After being picked up at the airport we were whisked away to the Museum of the Automobile in Mulhouse. If you do get a chance between rounds of golf and wine tasting, then it is a place I would definitely recommend you visit. The Bugatti collection is something to behold and if you like car badges like the ones that adorn the front of cars like Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Mercedes Benz then you will enjoy this type of automobile art. With such illustrious names as Cartier on display, it was a real eye opener.
Anyone who likes a good bottle of wine with their lunch or evening meal will have come across the name Alsace, this region of France produces some of best wines to come out of France, producing over 160 million bottles of wine a year. In my hired car and on the way to my hotel you couldn’t help notice not only the beauty of the landscape but the amount of vineyards you pass through. There are over 15,000 hectares of them in Alsace.
It looked like every household had turned their garden into their own personal vineyard and every slope or hill had been co-opted to become one of the many famous vineyards of the region. So my mind started to wonder how they were going to find any land to build golf courses on.
Alsace Golf Club
An answer came when I visited David Abercombie, Director of Golf at Alsace Golf Club. David is an Irishman who had worked for many years in Germany and was alerted that a local farmer in Alsace who was selling off her cornfields to be developed into a golf course.
That was over 20 years ago and David and his company designed what is now locally known as The Links of Alsace. This 7,010 yard track from the black tees has four other tee options and lies a long way from the sea, but the sculpturing, dry running fairways in the summer months, bent grass greens and whispery grass framing the fairways and bunkers all give it that links look and feel.
It’s a very friendly members club, which also incorporates a driving range and three practice holes for beginners.
The 4th a great birdie chanceBridge to the 10th green 14th with the old clubhouse
David explained the green card system they have in France, new golfers have to obtain this card before being allowed to play an 18-hole course, the test includes having lessons so new golfers obtain a certain standard of competence and also a good understanding of golf course etiquette. This became very noticeable as I played; I never had to wait on any tee, being called through on a number of occasions by a slower group, a truly refreshing experience to some I have had in England.
From the opening 357 yd par 4 1st to the 548 yd par 5 18th Alsace golf club is a very enjoyable track to play, very tough from the back tees and some great par 3s over water, shot making is truly at a premium if you want to put a good score together. But golf in this region of France is not all about great golf courses, but also great food and wine and back at the clubhouse you can help yourself to a beer while lunch and wine are being prepared for you. Don’t forget to share some of your lunch with Caddie the club dog, I have never seen such a contented canine.
Golf & Country Club LaLargue
Golf & Country Club LaLargue lies just minutes from the Swiss boarder and has a very multi-cultural membership, according to Dominque Velten, Director of Golf, with both Swiss and German members adding to the healthy French membership.. You can see why when you walk out onto the veranda of this stunningly designed clubhouse which over looks both the 9th and 18th greens. I would recommend you take advantage of a buggy, but to be fair to many of the members I encountered on my way round most were walking, I was the one that looked rather lazy,
The 1st a beautiful opening holeThe 450 yard par 4 7th green The challenging uphill 9th
my excuse was I wasn’t used to walking in such a hot sun that or looking forward to lunch with some more of the local produce!!!!
At 6,717 yds from the back tees this is a good test of golf and a beautifully designed track. You can’t help but think the two stand-out holes would be the 9th and 18th that come back to the clubhouse from their high elevated tees playing down to the valley, across a stream and back up to elevated greens. But the par 3 10th at 238 yd is a great hole played from a very high-elevated tee across water to the green some 100 ft below. The par 4 11th at just 319 yds is another great hole that is through trees to an elevated green. I could list all 18 from the dog right opening hole, but lets just say It’s a track that I really enjoyed playing and one I would love to go back and enjoy again.
Golf d' Ammerschwihr
The final track of the three that I played was set among the rolling hills and vineyards of Ammerschwihr in the heart of the Alsace region. You drive through so many vineyards to get to Golf d’ Ammerschwihr I was worried I would be polluting future bottles of wine!!! Here is another clubhouse veranda where you can enjoy a meal while watching golfers come down the beautiful par 4 378 yd 9th hole with its undulating fairway and long tricky green. For a municipal track it’s in great condition and if you can pull your eyes away from the beautiful scenery there are some spectacular golf holes to enjoy.
The roller coaster par 5, 3rd holeTight tee shot on the 7th Looking back on the Par 3 13th
The par 5 507 yd 3rd is a very tough hole with a blind tee shot to a sloping fairway, the much photographed 162 yd par 3 5th from its elevated tee across water. Make sure you get your choice of club right here. You will enjoy the run of holes from the 8th through to the 17th, this track is all about position from the tee. Taking into account all the undulations and rolling fairways, apart from the tees I am not sure there’s a flat lie on this track.
If you love your food and wine as much as you enjoy a good game of golf at some very scenic golf courses, with empty fairways and where golf course etiquette still means something, then golf amongst the vineyards of Alsace should be your next destination.