What you see is what you get at Golf Grande Bastide
At La Grande Bastide you get what you see, namely 18 good golf holes without any blind shots. The course is a well-kept park course, and it is fun to play with mischievous greens, which are well protected everywhere by numerous sand bunkers.
The biggest challenge is the heat and 7-8 water hazards on the southern part of the course.
French people speak French and preferably nothing but French. But on the golf course, they have, after all, embraced a single international word: FORE. If you have a crooked day on this compact course, you will probably need to shout it a few times, because many fairways are close to each other. Conversely, on this course you have an honest chance to play all 18 holes with the same ball, because there are only a few chances of losing it.
The opening hole is one of the options where a large right-handed hook can land in the water, but otherwise it is an unproblematic par4 hole with a small right-handed play. Then a good handful of holes are played dry-shoeed, before you again on holes 8 and 9 have wet penalty areas to the right and left midway between the tee and the green.
Note, by the way, that you do not turn at the clubhouse after the first 9 holes, in fact you only get close to this after hole 15, which is the most difficult of the course with a narrow landing area in a dogleg between two lakes. A short and controlled tee shot followed by a somewhat longer shot against the green seems to be the best solution to avoid wet balls.
Golf in the countryside
If you translate La Grande Bastide directly, the meaning is The Great Country House, and the entire neighborhood around the railway facility is also characterized by being former agricultural land. There are still a number of smaller country houses and light industry in the area, but several areas are being subdivided into residential areas close to both Grasse and Cannes, which can be reached in 30 minutes by car.
The course is flat and relatively compact, but the course architect Cabell Robinson has still managed to create a beautiful course, which from the yellow tee measures 5,416 meters. He is clearly inspired by Robert Trent Jones, with whom he previously worked, before La Grande Bastide was laid out in 1990 with its modern characteristics in an open landscape, where from the small highlights you can see most of the path between the young trees.
The wide fairways usually lead to well-protected greens, and during the warm-up before the round, it pays to spend a few extra minutes getting a handle on the speed difference between putting in co- and counter-grass.
The south of France supplies skilled golfers
One of France’s most successful golfers, Victor Dubuisson, was born in Cannes in 1990, and is thus exactly as old as La Grande Bastide. It is said that he holds the course record, which is 68 strokes, and that he set it before he became a professional in 2010. On this classic par72 course, where you meet a par3 hole 4 times and as many par5 -holes, while the remaining 10 holes are par4, a course record in -4 does not sound flashy, but it may be the difficult greens that prevent a lower score.
Victor Dubuisson has also played on the winning European Ryder Cup team in 2014 in Scottish Gleneagles together with, among others, Danish Thomas Bjørn.
Overview map “Plan Général” for La Grande Bastide
Bliss on hole 19
Good food and drink is always a deserved and tasty end to a round of golf in the hinterland of the French Riviera, where the weather most of the year is golf weather. And already at the end of hole 15, you risk becoming extra thirsty when you put out on the green right in front of the clubhouse’s shady terrace. But from there you have to move on to hole 16, which is a short par3 hole followed by the two final par4 holes, which should only cause problems if you drive the tee shot on hole 18 too far into the dogleg.
Unfortunately, the course can get a little brown and sweaty – but still playable – during the summer months, when adequate watering is an expensive pleasure. The club restaurant’s prices, on the other hand, are modest, and you can have a sensible meal accompanied by a cold beer or a glass of locally brewed wine without any pain.
The green fee varies somewhat in price between about 40 and 85 Euro depending on the season and time of day, but the club is part of the Open Golf Club concept, where it is possible to buy green fees on several courses for a better overall price.
Of course, the pro shop also rents out buggies and clubs, but I personally prefer to play this course on foot and with my own equipment. Remember to invest in a “Carnet de Parcours” course guide before you go out and enjoy this affordable course in the hinterland of the French Riviera.
By Mikael Mortensen / 2020.