On Royal Mougins 18-hole championship course, it is surprisingly easy for guests to book a start time on any morning day before getting too hot, which is in every way recommended.
However, a later – and often cheaper – start time can go by, as golf cart is invariably included in the green fee price. On the other hand, prices are set so high that the pitch is primarily played by club members and the lucky people who have invested in a holiday home located on the resort.
Yes, in fact, you feel that the buildings are almost halfway into holes 5, 8, 11, 12 and 15, so a crooked blow can easily end up inside the cool drinks that, one imagines, have taken permanent residence on the terrace tables behind the hedges.
The 18 holes are not played for less than 145 euros. Many probably will choose to play two other courses for the same money, but if you have to try something spectacular, then Royal Mougins Golf Resort is a really good option.
There is nothing missing
On arrival, you can see right away this is an extraordinary place. It is large and the car park is divided into two areas, for members and guests respectively.
From entering the building, you sense that there is constant staff at the reception, restaurant, changing rooms, shop and golf carts garage, in permanent move to help give guests the best possible experience.
However, you have to hit the ball yourself, and caddies are – after all – not in play either. On the other hand, it is recommended that you buy a “Plan du parcours” as, surprisingly, the signage on the track is not very good. The course guide provides good information about the hardships of the individual holes and, thanks to the quick reference card, we managed to go from hole 4 to hole 5 without getting lost!
Difficult layout requires course management and good technique
The course does not belong to the oldest. Designed by world-famous American architect, Robert von Hagge, it opened in 1993.
The course architect, who passed away at 83 in 2010, is renowned for challenging the golfer in both thoughtfulness and talent, and has put it roughly with the words: “Hazards are not intended as punishment areas, but as signage to show the player the way.
If the player decides to challenge them, or if the player misinterprets the signage or performs bad golf strokes, they become penalty areas”. And at Royal Mougins, overconfidence is punished.
At the same time, fairways are everywhere viciously crisscrossed, so you hardly ever knock the ball off a horizontal stance.
On the other hand, the par-71 course measures only 5,393 meters from the yellow tee, reducing the course’s difficulty for most golfers who know how to play cards and accurately with a considered club selection. If you succeed, it quickly becomes a pleasure to play a round of golf on this excellent course.
The nerves on the outside of the jersey on hole 1
With a little nervous tension in your stomach, you stand on hole 1, a mere 295 meter long par-4 hole. You try to get your pulse down before the ball has to be driven out into the left side of the fairway, which slopes a lot down to the right.
I can’t reach the fairway bunker anyway, so it ends in quite a successful battle. From there it is an affordable 2nd stroke to the green, so you might be able to get on with a good score. Immediately as we go out on the fairway, it is seen and felt that the course is in a class of its own, and the green turns out to be hospitable and clipped to a good speed, without being uncontrollable for ordinary amateur golfers.
It’s always nice to have a good start. It reasonably managed to finish well, for both, me and my playing partner, on hole 1. Confidently, we drove on to hole 2. We had been warned that hole 2 is special. But on the tee spot, we lost both the mind and the breath while enjoying the magnificent view down to the green and further out into the Mougins Valley.
From the tee, the ball must be knocked 143 meters into the air, while at the same time, the hole has a level drop of 30 meters down to a green which, in front, is defended by a lake and, at the back, by green bunkers on both sides. After proper photography, we closed our eyes and sent both balls into the warm south of France air, after which we crossed the hole and drove on to hole 3. With 4 balls lost, it was quite a special experience and, almost, a little premature highlight of the round.
You can see where to hit the ball
From hole 3, the course changes character to a more open park course. Pair of well-laid lakes as well as trimmed broadleaves and cypresses between the holes make it relatively easy to play forward on two par-5 holes, at just 425 and 437 meters in length.
On hole 6, you should wisely put the 2nd stroke in front of a transverse stream by the green, if you are not quite sure to have enough length. At the 7th tee place came the surprise of the day.
If you have played Swedish courses, you have also enjoyed the traditional sausages after hole 9. At Royal Mougins, there were no crack sausages at the small sale hut, but you could use the toilet and supply you with cold drinks and snack for proper payment before heading out to the narrow hole 7. The kiosk is located out of the domain, as you actually play the rest of the for-9 and most of the back-9 far away from the clubhouse until it comes back on the domain with holes 17 and 18.
It is also noteworthy that the majority of the course’s holes are oriented north-south, so you always feel that there is a little bit of wind down from the coast, that plays in your advantage or not. Fortunately, it also freshed us a little bit at the end of the round, when the midday heat increased.
Behind holes 15 and 16, you get a glimpse of the well-designed training facility before going home with an affordable penultimate par-3 hole. That is before being challenged by a very well-designed risk-reward 18th hole where pretty much anything can happen.
Now that you have spent a nice amount on playing this enchanting course, you must give yourself time and advice to also enjoy a meal in the shade on the restaurant Le Royal Gardens terrace, while enjoying the view of the facility.
Both the food and the service are top class, featuring many French and international specialties that are tasty without being flashy gourmet dishes. In other words, you can stay in your golf clothes without falling through on etiquette and everything takes place in a good and unpretentious atmosphere.
By Mikael Mortensen 2021
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