at an altitude of 1600 meters, its course dotted with fir and larch.
In the town of Souraïde, nestled in the valleys of the Pyrenees in Basque country, the Golf Rustique Epherra offers a challenging 18-hole course with stunning views of the Basque mountains.
And encircled by the Brenne river at the foot of Mont Auxois (site of the famous battle of Alésia), the Golf de Venarey is a 7-hole course that golfers of all skill levels will find accessible and enjoyable.
Golfing and gastronomy
If you’d like to finish off a day on the course with a flavorful meal, look nofurther than the Table du Golf restaurant at the Golf d’Albi, created in 1989 by the famous golfer Jean Garaïalde. The restaurant is located on the banks of the Tarn river in the historic old city.
For lovers of “grand cru”, opt for the Golf du Médoc or the Relais Margaux, where you will discover top-quality wines.
In Provence, in the midst of an 87-hectare countryside, the restaurant at the Terrasses de l’Hôtel-Golf du Barbaroux de Brignoles offers a taste of local offerings from Provence and the Var region with a Mediterranean influence.
Located more centrally is the Hôtel-Golf de Saint-Junien in Limousin, equipped with a beautiful 18-hole course , a three-star hotel and a restaurant, Les Jouberties, serving traditional regional cuisine in a relaxed setting.
And last but not least, other ideal options include Club Albatros de Rochefort-en-Yvelines, the Château-Golf de Bournel, or the Golf de Coudray-Montceaux.