In 1913 the Duke of Guiche organised a 6 hole course for the pleasure of his friends and himself in a park in Valliere.
The project was obviously a success!
In time the Duke engaged Tom Simpson to redesign the course and extend it to nine holes.
It became known as the Valliere course
The Duke went on to formalise the Golf Club in 1927.
He again then engaged Tom Simpson- this time to design the new 18 hole hole course known as Le Grand Parcours.
Some changes have taken place to the two courses since, with a new hole introduced and hole sequences changing..
Located in thick forest north of Paris, Morfontaine traverses some undulating heathland seemingly perfect for golf.
Tom Simpson did a grand job in routing the courses at Morfontaine, as the holes look very natural in their settings
It is not a particularly long course, and although mature pine trees frame the fairways, most holes have plenty of width off the tee.
The greens are generous and nicely contoured with some nice variation on pin positions.
It is however, the green side bunkering that sorts out the chicken from the eggs!
The bunkering is varied to suit the site on each hole, and is strategically sound.
In my opinion it takes both courses at Morfontaine to another level.
The short par 5, fifth hole on Valliere is a perfect example of how the bunkering ‘makes’ the hole, taking a tree lined turning fairway and adding a number of fairway and greenside bunkers to liven up the journey...
I also thought the quality of the par 3’s as a collective (both courses) was next level!
It is no wonder that Morfontaine’s Grand Parcours has been regarded the best course in Continental Europe for the longest time.
And some will argue that the nine hole Valliere course is in the same league.
Notable holes include:
- hole 2, a long, flattish par 3 to a green amply protected with bunkers and rough
- hole 4, a mid legth par 3 to a very well bunkered green
- hole 5, a short dogleg par 4 with character. The tee shot must carry rocks and long crass to get to the fairway.
- hole 11, an attractive par 3 tucked in the trees. The tee shot is all carry over heather and long grass.
- hole 12, a long, strong straightaway par 5
- hole 13, a unique short par 3 with a large tree dominating the lines of attack.
- hole 17, a slightly uphill mid length par 3 with a green seemingly surrounded by a moat of sand!
Morfontaine is a private club.
Guests might play at the invitation of a member.
If you get an opportunity to visit Morfontaine, don’t let it pass.
It’s an experience you won’t forget..
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