Thirty years on from when the Château course at Medoc first opened for play, it’s easy to see now that even back then both Bill Coore and Rod Whitman were ahead of the game regarding the style and build of modern golf courses; offering fairway width, beautifully sculpted rough-edged bunkers and greens with plenty of interesting internal contour.
The Vignes course (which I unfortunately didn’t have time to play because of a late start on the Château due to fog and only managed to see via a quick buggy ride) also looks a fine complementary layout, offering resort visitors the chance to indulge in a 36-hole day of high quality golf – weather permitting, of course!
On such a relatively flat landscape, I can understand why a) so many of the greens have been pushed up to add visual stimulation and b) the putting surfaces are often edged with fearsome looking sand traps – and speaking of bunkers, the centreline hazards on the 1st were more than a little perplexing when teeing off just as the fog was lifting, not realizing they were an integral part of a clever split fairway!
Ponds came into play at both the par threes on the front nine, which felt a little predictable, but the two short holes on the back nine at #12 and #17 were free of water and both played to sand-protected greens instead. I felt the 18th was also a little anticlimactic, with resort accommodation buildings running along the left side of the fairway.
The 10th (“La Moulin”) is now a slightly right doglegged par five, having been lengthened in recent years (so the course now plays to an overall par of 71) but my favourite hole was the doglegged 11th, where a ditch crosses the fairway as it veers to the left then this water course runs alongside the hole before circling the back of the green.
It’s more an amalgam of parkland and heathland on the Château and comparisons to an “inland links” – whatever that might be – are a bit wide of the mark in my opinion. Whichever way you care to categorize the course, it’s still a pleasure to play and installing yourself at Médoc to spend time playing high quality golf and exploring some of the local wineries makes eminent sense to me.
Date: July 10, 2019