Pleneuf-Val Andre is widely considered one of the best and prettiest courses in Brittany and is set between heathland and the sea. Rather links-like in style, Pleneuf-Val Andre is one of Alain Prat's best designs largely due to the excellent topography of the site.
Wide fairways encourage positve ball-striking from the tee, but approach shots require thought due to well defended greens. The signature holes is the par five 1tth where there's a panoramic sea view from the back tee which is perched on a jutting cliff edge. The three-shot hole plays parallel to the English Channel and it's a thriller.
Pleneuf-Val Andre is not long, measuring a little less than 5,900 metres from the tips, but the trick here is to keep keep the ball in play, wrestle with the fickle wind and negotiate many uneven lies.
The following edited extract is from France’s Most Beautiful Courses by Jean-François Lefevre:
“The course on the cliffs of the municipality of Pléneuf-le-Val-André in the Côte d’Amor is not yet of an age to reminisce and wallow in nostalgia; it is too young and tradition will come later. For this sea resort only comes to life in the summer and for a long time, golf was limited to miniature golf matches on the lawns of the municipal casino.
When the new Val André course replaced the temporary structures with a permanent clubhouse, the builders were careful to place the bay windows of the dining room towards Verdelet, a small island, rising up out of the sea like a pyramid, beyond the port of Piégu.
In front of the restaurant is the back tee of the 10th hole, a par four which begins the short sea sequence. For the drive you have to aim at the Nantua beach straight ahead to reach the blind fairway leading to a green below. The next is the signature hole and in order to make the most of the outline of this par five you have to climb to the top of the tiny rocky platform which acts as the teeing ground for the very good players.
On the left, fifty metres below, the Vallées beach extends into the huge Nantua beach. On the right of this strip of immaculate sand, the fairway leads to an irregular-shaped putting green. A small ruined house, with the windows wide open and two twisted pine trees at the left of the fairway entrance are the landmarks for establishing position. To reach the lawn, the ball has to travel nearly 180 metres – this is not for the faint-hearted!”
5978m from the back tees. We played Dinar, Granville and pleneuf-val-andre on this trip. The overall conditioning of pleneuf was by far the best of the three courses. Fairways in excellent condition here but a mess on the other two courses.
The front nine hints at the views on the back nine with panoramic views toward the coast , village and countryside. The second hole , a 400m par 4 dogleg to left and all uphill plays longer than its yardage. The 5th also has an elevated green. Most of the fairways are wide without hazard on the front nine. Greens and their surrounds are contoured and more interesting . The spectacular coastal views really start from the 9th green. 10 and 11 are dramatically down hill , the 10th a drivable 290m par 4 with a 'blind' tee shot and hazard awaits an errant shot, and 11 a 478m par 5 which only requires a solid drive and mid iron to reach the green due to the very elevated tee position. The views of the coast and bay are very special on these holes. Everyone stops on the tees to take photos. The back nine continues with a very up hill 379m par4 12th and uphill 446m dogleg par 5 14th , which has a more contoured fairway than other holes and both have yet more impressive views.
The views make this a special course. The course is not a links style and not of the fundamental layout quality of Granville, but the conditioning was far superior on this trip and the views are hard to better.