The only true links course in France, the Granville Golf Club has been benefiting from the sea breeze for over a century. Inaugurated in 1912 on the dune massif, this course seduces lovers of the game, of golf in its purest form, while in its club-house you can enjoy the flavours of the land and the sea. A links course to discover or to play again without moderation, in any season.
By Claude Granveaud-Vallat
The sea wind has always swept along the Channel coast, from the nose of Jobourg to the bay of Mont Saint-Michel. As early as 1912, golfers took advantage of it at the gates of Granville, even if only nine of the 18 holes were open at the time. In 1921, the famous architect Harry Colt took over the design, adding his talented touch. Having suffered from the Second World War, the course was to reopen in 1956. To celebrate its centenary, Stuart Hallett, an architect with a passion for Colt’s work, was called in to correct some of the mistakes of the past.
Many of the bunkers were restored and relocated using old plans and sepia photographs. On the 14th, a new green was built, offering more shape to the game. The area around the driving range has changed its appearance, the trees separating it from the fairway on the 9th have disappeared in favour of a merlon created by an old English shaper. “These changes have brought the course into line with the requirements of the modern game, while preserving as much as possible of the original spirit,” explains Vincent Portier, who took over as director after the centenary festivities. A local child and a good player, he left his primary school pupils to take charge of the club’s future, a new challenge for this discreet man.
Between the bowl holes like on 1 and 7, the elevated greens on 10 and 16, the doglegs where you have to be sure of yourself to dare to fly over the oyats, the quality of the mowing of the fairways and greens – ice rinks as the Grand Prix approaches – on a course that can be played all year round, there is no time to get bored! And what about the tee of the 6th, the Panorama stuck to the beach cleared at low tide… The sea rumbles, it’s there, below. Eyes on the ball, you can’t help but see the town on the right and the whole course shaped in the softness of this course, the pointed roof of the old club-house serving as a landmark for the tee-off. What a view! The entire course team takes care to maintain the course, which can be played with dry feet all year round, in the sense of quality linked to aesthetics.
Since 1986, the Dunes course, a 9-hole course designed by Fred Hawtree, benefits from the same setting and the same ventilation as the Links. A little simpler, it can be played quickly and easily, perfect for a mid-day break as Patrick Schmitt, the club’s memory, reminds us…
The club-house, a granite doll’s house, has also been given a little facelift, with the renovation of the changing rooms, the reception and the pro-shop as well as the Albatros restaurant, overlooking the course behind the small windows or on its summer terrace. Only the chef’s talent seems unchanging! Alain Duval has handed over to Vincent Ledeme who delights everyone with the subtle flavours of the sea and the products of the land. He is always the first to arrive at the tide, and has his own addresses for a free-range chicken or a fillet of beef, and his own spots for picking ceps in the autumn. It’s enough to get back to health if the wind blows a little strong, for the time of a morning game. The Granville golf course is starting its second century under the best omens, those of talent linked to conviviality. So long life and good wind!
Granville Links Golf Club
1, impasse des Dunes
Tél. : 02 33 50 23 06
Site : www.golfdegranville.com
18T, par 72, 6195 m Architectes : Harry Colt (1921) – Stuart Hallett (2012)
9T, par 33, 2216 m Architecte : Fred Hawtree (1986).