Golf Saint Donat
On arrival, Golf Country Club Saint Donat presents itself beautifully with a wide column entrance to the clubhouse flanked by tall cypresses and a look out towards the northwestern Prealps around the perfume town of Grasse in the background. And the quality stays when you move out onto the manicured golf course, which is a middle ground between a forest track and a park course.
The difficulty level is not high, but the last 9 holes may well cause sweat on the forehead. There are more altitude meters hidden in the terrain than is expected on the otherwise quite flat 20 hectares which, in addition to an 18-hole course of 6,031 meters, also offers a 9 hole par-3 pitch & put course of 695 meters. An excellent place for a beginner to start.
And if any of the family members are not into golf at all, a tennis court can be booked at the nearby Tennis Club de Mouans-Sartoux, which has 10 courses, or you can relax in the shade of a sun umbrella by the club’s small swimming pool.
Calling the golf facility a country club may be just over the top, as the course is largely surrounded by dense settlements, but there are, after all, enough activities for the whole family to have a good holiday day in retreating surroundings.
Coolness at an early start time is recommended
If you do not have an early start time in the cool morning, it is recommended that you rent a golf cart. Me and my playing partner had forgotten that the first time we played the pitch. It was a hot day, and several liters of water were drunk along the way on this mischievous course, which in its layout and rolling landscapes has characteristics from Robert Trent JonesJr.
The facility also accommodates good training facilities, including a 240-metre long driving range with 24 impact sites, a third of which are covered.
The green fee may be a little pricey, especially in the morning hours, but if you want to play several days, a golf pass for 3 courses in the area can be a good discount solution, which you can read about on the club’s website.
A gentle start
The first two holes are affordable in length and difficulty, and my playing partner, of course, immediately put me under pressure with a birdie on hole 1.
As I wasn’t sweating enough already! Hole 3 is rated as the course’s most difficult, but is also one of the most beautiful with a long par-3 hole defended by tall trees on the left and the River La Mourachonne on the right. In other words, the tee battle determines whether you can wrest a few points out of the hole.
La Mourachonne is a small tributary of the Grasse, which later runs alongside the somewhat larger Siagne, which has its outlet in the Mediterranean Sea just west of Cannes Airport. On the course in Saint Donat, the river comes into play on 7 of the 18 holes.
In other words, it is highly likely that at least one of my golf balls will now be sloshing around the Mediterranean off the French Riviera.
On the high tee spot on hole 4, you’ll once again have breathtaking views as well as a challenging tee shot on a stunning par-4 hole. Ideally, you should beat La Mourachonne once for each of the two strokes that together bring the ball to land on the manicured green.
You can be happy to score a pair and look forward to a handful of holes that finish front 9 through the woods and past the par-3 course, so remember to relax a little before the challenges hit you again as soon as you start on the back 9.
Remember to provide you with fresh drinks as you pass the clubhouse to hole 10, a difficult par-3 hole that instantly punishes you with water if you aim too far to the right. From the tee spot you have a good view of most of the facility as well as the club’s own chapel, which hides beautifully behind the green on hole 10.
Weddings are often performed in the chapel, as Golf Country Club Saint Donat is a popular venue for weddings and parties at the club’s La Closerie restaurant.
It is also here that we finish our round with much needed food and drink, which in quality sticks something of in the good direction from the normal golf restaurant. La Closerie offers good traditional Provençal meals for both lunch and dinner. The menu can be viewed on the club’s website, where prices reflect the quality without being scared off.
Course management is the key word
But before we can enjoy the food on hole 19, back 9 must be defeated. After the water flow on hole 10 continues on relatively narrow fairways that require stable, straight strokes.
Hole 13 is an astonishingly short par-5 hole that many can reach in 2 strokes, and on hole 14 you notice how hilly the back 9 is compared to the front 9. You can lose your breath a little by walking, and not least at the view of the beautiful hole 15, which in turn, brings you into close contact with the River La Mourachonne.
A single thorn in the eye, or rather the ear, is the noise of the nearby motorway connecting Cannes and Grasse, but fortunately, it is only on holes 15 and 16 that it is louder than the chirping of birds.
The river also follows you on holes 16 and 17, after which the long par-4 closing hole puts on two lakes to pass on the left side in a right dogleg. You won’t be allowed to relax until you stand sweat-drenched on the 18th green with a soaked cap in hand after 6,031 meters of challenging entertainment on this excellent par-71 course in the heart of Provence, dreaming of cool drinks on the restaurant’s terrace, of course, overlooking the green on hole 18.
Elite player in Saint Donat
Like most major golf courses, the course in Saint Donat has also spawned talented golfers, including Romain Langasque, who got his first golf club in his hands as a 2-year-old, and played his first hole in par as a 4-year-old at Saint Donat’s facility.
Since then, Romain Langasque has won the individual world championship for amateurs, he turned professional in 2017, and since 2019 has played on the European Tour with, among other things, a nice 3rd place in Made in Denmark in 2019.
By Mikael Mortensen / 2020.
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