It’s October 20, the clubs are clean and shiny and I have more golf balls than the we have in the Pro Shop, A suitcase full of funky shirts and I’m more than a little bit excited. This can mean only one thing… Overseas Pro Am!
Alongside me for the trip were James Hodge-Brooks and Peter Le Quex. We sailed overnight from Portsmouth and arrived in France early on the Monday. After a small battle with the sat nav we were off to our first venue, Golf Parc. When we arrived we were greeted by ham and cheese baguettes, and escorted to our buggy for the day. If you get the opportunity to play this course make sure you take a buggy as the walks between green and tee are vast!!! The format for the tournament was the best 2 stableford scores to count and an individual stableford competition for the Pros. The course was a beauty with lots of trees, a fair amount of water and some quite undulating fairways – sound familiar? It was indeed very Daintonesque! As a team we contributed to the total pretty evenly and ended up with 78 stableford points, right in the middle of the pack. Individually I made a lot of birdies but with a few mistakes thrown in, and I ended up 1 over par with 35 pts, 3 shots off the pace. The highlight for me had to be Peter’s Majestic shot into a par 3 from a hugely elevated tee. The ball never left the hole, and was nearly very expensive, burning the edge of the cup and settling just behind the hole. A great start to the trip. Next up try and find the hotel!
Food Glorious Food! I have to say some of the best food I have had in my life. Great company great too.
Paris National tomorrow, bring it on!
On arrival at Paris National it immediately it felt special! Lots of the stands were still up and all the buildings were emblazoned by the European and U.S.A Flags. After a Pastry and Coffee we ventured down to the first tee and, OH MY DAYS there was a lot of water! The Golf Manager took great delight in telling us that the average amount of balls lost per player is around 12 – glad I had stocked up! The opening tee shot was a daunting one, with water all the way down the left and thick rough all the way up the right. Peter safely dispatched his drive up the safer right side but I’m afraid the same cannot be said for James or myself. We were both 1 shot in and 1 ball lost! In all honesty the golf course was phenomenal, but a bit hard for us, which reflected in our scoring. After a blob, 1 point, blob start I steadied the ship with a few birdies, only to come unstuck with a bogey, bogey finish for 29 pts, still in the mix but work to be done.
Our third and final course ‘Champ De Bataille’ was dubbed as France’s version of Wentworth so I was expecting trees, and there were A LOT of trees! A course for precision and good course strategy. James started us off with a missile of a tee shot up the avenue of trees. Peter Followed suit and I managed to nudge mine in a similar direction. 3 solid pars in the books and we were off and running.
This continued throughout the front 9, with Peter playing like a man possessed amassing a quite remarkable 25 points on his own. James came in with several pars of his own, and at the turn we were 11 under and climbing up the leader board. On the back nine the scoring slowed down. I think we were all pretty tired, however James did hit the shot of the day on the frankly terrifying par 3 17th hole with a laser like approach to 5 feet below the hole. I played steadily again scoring 36 points but bogeying 17 and 18 for the third straight day – a bitter pill to swallow!
So there we have it: a fantastic 3 days of golf. As a team we climbed up to just under mid table, and individually I managed to sneak second place, losing to Barry Austin by 4 points overall. Huge thank you to my playing partners James and Peter for a truly wonderful experience, and a special thank you to Graham Ruth, who organised the whole trip. Iif you are looking at a golf holiday I would highly recommend you speak to Graham. His organisational skills for these trips are second to none, leaving you to enjoy the golf!