Les Bordes (Old) - North West France - France

Les Bordes,
Les Petits Rondis,
41220 Saint-Laurent-Nouan,
France


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The Loire Valley has many a romantic pseudonym, including the Valley of the Kings and the Garden of France. It’s certainly an enchanted and historical region with its vineyards and chateaux. Set in the middle of this Renaissance is the beauty and the beast that is Les Bordes.

Les Bordes was the brainchild of Baron Marcel Bich (the man behind Bic pens) and his friend Yoshiaki Sakurai. Together they committed to paper (presumably by biro) the wooded masterpiece that is consistently ranked as one of the Europe’s greatest courses.

Designed by Texan, Robert von Hagge, on a day when he was at his most wickedly creative. Les Bordes opened for play in 1986 and it’s a supreme challenge. The likeable Jean Van de Velde holds the current course record of 71 (one under par) so don’t visit Les Bordes expecting to play to handicap, this monster layout stretches to 7,062 yards from the tips. It really is as difficult as its reputation suggests.

La Sologne occupies an area of approximately 1,500 sq kilometres and the region offers tranquil walks around lakes and woodland and von Hagge has utilised some of Sologne’s lakes to dramatic effect with island greens and water coming into play on no less than twelve holes.

Les Bordes has a slight American feel to it, both in terms of design and conditioning but there is no doubting that you are in France. There is more style here on this tournament condition layout than just about any other course in France. And what’s most impressive is that visitors can actually stay and play here these days… what sheer unadulterated delight.

Gil Hanse fashioned a new 18-hole course to the west of the existing 18-hole von Hagge layout, which officially opened in July 2021. Playing corridors were previously carved through the trees for a second course when the original course (now called the Old) was constructed, but the latest design (named the New) pays scant regard to what was done before.

The New Gil Hanse-designed course at Les Bordes

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Reviews for Les Bordes (Old)

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Description: There's a slight American feel to the Old golf course at Les Bordes, both in terms of design and conditioning, but there is no doubting that you are in France. Rating: 9.2 out of 10 Reviews: 20
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Johnny Lawrence
Les Bordes is situated two and a half hours drive south of Paris in the Loire Valley. Nearest town, Beaugancey, (don't get excited) it is stuck in a "Time Warp". Arriving at the turn off for the course you drive down the road with a course on either side. First impressions,"What have we come to here" don't be fooled, after going through a barrier you turn left and see the 17th tee. OMG what an awsome sight. After checking in you go to your room which are comfy but very basic and a little dark. Everything is situated at the clubhouse. Breakfast Lunch and Dinner. Then you get to play the course, which is literally MILLIONAIRES GOLF, there was simply nobody there. The course is presented to perfection, tees greens and fairways. There is a challenge to break 80 playing off the back tees, something I managed to achieve, your name goes on a board in the clubhouse. Alas, these are distant memories as the course was bought out by new owners and no visitors are allowed unless playing with a member. If you are lucky enough to know anyone, and they invite you, drop everything and go. Described in one word "AWESOME"
January 19, 2010
10 / 10
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Johnny Lawrence
I have had the pleasure of going to Les Bordes for the last 5 years on an annual trip and could not think of any other course in the world where I would want to play 36 holes every day.I am now gutted that the course has been taken over and the only way to play it is with a member.It is without doubt a world class course,perfectly manicured,beautiful greens and a great test of golf.And yes I am one of the lucky ones to have broken 80 of the back tees.
October 18, 2008
10 / 10
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m gunn
September 21, 2009
I was here last week and couldnt get a sniff past the security gates. i played the old second course, now a club in its own right, which was a delight. I played with a member and he said les bordes currently has 10 members - his friend cuts the greens twice a day but nobody ever plays here. it all seems a real shame - when i asked what my chances of getting a game were he just laughed!
Bear17
Quite simply the finest golf course I have ever had the pleasure of playing. It really is the 'Augusta of Europe' in every respect, and qualifies in my book as golfing heaven. The conditioning of the course is unparalleled, the setting the most unique I have ever experienced, and the golfing challenge so rewarding it will keep you coming back as often as you can - assuming you can afford what have now become rather hefty green fees - but oh so worth every Euro spent!
June 30, 2008
10 / 10
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John Gaffney
August 15, 2008
Havind played there twice a couple of yers ago I have to agree with you that it is the finest Golf course I have played and fell in love with it!I am sad that only members and their guests can play it at the moment as I wanted to take 3 friends there after I have been telling them for the past 2 years how wonderful it is.Do you know of a way of getting a round there without a member?
Cédric
You won’t get bored at Les Bordes, that’s for sure. Despite being completely private (since march of this year), they still honor bookings made prior to that date. Obviously, as the club only counts around 70 members, the course can only be in immaculate condition, and so it really was, very impressive. For my second time here, I decided to play from the Black Tiger’s tees: a beast at 6420 meters. Make your score on the front nine as the back hosts 3 par 4s in excess of 400 meters. The other holes don’t really cause any troubles in terms of distance. The stretch from 4th to 8th is really world class, so are 11th, 13th, 14th and 18th. 1st is a very good starting hole and 17th is a beast at 415 meters, dogleg right, need to be long enough to get a shot at the green in 2! 2nd is an uninteresting easy par 5 and 16th is a really silly par 3, 198 meters long to un uphill plateau (that being said, all other par 3s are sensational), and only disappointment on the course. Greens were like carpets but could have been faster for my taste. If you have a chance to play here, don’t let it pass. You can also always wait a couple of years as there is a big project of a new 18 hole from the same architect Von Hagge, plus renovation of the nearby Ganay course: 3 courses at the future Les Bordes, most people will only get 2 of them that should be open to the public. Good to see that so much is going on (ecologists permitting) in that beautiful region of France, that has more than the Loire valley castles to offer…
June 29, 2008
8 / 10
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Cédric
That day out really didn’t start well!!! Had a bump in my car on the way to Les Bordes and the weather looked really scary. Actually, when checking the weather forecast the days prior to the game, it became worse and worse by the days and some heavy rain was expected…. Well, we must have been lucky as we stayed dry except for a 30 sec shower. The course itself was on the other hand soaked and for the first time ever, my drives were pitching the fairway! The greens were surprisingly quick and soft given the situation. Les Bordes is quite some place, lost in the Sologne forest and you need to drive 5 km from the main road to finally reach the place, definitely off the beaten track. Everything there is luxury. The course itself is in pristine condition. Some of it looks too artificial and too American for its location but on the whole, I thought it mixed pretty well with the surroundings. All par 3s are exceptional as well as 2 of the par fives (7th and 14th). I have mixed feelings about the difficulty of the course though. We played it in shocking conditions and were probably only a couple of shots over 80, the mighty score that gives you the opportunity to see your name on a plate. The S.S.S from the back tees is 78 which I think is really exaggerated. For the challenge itself, I would choose any Championship links any time!! To me, this course is about something else: perfection and FUN and I would go back any time! The place is about to be sold by the Japanese who have owned it since the beginning. The friendly staff wouldn’t break any secret but hopefully the new owner will keep with that tradition of perfection, or maybe even improve it?? Cédric
August 22, 2007
8 / 10
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Jim McCann

