National (L'Albatros) - North East France - France

Golf National,
Avenue du golf,
78280 Guyancourt,
France


  • +33 (0)1 30 43 36 00

  • Olivier Roche

  • Hubert Chesneau and von Hagge Design Associates

  • Philippe Pilato


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at National (L'Albatros)

A mere 20 miles to the west of Paris lies the Golf National. Here, at Guyancourt, surrounding the Chateau of Versailles – once home to Louis X1V – there’s a hint of Florida, a sprinkling of Ireland and a lot of France.

Past Open de France Champions at Golf National:

2017 - Tommy Fleetwood
2016 - Thongchai Jaidee
2015 - Bernd Wiesberger
2014 - Graeme McDowell
2013 - Graeme McDowell
2012 - Marcel Siem
2011 - Thomas Levet
2010 - Miguel Ángel Jiménez
2009 - Martin Kaymer
2008 - Pablo Larrazábal
2007 - Graeme Storm
2006 - John Bickerton
2005 - Jean-François Remésy
2004 - Jean-François Remésy
2003 - Philip Golding
2002 - Malcolm MacKenzie
2000 - Colin Montgomerie
1998 - Sam Torrance
1997 - Retief Goosen
1996 - Robert Allenby
1995 - Paul Broadhurst
1994 - Mark Roe
1993 - Costantino Rocca
1992 - Miguel Ángel Martín
1991 - Eduardo Romero

Golf National took three years to construct and in 1990 the Albatros stadium course opened for play. It was co-designed by Hubert Chesneau and von Hagge Design Associates (now known corporately as von Hagge, Smelek & Baril). The golf course was destined to become home to the French Open and also a centre for both national and international championships. It was also rumoured that a future Ryder Cup could be held here.

The Open de France, which dates back to 1906, is mainland Europe’s oldest top-flight professional tournament and in 1991 the first French Open was played on the Albatros course. Argentina’s Eduardo Romero won the 1991 title and the event has remained at the National Club ever since, except for 1999 and 2001, when it was played at Golf du Médoc and Lyon respectively.

The 2008 French Open was a remarkable event. Spanish rookie Pablo Larrazabal – who progressed through qualification to play in the event – won the tournament, his first PGA European Tour title. The 25-year-old closed with a final round of 67, which included seven birdies, to finish 15-under par, four shots clear of Colin Montgomerie who finished in second place.

So, what have we got? Well, it’s the first course in France to be built to the T.P.C. model and naturally they chose a site on clay, which required the maximum drainage! There’s water and mounding to spare and there’s no doubt that the earth certainly moved for Chesneau and von Hagge.

It’s a firm but fair course that's been built to host competitions and test the Pros. Measuring in excess of 7,000 yards, it’s the toughest test of golf in the Paris region and, given the unremarkable tract of land, we think they’ve created a quite remarkable course. At times you can imagine you’re playing golf on a links course and at other times (especially when the sun is shining) you can imagine being holed up in Florida.

In May 2011 it was announced that France was chosen as the host country for the 2018 Ryder Cup ahead of other bids from Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands. The Albatros course will be the stage. Click here for the full story.

Ross McMurray from European Golf Design was brought in to supervise changes to the course ahead of the Ryder Cup event and his main objective was the reworking of the greens on the 1st and 16th holes, the re-bunkering of the 4th and 5th holes (including the removal of the waste area between those holes) and the installation of a pond at the 11th hole, in front of the green.

New drainage and irrigation systems were introduced ahead of the 2016 Open de France, spectator mounding has been modified and roads and car parks have been resurfaced as part of the infrastructure improvements.

The 18-hole L'Aigle (Eagle) and 9-hole L'Oiselet (Birdie) complement the championship Albatross course at the 45-hole Golf National.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Reviews for National (L'Albatros)

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: 20 miles to the west of Paris at Guyancourt, surrounding the Chateau of Versailles – once home to Louis X1V – lies Golf National's stadium styled Albatros course. Rating: 4.3333333333333 out of 6

The course is in great condition due to Ryder Cup preparation. It's a lot better than it used to be (especially during winter months).

Not the best course for amateur golf. It feels like the course is made or TV. Nevertheless some holes are interesting. If you are in the Paris region, you should head to Chantilly, Morfontaine, St Germain or Fontainebleau. So much BETTER!

And the main problem when playing at Golf National : it took us (good golfers) 5h45 for 18 holes !!!!!!!! Unacceptable for the golf course of the French Golf Federation.

November 21, 2017


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Played here in May 2017. They are doing some refurbishment to the clubhouse, but having nowhere to change, or shower, was pretty shabby. We were sent to the hotel next door for a post round beer, but were then moved about as they were setting up for an event. That side of things was therefore very much below par.

Unfortunately the golf was the same. This will certainly produce a great Ryder Cup, but as a "normal" golf course it left a lot to be desired. It is fairly featureless, and not in great condition, but yes, there are some very good holes onto island greens. However, when you compare it to the K Club, or the PGA at Gleneagles, or even most of the Belfry, for example it scores badly. I am glad we played it, because of the Ryder Cup next year, but its not a course I would be desperate to return to.

May 19, 2017


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Alex
May 19, 2017

I can relate to your words - a disappointing course for me too, yes great tournament holes at the 1st and the 2nd - and a few more decent water holes late on but I agree with not as good as previous Ryder Cup 'stadium' courses.

