Tucked away in the south west corner of France, near the Spanish border, Golf Club d'Hossegor is the perfect venue for golf and it is reminiscent of the sparkling heathland courses, which are in abundance to the west of London. With sandy subsoil, it’s a perfect all-year-round venue that winds its way across heather and through avenues of trees in a large pine forest.
Designed by Englishman John Morrison in 1930, this is a classic and historic Basque course that was frequented by the greatest French golfers of yesteryear. One of France’s all-time sporting greats, Arnaud Massey, was involved in the creation of Hossegor and he brought a wealth of golfing knowledge to the construction. He won the French Open for the fourth time in 1925 and was the first overseas Open champion in Britain – and one of only five men to claim the Claret Jug between 1894 and 1914 when the Great Triumvirate of Vardon, Taylor and Braid won the championship an astonishing sixteen times.
Cabell B. Robinson, an American designer and former Robert Trent Jones employee who broke away to set up his own golf course design company in 1987, has been involved in remodelling work at the course since the start of the new millennium. These changes – mainly to improve the visibility of fairway and greenside bunkers – have, in the words of the architect, “rendered the course less penal and more enjoyable for the general level of play of the resident members and visitors.”
The short par five 15th has been radically altered with the construction of a new, elevated putting surface at a slight angle to the fairway. As Cabell says, “three large bunkers to the left of the green must be carried if attacking the green in two, but there is an open entrance albeit narrow if a player chooses to lay up down the right side on his second or third shot. The overall effect was to create a more exacting par five where length was not a real factor.”
Further modifications to holes 16 to 18 are due to be carried out on an ongoing basis, certain tees are to be reconstructed throughout the course and all putting surfaces will, in the fullness of time, be revamped – all under the watchful eye of Cabell B. Robinson.
Residential development is changing the look and feel of Hossegor, but it will always be a timeless course.
Hossegor GC is a wonderful members course that has long been rated as one of the top ten courses in France.
Although it is sited near the sea, Golf d'Hossegor is essentially a heathland course with a sandy base, heather and gorse skirting the playing surfaces which are framed by dense tracts of pine forest.
A par 71, Hossegor is tight off the tee, but offers decent variation in lengths off different teeing grounds- thus catering for all. The course will suit the player who is reasonably straight, but not necessarily long.
The bunkering is attractive and strategic, and the more difficult rated holes require good control of line and flight to avoid hitting the sand on both tee shot and approach.
With large mature trees overhanging both sides of the fairway on all holes, the course is both protected, and a bit of a golfing sanctuary. It really is a lovely golfing experience and a really wonderful members course.
Favourite holes include the lovely uphill par 3 14th in its own little valley, the downhill turning par 5 15th, the classic par 3 second hole, and a number of dogleg
par 4 holes that required an accurate tee shot to give a clear shot at the classically styled greens.
The look and feel is very much London Heathland, and while I would not classify Hossegor as a championship course I cannot think of many courses that would be more enjoyable to play on a regular basis.
My only criticisms are minor. A lot of the par 4's were right to left dog legs requiring a mid iron second shot – I constantly hit 6 iron approaches.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
What a gem of a course. Sheer class, simply stunning. Should in my opinion be ranked higher, and clearly above St Emilion in the SW corner. It really is on par with the top UK heathland tracks. Tough to pick a favorite hole as they are all good. Quite narrow and a real test. Loved it !
Quite liked this course but the pace of play is so so slow especially if you play in the afternoon. Very tight.....