Inaugurated in 1990 and extended to 18 holes in 2016, the Côte des Isles golf course has been given a new lease of life since its extension. Although it is still swept by the winds of the open sea, it has managed to find its way through the biodiversity of both fauna and flora. These features reinforce the character of this route, which was not built in a day… Far from it !
It seems a long time ago that François Frachon and Pierre Nanty presented the project of a golf course on the Côte des Isles to the Manchois councillors of Barneville-Carteret… In April 1990, the Dunes course was inaugurated with the idea of seeing the design rapidly expand in the mielles, these marshy areas set back from the dunes.
A quarter of a century later, the extension finally saw the light of day, changing the face of the course. The initial layout designed by Didier Fruchet and Henri Tesson – a landscape architect -, as close as possible to the beach, became essentially the return route, while the new holes, designed by Robert Berthet, evolved between the ponds shaped by the hand of man. The specifications presented to the architect by the elected officials who decided on the project were very strict, and the artist’s talent had to comply… No addition of earth was allowed, and water features had to be dug out to create volumes of a maximum height of one and a half metres, equivalent to a hedge in the bocage. The ponds soon found their interest, beyond bothering the players.
Today, the area is considered “remarkable” for its wealth of amphibians, the little creatures that are sometimes heard, rarely seen and often ignored. Some, such as the Natterjack Toad – previously unknown in Normandy – have taken possession of the area, while others, such as the Great Crested Newt, are monitored exceptionally well given their European rarity. The wetlands created during the construction of the extension and the enhancement of the natural heritage undertaken by the team of gardeners have made it possible to act in favour of biodiversity. This approach is also reflected in the vegetation, an essential element of the golf course. Whether they are called white pearl, rabbit’s tail, bindweed, thistle, sea lily, dune spurge or long nutsedge, not forgetting the famous oyats, all these plants contribute to the life of the Côte des Isles golf course. Against wind and tide, they fight, bend but do not break, holding the soil in place, offering a magnificent setting to those who discover this “little known” course.
On the historical layout, now played from 10 to 17, Robert Berthet has changed the initial design by modifying four holes, 11, 14, 16 and 18. In the dunes, the course evolves gently between old pine trees, bent by the gusts of wind coming from the open sea. From Jersey, perhaps! This Anglo-Norman island whose coastline can be seen on a clear day from the start of the 11th. To the regret of the players, we do not see the sea more often but we hear it, we feel it, we live it by following the flight of the gulls which surf on the ascending currents, contrary to the balls sometimes ending their life in the limes, these ditches connecting the ponds between the 12th and the 14th. On the approach to the 10th or on the dogleg of the 16th, nicknamed Verdun for its succession of bunkers at the bend, you have to play with your head to find the greens in the wind. You don’t have to be a one-armed man… The hazards of a links course, like an air of Ireland in Normandy !
The committee wanted to open up the club’s structures and bring in new players. In this spirit, Robert Berthet created a compact six-hole course between the outward and return legs, an ideal space for beginners. With a pond in play on the 1st and 6th, this small course quickly gained a reputation among the summer clientele. For Jean-Louis Leclerc, the club’s president, these developments have enabled the club to double its attendance. “In the summer, we see families spending the day on the pitch & putt before taking lessons, with the desire to go on the big course. In accordance with the wishes of the elected representatives, we offer children from neighbouring villages packages at the golf school with lessons on Wednesdays and Saturdays, a licence, the loan of equipment, access to the pitch & putt and competitions. It’s hard to beat that !
All that remains for the Golfystadors to do is to join this beautiful course to discover, club in hand, all the subtleties, the charms carried by a sea breeze…
Golf de la Côte des Isles
39, chemin de Coutances
Tél. : 02 33 93 44 85.
18T, par 67, 4631 m