A championship course about an hour from Paris and the notional home course for the French Golf Federation. L'albatros is the more demanding of the two courses with significant undulations, water hazards regularly in the line of play and a setup confirmed as a future Ryder Cup venue. A mostly open expanse course that is certainly challenging, but feels a little soul-less. Excellent value for money.
September 29, 2015


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It was a warm sunny day in mid- July just a week after The Open de Fance when I played the Albatros for the first time. Later that week I played it again after a round on Fontainebleau which was just as delightful an experience as Le Golf National. Normally I’m a fan of old courses. Colt and Simpson are among my favorite architects so I was afraid I wasn’t going to like the Albatros having read a few negative reviews about being reminiscent of Celtic Manor and Gleneagles Ryder cup course. All I can say is the reviewers must’ve caught this course on a bad day because it overwhelmed me from the start. The lay-out is AWESOME. Conditions were AWESOME. The greens weren’t just big but they ran 11 on the stimp as they got grilled by the sun. The course is the hardest one I’ve ever played and yet every bogey you make is your own fault! Make sure to play from the right tees because you’re not going to play your handicap anyway the first time. You need every club in the bag and you need to strike the ball great; to keep the ball in play in the first place and to make some length. The rough is deadly at best; In some places it looked like US Open rough x2... The course doesn’t feel unnatural at all, apart from the waterhazards at holes 15,16 and 18. The days I played it played like a linkscourse because of the firm and fast conditions.The planes taking off above your head indeed is a shame but it really couldn’t bother me after a few holes. See for yourself just how good this course is. MO
July 21, 2012


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We played Le National after rounds at Fontainebleau and Saint Germain and while the course in no way disgraced itself it has to be said it felt like a corporate golf course laid out to provide more entertainment for the television audience than the average golfer. It didn’t really bother me that the course was on the verges of an industrial park in the Paris suburbs. If you are looking for beautiful surroundings then Carnoustie probably would never make it onto your list of courses to play either. The fact that the clubhouse is really part of a Novotel is, again, not the end of the world. Presumably no-one comes here expecting history. If you come looking for a modern-day Europen Ryder Cup course then you will get exactly that. Unfortunately, in early May the greens were slow and bumpy and the fairways patchy and in need of maintenance. The holes had some challenge and almost two months later I can remember at least half a dozen of them clearly which, for me, is unusual! The last 4 are set around water and will without a doubt provide a great finish to the Ryder cup in 2018. For British readers it’s a little like the 2010 at Celtic Manor crossed with the Belfry. A bit of a slog, all a bit boring but it could be worse. You could be playing the Centenary at Gleneagles…….
June 30, 2012


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Pas si extraordinaire que cela. le parcours est riche techniquement, pas facile à jouer à cause des trés hauts rough. En revanche, la qualité de l'acceuil, les prestations et services sont trés en deça d'un golf national de ce nom ou ce joue quand même l'Open de France. A noter, que l'étiquette est trés mal respectée (pitchs non relevés...)
October 07, 2009


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Great course on a very average tract of land. Built for championships and appears wide open and spacious when the stands and crowds are not there. Worth playing for the experience... a bit like the Belfry.
June 26, 2008


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Cedric
July 08, 2009
What stands?? The only one during the French Open is a very small one next to the 18th green...and that's it! Spectators are on the grass...
maarten
April 16, 2011
Perhaps he means the stands for the Ryder Cup that could be held her in 2018. I'm quite confident France will win, although I'm from the Netherlands
It has been said before and I have to agree, the surroundings are nothing short of ugly. That being said, you completely forget about that (as you don’t see it) as soon as you step on the first tee. This is a very fun course to play and some holes are very memorable.

Personal favorites were 13th, twin holes 15th and 18th and the par 3 16th. 1st and 2nd weren’t bad either. No poor hole there even if 17th was the weakest in my opinion; sure it is a long and tough par 4 (430 meters) but pretty bland.

The French Open is in about a month and their rough is surely ready! The toughest I have encountered ever! Even the first cut is deadly… It has always been referred to as an inland links due to its design but surely doesn’t play like one. Greens were not that fast and some a little patchy, hopefully the month to go will be enough to prepare them (the course is closed to visitors for the whole of June).

Their distance markers on the ground can be quite misleading but the stroke saver is well done. There is no real club atmosphere as this is only a pay and play course that has no members. Club house was rather cold, not very friendly and expensive, as everything else around Paris. Green fees, on the other hand, are rather cheap at only 60 euros week days (maybe only if you are a member of the French Golf Federation FFG?).

Definitely play this course if you are in the area as it is tremendous value for money. One negative point though, a huge one actually: there is a small airfield close by and if the winds require it (which definitely was the case when I played), planes are going to take off over your head every 30 seconds (not kidding!) and Orly international airport is not that far away either. Don’t know how the Pros can stand it during the French Open as they don’t seem to be able to lock this airfield down…

Give the course a try anyway as it is immense fun and a great challenge, but pray for the winds to be in your favor and make the planes take off towards the opposite direction… Cédric
May 18, 2008


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A poor, exposed tract of land that has been developed into an inland links. Great course and fantastic finishing stretch (Just watch a finish to a French Open round here).
July 18, 2006


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