As it approaches its 35th anniversary, in the south of Alsace and a stone’s throw from Switzerland and Germany, the LaLargue golf course is getting a new lease of life between the associations and visitors who have been won over by a varied course in the heart of the Sundgau’s forest valleys. Its return to the Network is a step in this direction.
By Claude Granveaud-Vallat
As the Swiss lands are cramped between the Alpine peaks, the Swiss easily go outside their borders, particularly to France, when they create a golf course. The LaLargue golf course was a good example of this, created in 1988 thanks to the talent of Jean Garaïalde and Jérémy Pern, the insistence of some Basel players who wanted to play close to home and the altruism of Baron Reinach who agreed at the time to give them a few hectares of land. In a quiet forest setting, the course quickly found its feet, taking advantage of the Sundgau valleys to flourish, but this was not enough to balance the budget. The Swiss investors had thought big, too big no doubt, as in the image of an oversized club-house where the table will soon be redesigned in a single restaurant. More recently, a Haitian businessman, Peter Reyne, took over the club with the intention of developing the hotel side of things linked to business tourism, but the recent health situation has put a stop to his plans.
Since the beginning of the year, Pascal Useldinger, a former pro who played and taught before setting up a computer company and then moving to Brazil for a few years, has been recruited to breathe new life into this club with considerable potential. With a “fresh” eye on the site, on the course, on the club and its members, he intends to exploit the qualities of LaLargue to make his club known beyond the confines of Alsace. By integrating LaLargue into the Golfy Network – a return for the Alsatian club – he wants to take advantage of the Network’s communication to make it known to as many people as possible.
“Arriving here for the first time in the summer of 2021, I was overwhelmed by the quality of the course, particularly the greens, its interest and the variety of holes. The potential of this course is enormous but little known…”. Pascal Useldinger’s words transcribe the expertise of a pro, a man who has seen golf courses in all latitudes. During this winter, with the course closed, he was able to confirm his impression as the thermometer flirted with zero. “The greens are of an incredible quality even in winter”, the cry of the heart when faced with a tree-lined, undulating, fairly short and very varied layout.
On the plateau, where the Alsatian wind can deflect ball trajectories and numb the fingers, the headwind reserves a few surprises on the par 5s of 4 and 14. But the main difficulty of the design lies along the Largue – a sub-tributary of the Rhine by the Ill – which, as it meanders, cuts the fairways of holes 1, 7, 9, 10 – a solid par 3 with a slight downhill slope – and 18 with real risks of lost balls. The profusion of yellow stakes around these greens should warn the players but some, overestimating their talent, see their hopes drown with the lapping. What to be quickly dropped… ! The greens are vast, they allow to vary the positions of flags and the physiognomy of the game. On the horizon of the 15th green, the silhouette of the Alsace balloon can be seen in the mist of a calm morning. For a long time now, the biotope here has been protected, the rough area on the left of the approach to the 18th green bears witness to this behind its red posts. The fauna has understood this well, as it moves in the water, on land or in the air as it pleases. Only the birdies sometimes have trouble landing… on the scorecard!
With word of mouth working very well on all three sides of the French-Almanian-Swiss border, the good intentions of the new LaLargue team should not be long in coming. The spring season will begin under the best possible auspices, with loyal members, regional players and long-distance golfers delighted to discover the charms of the Sundgau region through the LaLargue golf course and the surrounding restaurants, the flavours of Alsatian gastronomy no longer needing to be praised.
Golf de LaLargue
25, rue du Golf
Tél. : 03 89 07 6767
Website : www.golf-lalargue.com
18T, par 72, 6142 m.
Architects : Jean Garaïalde et Jérémy Pern (1988)