Set out along the chalk cliffs to the north of Le Havre, with spectacular coastal views of the English Channel, the original course at Golf d’Étretat extended to only thirteen holes which meant five of these had to be replayed in order to complete an 18-hole round.
Englishmen formed the club in 1908 and they installed Bernard Forbes, 8th Earl of Granard, as the first President. Prominent inaugural members included the likes of Lord Denham, a future deputy governor of Australia, and Lord Wodehouse.
Julien Chantepie and Arnaud Massy, who were based at La Boulie in Paris at that time, designed the initial layout. Massy, who was the first foreign golfer to win the Open, would eventually choose Étretat to retire to and he passed away there quietly in 1950.
The club didn’t function during World War II but the course reopened for play in 1949 (once landmines had been cleared from the property) and Didier Fruchet further revised it in the early 1990s. Today, the layout extends to just over 6,000 metres.The most exciting sequence of holes arrives at the back nine, between the par five 10th and the par four 14th, where these five fairways run along the edge of the cliffs. The par five 18th is also a fine finishing hole, doglegging left and downhill to the home green.
The course is laid along the white cliffs of the Etretat. Most holes offer a spectacular view of the Elephant's Trunk. The greens are firm and fast, the wind may pose a problem. The restaurant offers great food and vertiginous views from 3 sides. If in the area, this course is a must.