The Montreux Golf Club is the oldest golf course in the region of Lake of Geneva. It started out as the English Club of Montreux and was not established to satisfy the Swiss, rather English tourists who flocked to the area to enjoy the microclimate and the scenery.
A 9-hole course at first, the club expanded the layout to 18 holes in 1931 before half the course was turned over to agriculture during the Second World War.
When additional land became available in 1964, Donald Harradine was commissioned to add nine new holes and modernise the existing 9-hole course. Forty years later, Ron Fream completely renovated the layout, introducing four new holes.
The course in play today is very pleasant walk and a solid test of golf in truly magnificent surroundings, set only a couple of kilometres to the south of the popular resort town of Montreux, well known for its annual jazz festival.
You find yourself in the Lake of Geneva region, and you have a day off. You want to spend it sort of leisurely but still have a very good day of golf. The Montreux golf course is all you need then. It is a medium-length course, totally flat, located in a beautiful setting at the eastern end of the Lake and surrounded by the spectacular Alps. Still, the course is tight, with rows of mature trees very close to all fairways, and most holes are definitely not given pars when standing on the tee. And, one gets easily distracted from concentrating on one’s stroke by the constant beauty of this parkland. The additional benefit is that there is a microclimate at the end of the lake which makes the weather likely to be milder than just about anywhere else around, so that the course usually stays open year-round, unlike most of the neighbour courses! The drinks (and tasty food too!) on the clubhouse terrace will definitely feel very good, sitting comfortably in the sun with a great view of the Cornettes de Bise, the Dents du Midi and assorted Alpine peaks spreading in front of you…
The par-fives are not very long on the course, with the longest being the 7th hole with 512 meters from the tips. The 1st hole is indeed a par-five, 486 meters long. The par-fours are not short, except for the 3rd hole, but they are pretty much all doglegs. The difficulty really comes from the narrowness of the fairways so that accuracy is at a premium over length at Montreux: just about every hole is defined by mature trees on both sides which make the need for rough almost redundant. In addition, the greens are usually pretty well defended either by position relative to the fairway, elevation, bunkers or water… or a combination of the above. The par-threes vary in length and difficulty, with the 8th and the 14th being the harder ones, in my opinion; both are long enough and narrow with trees right there to catch anything astray.
The level of difficulty rises with the last six holes. The 13th is a severe dogleg left par-four where the second shot is not going to be a short iron affair. The short 14th is, in my opinion, harder than it rates on the card, as it is a good length at 174 meters from the white tees, and no room for error. Then the par-five 15th requires two very good and long shots if you want to go for the green in two: the landing area for the drive is narrow and needs a draw to curl around the slight dogleg layout, and the second shot will need to carry the lake just before the large green. No time to breathe, the 16th hole is the longest par-four at 419 meters from the back tees, and still not a very open fairway. The 17th is the last par-five, and although getting a par there may not be a major issue, attacking the green on the second shot is no easy task, as the fairway tapers along the way so the access to the green is reserved to the very accurate golfer. Finally the 18th par-four will still require all your concentration: your tee shot must be on the left half of the fairway to have a shot at the green around the bend, but this green is also well defended by a lake on the left side and trees on the right. The one “saving grace” is that the green is slanted back to front so the shot landing on it should not roll on too far and avoid spilling onto the sharp slope behind the green.