Le Touquet (La Mer) - North East France - France

Golf du Touquet,
Avenue du Golf,
62520 Le Touquet,
France


  • +33 (0)3 2106 2800

  • Charles Debruyne

  • Colt, Alison and Morrison Ltd.

  • Didier Behin, Daphné Lesur


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Le Touquet (La Mer)

Le Touquet is very French but it has strong British connections, not least because both contrasting courses at Le Touquet were laid out by British architects, but also because this was once the playground for the British gentry. Horace Hutchinson designed La Forêt and according to most modern records Harry S. Colt designed La Mer.

However, in 1936, J.S.F Morrison wrote a a column on Golf in Japan in The Bystander magazine: "Captain Alison designed the new course at Le Touquet, and was secretary of Stoke Poges shortly before the war, but he is chiefly famous for having, when representing Oxford v Cambridge, played off the roof of the clubhouse at Woking to halve the last hole in 5." Morrison was a senior partner of the design firm Colt, Alison and Morrison Ltd., so it seems La Mer could be the work of Charles Hugh Alison and Harry Colt.

In 1928 a decision was made to build a second course in the dunes and in 1930, the Daily Mail commented that this new terrain will comprise of eighteen of the most magnificent holes a scratch golfer could dream of. The new La Mer course finally opened for play in 1931 but the Prince of Wales – Edward VIII – discreetly “tried” it a few days before it officially opened. The devastation following WW2 necessitated restoration work and the course lay dormant until 1959. Harold Baker modified the layout in 1997.

The stunning seaside course, La Mer, is one of Alison's greatest achievements, and that is saying something as Alison completed many outstanding designs during his lifetime, including Hirono. Located in the Pas de Calais region, La Mer is a classic links course that winds its way between the coastal dunes and rough grasses. With wonderful sea views from elevated tees, formidable bunkering, huge dunes and fast but firm greens, La Mer is perhaps the best true links course in France and it can proudly hold its head high alongside some of its regal neighbours which lie on the opposite side of the English Channel.

Measuring 6,407 metres, La Mer is a challenging layout and has hosted six French Opens, (the most recent was in 1977 when Seve Ballesteros won the title), but it's still a seriously tough proposition, especially when the Atlantic winds funnel down the Channel and whip across this exposed links land. Sam Torrance holds the current course record with a truly remarkable 63.

However, Le Touquet hasn't rested on its laurels. La Mer underwent an extensive redesign programme in 2015 which will make it a serious championship contender once more. A bridge now links the tee and green on the 10th – the par three signature hole. New tees have been added on 1st, 5th, 13th and 17th, bunkers have been added here and there and three greens have been replaced (5th, 6th and 12th). Two great hotels are attached to the golf club making Le Touquet a wonderful holiday venue.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Reviews for Le Touquet (La Mer)

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Le Touquet's stunning sea course, La Mer, is one of C.H. Alison's greatest achievements. It’s a classic links course that winds its way between the coastal dunes and rough grasses. Rating: 4.6315789473684 out of 6

Only a half hour drive from Calais, Le Touquet is a high class and convenient destination, particularly for golfers based in southern England. Add good accommodation, 45 holes of golf and a cluster of other highly ranked local courses to the mix and you have all the ingredients for the perfect golf break as we discovered last week.

Le Touquet (La Mer) Golf Course - Photo courtesy of Landmark Media

The "top of the bill" La Mer layout has undergone dramatic changes in recent times as golf course architects Patrice Boissonnas and Frank Pont have re-created much of the original links character of this fine old course. At the heart of the renovation were plans to restore five Colt/Alison holes from the original 1931 design which is not only of historical significance but has undoubtedly created a much improved back nine. Although one or two tree lined holes remain, much has been stripped back to leave a significantly more open and exposed aspect to this fast running and beautifully bunkered layout.

Unfortunately one hole still remains on the drawing board as local government ecologists have deemed that the re-construction of the original 17th would destroy an environmentally sensitive area. Hopefully this situation can be resolved in time as the Colt/Alison routing is far superior to the current hole which is almost certainly the weakest on the course.

Le Touquet (La Mer) Golf Course - Photo courtesy of Landmark Media

The run of holes from 13 - 16 have now been fully restored in all their original glory providing not only more attractive but far more interesting holes. The strategic 15th was regarded by the great Tom Simpson as one of the best par-5's on the continent and the 16th, a classic long par-3 playing downhill to a nicely situated green, is certainly a beauty but often a beast when the wind blows. Two of the remaining par-3's will have you reaching for the camera. The 2nd at around 200 yards is a stunning hole with exquisite bunkering fronting the green and the tricky 10th requires a precise iron shot played over a valley to a raised green which falls away dramatically to the left. Of the longer holes I particularly liked 1, 8, 9, 11 and 12, the latter two leading us nicely into the new holes with some having raised greens which add to the level of difficulty.

