Situated four miles to the west of Dinard, along the sandy shoreline of Brittany’s Emerald Coast at Saint-Briac-sur-Mer, the fairways of Dinard Golf Club date back to the late 1880s when a group of British servicemen established a number of sporting clubs that would cater for the varied leisure interests of their members.
North Berwick professional Tom Dunn was enlisted to set out a course amongst the gorse and broom on a 125-acre seaside parcel of land which was formerly occupied by only sheep and cattle. It wasn’t long before Dinard became one of the most fashionable places to play golf in France, attracting even aristocracy like the Grand Duke of Russia.
Tom Dunn (brother of Willie Dunn, who laid out the course at Biarritz around the same time) was married to Isabella “Queenie” Gourlay, “the greatest professional of her day” and he would later design more than a hundred courses, mainly in England, including the likes of Lindrick and Royal Worlington & Newmarket.
Sadly, the course has been modified many times over the years so much of Dunn’s work has been diluted. What remains constant is the layout’s lack of length because it still measures a modest 5,334 metres from the back tees. With only one par five (at the right doglegged 4th) and five par threes on the card, the course plays to a par of 68.Because the eighteen fairways are strung out along the Atlantic coastline, out of bounds comes into play at many of the holes so accuracy is the watchword at Dinard. The signature hole is probably the 152-metre 13th, “Les Essarts,” which plays uphill from an old World War II concrete fortification to an exposed flag position on a ridge-top green.
The book 500 world’s greatest golf holes by author George Peper and the editors of GOLF magazine features the 349-yard par four 6th hole at Dinard: “Dunn laid out this seaside beauty in 1887, well before earth-moving equipment was available. The hole’s undulations are wild and untamed, as nature intended. The narrow fairway is the midpoint of a three-step elevation change, sweeping down to the ocean on the right. Mounds up to twenty feet tall can create some interesting stances for the approach, which is played to a steep-faced green surrounded by swales and native rough.”
Dinard is a par 68 , not overly long at 5334m. The course has 5 par 3's and a single par 5. There is now an additional back tee on 10 which is not on the card but turns the uphill 348m par 4 into just over 400m much tougher hole. It's a course which dates from 1887. The clubhouse bar is still the original and has an old British feel. The 12th and 14th holes have coastal fortifications from the war which have been incorporated into the course as tee boxes on 12 and cleverly hidden in the rough to the left of 14 so easy to miss. Many holes overlook the coast or give views of the coast and have that 'deep breath' factor. The 6th is only 340 yards with a downhill tee shot to and then uphill to the green. The hole has huge natural contours and bunkers made more interesting with the cross against wind and rain when we played it. The hole runs along the cliff with views below along the entire hole. The 11th and uphill par 4 and 12th a 168 yard par 3 run along the coast with great views. The 14th green and 16th tee also make you pause and take in the views. The fairways are not currently in great shape, after a prolonged dry and hot spell, but that didn't matter. The greens were ok , firm links style , if a bit worn in places. The 17th green ( a very short 90m par 3 ) did not look healthy. Non the less it's well worth a visit if your in the area.