The golf at Courson-Monteloup was created by one of France’s largest sports clubs, Le Stade Français. Robert von Hagge was commissioned to design four loops of nine holes and they opened for play in 1991. Courson is located a mere 45 kilometres to the south of the heart of Paris, so this is a very popular club with Parisians.
The Green and Black (Vert & Noir) course is widely considered to form the better layout, but the Lilac and Orange layout is also a very solid test, albeit somewhat shorter in length.
The earth certainly moved for von Hagge as part of the development of this huge site and the Vert and Noir course comprises of an excellent American-styled layout which stretches out beyond 6,500 metres from the tips. Choose your tee box carefully as some of the two-shot holes can be brutal, especially playing into the prevailing wind.
Von Hagge created mounds running alongside many of the fairways in a links-like style and this has created an interesting almost self-contained feeling to many of the holes. With enormous, multi-tiered greens that are often well protected by bunkers, approach play is key to a good score here at Courson. Let’s hope the greenkeepers are not feeling too wicked when you play otherwise you can expect a few three putts or worse!
Courson was a very pleasant surprise and imo a great supplement to the otherwise rather classic courses that Ile de France boasts, other than Golf National and the lesser known Paris International (the latter I have not played).
We caught the course on a splendid sunny day and we weren’t the only visitors since it was the Ryder Cup week. It seemed fitting to play another Robert Von Hagge layout and it certainly did not disappoint. Driving off the Periferique, and into some shabby outskirts of Paris, the entranceway does not impress until you suddenly find yourself in the countryside. The venue has 36 holes of which we played the Vert et Noir loops, considered to be the strongest combination. The clubhouse is a lovely manor with a courtyard. And how French, to enter the bar and terrace, gloriously overlooking the valley in which the Noir layout and some more holes are situated, one has to pass a madame selling all the sophisticated French wines. We saved the burgundy for later on and were overwhelmed by the speed of the (practice)greens. The greens on the course ran true as well and were a joy to putt on.
Now, about the course: the course has an ‘American’ feel to it, which I don’t mean in a negative way (still offensive?), but it’s not quite targetgolf you play here. The greens have multiple levels and are very undulated. The ones guarded by water as well. IT makes for exciting green complexes, such as the risk reward par 5 fifth on the Vert layout. It has an increaslingly narrow undulated fairway with a valley in the middle and the lake coming in from the right. An agressive drive to the right side (don’t hit it too well if you’re a long hitter…) leaves you about 150 to the right front of the massive green. Back left can be reached as well, but it requires a carry of 175 or a well executed draw that catches the slope that runs trough the back of the green. Cowards can lay up to the left and hole their putts to win the hole either way. So, great exciting hole that can be played in different ways!
I also liked the par 5 ninth. If you want to go for it in two, the approach requires a blind shot over a dogleg right. The fairway rises, but the green is lowered and accepts running shots. IT is also guarde by a bunker left.
The Noir loop I think is equally strong, yet more pleasing to the eye. The first half strolls through the hills and features a returning design element: large grassbunkers with sharp edges. Really, your ball can end up anywhere depending on how you hit them… In a fair way though, or I must have caught a lucky break. Some raised teeboxes on this loop that give you a nice panorama over the beautiful land. The two par 5s that share the same moonshaped green guarded by a grand lake can’t be missed. Both good holes, the last being a true threeshotter where the 5th is reachable. The entrance to the green over land is very narrow however, and a bad bounce right of the fairway will lead your ball into the water left. The reward will be great however. There is also a tiny bit of rough around the edges of the green that mercies a ball that keeps running too hard. My favourite hole of the loop was the 7th. The drive is straight forward, although there are bunkers left and right within shooting range. It’s about being in position here to hit to the right part of the Biarritzgreen (Credits to Jim!), as it slopes steeply to the back in the middle, where it also narrows and leaves the back of the green circled by water! That’s where the pin was. Great fun and great greencomplex. Beautiful modern course and great value as well. 4,5 stars for me. MO
Having played earlier in the day at Fontainebleau, I stopped in at Courson in the afternoon, on the way back to Paris, where the Stade Francais sports club operates a modern 36-hole golf complex. The 18-hole course that I played was actually the Black and Orange, so this review will be spread over this page and the one for the Lilas and Orange nines.
As the stroke index numbers on the Noir/Orange scorecard are odd for the Black nine, I presume these holes are regarded as forming the more difficult loop for this 18-hole configuration.
The first thing you notice on the tee of the 1st hole are the peculiar half-moon shaped indentions in the mounding that runs along either side of the fairway. I’ve never come across that before and I thought at first maybe they were meant to be sand bunkers that were just grassed instead and I’m still not sure if that’s the case.
Anyway, that particular design feature is used throughout the property, both on fairways and around greensites, and I’d love to know what the thought process was behind the decision to sculpt these half-crater shapes.
I really liked the par four 3rd hole on the Black nine, played from an offset tee position to a heavily contoured fairway that doglegs left to the green, skirting past a large waste bunker as it heads to the target. The par four 7th is easily the best hole on this nine, playing downhill to a long Biarritz green that sits on the edge of a lake. Holes 8 and 9 also have water in play, along the left side of the former and down the right side of the latter.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to even take a quick spin in a buggy round the Vert nine so this review is somewhat curtailed I’m afraid. I’ve reviewed the Orange nine on the Courson (Lilas & Orange) webpage.
If your golf game of choice is of the parkland variety then Courson is more than capable of providing it for you.
Played here in May 2017. An interesting golf club, given its 4 x 9 hole courses, which I gather are quite different. The pro told us that the Green and Lilac were the toughest, with the Black being the most picturesque, as it contains both trees and water. We played the lilac and orange and were not disappointed. Very well cared for, and quite open, with the various fairways mostly being separated by mounds, but it was effective. Its not in the class of St Germain and Fontainbleau, but a course worth visiting.