Everything at Les Aisses is so inviting for the passionate golfer. From the gate of the property which seems to separate you from the "real" world when you drive up to the golf world, to the parking lot which is located 100 meters from the clubhouse so you can shed any worry of everyday life behind in the bushes walking up to the secretary's office, to the cozy clubhouse itself which can look small to some but feels quite homey to the visitor, to the slightly elevated first tee so you can have a look at the whole perspective of the first par-five… to each fairway lined with four different species of heather, each one blooming at a different time of the year and overlapping with another to prettify the view… to each bunker looking at you with a wide-open mouth (i.e., each shot out of a bunker toward the green will have to be lobbed, there is no flat "fairway" bunker here), and to each wide, serene looking green where subtle slopes gently steer your putt out of the hole.
This is one golf course of a very select heathland-type club in France, a very intelligently re-designed by Martin Hawtree (who returns often, I am told, because he likes the result of his work so much!). Heathland courses are not very common around Continental Europe to start with, and having to think up your game strategy to take into account this low-growth, wily hazard is not easy when the trees of the Sologne forest are apparently so far, so innocuously distant from the fairways. It is so tempting to let the big gun fly! But there is one certainty with heather: if, and only if, you can find your ball in it, it will definitely take a strong wrist and a very short iron to get it back on the short stuff!
Almost every hole on the course is set in its special, forest lined world, no distraction from other players just the game (including the wild game in the late afternoon, I should add). Each tee is therefore a new story, and a new invitation... to face the gentle mischief ahead! You can see it, but can you avoid it each time?
I have not played Les Bordes, the top rated French course which is in the same neighborhood, but Les Aisses is worth a trip by itself, and if you want to score there, several trips will be useful, even necessary! Earlier this year the French golf pros (ladies and gentlemen) got a taste of the course and at the end of the three-day tournament, not a single player had broken the overall par (I might add that the three players ending on par were ladies, the best man only at +1).
Date: June 29, 2021