1st, Le National
You could pick a lot of holes from Le National because it really is such a great course, but I’ll surprise you here by going for the opening one.
It’s not a huge par 4 and it’s not overly narrow either, but trust me, when you tee it up there at the beginning of your round, there’s a lot going through your head. You can’t go left because there’s water and if you hit a weak shot to the right then you’re going to have trouble getting to the green. The second shot too is very demanding to a long and quite thin green. The front right pin is protected by a bunker which would have you playing back towards the water and anything long left has you taking on the lake. The wind can be quite a factor too.
In very calm conditions you’re taking about a 3-wood and 8-iron perhaps. But it’s not unusual to have to take a driver to set up that shorter iron into the target. I know that in the French Open this can really set up your round.
It demands a strong nerve and a solid game plan. It’s going to be such a wonderful Ryder Cup venue. It’s almost as if it has been designed with that event in mind. 2018 might be some way off, but if you’re a French golfer then thoughts of representing Europe there have been in your head ever since it was announced. That will be a huge season for all of us.