It is has been said that 'the pen is mightier than the sword'.
At Les Bordes perhaps it might be 'the mighty pen begat the sward'.
Baron Marcel von Bich was the man behind the famous Bic pens.
The Baron was also the driving force behind the creation of a private golfing esate in France's Loire Valley which was named Les Bordes.
American Robert von Hagge designed the Old Course at Les Bordes, which opened for play in 1986.
It was a beautifully conditioned, very private golfing enclave.
However after the Baron's demise in 1994, the club lost direction for many years.
In 2018 new owners took over and Les Bordes became a private and very excusive club.
Gil Hanse was engaged to build a second course.
The appropriately named New Course has a distinctly heathland feel to it, contrasting perfectly with the parkland style of the Old Course.
Hanse also created a unique 10 hole par 3 course called 'The Wild Piglet'.
The New Course is located on land nearby to the existing Old Course.
It was the site of the former Golf de Panay, a 36 hole facility.
The site is well suited to golf with a rolling sandy terrain.
Gil Hanse has used the terrain to advantage creating a heathland course of note.
Unfortunately when we visited the property had been through an extended heatwave, and the course was parched.
It was playable, but not as pleasing to the eye as it would normally be.
It was firm and fast- the ball was running like a traditional links course in high summer!
I am a fan of Hanse courses and was impressed with the variety of holes.
As a first timer on a journey of discovery, it was quite compelling.
The bunkering throughout the course is the focus as playing corridors are reasonably wide.
There are a number of very good holes, but for me the standout was the short par 4 ninth hole.
The wide fairway challenged the golfer to take on cross bunkers to set up the best position for a short but challenging approach to a high green.
Notable holes include:
- hole 7, just a lovely short heathland par 3. The low profile bunkering 'makes' the hole
- hole 8, a strong par 4 with a decent carry off the tee and huge greenside bunker to negotiate on the approach
- hole 9, a devilish short par four with cross bunkering in play off the tee, and extreme raised green. This is a hole that you won't forget!
- hole 10, a delightful short par 4 with water in play left
- hole 17, a challenging long par 3 to a raised green surrounded by sand.
- hole 18, a good closing par 5 with water in play for the second and third shots
Despite it's poor condition after an extended hot season, there is no doubt in my mind that the New Course will in time be considered "world class".
I would love to see it again when it has settled in and matured.
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