Approaching its quarter-century in the south-west of the capital, the Saint-Marc Golf Club has won over Parisians with its wooded, undulating and varied layout. Equipped with a practice range with targets and a welcoming clubhouse, offering a good table overlooking a beautiful terrace facing the course and the valley, the Club has just joined the Paris Golfy Club, enough to delight Golfystadors !
By Claude Granveaud-Vallat
On the outskirts of Paris – or almost – on the former estate of the Château des Côtes, hidden in the foliage, the Golf de Saint-Marc was created in 2000. It began as a 9-hole course – the current round – after architects Patrick Fromanger and Mark Adam, who drew up the design, bought the project.
Very quickly, in a strong catchment area straddling the Yvelines and Essonne departments, the young layout caught on. Word of mouth got around, and it was all the easier because the prices were so attractive. And they still are! In 2004, the holes on the return leg opened up onto a more rugged terrain, with several bodies of water in play and denser vegetation than on the outward leg. In 2007, a superb, intelligently-designed driving range was made available to players. Many players quickly adopted it as their practice facility. With 54 workstations spread over two levels and highly visual targets along the 250-metre driving range, there’s plenty of scope for progress while having fun. In 2011, the clubhouse took shape, relegating the Algeco reception area to the ranks of memories… Isaltina Mendes, the manager who has been here since the early days, remembers it with a smile. In 2014, the restaurant finally opened, with a room as bright as it is spacious, complete with a beautiful terrace overlooking the 18th green and the valley in the background. As well as the golfers, the staff of the Paris-Saclay cluster, a renowned science, technology and university complex, were quick to appreciate this table set in the greenery, just a few minutes from the intensity of their offices.
On the course, the outward journey is fairly open and fairly flat, and is fairly accessible despite a few narrow passages on the 5th and then the 7th, as the vegetation takes over. It’s best to rack up some points before tackling the return, where the water hazards from 10th to 14th will shake up the swings… and the cards! Between the red stakes and a few sloping shots, not forgetting the double-deck greens on 14 and 18, whoever gets their ball back to the clubhouse won’t be far from winning…
But what really counts is the variety of designs, on a fairly short course, in the lush green setting of these 52 hectares, 11 of which are forest, so close to Paris. An opportunity, a privilege, a luxury… In recent years, the tees have been re-laid, victims of their own success! They are now mown with the Simplex to prevent subsidence and improve their appearance. The 15th green has regained its stability, while the installation of an automatic watering system has made life easier for the gardeners. Olivier Deprun, the greenkeeper, who has also been with us since the beginning of the adventure, has adapted his team’s work to the changing ecological constraints, using mainly ORGANIC products and sanding more regularly. Zero phyto planned for 2025, that’s tomorrow! With this in mind, from 2024, the golf course plans to install electric mowers for the fairways, powered by solar panels. Another innovation, in order to obtain eco-labels, the club would like to have zero waste on the course by doing away with rubbish bins, involving the players in managing their waste. It’s a very trendy approach that should make them more responsible, while freeing up time for the gardeners, who have their hands full.
Even though the Indian summer is continuing nicely this year, the winter months are often synonymous with greasy ground. Thanks to the drainage work that has been carried out on a regular basis over the last few years, the winter playability of Saint-Marc has greatly improved. Everyone is delighted, starting with the players who played the course in its early days. They can appreciate the difference, as can the gardeners who work in better conditions.
A stone’s throw from the golf course, the Viltain farm, with its fruit and vegetable pickers open to the public, attracts a clientele concerned with good living, a sentiment shared by Golf de Saint-Marc and the Golfystadors, who should be quick to discover this friendly club, close to Paris and Versailles, easily accessible from the capital via the N118.
Golf de Saint-Marc
Chemin de Viltain
Tél. : 01 30 97 25 25.
18T : par 71, 5756 m. (blancs), Mark Adam & Patrick Fromanger (2000-2004).