After thirty years, the Golf des Étangs has found its second wind, in the heart of the Loire. A welcome breath of fresh air with the arrival in 2019 of new managers in this municipal facility. On the course, the developments are appreciated as well as the quality of the table, once seated on the terrace with a view of the Forez mountains. Its arrival within the Network encourages you to discover this club.
by Claude Granveaud-Vallat
The Golf des Étangs – a public municipal structure – was created in 1991 by a group of enthusiasts, first with four holes, then six, then nine, before being extended to 18 holes in 1997, and has been booming for the past three years with the arrival of a new management team. Local forces already involved in the economic life of the Loire, clearly showing their intention to develop the club, a tourist opportunity but also a local interest in a region where the green refers above all to the “cauldron” of Geoffroy Guichard, the stadium of Saint-Etienne.
Patrick Sautereau, Badr Boukhrissi and their team did not take long to revise the copy of Les Étangs, repairing the reception, the restaurant – Badr’s domain -, investing in the course with a lot of work on cleaning the ditches, renovating the machines, modifying the layout to bring the 9 to the club-house, repairing several greens as well as many bunkers. Not forgetting the arrival of a new chef in the kitchen and, for the past year, the presence of Virginie Lagoutte at the driving range. This former Ladies European Tour player chose Les Étangs to teach and pass on her expertise in competition. A choice that seems to be unanimously accepted by the big names as well as by the golf school. With approximately one million euros injected over the last three years by Patrick and Badr, the evolution is concrete and the enthusiasm found by all, as much on the course as when sitting at the bar.
On this 42 hectare course, water often comes into play. It can be found in a more or less dangerous way on 17 holes, a stream in front of the tees, a brook running along a fairway, a pond behind a green and a few more significant obstacles such as on 3, 7, 8, 15, 17 – beware of the slice… – or the 18th. Only hole 13 escapes these wetlands… Should we see this as a chance? In fact, it is the old 18, a hole that was supposed to reconcile us with life before sitting on the terrace and enjoying this idyllic setting. The most beautiful view on the course and the Forez mountains, in the opinion of the regulars of Savigneux and Montbrison, not all players but who, since a few weeks, have all taken advantage of Renaud Volland’s talents to have a warm meal. The chef offers simple, seasonal, quality cuisine, with a menu at a reasonable price, in line with the expectations of players and visitors alike.
On this layout stamped by Olivier Van der Vynckt, even if this architect is not responsible for the entire design, as Christophe Farou, the greenkeeper who has been in place for more than ten years, says: “Even if there seems to be a lot of water, all the holes offer a safe option for a bogey. Which is what 90% of the players aspire to… On this flat course, perfectly playable on foot, there is plenty of scope for fun, scoring and enjoyment in a region where Golfy is very well established. According to Patrick Sautereau, there are no less than 15 clubs stamped with the big “G” within an hour and a half’s drive from the Lakes, enough to cover the Auvergne, the Foréziennes and the Rhone valley in abundance.
Golf des Étangs
35, chemin du Golf
Tél. : 04 77 24 80 07
18T, par 70, 5562 m.
Architecte : Olivier Van der Vynckt (1991)