Laid out within a beautiful wooded estate in the northwest suburbs of Paris, the course at Golf du Château de la Chouette is a new millennium offering from Robert Trent Jones Junior which is routed around several substantial water features.
Set out as two returning nines, this hilly course measures 6,116 metres from the back tees, with par set at 72. Feature holes include the par three 7th, played over a lake to a shallow green on the other side, and the left doglegged 16th, where the approach shot has to carry more water in front of the green.
The Peugeot Golf Guide describes the course as follows in this edited extract:
“The site is magnificent with rolling valleys in a large park with old and impressive trees. The layout is not that easy with water hazards galore, but while beginners might be frightened off, the better players will quickly come to terms with difficulties that look much worse than they actually are.”
I have not played Chateau de la Chouette in a while, so will not comment on current maintenance, but, with the hindsight of quite a bit of golf travelling over the years, I can say that this course deserves much more visibility that it currently has - I offer my modest contribution by posting a first review on this site.
Chateau de la Chouette is a gem: a great lay-out, in a very nice setting, full of charm, and at very good value for money. Sure, it is not at par with the top courses of the Paris region. It does not have the tradition or the calm beauty of Saint-Germain or Fontainebleau, nor the brutal challenge of Golf National. But it is definitely worth a visit.
The site, quite hilly, has a lot of potential and a history as an old aristocratic land with its chateau (today’s club house), an impressive surrounding stone wall (which you will drive by on the way in and have close look at at holes 6 and 7), a nice creek that comes into play in no less than 10 holes (1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18) and a nice gate and drive to the chateau. That potential was masterfully exploited by RTJ II, whose hand is clear in the design, which has many similarities with his work at Saint-Donat close to Cannes, another one on my favourites. There even was a time where Kyle Philips mentioned on his website that he was part of the design at Chateau de la Chouette during his time at RTJ II. To be noted, because of lack of space, the club does not have a practice range.
The course is quite physical. There are some strong elevation changes : you will be walking gently down to the low part of the property to begin with, then taking a steep walk up from the 9th tee box to the 11th tee-box, then down again to the 18th tee box and back-up to the club house. That leads to what I at least find a very interesting design, where all of your game will be tested.
The course has many memorable holes. I would quote in particular the par-4 hole 1, a great start, the par-3 3rd and 7th, the par-4 6th, a truly great hole that requires 2 do or tie shots to a well protected green, the long and uphill par-4 9th, the short but difficult par-4 10th, the driveable par-5 11th, the short and downhill par-4 13th, and the final stretch of 3 holes from 16 to 18.
I must have played Chateau de la Chouette about 15 or 20 times over the years. From the 14th tee-box, you can catch sight of Golf de Seraincourt on the other side of the valley. Blame me or not for that confession, but not once, over all these years, have I traded the pleasure of walking Chateau de la Chouette fairways to discover those of Seraincourt – this not to criticize Seraincourt in anyway (I just do not know the place) but just to say what an enjoyable experience Chateau de la Chouette is.