Playing from the white markers at around 6,800 yards in light winds is certainly a tough proposition and these are not even the back tees. My guess is that most golfers will find the yellow tees offer more than enough challenges, particularly if the wind blows.

You may not beat La Mer but you can't help but love it. Brian W

October 20, 2017


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review

We decided to write in for the 24the Amateur Classic Tournament held at Golf du Touquet at the end of august this year.

The tournament is scheduled for 4 days: 2 rounds at Touquet la Mer and 2 rounds at Touquet la Forêt, alternating.

Having played la Mer a couple of years ago, I was looking forward visiting the course again and to get acquainted with the changes they made to holes 14-16.

Although la Mer is situated near the coast, I don't think the quality of the turf would qualify la Mer as a pure links golf course. Having said that, it is a wonderful designed golf course situated in a panoramic dunes landscape, a true classic course. Some par4's are testing long (especially those against prevailing wind direction!), but overall the course allows for a decent score. If you favour your course management skills over your desire to overpower every shot from the tee & at the pin.

After a decent opening nine (closing with a nice testing par4 against the wind), the course shows it's real beauty with the closing nine. The closing nine starts with a charming, but well protected, short par3, and after a varied test of golf holes, the round ends with a beautiful downhill par4.

Despite the fact that the holes 14-16 are relatively new, I do believe that they have made the second nine a more balanced nine: in the old days this part of the course felt more like a parkland course then a dunes course. They must have cleared tonnes of trees to (re)create the links feeling at this part of the course again, having the holiday houses behind the green of the 13&14th more in sight, as an obvious trade off. The only week hole on the back nine remains hole 17: a rather straight forward uphill par5, now being the only hole with that old parkland feel to it.

I expected top notch maintenance levels, and maybe this was the only aspect of the course that disappointed me. Among more general maintenance findings, I think that especially the greens could benefit from some extra TLC: the greens should be a touch (or 2....) firmer and faster, allowing putts to hold their lines on these beautiful contoured greens. Lets hope that with the economy shifting gears, the maintenance levels can be raised accordingly. With maintenance at normal levels, definitely worth a 5 ball rating.

All in all, Touquet la Mer is one of the better golf courses the Côte d'Opale has on offer and a must play golf course when visiting this area of la douce France (with Hardelot les Pines, Touquet la Forêt, Belle Dunes & Wimereux)

Can't wait to play this course again during the 25th Amateur Classic Tournament at le Touquet next year!

OCB

September 13, 2017


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review

The recently renovated Le Touquet is now a joy to play. They have removed tons of trees and bushes in creating wide open spaces and bringing back the links nature of this excellent course. A serious and conscious effort has been taken to bring the course gradually back to the way Harry Colt designed it back in its hay-day and fine work has been Le Touquet (La Mer) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerdone. The battle however is not over and the uphill 17th still must be changed significantly to bring the entire routing back. At the moment the run of holes on the back 9 are absolutely fabulous until you get to 17 which is in its current form a very strange hole quite different from Colt’s original. Regardless the rest of the course is back to the Colt originally intended it, or at least very close to how it was and really it’s brilliant! I highly recommend a visit and with Hardelot Les Pins and Belle Dune close by it makes for a great long weekend of golf.

I would say my favorite holes were the par 3 2nd and the par 4 11th and 12th holes. These par 4’s are played at a horizontal angle to the fairway and really make you think off the tee. 11 is a very long hole and has a really tough raised green to approach. It’s more of a par 4.5 but nonetheless an excellent hole.

October 22, 2016


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
I played Le Mer in 2013 and was impressed. My recent visit endorsed that view. The first few holes play well enough but it is after you tee off 8 and view your approach shot to the elevated green that the pulse starts racing, and this increases further on 9 and 10 and then you stand on the 11th tee....stunning. The back nine presents a great test and a breath-taking finish as you climb to the 17th green and then again to the 18th tee. Having to take a drink in Le Manoir was no hardship but when the club-house facilities are finished it will be a top class venue.
April 04, 2016


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
1 person found this review helpful and 1 did not
Respond to above review
Response
Richard Lobb
September 02, 2016

The new clubhouse at Le Touquet is now open. Very plush, a real work of art, very luminous inside, fantastic spacious interiors and a great sun deck.

Le Touquet new clubhouse

New changing rooms meet all the needs of the modern clubhouse, lockers, showers, towels on request. New reception and professionals shop. Masses of car parking. 21st century facility to match the golf courses.

