I f you are seeking a golf break with a slow pace of life, the neighbouring regions of Normandy and Brittany have much to commend them.
This is a golf holiday with a rural, green hue, of courses and towns in neat, agricultural settings, of winding roads free from traffic and the freshest air in France. It is also a golf break in France where you might drink less red wine, for orchard owners sell refreshing homemade cider at the side of the road. The moules-frites, too, are divine. It is a golf break encapsulated by traditional market towns of bustling squares boasting a cafe, bar, post office and restaurants. And no ludicrous impositions on parking. Both enjoy temperate climates warmed by the Gulf Stream. Even if there is a spot of rain, it’s often quick to pass. And you’ll be well equipped for all weather anyway, because you’ll probably have your own car with you, full of all the gear you wish you could bring in your flight bag. Taking the ferry over also means no excess golf carriage fees, yet you play with your own clubs... The golf, as we said, is excellent too. Here are just a few to consider.
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Les Ormes is the ideal venue for golfers with families, given it has facilities such as football pitches, tennis, swimming pools, and even their own bakery on site for fresh bread or custard pastries in the morning. This neat parkland course, with a clubhouse like an old chateau, winds between trees and offers delightful holiday golf in exceptionally good condition. You won’t be scared of the bunkers but you will be enchanted by this walk among colourful, scented trees and flowers. It is a ‘green’ experience, as all courses are in the north west due to a higher rainfall than further south in the country. Plus, there are different packages on offer for weekend play-and-stays. You can savour the three-star accommodati on (45 hotel rooms and 36 apartments) or 26 wooden cottages and 30 treehouses.
Set in the forested ancient hunting grounds of Robert Surcouf and surrounded by the vast Mirloup lake, St Malo Resort’s course boasts spectacular views and plenty of water hazards. It is a 27-hole complex, all designed in 1986 by Hubert Chesneau, who was also one of the architects of Golf National. The main L’Etang course boasts spectacular views and as many as 13 water hazards while the nine-holer – which was part of the original 18-hole design – is maintained to the same standard as the No.1 layout. There is less water, so it is not quite so penal on wayward shots. The friendly three-star hotel offers golf packages and family accommodation that is close to the picturesque towns of St Malo and Mont-Saint Michel. Rennes St Jacques and Dinard are half an hour away.
There are more than 40 courses in this region, offering at least as much variety as its neighbour by virtue of them being located as far and wide as the Bay of Mont St Michel to the Alabaster Coast, from Perche to the Seine Valley, and from the Cherbourg peninsula to Auge. There are seaside, inland and clifftop experiences. Etretat, for example, overlooks the sea and the eponymous bay, enjoying a spectacular site that is one of France’s best. It has been exciting golfers - especially its cliff-edge 10th hole – since 1908.