Review of the Month July 2017 – Grand Saint-Emilionnais
Having played Tom Doak’s Pacific Dunes in Oregon many times, I was excited to play Grand Saint-Emilionnais. On non-golf vacation with my wife, I did not have my golf shoes or clubs. Playing with a borrowed set, I still had a phenomenal time. The Mourgue d’Algue Family could not have been more hospitable.
Each tee shot has you hitting to a wide fairway, but Doak gives you a very good indication of where best to hit your tee shot by using strategically placed bunkers or trees. With the exception of the par 3’s, most of the sloping greens are very small, with well-defined sections. Approach shots need to be hit from the correct side of the fairway to give you the best chance of hitting the greens. Many greens, including holes 2 and 3 have creeks fronting or alongside the sloping putting surfaces, requiring you to miss on the correct side of the hole.
There is a wonderful collection of par 5 holes. Many are reachable in two, but you could find yourself with an awkward chip if you short-side yourself. If played as a three shot hole, a strategically placed second shot is required.
The short par 4’s, requiring pinpoint approach shots, are really challenging. If you are really good from 80-100 yards away, you can score on this memorable course. There are six holes of about 360 meters or less, but all are fun.
The par 3’s offer a nice variety. Two are mid-length. The 9th hole, playing downhill over a lake, is almost 200 meters. From off the green, consider a bump and run shot. The wonderful 12th, plays 225 meters in length, uphill with a yawning bunker protecting the left side. From a tight lie, short of the green, bumping the ball with a 5 wood or hybrid is the perfect shot, especially to a front pin.
This gorgeous golf course is very playable for a middle handicap golfer, but if you play to a single digit, you will really enjoy the variety of shots required to put you in a position for birdie. The putting surfaces are a bit slow right now, but as the course matures, like the fine wines in the area, it will get even better with age.
Review of the Month July 2017 selected by Editor-in-Chief, Keith Baxter – click here to read the full reviewPhotos courtesy of Grand Saint-Emilionnais