Pont Royal Golf Club opened for play in 1992 and it’s the only golf course in France designed by Seve Ballesteros. Located in the foothills of the Alps in the Provence region, it will come as no surprise that Pont Royal represents a rather hilly golfing challenge.
With holes that regularly plunge and soar across a forested landscape against the backdrop of the Luberon and Alpilles mountain ranges, Pont Royal is a real thinking person’s course. Full concentration and technical shot-making skills will be required from start to finish as golfers plot their way round a layout that has more than its fair share of dramatic golf holes.
Holes, for instance, like the 462-yard par four 7th, which sweeps down then up to the left on a thrilling rollercoaster fairway, or the 205-yard par three 11th, requiring an all-or-nothing tee shot from an elevated tee across a wooded gorge to a distant green perched on top of a rocky outcrop.What price would a TV producer pay nowadays to film a young Seve in his prime playing such tough holes in his own unique cavalier style? Maybe another swashbuckling golfer will emerge victorious when the European Challenge Tour visits Pont Royal for the first time in September 2018?
Our golfing group of 16 played Pont Royal while berthed on our Tauck River Boat in Avignon. It was a pleasant 45 minute drive through the many vineyards of the area. The key to playing is to hire a motorised cart/buggy as many of the holes involve brutal walks – in particular the 11th hole, a par 3, which requires a lengthy and hilly walk around a gorge to get from tee to green. You would not want to walk. Also, the course has very high slope ratings. Unless a golfer of exceptional ability, you should play the yellow tees with a length of around 5,600 metres, not the 6,000 metre white tees. We found the course in very good condition and is a great layout with many stand out golf holes. There are plenty of elevation changes and forced water carries. Both nines finish with par fives. We faced the challenge of both holes having pins tucked in the far corners of the green with long forced carries to hope to get near the flag sticks.
We were made to feel very welcome with excellent English spoken in the pro shop. Regardless how you may play, you will not be disappointed with the course. While a challenge, it is still very playable from the yellow tees for men and red tees for ladies. Our golf tours will definitely return to the course.