Grenoble is better known in a sporting sense as a city situated close to a number of very fine Alpine ski resorts; indeed, the Winter Olympics were held here in 1968. Nonetheless, among the foothills of the Alps, there are a couple of local golf courses of good standing – Charmeil to the northwest and Bresson to the southeast of the Dauphiné capital.
Golf International de Grenoble Bresson at Bresson is one of just a handful of Robert Trent Jones Jnr designs to be found throughout France – Bondues, Bossey, Saint-Donat and Chateau de la Chouette complete the RTJ2 quintet – and it plays to a par of 73 over a total yardage of 6,821 yards.Grenoble Bresson is a delightful place to play golf; where fairways flit from alpine meadows with sparkling lakes to hills cloaked in a variety of different species of trees. Just don’t expect a casual meander in the mountains though as a check on the slope index here will tell you this is one of the toughest courses in the country from the back tees.
This is our local course and geographically it is quite stunning. Teeing off on the first takes you out in the direction of the Belledonne Massif - whose beautiful view you will re-encounter on the 18th on the way home. The most interesting holes of the front 9 (which is slightly more straightforward than the back 9) are the deceptive 2nd, 6th, and the beautiful 9th the showcase hole. The par 5 second follows a lake on the left hand side and rewards a long drive over the lake. An error will see you swimming, or in the quite rough on the right of the fairway. The 6th is a steep uphill par 4, with the flag barely visible as you crane your neck to see where the green is above you, The par 5 9th hole rewards risk for the long hitters, who can cut off the dogs-leg to the right, with its wonderful views of Grenoble.
The highlights of the back 9 include the spectacular 11, the very challenging par 4 canyon of the 14th, the tough 17th and wonderful 18th. The 11th is a par 3 crater, which is a delight as a well judged shot descends onto the green a hundred or so vertical metres below. The 14th tee looks out over an intimidating canyon, but its the length of this par 4 which is very tough. The 17th - well accuracy is all. And what a way to finish on the downhill 18th, with the lake, clubhouse and front three holes laid out below you.
My rating reflects the often poor condition of this beautiful course - especially the greens and especially in summer, when water seems to be a problem. In winter, there is often debris on certain greens which is slow to be removed. I also notice that - unlike many courses where I play - the groundsmen are VERY reluctant or slow sometimes to allow players to come through, to the extent that we have had another party approaching right behind us whilst forced to wait. The management of the course has just changed and the fees increased for the second time in a year - it is to be hoped that the problems flagged above will be rectified as a result. BUT, this is a wonderful test of golf - and if in the area it is a MUST play.