The Châteaux course was first to appear at the Medoc resort in 1989, with Canadian Rod Whitman acting as project manager during the construction of Bill Coore’s design. A couple of years later, Whitman unveiled his own creation, the Vignes course, to what can only be described as a rather muted response from a largely unappreciative golfing audience.
It’s true to say Les Vignes has had to live in the shadow of an older sibling which has hosted a French Open (in 1989) but the course is now maturing into one that’s finding its rightful position as an equal partner at a very underrated 36-hole golf complex in the Pian-Médoc area, to the south of Bordeaux.
After a gentle opening three holes that are parkland in character, the Vignes returns to the type of splendid heathland terrain associated with the Châteaux layout at the par five 4th, where a dangerous ditch runs along the left side of the fairway, all the way to the green. Water also lurks to the left of the short par four 8th as the hole veers right to a small green that’s further protected by sand on its right hand side.
On the back nine, the left doglegged par fives at 11 and 16 are both very strong but the most memorable holes on this part of the course are undoubtedly the two par threes at the 13th and 17th, where the green at the former is ringed by pine trees and difficult to hold from the tee and the green at the latter is protected by a large crescent-shaped bunker to the front left of the putting surface.
Golf du Medoc is a premier golfing resort in the Bordeux region of France with two championship courses.
The first course built was the appropriately named Chateaux course which was designed by Bill Coore from Coore & Crenshaw.
Rod Whitman assisted Coore and in 1991 he was given the chance to add the Vignes course.
The site at du Medoc is excellent for golf with sandy base and pine trees and heather abundant.
In my opinion Whitman has overseen the production of a quality course. But it is one which never quite captures the imagination as one hopes it might.
The green structures are well thought out, and create plenty of interest – without being at all tricked up.
The bunkering is generally a rugged links style, strategically placed. I think the bunkering defines the course.
If there is a weakness to the site it is perhaps that is reasonably flat terrain, although the occasional roll in the landscape is well utilised.
Hole 8 is a short par 4 with a tee shot over a large bunker. Unfortunately all decent length shots which fly same bunker, roll right to left off a slope to water unseen from the tee. We did play in the middle of a heat wave and the ball was rolling, so perhaps I am being unfair – but I do not like water hazards that cannot be seen.
The Vignes course at Golf du Medoc is unquestionably a good course. We played it in 42 degrees heat, in the middle of a heat wave, so the course was bone dry and running.
I don't mind that, but perhaps my view of the course was affected.
I don't think it is a remarkable course, but a good test of golf and together with the Chateaux course makes a nice double act.
The resort is well set up with quality accommodation and meals and it makes a good golfing getaway.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Having recently moved to the area, I can now call this my home course. And what a treat! Surely one of the best 36 holes complex in Europe. Les vignes is shorter than les chateaux but is no pushover. Probably more technical, narrower than the beast on the other side of the property. Greens are easier than on les chateaux. With no marks of sexism on my part, this course is referred to as the one preferred by women. I like it!
A little over 5 years since I moved to this area and both courses are really enjoyable. Just a shame that conditioning is so disparate. Not often enough is it in adequacy with the standing of the resort. It'll always be in top condition for big events though....