In the mid 1980s, English course architect Jeremy Pern established his own business in Toulouse then he and colleague Jean Garaïalde embarked on a quest to turn out as many top tracks as possible, resulting in the likes of Charmeil in Grenoble and La Wantzenau in Strasbourg.
Golf d’Albi Lasbordes was one of a dozen designs that Pern introduced to the French golfing public during a prolific nine-year period from 1986 to 1994 and the course has matured in the couple of decades since then into one of the very best in the country.
The eighteen holes here are laid out in a pretty location beside the Tarn River – holes 7 and 13 run along its banks – though water only plays a part in proceedings beside small ponds on a quartet of holes; at 4 and 16 plus the opening and closing holes.
Almost every one of the non par three holes are doglegged to a greater or lesser extent (hole 2 kinks left at almost right angles to the teebox) so an ability to shape shots – right to left on the front nine and left to right on the back nine – will be a big advantage when playing here.
One of the better courses in the area, some 60kms from Toulouse, with spectacular views over the river Tarn and the magnificent cathedral in Albi. The course is relatively open but water comes into play on some 9 holes, including each of the last 4.
The round starts off with a challenging drive, water left and bunkers right before a couple of shortish par 4s and a par 5 to a peninsula green. The 6th is probably the toughest hole on the course with OB right and usually playing into the wind. The par 5 7th green has one of the largest interior contours I've ever seen, having been rebuilt in the early 2000's when the Tarn flooded the lower part of the course.
The routing continues round in a loop, returning back to the riverside on the 13th, a par 5 dropping down some 50ft to another new, and unfortunately completely out of character, flat green. After a tough uphill par 3, the final 4 drives need to negotiate water and a couple of wonderful greens on the par 5 16th and the 18th.
The condition of the course has always been excellent, the one area where it is let down is the practice area which is a short drive from the clubhouse