Fontainebleau definitely deserves its high ranking in the French list as it is a really wonderful setup. We visited in a pretty wet spell of weather in early May but the course had drained magnificently and the greens were as true as you will find. The lovely thing about this course is you don't have to muscle it around to get satisfaction. It's not a brute but keeping it in play and placement are the key. Your score will generally be made around the greens with fascinating run-offs and great bunkering. If I had one criticism it would be that 3 of the 4 par 3s had a similar rather long yardage of 180+ yards from the whites. The same can't be said of the par 5s though which had a delightful variety. I found previous criticism of the par 4 9th a little harsh. I actually thought it was a great dogleg, helped by the 6 footer knocked in for birdie of course. All in all Fontainebleau was a really great golf experience. It is authentic. You can smell the history of the place. The course is a testament to a great creation from years ago, there is nothing that feels manufactured or contrived - no cart paths, no artificial lakes, no tricked up nonsense. I had been worried about what I had read elsewhere about the encroachment of the trees from the tees but found no issues, the conditioning was magnificent. Of those other courses in the top 10 I have played in France it knocks the socks off of the National and Saint Germain - for reasons which will be apparent from my reviews of those. The other course I have played is the Chateau at Terre Banche which is definitely another wonderful setup, but it is so hard to compare the two given you are comparing a Four Seasons resort versus a historical icon. They both get 5 stars but if I could play one tomorrow then Fontainebleau gets the nod.
Date: May 10, 2012