Located just outside Strasbourg in the Rhine Valley, the 18-hole layout at Golf de la Wantzenau is an early 1990s production from Jeremy Pern which is routed around a number of small lakes on a very flat landscape.
Working with French golfing great Jean Garaïalde, the architect created the water features in order to provide sufficient material to fashion a few fairway contours and generate a little movement around the greens.
Today, the layout extends to just over 6,000 metres, configured as two returning nines, both of which play to a par of 36. Highlight holes include the first of the par threes at the 3rd (with an all-carry tee shot over water, of course) and the toughest hole on the back nine at the 18th (rated stroke index 2).
The Peugeot Golf Guide describes the course as follows in this edited extract:
"Welcome to Florida in Alcace, where US-style golf combines with a rather attractive local-style clubhouse. The par fives are particularly well laid out and going for the green in two is a risky business. Architect Jeremy Pern has intelligently made the best use of a very flat terrain.”.
La Wantzenau starts slow but closes strong. Eight different holes have a water feature. The first 3 holes are pretty pedestrian. Fairly straight par fours with some bunkering, the 3rd is the toughest of the three. The 4th is mid-length par 3 over water to a well protected green with front left bunker, one left and one back. The 5th is a great birdie oppty, short par 5, exceedingly reachable. Slight dogleg left, but favor the right side off the tee. Danger alert right, the green is very well protected by a water hazard. The short par 4 6th is another excellent birdie oppty. This green is driveable for those of you who can hi it high to get over the trees on the inside elbow. Alas, I ended up in the front green side bunker. If you are going to play it more traditionally, gauge your yardage carefully to keep it in the fairway. Otherwise, you might as well go for it. The 8th is another reachable par five, but you must favor the left off the tee. The 9th is the longest par 4 on the front and the number one handicap hole. Slight dogleg left, if you are left off the tee, it will be a tough par. Favor the right side.
The back starts off with a little more excitement than the front. The 10th is one of the longer par fours a dogleg right with large trees on the inside elbow and water straight away off the tee. My advice is to stay just left of the tree line to set up your long approach. Conversely, the 11th is another good birdie oppty. A short dogleg left with a water hazard in the elbow, it is up to you how much you want to chew. The 13th is another reachable par 5, favor the left off the tee. The safe play is a 3 shotter. The green is an elevated island between two water hazards. Yours truly, made a bad decision. The 14th is supposed to be the easiest hole on the course. Straight forward par four with water right. I thought the shorter 15th was easier, slight dogleg left with the fairway an isthmus between two water hazards. Choose to driving distance to set up your favorite wedge. The final par 5 meanders around a water hazard on the right. Best to play it as a 3 shotter as the green is well protected by the water. Being conservative is fine, but I found two fairway bunkers on the left, one off the tee and on my second shot. The17th is you last good chance at birdie. This short par 3 has the green nestled right up to the water hazard. The 18th is the longest par 4 and I think the toughest hole on the course. Water down the left side with arguably the narrowest fairway on the course. A par here is a super finish.
A fun track. I would pay to play it again.