Chantilly was the first stop on a recent 6-day golf trip and it set a very high standard for the week ahead. I arrived later than expected in the morning due to problems picking up my hire car at Charles de Gaulle airport so I didn’t have enough time to play the Longères course as intended before I headed back to CDG to pick up my two chums who were flying in at lunchtime. I’d only time to walk the front nine and the last three holes but I saw enough to know it’ll be well worth playing if I ever get back to Chantilly.
Looking back on my photos from the afternoon round on the Vineuil, it was a murky old day with overcast skies and poor light but, at the time, I was so enraptured by the course that I didn’t notice the weather wasn’t really conducive to taking good snaps. It had been raining for a few days so I was expecting it to be soggy underfoot but you’d hardly know there had been bad weather, apart from the sodden sand in the bunkers.
Recent reviewers for this course have had exactly opposing thoughts on its difficulty. One person thought it was a tough test, another felt it didn’t offer any sort of a challenge so I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I teed it up here after lunch in the wonderful old atmospheric clubhouse. Personally, I felt there was plenty to tax my game – even though the fairways are generally wide and forgiving – as fairway and greenside bunkers are well-positioned and the greens far from flat and boring.
I loved the two short par fours played so early in the round at the 2nd and 4th (even though their right to left doglegged design didn’t exactly encourage my normal power fade off the tee) and the fairway cross bunkers at the 7th and 8th were more than enough to keep golfers honest off the tee. The two short holes at the 3rd and 6th were a little too understated for me, especially the second of these par threes which is now played semi blind due to the overgrown rough between the tee and the green.
The back nine starts with three really solid par fours. In fact, the 11th might just be my favourite hole on the card, with the fairway taking a 45 degree right turn to a brilliant, 2-tiered green, which has to be one of the finest putting surfaces I’ve ever seen. The 13th to 16th was the best sequence of holes for me, with the pair of stunning par threes at #14 and #16 making up for the slight disappointment of the short holes on the front nine.
Having the gully in play at holes 13 and 14 is genius design and the more open final three holes bring the round to a very satisfactory conclusion in front of the clubhouse. We didn’t have time to play a late evening game on the other 18-hole course due to the demands of our schedule but, if ever there was a lame excuse needed to return to one of the top clubs in Europe, I’m prepared to use it…
Date: August 01, 2018