Home in one: Find a property near a French golf-course
- Credit: Archant
Does your dream life in France include relaxing with a round of golf? France has some amazing golf courses
In a year that was all about social distancing and new hobbies, many discovered a love of golf in 2020. Perhaps proximity to a good green, either for personal or business reasons, is now a factor in your property buying decision. According to the France tourist board, the country has more than 600 traditional courses and over 100 smaller facilities such as pitch and putt, so you don’t have to compromise your dream location to be near one, and with the right budget it’s also possible to find a property with its own course.
France hosted the Ryder Cup on the Albatros course at Le Golf National in Yvelines in 2018, and official figures show interest in the game has been steady in France since 2010, with over 400,000 golfers registered with the Fédération française de golf (FFG).
Without further ado, grab your driver and let’s tee off for nine holes across l’Hexagone.
The beginning of golf in France dates back to 1856 and the south-western city of Pau near the Pyrénées mountains. Pau Golf Club, in the commune of Billère at the edge of the city, is the oldest club in continental (not including Scotland where the game originated) Europe. The story is that Scottish officers first swung their clubs in the area during the Napoleonic wars but it was a few decades later, when British and Scottish tourists took a liking to Pau and began to settle in the area, that the club was opened. Today, members and visitors can play the 18-hole course as long as they have a golf licence and dress appropriately. If you too want to set yourself up in Pau, just five minutes’ drive from the club and 10 minutes from the city centre is this four-bedroom home offering modern comforts and a gorgeous landscaped garden, swimming pool and pool house.
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In the south of Brittany, St-Laurent is a 45-year-old course which offers 27 holes amid a forest of oaks and pines that has twice hosted the French professional championship. On the north coast is Pléneuf-Val-André, a clifftop 18-hole site with wonderful sea views, which hosts the annual Open de Bretagne. Both of these courses are owned by Bluegreen, with whom a subscription can mean discounts at the brand’s 49 locations across France. Also on the north coast, Golf de Saint Samson has an 18-hole course and a hotel, and just stone throw from the course is this incredible eco-friendly passive house with four bedrooms and a quiet and peaceful garden.
One of the most important dates in the French golfing calendar is The Evian Championship. One of the majors in the women’s world golf tour, the competition is held each year on the southern shore of Lake Geneva in stunning Évian-les-Bains, Haute-Savoie. The Belle Époque a town is a place to enjoy the high life with its lakeside promenade, a casino and marina, as well as its famed mineral water and thermal spa. Its proud history does not mean it’s a relic, however. The golf course was totally redesigned in 2013 and there are numerous new developments, one of which, just along the shore in Publier, will offer this one-bedroom apartment with two parking spaces, a balcony and private garden with views of the lake and mountains. The development will also include two, three and four-bedroom apartments, with prices ranging between €238,000 and €656,000. It is due for completion in 2023.
4. Loire Valley
Hole number “fore!” takes us to a course considered one of the best in continental Europe. Les Bordes is an exclusive members-only golf club in the Loire Valley. Established by Baron Marcel Bich, co-founder of legendary pen company Bic, the club offers 46 holes including two distinct championship courses. It is located 45 minutes from the town of Blois and its château that’s hosted more than a dozen French kings and queens. On the outskirts of this fair town, we find on the market an appropriately grand 19th-century manor with eight bedrooms amid an eight-hectare wooded plot. If you are seduced by the château and fine wines of the Loire Valley but aren’t quite a member of the elite, do note that the average property price in Loir-et-Cher is actually only €124,900 and more accessible clubs include Golf de la Bosse and Golf de La Carte.
Sun-soaked heritage, proximity to beautiful beaches, and an international airport make the Roman town of Béziers, Hérault, an incredible southern French destination. Some 20 minutes inland, the town is a little removed from the heavily trodden tourist trail and as such has more attractive property prices, with an average house costing €163,000 or €1,140/m2. The department also offers a calmer atmosphere, in keeping with this most leisurely of games. What more peaceful a spot could you imagine than on the terrace of this renovated three-bedroom hilltop house, enjoying views over the Mediterranean landscape. Nearby is Golf de St-Thomas, a large 18-hole course surrounded by scrubland, while down at the coast is the Golf International du Cap d’Agde.
One of France’s top golf resorts is the Château des Vigiers on the Dordogne/Gironde border where a 16th-century château has been turned into a luxury 4-star hotel. The estate also incorporates a second more contemporary hotel, a small real estate development, a Michelin-star restaurant, a spa, vineyards, a lake and – the reason we’re here – a 27-hole course. Designed by esteemed golf architect Donald Steel, it can be divided into three nine-hole rounds: Le Lac, La Vallée and Les Vignes. The site caterers to all levels and lessons are available for those who want to build their skills. A short drive from the estate, this luxurious four-bedroom bungalow in the town of Ste-Foy-la-Grande (which has rail links to Bordeaux) is set on 1.3 hectares of land and boasts a swimming pool, fishpond and solar panels. It could be your very own estate to relax in after a hard day’s pitching, or is a perfect turnkey property.
Stave off the yips by switching up your game regularly between the two courses within 30 minutes of our next property in Lot. The charming two-bedroom converted mill, dating from 1254, has lots of irons in the fire. It boasts wooden beams, a large fireplace and exposed stone walls. Situated within the Causses du Quercy Natural Regional Park and near the town of Gramat, the property also encompasses a barn that has been partly converted into a studio, and an old converted washhouse which is currently leased for €650 per month. All in, this could be fantastic for a tourist business. Guests can head over to golf at the Domaine de Bourrat campsite for a low-cost, no-booking-required game. Residents, though, may wish to become a member at Golf de Montal and, if feeling up to par, book a place at one of their competitions.
Home of the revered brandy, Cognac is a slow-paced historic town on the River Charente in the west of France. On a hill overlooking the river and surrounded by vineyards, the town’s 18-hole course was designed by illustrious French golfer Jean Garaïalde who represented France in the World Cup of Golf a record 25 times. Non-members are welcome anytime to try the par 72 course and, for a 19th hole, can pop into the restaurant in a century-old farmhouse. Family members who don’t partake in the game, may instead prefer the yoga lessons offered at the club. Within walking distance of the Golf du Cognac is this beautiful property comprising a three-bedroom villa and a one-bedroom apartment both with beautifully kept interiors. A long drive leads from the road to the house and a garden and covered terrace offer ample outdoor space.
Now why live near a golf course, when you can have one, or in fact two, on your own property? This incredible 13th-century farm in Villeréal, Lot-et-Garonne, is set on 11 hectares of land and has two nine-hole courses as well as two ponds and two barns. The main house has four bedrooms, two lounges and a conservatory, and a guest house has two bedrooms, a swimming pool and a private courtyard. The interiors are charmingly rustic and may require a few updates, while land within the plot is also suitable for further development, so this could be a great opportunity for someone who is looking to roll up their sleeves to work on a project. We, of course, recommend taking regular breaks for putting practice in order to keep stress levels down.
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