Golf de Joyenval lies less than hour’s drive west of Paris city centre and this 36-hole golf facility, designed in the early 1990s by Robert Trent Jones, is set within the Forêt de Marly, a former hunting grounds of French kings.
The fairways on the Retz course are laid out around the famous Désert de Retz garden, built at the end of the 18th century by the aristocrat François Nicolas Henri Racine de Monville to comprise around twenty structures, half of which still survive.
These buildings include a summer house, an ice house, an obelisk, a colonnaded temple, an open-air theatre, a ruined Gothic Chapel and a Chinese pavilion.
Holes 4 and 5 weave through the forest and the Ru de Buzot meanders through the property, forming a number of natural water hazards throughout the round. The par three 11th, rated stroke index 2 on the card, is the signature hole on the Retz, played over a small lake to a contoured green.
According to the Peugeot Golf Guide, “there are a few top-notch holes between forest and plain, parkland and garden, obviously looking very American in their openness and toughness… very scenic and less strategic than Marly, Retz is perhaps less demanding for the average golfer.”