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 north 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.
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!