Golf de Belle Dune is the southernmost club in the triumvirate also comprised of Le Touquet and Hardelot. Belle Dune is set on the Channel Coast in an area known as Côte d’Opale close to Baie d’Autie in the Somme area.
It’s a young course that opened for play in 1992 and Jean-Manuel Rossi designed it. Belle Dune nestles perfectly within some of the finest dune land in Europe, a stone’s throw away from the sea. It is a fair and accessible course, which measures 5,883 metres from the back tees and par is set at 71.
The first few holes wind through green maritime pine trees and tend to give confidence to the players. The next series of holes wander through poplars and silver birch bent by the breeze where a sideways glance reveals hedgerows of buckthorn, sparkling with orange berries. At the turn the vista changes to immense golden sand dunes covered with marram grasses.
The Marquenterre reserve, in which the course lies, is not only botanic paradise, it’s also home to the diverse wildlife of migrating birds, ducks, pheasants and rabbits. Belle Dune is not overly long for the handicap player, but it will nonetheless test every aspect of your game. Fairways must be found all costs and the greens are always very quick and difficult to read. With the SSS set at 74 from the back tees, Belle Dune is no pushover.
The following edited extract is from France’s Most Beautiful Courses by Jean-François Lefevre:
“Belle Dune was hailed as one of the most beautiful French courses constructed in the 1990s. Built by the Syndicat de la Côte Picarde, the Belle Dune course at Fort-Mahon-Plage exemplifies a successful union of golf and ecology. It took more than two years to find solutions to the problems posed by building this course on the largest area of sand dunes in Europe.
In contrast to other links which may appear uninteresting, Belle Dune beckons on a three-part stroll. The first between holes 1 to 11, crosses a forest of pine and birch trees. The second, from the 12th to the 14th, enters the sand dunes. There is a vivid contrast between the verdant greens and the yellowish beach grass plants which surround them. Along the final holes, from 15 to 18, the pine trees return to border the fairways and run up to the clubhouse.”
Lovely course that exceeded expectations. A little scruffy in places but not overly, this course had a bit of everything - a lot of variety, an awful lot of fun and a couple of amazing holes.
The first 7 holes play in the forest and are generally tight and tree lined but with some interesting elevation changes. The first is a great hole - doglegging uphill to the left up to a very difficult green which is tricky to hold.
The 3rd is a lovely little par 3 played down the hill and 5 is a very interesting hole where you can play safe to the left or try and carry the tall trees for the aggressive line. Great risk reward hole!
8 though is where the great holes start. 8-12 are played in the dunes and these are brilliant holes. The dunes are dramatic and beautiful - great golfing ground and 5 of the best holes on the course. 8 is a long par 4 played to an elevated green. 9 is a much shorter par 4 where you have to choose how aggressive to be from the tee.
10 is a good par 5, a real 3-shotter and 11 heads up the hill towards a green surrounded by pine trees. 12 is another great par 3 played from an elevated tee to a green beautifully placed in the dunes.
13 is a tough hole - a par 5 that doglegs severely and has a green with a wicked drop off short if you don’t make the carry over the canyon.
14-16 are perhaps the weakest holes on the course before two more holes in the woodland with 17 and 18. Both tough, tight holes but good fun and a great finish.
This course is really really good with some outstanding holes. With a bit of TLC, this course could be amazing.
I really liked Belle Dune. There is great variation in the holes, and the mix of treelined holes and holes in the 'dunes' is great fun. The holes around the turn and start of the back nine are especially good.
An interesting course, with several sections which have a very different feel. The course starts with a parkland vibe, with holes bordered by trees, then on the back nine moves into links mode, with some fantastic holes framed by dunes, then switches into a Florida resort course with holes around a lake.
It doesn't quite stitch together for me, and appears disjointed. However, individually there are some great holes out there - in particular the holes in the dunes offer a real roller coaster stretch.
I love this course. It has always been in good condition when I have played ( always in autumn) The layout is interesting and challenging and to my mind really lives up to its name ‘La Belle Dune’ indeed.
The silly houses round the lake are silly but it does not really affect the course.
I would play it ahead of the Harelot courses and put it up with Le Touquet Mer but prettier.
The clubhouse is a bit French !
We all felt this was a lovelly course. The tees, greens and fairways all in excellent condition. I will start with a disagreement with a previous review for the 13th, we all liked this hole. I drove the corner with a 3 wood and was just through the fairways, however a 5 wood from the rough over the crater and onto the raised green, left me with a two putt for a par, absolutely a risk and reward hole.
In regards to the rest of the course, there are loads of holes to choose from 1 through 5 are really nice holes, then 7 is good fun and 9 through 13 are really good. Finishing on 17 and 18 are two good holes, 17 asks for nothing but a straight tee shot.
The one bad point was the 8th as when we played it they closed the tees and moved the markers 150 yards down the fairway which was a shame as it looks a cracking hole.
All in all we all thoroughly enjoyed the round and I would happily play again.
A complete letdown after playing the beautiful Hardelot Les Pins. This is not in the same league at all and it is a shame as the original site was the best you could get.
Lots of bad design (trees on the 3rd and 18th fairways, badly designed tee shots on 5th, 13th, 16th and 18th, very bland par threes 6th, 12th, 14th). The 13th is as bad as it can get... Par 5 that you have to play with 3 iron - 9 iron - pitching wedge, ridiculous.
The greens look great, it is a shame they don't cut them down. Probably not more than 8 on the stimpmeter if that.
The icing on the cake : the stupid looking "Florida" houses around the lake and the pink vacation village spoiling the 8th hole which with 9 and 10 is a majestic part of the course. Pity.
Also a nice touch with the scorecards fresh out of the copy machine... cardboard is so expensive nowadays.
Belle Dune is another fun resort course. It has an interesting and walkable routing but is being maintained far too tight for a resort course. They have a bit of a tree issue with too small playing alleys and not enough width. Sure it’s ok for really good players but the average resort guests will spend forever trying to navigate this course. That being said the routing is decent, most of the green to tee walks are not too bad with a couple being too far. This possibly has to do with environmental restrictions but that’s just a guess.
There are a few quite quirky holes that are interesting to play. The reachable par 5, 15th hole has one of the most radical greens on it. The course was playing very fast and firm and this green as far as I can tell is impossible to hold. Even tough just chipping onto it since it’s surface area is so small. The finish may be the strongest part of the course with a couple semi blind drives and sharp doglegs.
It’s well worth a visit if you are in the area. If they ever go out and remove about 5,000 trees I think this can be quite a nice course and vastly improved.