Le Touquet (La Mer) - North East France - France

Golf du Touquet,
Avenue du Golf,
62520 Le Touquet,
France


  • +33 (0)3 2106 2800


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Le Touquet (La Mer)


Le Touquet is very French but it has strong British connections, not least because both contrasting courses at Le Touquet were laid out by British architects, but also because this was once the playground for the British gentry. Horace Hutchinson designed La Forêt and according to most modern records Harry S. Colt designed La Mer.

However, in 1936, J.S.F Morrison wrote a a column on Golf in Japan in The Bystander magazine: "Captain Alison designed the new course at Le Touquet, and was secretary of Stoke Poges shortly before the war, but he is chiefly famous for having, when representing Oxford v Cambridge, played off the roof of the clubhouse at Woking to halve the last hole in 5." Morrison was a senior partner of the design firm Colt, Alison and Morrison Ltd., so it seems La Mer could be the work of Charles Hugh Alison and Harry Colt.

In 1928 a decision was made to build a second course in the dunes and in 1930, the Daily Mail commented that this new terrain will comprise of eighteen of the most magnificent holes a scratch golfer could dream of. The new La Mer course finally opened for play in 1931 but the Prince of Wales – Edward VIII – discreetly “tried” it a few days before it officially opened. The devastation following WW2 necessitated restoration work and the course lay dormant until 1959. Harold Baker modified the layout in 1997.

The stunning seaside course, La Mer, is one of Alison's greatest achievements, and that is saying something as Alison completed many outstanding designs during his lifetime, including Hirono. Located in the Pas de Calais region, La Mer is a classic links course that winds its way between the coastal dunes and rough grasses. With wonderful sea views from elevated tees, formidable bunkering, huge dunes and fast but firm greens, La Mer is perhaps the best true links course in France and it can proudly hold its head high alongside some of its regal neighbours which lie on the opposite side of the English Channel.

Measuring 6,407 metres, La Mer is a challenging layout and has hosted six French Opens, (the most recent was in 1977 when Seve Ballesteros won the title), but it's still a seriously tough proposition, especially when the Atlantic winds funnel down the Channel and whip across this exposed links land. Sam Torrance holds the current course record with a truly remarkable 63.

Charles Debruyne from Le Touquet Golf Resort told us the following in relation to the club’s staging of the Open de France:

“The routing that is used nowadays is the original one that hosted the Open before the Second World War, designed by Colt & Alison. After the war they used a 14-hole loop (instead of 18) on La Mer, with four holes from La Forêt, allowing a start and finish at the nearby Manoir Hotel, which was being used as a clubhouse at that time.”

However, Le Touquet hasn't rested on its laurels. La Mer underwent an extensive redesign programme in 2015 which will make it a serious championship contender once more. A bridge now links the tee and green on the 10th – the par three signature hole. New tees have been added on 1st, 5th, 13th and 17th, bunkers have been added here and there and three greens have been replaced (5th, 6th and 12th). Two great hotels are attached to the golf club making Le Touquet a wonderful holiday venue.

For some reason La Mer was not listed in George Peper and Malcolm Campbell’s book, True Links, but Campbell did comment in his 1994 title European Golf Courses : “La Mer is a classic links golf course laid out among the sand dunes and might as easily be on the east coast of Scotland as on the north coast of France.”

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Reviews for Le Touquet (La Mer)

