The coastal resort town of La Grande Motte is located on the west side of the Camargue region in southern France, where lakes and wetland areas dominate the landscape. The town was built during the 1960s and 1970s and many of the buildings are unusually shaped like pyramids.
The Flamants Roses (pink flamingoes) course at Golf de la Grande Motte is a late 1980s Robert Trent Jones Snr design that measures 6,128 meters and it plays to a par of 72. It’s complemented by the smaller par-58 Goelands layout and an executive 6-hole track.
The golf complex is set out on relatively flat and open terrain, with small ponds and lakes coming into play occasionally. The signature hole arrives early in the round at the par three 5th, where the tee shot is played to a green that’s protected by water on three sides.Two editions of the AGF Open were played here, in 1989 and 1990. Mark James won the first event with an aggregate score of 277 and Brett Ogle triumphed the following year when he took one additional stroke to win the title.
La Grande Motte is one of the courses, along with nearby Montpellier Massane, where I learned the game. It is not a great course, let’s be frank, and certainly not at the forefront of the legacy of RTJ Snr, but it is pleasant and has a few interesting holes. I figured it deserved at east one review on this site !
The land is totally flat, and the fairways are even throughout the round. Water (artificial ponds) comes in play in quite a few holes (2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 16), and outside limits to the property are out of bounds, but other than that the course is not penal at all. Trees are not very dense, bunker lips not very high. Wayward drives are rarely punished and can even be part of strategy. The introduction mentions the AGF open played here in 1989 : I was there as a teenager then, and I distinctly remember the future 1989 winner Mark James on Sunday aiming his drive from the 17th to the adjacent fairway of the 2nd, to get a better angle to attack the green in 2.
A few holes worth mentioning :
- hole 4, a dog leg left par 4 around a lake,
- hole 5, a short par 3 over water, difficult in windy days,
- hole 7, a long par 5 with water left and right, and eventually in front before the green – clearly the toughest hole of the course
- hole 8, another par 3 with water into play
- hole 12, a short but difficult par 4 which requires a precise tee shot above water, with out of bounds to the right (a highway), and a narrow and well defended green with water again on both sides,
- hole 16, yet another par 3 requiring a tee shot above water, longer than hole 5.
The land available was larger than required for an 18th hole course. Regretfully – at least in my opinion, it was decided to design an 18 hole pitch and putt (Les Goélands, par 58th), rather than a full length 9 hole which would have offered three loops.
A few years ago, the right fairway bunker on the par 5 third hole was erased and replaced by fairway, to nudge players away from the houses to the left – a sad decision which totally ruins what used to be one of the most interesting holes of the lay out.
I have always found the course well maintained. Not a must play but a garanteed nice round of golf. Do consider if you come in the region.