Royal Mougins - South East France - France

Royal Mougins Golf Resort,
424 Avenue du Roi,
06250 Mougins,

  • +33 4 92 92 49 69

Give the French their due: when the subject is food they hold top spot on the leader board. Here in the UK we eat to live: in Europe they live to eat and in La Belle France it is a pastime at which they excel. Formidable!

So an exclusive golf club is also a magnet for gourmets. If they are golfers too they have the best of both worlds at Royal Mougins. Heck, you’d want to be a member simply to enjoy a weekly lunch!

The elevated terrace is a much-used accoutrement of the Provencal-style clubhouse and a focal point for the club's social life in a climate that, for much of the year, is close to perfection. Set on the highest point of the wooded estate, it overlooks rolling emerald fairways glimpsed through treetops and is a natural habitat for al fresco diners.

Royal Mougins, open since 1993, reposes in a secluded valley near the town of Mougins and a short drive from Cannes. It is a serene Provencal landscape dominated by a river, venerable trees and ancient stonewall terracing. The course melts into it in a masterpiece of design and routing.

It was laid out by Robert Von Hagge and like his creations at Golf Nationale, Les Bordes and Seignosse, Royal Mougins was acclaimed the nation's best new course at its opening. To extend the culinary theme, this is a main course par excellence, at once tantalising, robust and fulfilling. But it should carry a health warning and we suggest it is not for those with handicaps in excess of 20. It is too tough, at least at first sighting. It is a par-71 with a card reading from 6,600 yards (SS72) to 4,930 yards (SS69) for the ladies. Most holes have five tees, some have six. So options abound. Royal Mougins is never less than undulating, is hilly in parts with a flatter forest area on the valley floor. You’ll face lots of awkward stances and devilish bunker shots.

So variety is the keynote, topographically and technically, too, with a mix of holes ranging from the demanding to the relatively genteel. Royal Mougins calls for every club in the bag and some shots you may not yet have invented. There are two split-level fairways: the par four 9th, which is index 1, and the 18th, a gorgeous par five. The lower levels, where danger lurks, are for those feeling frisky but they’ll need to nail the tee shot and find the correct spot. This is a general rule of thumb on most good courses and an imperative here.

From the back tees all but the longest hitters should contemplate a lay-up on certain holes. Risk and reward is the name of the game. It’s basic course management and, as always, it adds to the enjoyment of the delightful Royal Mougins where the flag positions on large greens, most of which undulate generously, can accentuate the challenge.

Eight lakes are linked by a river system, with waterfalls and streams to distract, and in a setting of such natural splendour you’d expect a few spectacular holes. You won’t be disappointed. A highlight comes early in the round: the par three 2nd is a wondrous hole played from a vertiginously elevated tee via a sheer drop to a green guarded by a lake and with a waterfall to the left. Depending upon which tee you select, it can measure anything from 140 to 184 yards. The flag position here can be a killer, although the large green offers bale-out options as well as the opportunity to take three putts! The hole is named Angel’s Dive. A few have no doubt invoked the devil but it’s an outstanding one shotter. Take three or better and you’ll be off to a flying start. Big hitters who have breakfasted on red meat will relish a couple of the short par fours. The 12th and the 14th are right-angled doglegs with hidden greens but drivable for those capable of cutting the corner over towering trees.

You’ll gather we had a fun round but even if you play like a goose (and many do on their debut at Royal Mougins) you’ll have a round to remember in a lovely corner of France. It’s a grand way to develop an appetite. But a word of caution: don’t over-indulge at lunch, eh?!

Barry Ward

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Description: Royal Mougins, open since 1993, reposes in a secluded valley near the town of Mougins and a short drive from Cannes. Rating: 7 out of 10 Reviews: 2
Brian Ward

As the recent recipient of an award for the best golf hotel in France, it will come as no surprise to read that Royal Mougins is a particularly luxurious place to spend a few days. With wonderful food, wine and rooms plus an exciting if somewhat challenging golf course on site this is a special place to visit. The hotel and clubhouse sit on the side of a hill and offer stunning views of the Robert Von Hagge designed layout which Royal Mougins Golf Course - Photo by reviewer occupies an interesting and rather undulating piece of land.

The American architect must have had quite a task on his hands with the routing as there are some long walks from green to tee plus a handful of roads to cross and although issues like these can frustrate golfers my initial impression is that he made an excellent job of it. Von Hagge was a colourful character, well known in the States for his role as the Marlboro man, but even more famous in golf circles for designing excellent courses. Later this year the eyes of the world will fall on his Golf National collaboration when the Ryder Cup rolls into Paris.

Similarities between the two courses in the shape and flow of the mounding are easy to recognize and many of the greenside hazards and run-off areas bear more than a passing resemblance. With so many do or die holes in the round, as many as ten having water in play, and most with genuine strategic values attached, this is a challenging layout from whichever tee you choose.

The most memorable hole arrives early in the round Royal Mougins Golf Course - Photo by reviewer with the short 2nd, "Angel's Dive", plunging severely downhill to a well defended green. This is comfortably the most dramatic par-3 at Royal Mougins and one of many demanding tee shots where the penalty for failure is severe. The par-4's offer great variety, the 7th, "Roller Coaster" is a beauty as it sweeps down into a valley where water must be avoided on the left before climbing up and over a rocky waste area to a long narrow green. The 9th, 11th and 16th could all be described as brutally tough two shot holes for the average player but the downhill doglegs at the 12th and 14th give some balance as genuine birdie opportunities.

Water comes into play on each of the par-5's and at the 18th "Les Arenes" we finish with a flourish. A long drive may be rewarded with an opportunity to reach the green in two but mere mortals will play their second away from the lake to a raised fairway, opening up the green to a glorious approach from on high.

There are also a handful of local courses worthy of investigation for those who enjoy playing somewhere different which makes Royal Mougins an ideal choice for a golf trip to the French Riviera. Brian W

June 01, 2018
8 / 10
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Nice course hole by hole but not a lot of fun to play. I don't like to play courses where you can easily get lost and where holes are not one next to the other but you have to ride back and fourth. If you are in the area I would rather play Cannes Mougin, a classic and traditional design.
December 30, 2015
6 / 10
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