Chantaco is a little gem designed by Harry Colt in the 1920´s. It is located on the outskirts of Saint Jean de Luz, a charming town in the French Basque Country, a few kilometers away from the Spanish border.
The first thing that catches your attention when entering the club is the stylish clubhouse and the access to it, through an arch that links the 28 restaurant (for the year the club was founded) with the proshop.
The course itself makes perfect use of the terrain topography, especially the first 9 holes, with constant ups and downs that lend to a couple of blind drives, a tough par 3 (the 3rd hole) whose green is located on the shoulder of a hill, and some drives from elevated tees.
The back 9, on the other hand, especially from the 11th hole, are located on flatter ground, and take advantage of occasional creeks and ponds to add interest to the game. In my opinion, the best holes are 15th and 16th, this being a reachable par 5, but able to break any card if you fail to manage correctly its traps, in the form of water hazards.
The finish, however, is somewhat disappointing, as holes 17th and 18th are flat and lacking interest. Plus, I always prefer that the last green is next to the clubhouse, and not on the other side of a busy road.
On the other hand, I must emphasize that, when we visited the course, the greens were in perfect condition, except perhaps for one or two, and the fairways, unlike other courses in the area, had not been overwatered, allowing the ball to roll and bounce.
Finally, and also on the positive side, I must highlight the club's traditional, elegant and welcoming atmosphere, without being elitist, and the friendly attitude of its employees, something inherent to the Basque people.
Date: September 16, 2020