The old adage of never judge a book by its cover also applies to golf – never form an opinion of a course by its opening hole. I know everything is big in the Lone Star State of the US of A, but Texan architect Robert von Hagge went WAY over the top with his design on the first hole at Les Bordes when he constructed an island green, Les Bordes - Photo by Jim McCannalmost completely encircled by a huge waste bunker.

Here we go, I thought as I stepped off the green across its sleepered exit , is this going to be some Disney-type “golf on steroids” imported into the heart of France by some American madman designer? Thankfully, the answer to that was no; the architect has made many bold, brash and basically ballsy statements around the property, but somehow – incredibly - most of them actually work!

The estate is enormous, as is the course itself (with many long walks from green to the next tee) but the von Hagge layout matches everything to scale.

Water fronts three of the four par threes to great dramatic effect and lakes also threaten approach play at a number of others, particularly at the par five 7th , the favourite hole of myself and its joint creator, Baron Bich. My playing companion and I played after some very heavy rain (and the course held up remarkably well considering) but it played very long - as if it’s not tough enough with the clubhouse noticeboard containing names of those who have broken 80 numbering less than 80 (and two of these are Darren Clarke and Ronan Rafferty!)

I think what redeemed some of the outlandishly huge bunkers, the (in places) excessive mounding, elevated fairways (yes, some were constructed four or five feet above the level of the surrounding landscape) and pneumatically-jacked up green complexes was the understated nature of the tee boxes (no flashy signage here), the carpet-like putting surfaces (which were a delight to putt on) and the solitude of playing in such a vast arena.

Locker rooms and open plan clubhouse (complete with wood-burning fire) were also out of the top drawer, so it must be said that a green fee for less than that paid at many top parkland tracks in the UK is well worth the money spent.

Jim McCann

August 22, 2007
8 / 10
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Phil
December 20, 2007
I have played courses all over the world including many in your Top 100, however I have never played a finer test than Les Bordes. It has quality stamped thoughout its design and location. It has wonderful ambience.
rick ten Pierick
I Also went to Les Bordes with 8 friends. Best course ever. Broke 80 off the back tee's and got my name on the board. Great service and best of all the course conditions. They raised the dutch flag for us on the putting green. I will be back soon tot break my score.
July 08, 2007
10 / 10
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edward rogers
Myself and 7 friends travelled down to Les Bordes this weekend and were blown away. As soon as you turn in to the winding road that leads down to the club you start to sense you are somewhere special. The staff, the food, the rooms, the practice facilities are all fantastic but what stands Les Bordes head and shoulders above so many other clubs is the unrelenting quality of the course. 18 holes as close to inland perfection as you could wish to find. We played late one evening, the course was deserted, the myriad water hazards glistened in the warm sun and long shadows cast across the immaculate fairways. It was a magical time to be there. Les Bordes possesses an aura comparable to Augusta and Queenwood. As soon as you arrive you know the place has been put together by people that understand what makes golf great and some of the additional touches, along with the course condition, put Les Bordes in the very highest class of inland course. i will definitely return soon to try and break 80 off the back tees. A feat only a handful of players have acheived!
May 07, 2007
10 / 10
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Robert Taylor
December 30, 2009
You are very lucky to have played at Les Bordes, Augusta and Queenwood, do you need a friend to make-up a 4-ball?
Tim Browne
A superb golf course that is a real adventure from start to finish, particularly off the back tees. This course has everything that you would want for a test of your golfing ability and a scary adventure. There are holes through trees, dog-legs left and right, par 3s over water, island greens, almost, lots of risk reward shots that make this a superb challenge. Robert von Hagge designed courses are always challenging and good but this one is exceptional. Definitely worth travelling to play and stay at the lovely hotel on the course as well.
August 06, 2006
10 / 10
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Tim Stranack
October 29, 2006
It would be so much better without the invading wild boar leaving footprints everywhere and rooting around in the (oversized) bunkers
Simon Haines
Apart from some weak holes towards the end, this is one of the best new designs in Europe.
July 17, 2006
8 / 10
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