New greens on La Mer slowly bedding down, good surfaces but slower than rest. New holes maturing and taking shape, another winter and they will blend into the surroundings better. Generally in good order when you consider the traffic they get over the summer months.

Two good tests of golf await, warm up on the gentle 9 hole Manoir, move onto the Foret to prepare for the La Mer, carefully pick the tees you play or the course will have its revenge. Richard Lobb. Lucky Member.

Tony Thomas
September 05, 2016

Was really interested in the latest review from Friday and cannot wait to play Le Touquet for the first time on Thursday and again on Saturday and experience the new clubhouse. We are 8 golfers, travelling from the East coast of Scotland and all off single handicaps - as a member Richard, which tees would you suggest for La Mer - we were thinking the tips ? Any advice warmly welcomed !

Played here in March 2015 - don't bother! It is currently a construction site and the original Harry Colt course has been decimated. In addition, there is no clubhouse and whilst the Manoir Hotel provide food and drinks, there are no locker rooms, so unless you stay there, no shower or changing facilities are available.
March 12, 2015


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
4 people found this review helpful and 1 did not
Respond to above review
Response
Gary
March 17, 2015
Hi, we're playing this course in May 2015. Would the work you've mentioned been completed by then ?
Nigel
October 15, 2015
This is incorrect. Frank Pont and Patrice Boissonas are not decimating Colt's design, they are actually restoring it. Baker made a mess of the renovations in the 80's/90's. The new clubhouse will be ready in spring 2016 as the old one was no longer viable as a European Tour venue facility.
Nigel Bratton
April 14, 2016
Yes it is finished during winter 2015/2016. The only hole not changed yet is the 17th which apparently will be done winter 2016/2017
Richard Lobb
July 08, 2016
As a member the work under taken is radical and was not pleasing to the eye last summer it was particularly ugly. A mild wet winter and great work by Ian Barnard and his staff see the course presented in great condition. The new holes may not be to everybody's liking paticularly if you loved the enclosed nature of the old lay put. The new club house is nearly finished, it is very modern and will have excellent facilities. Due to open in August 2016.
I played la mer today (Jul 22, 2014) and really enjoyed it. The course is in excellent condition and the surface of the greens were excellent. The terrain is quite different to a "real" seaside links you tend to get in Scotland or Ireland. I felt it was more like parkland in a lot of places. But this is not a negative. There are impressive dunes and the rough is links-like in a lot of cases. I really like that each hole was very different and had an individual style. Clearly a lot of thought was put into the design. Overall I thought it was a terrific course and would definitely recommend it.
July 22, 2014


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
I played this course in May and although the weather was not hot, the sun was shining and in the early stages, the fairways glistened with dew. The first tee was in beautiful condition and a dog legging left par 5 with towering dunes on either side proved to be a tough challenge. This can be said for the whole course. A mixture of dunes and water made this course a very tough test for any golfer. This is a must play course in that region of France. The scenery is beautiful and the condition was fantastic.
January 31, 2014


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
I returned here after two years and I can confirm that the condition of the course definitely has improved in comparison to march 2010 when I last played here. Or threesome teed off early in the morning from the back markers when there was hardly any wind. The course still proved to be anything but a pushover. The opening holes are fine golf holes, especially the long and narrow par 3 second hole coutning 5 bunkers in front of the green. The other highlights on the front 9 would be the long fifth and the fantastic long par 4ninth hole with water on the left and bunkers all over the place. the ninth is also the start of what I think is the best stretch of holes on the course, that is 9-11. I also loved the high tabletop greened par 5 17th and the 18th is a heck of a finishing hole. We caught a great winter-deal on the greenfee: 51 euros for a round and a two course lucnh! I will not award La Mer 6 stars, having played Royal Hague that in times has a similar feel; Ballybunion and Tralee. I really recommend playing this great course! It's definitely a harder and in my opnion better course than nearby Hardelot Les Pins
March 25, 2012


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Thought I'd give an update to the review relating play in may 2011. The club just got a new green keeper and he has made wonders in the 2 months or so that he's been there. The greens are now very very good, after an honestly very poor period in the last years, as previously stated. These "new" greens will clearly help La Mer regain his standard as a truly great course. It was clearly a waste for such a great course to be let down by its greens. I also hear that the next years will involve more work on the course and clubhouse...Exciting times ahead!! Cedric
October 16, 2011


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
A nice course let down by inconsistent & poor greens (May 2011), much better than its partner La Foret, but still a bit behind neighbouring Hardelot in my book. It was very busy with visiting Brits on a Friday around midday and we struggled to get a decent tee time with Golfbreaks two months before, so it's obviously very popular.
May 29, 2011


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review