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Description: Le Touquet's stunning sea course, La Mer, is one of C.H. Alison's greatest achievements. It’s a classic links course that winds its way between the coastal dunes and rough grasses. Rating: 7.4 out of 10 Reviews: 24
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Alan
I played la mer today (Jul 22, 2014) and really enjoyed it. The course is in excellent condition and the surface of the greens were excellent. The terrain is quite different to a "real" seaside links you tend to get in Scotland or Ireland. I felt it was more like parkland in a lot of places. But this is not a negative. There are impressive dunes and the rough is links-like in a lot of cases. I really like that each hole was very different and had an individual style. Clearly a lot of thought was put into the design. Overall I thought it was a terrific course and would definitely recommend it.
July 22, 2014
8 / 10
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Ben Honey
I played this course in May and although the weather was not hot, the sun was shining and in the early stages, the fairways glistened with dew. The first tee was in beautiful condition and a dog legging left par 5 with towering dunes on either side proved to be a tough challenge. This can be said for the whole course. A mixture of dunes and water made this course a very tough test for any golfer. This is a must play course in that region of France. The scenery is beautiful and the condition was fantastic.
January 31, 2014
10 / 10
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Maarten
I returned here after two years and I can confirm that the condition of the course definitely has improved in comparison to march 2010 when I last played here. Or threesome teed off early in the morning from the back markers when there was hardly any wind. The course still proved to be anything but a pushover. The opening holes are fine golf holes, especially the long and narrow par 3 second hole coutning 5 bunkers in front of the green. The other highlights on the front 9 would be the long fifth and the fantastic long par 4ninth hole with water on the left and bunkers all over the place. the ninth is also the start of what I think is the best stretch of holes on the course, that is 9-11. I also loved the high tabletop greened par 5 17th and the 18th is a heck of a finishing hole. We caught a great winter-deal on the greenfee: 51 euros for a round and a two course lucnh! I will not award La Mer 6 stars, having played Royal Hague that in times has a similar feel; Ballybunion and Tralee. I really recommend playing this great course! It's definitely a harder and in my opnion better course than nearby Hardelot Les Pins
March 25, 2012
8 / 10
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Cédric
Thought I'd give an update to the review relating play in may 2011. The club just got a new green keeper and he has made wonders in the 2 months or so that he's been there. The greens are now very very good, after an honestly very poor period in the last years, as previously stated. These "new" greens will clearly help La Mer regain his standard as a truly great course. It was clearly a waste for such a great course to be let down by its greens. I also hear that the next years will involve more work on the course and clubhouse...Exciting times ahead!! Cedric
October 16, 2011
10 / 10
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Malcolm Searle
A nice course let down by inconsistent & poor greens (May 2011), much better than its partner La Foret, but still a bit behind neighbouring Hardelot in my book. It was very busy with visiting Brits on a Friday around midday and we struggled to get a decent tee time with Golfbreaks two months before, so it's obviously very popular.
May 29, 2011
6 / 10
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Chris Howells
Played this course at the end of February and found the whole experience a good one, the only downside was that there were two temporary greens which was a little disappointing. As far as the layout is concerned, we found it a real challenge and loved the way the fairways are channelled into the landscape and fit perfectly with the surroundings. We were surprised how quiet the course was and saw only one 2 ball during the round. The course is a lot harder than its sister, La Foret, and I can imagine that when the wind gets up it can be a real brute. Worth a visit!
March 01, 2010
8 / 10
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Graham Taylor
Played this a couple of years ago. Very good course with some challenging holes and altogether a lot of fun. Not many views of the sea but felt very close for all that. Not St. Andrews or Silloth but a good links course all the same. No course planners is a real shortcoming as clubbing is problematic without. The infrastructure - clubhouse etc, does not do the course justice.
December 22, 2009
6 / 10
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seveng
Un joli parcours en bord de mer, ou l'on ne voit malheureusement que trés peu la mer !!! De l'âge et de l'entretien, voici les deux grands atouts de ce beau parcours au milieu de la lande. A faire de préférence hors saison (comme beaucopu de parcours)et à agrémenter à un séjour à l'hotel du golf qui allie charme et quiétude.
June 30, 2009
8 / 10
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Cédric
Played the La Mer course at Le Touquet almost a year after my previous visit. This time, it was right after a Pro-Am tournament that has a good reputation in the area, so I was expecting the course to be at its best. Far from it!!! So disappointing... The greens were terrible, in fairess pretty fast, but so patchy that putting was a lottery. I guess the Pros playing in that tounamant weren't too happy. I was told by a member that they had had fungus infection in the grass, hope they can get rid of it asap. Because this course doesn't deserve being let down by this kind of problem. The nature is so wonderful there! This time the course played to its full length, and even in a slight breeze, the 3 420 Meters + par 4s were difficult enough to reach. 6400 is a "reasonable" length indeed. I'll name again 10th to 12th as the best part of the course. 8th and 17th are not for my taste, hate those high plateau greens and 14th a little weakish.... I'm embarassed to give a bad mark this time, but the greens leave no other choice. Don't get me wrong though, this is a great and tough course, maybe not as scenic as nearby Belle Dune... Cédric
April 25, 2009
4 / 10
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Phil Bonsall
A long and tough test of golf. If the wind blows, lookout! Played here many times, and always enjoyed it. As with most golf in France, it is great value for money. Much harder than its sister course La Foret. Agree with the other reviewer that Belle Dune is better, but this is still really good.
September 26, 2008
8 / 10
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