Le Golf National: Is it Ryder Cup Fit?
The Ryder Cup is a global golf phenomenon. It dominates the headlines, courts controversy, ignites social media, and draws in millions of non-fans. In 2018, the Ryder Cup makes its way to Le Golf National. When you get there you get the feeling that you are entering a sporting amphitheatre ready to embrace the passion, drama and sportsmanship that comes with the Ryder Cup.
Le Golf National Credentials
Designed by Hubert Chesneau, Robert Von Hagge and Pierre Thevenin, it has hosted 24 French Opens. It is a tough, dramatic and exciting course. Challenging lines call for risky play and this brings the excitement out for the spectators to enjoy. It is this prestigious reputation and spectacular golf that is played on this course, which has accounted for it being awarded the right to host the 2018 Ryder Cup and the Men’s and Women’s golf competition at the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games. If a golf trip to Paris wasn’t on your bucket list, it certainly should be now.
What is all the fuss about?
When you play at Le Golf National, you’ll find yourself warming up on the largest practise green in Europe. You’re chipping, putting and bunker shots, on the “Le Foulque”. From there you will head to the first tee “En Avant”, which roughly translates to “Forward”, and that is exactly where this will take you, forwards onto your golfing adventure!
It hits the gas pedal from the get-go. The first two holes — a par 4 and par 3 — wrap around the same pond. The finish is legendary. The par 4s at No. 15 and No. 18 play to dual island greens attached to the same sliver of land in a lake. Watching Ryder Cup nerves handle these holes could be fascinating.
It’s a battle of wits vs brawn
There are several holes on l’Albatros where the choice between safety and glory will add drama to the match play format of the Ryder Cup.
The Albatros course really begins to heat up when you enter the back nine. With six of the nine holes containing water hazards, you may hear a splash or two along the way! It is here where the true test of your nerve and skill comes into play. Joh Rahm describes the final few holes as the “best finishing stretch” in golf.
When facing the final four holes, Martin Kaymer shares his experience: “You can attack or you can play defensive, and you can make everything from birdies to doubles, even triple bogeys.” For many of us, playing it safe may be the best approach; but when the 2018 Ryder Cup arrives, you can be sure that the players won’t be holding back as they attempt to go big!
The final four holes
Hole 15: Le Juge
The final four holes will c with “Le Juge”, meaning the judge. Holding true to its name, this par 4 will judge your nerve and your skills, as you play alongside a lake with an approach to an island green.
Hole 16: L’appel (The Call)
The sixteenth hole plays a challenging downhill par 3. With an ever-present water hazard and disruptively placed bunkers, keeping a bogey off the card will prove challenging.
Hole 17: Le Verdict (The Verdict)
At first glance, the seventeenth may appear a breeze. There is no water or bunkers. It is 480 metres long which will encourage some gung-ho driving. This par-4 contains many humps and bumps that are sure to throw your ball off in all sorts of directions.
Hole 18: La Foule (The Crowd)
The 18th hole is of similar length, but with water everywhere and an island green. Standing in the footprints of the recent Ryder Cup players, the brave and the bold will attempt to reach the green of this short par 5, in 2 shots. The conservative players will still be challenged as there is no escaping the iconic water hazard surrounding the green.
It may be one of the fairest tests of golf the pros play all year. Only 11 players finished under par at the 100th anniversary of the French Open earlier this year. Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee won at 11 under.
Following a renovation costing 10 million Euros, the host course of the French Open 24 times since 1991 is ready for a bigger spotlight. It has been transformed from a “local course” — as Le Golf National General Manager Paul Armitage called it — to an international destination.