Joyenval (Marly) - North East France - France

Golf de Joyenval,
Chemin de la Tuilerie,
78240 Chambourcy,
France


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Joyenval is located a mere 25 kilometres to the west of Paris but the setting could not be further removed from the city. Golf de Joyenval is in the heart of the 1,000-acre forest of Marly-le-Roi which dates back to the 7th century becoming the famous private hunting estate of French kings.

Today the biggest challenge for the club is to decide whether or not it is private or open to visitors. Joyenval shuns publicity and the Marly course, designed by the late Robert Trent Jones, quietly opened for play in 1992 along with its sibling, the Retz.

The club is however used to playing host to European Tour events and the Marly course was the venue for the French Seniors Open in 2000 won by England’s Nick Job. The following year a Challenge Tour event was played over the Marly course and another Englander, Kenneth Ferrie, won the event. In 2010, the inaugural Vivendi Cup was hosted at the club and yet another Englander, John Parry, won this new European Tour event with an impressive score of 17-under-par.

Marly measures a little less than 6,973 yards from the championship tees and is a classic Trent Jones design with plenty of bunkers and large undulating greens. Despite its forest setting, the layout is fairly links-like in appearance but Joyenval will firmly sit in the parkland bracket by nature.

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Description: The Marly course at Golf de Joyenval is a classic Robert Trent Jones Sr. design with plenty of bunkers and large undulating greens. Rating: 7 out of 10 Reviews: 1
TaylorMade
Jim McCann

You can gauge how exclusive Golf de Joyenval is by the number of reviews posted so far for its two courses – none! It was a big thrill therefor to tee it up here last week, playing the Marly course in the morning then, after lunch, the Retz in the afternoon.

A new general manager takes over at the club next month and it was nice to have a few words with the outgoing man who has done so much to steer the club in the right direction for most of the new millennium.

Driving down the small, narrow back streets leading to Joyenval, you’d never believe it was situated less than 20 kilometres from the Eiffel Tower as the crow files – what a wonderful location for a golf club so close to a major city of the world in the Forêt de Marly.

The property was once the hunting grounds of aristocrats and royalty who gave chase to deer and wild boar. These days it’s the serene location for those who pursue a little white ball around a verdant landscape surrounding a surprisingly modern looking clubhouse.

The Vivendi Cup was played here as a 72-hole European Tour tournament in 2010, with the first two rounds played over the Marly and Retz as a pro-am event. Sponsored by the Canal+ television channel and media conglomerate Vivendi, the one-off competition was won by Englishman John Parry in his rookie season on the tour.

The opening nine holes of the Marly are set out largely in front of the clubhouse, with water coming into play at the 4th (the tee shot must carry a small reservoir) and the 6th (where a small lake lurks to the right of a double green that’s shared with the par three 17th).

The outward half is good, but the inward half is even better, starting with a fabulous little three-hole stretch at the 10th. This hole rises up to higher ground then turns left and down to the green and it’s followed by a par three that plunges downhill to a huge, unbunkered green with a significant back left to front right tilt.

You then walk through a very atmospheric wooded area – featuring a pond and some ancient Roman columns – to play a short par four that dives downhill then up to a heavily sand-protected green. Located in the dense woods behind the clubhouse, this 3-hole part of the Marly is hidden away from the rest of the course and these holes alone are worth whatever effort it takes to get a game here!

The remaining holes are played out on lower ground adjacent to some of the front nine fairways but there’s still time for another surprise, at the par five 16th, where the green is set to the right of an old estate wall, with the meandering Ru de Buzot burn running between the stonework and the putting surface – what a lovely target to play an approach shot to!

The par five 18th (like the par four 9th earlier) rises gently to higher ground and the clubhouse, concluding what is a very agreeable parkland golf experience on what is a classic Trent Jones layout featuring large, sensibly-contoured and heavily sand-protected greens which are an absolute delight to putt on.

Jim McCann

September 13, 2021
7 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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