Situated between Montpellier and Avignon, near the old Roman town of Nîmes in the south of France, the Nîmes Campagne course was opened in June 1970, following an inaugural match involving Jean Garaialde, Martin Ado, Roger Cotton and Tito Lassalle.
Designed by Léonard Morandi and Donald Harradine – who is also credited with the construction or remodeling of other French courses like Chaumont-en-Vexin, Saint-Maxime and Divonne – the 18-hole layout measures 6,750 yards with a par of 72.
Routed through 130 acres of a heavily wooded estate, the course is laid out over a gently undulating landscape. One of the best holes on the outward half is the par five 3rd which doglegs to the right and features a large oak tree in the middle of the fairway. The pick of the holes on the back nine is the 400-yard, par four, 18th where a small pond has to be negotiated to the front right of the small green.
The clubhouse also deserves a mention as it is a magnificent stately home built by a former owner in 1902 as a miniature replica of the White House in Washington – quite some place to have as a 19th hole!
Our Australian golfing group of 16 played Nimes Campagne while berthed on our Tauck River Boat in Arles. It was a pleasant 30 minute drive through the many vineyards of the area. The course is well worth visiting and the day we played it was in great condition with lush fairways and fast greens. All the golf holes are tree lined and it is rare to see another hole other than the hole you are playing. There are many challenges with dog leg holes, creeks and ponds to navigate over. The course is not hilly but has many subtle undulations and a there are a few strategically placed trees in the fairways which present serious challenges. We rated the course highly and will certainly visit again with future golf tours down the Rhone River.
A word of warning, as is typical with most regional golf courses in France, English is not spoken in either the pro shop or 19th hole after golf. We had organised our visit by email which made check in manageable. Ordering drinks for a thirsty group of non French speaking Australians proved a challenge after our round.