Barbaroux is set close to the French Riviera. It’s the prime location for golfers who want the warm Mediterranean sunshine on their backs. The Riviera has not only attracted golfers, but also some of the greatest modern architects have left their mark here, including Seve Ballesteros, Gary Player, Robert Trent Jones and the Dyes.
Pete and P.B. Dye (Paul Burke) – the father and son team – designed Barbaroux, and it’s the first Dye creation in France, opening for play in 1989. This is the course that created a stir and it’s still causing some controversy today. The reason for this is simple, the Dyes did some serious earth moving and the Barbaroux course is a potpourri of styles, which range from links-like holes with blind shots to US-styled target golf holes protected by water. The amazing thing about Barbaroux is, despite all this variation, the course as a whole hangs together rather well and will certainly charm the extravert in any golfer.
Although the course only measures 6,069 metres, Barbaroux is no pushover. Each hole requires thought and you can’t simply rely on good play to score well here. The contoured fairways can throw the best drives off line and into the rough, into water or into one of the many bunkers. Talking of which, the bunkers are numerous and some are cruelly deep and extremely punishing.
So, if you like variation, entertainment and interesting holes, Barbaroux is the course for you. Nobody could ever accuse Barbaroux of being boring.
I thoroughly enjoyed the round at Barbaroux, even if it did involve avoiding some thunderstorms. The course in general is in good condition, but like we found on a lot of courses the tee boxes need work.
In respect of the holes, I loved 5, 9 (with it's 81 yard deep green) and 14, but most of the other holes are good too. 3 would have made this group but having not played it before you just have no idea where the pin is, a marker in the trees behind would be good.
The course is extremely varied, and it feels like you could be on different courses with the variation. As much as I enjoyed it for the first time, it is this that would stop me returning and also drop this from a 5 ball to a 4.
I would however recommend a visit.
We loved this course. Certainly a hilly course and a good walk - but it is a walking course. From the white tees it is 6053 meters but there are further back tees not on the score card and the pro shop did not have the full distance from these back ´black' tees but must add approx 150m to the course.
Some of the Pete Dye railway sleepers need some TLC. For example the 11th is a short par 4 with water carry from the tee with water down the entire right side of fairway to green - sleepers supporting the bank of the fairway have collapsed into the water and odd posts in the water are now for birds , while the fairway is slowly collapsing near the bank. We note the comments previously on the 3rd and 4th holes. The 3rd is a short downhill par 5 which from the plateau of the fairway the hole drops away dramatically to the green below - an iron to the green which is reachable in 2. The 4th is a beautiful up hill par 3 139m , plays 1-2 clubs more , with a quirky tunnel to the right of the hole for buggies to drive through. We enjoyed the originality of these holes and did not find issue in the design. Get out of position and the score will mount .
No two holes on this course are similar and with a typical 'mistral' wind this is a tough course.