Var Golf courses in France, where to go and play golf on the Côte d’Azur and more particularly in the Var? From Saint-Raphaël to Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer there are 420 km of steep coasts of red rocks bathed by the azure of the Mediterranean. Endemic cork and chestnut trees mixed with pines brought back by the crusaders cover the Moors and Estérel with greens, the organs of this department which has pushed its advantages north to the Verdon gorges. The Var department has taken advantage of this gift from the sky to become a unique golf destination.
Some courses are close to the coast, others follow one another along the A8 motorway or lie on the slopes of the Alpes de Provence. Some great architects have left their mark on some of them, such as Pete Dye, Trent Jones, Gary Player, Dave Thomas, Robert Van Hagge… Not all are championship courses, but all have one thing in common: the sun. Another characteristic: there are fourteen like the number of clubs in the golfer’s bag and the fifteenth is prohibited!
Along the clear gulfs
Golf and Tennis de Valescure in St Raphaël is one of the oldest courses on the Côte d’Azur (100 years old!) And designed by Lord Ashcomb. Very short (5061 m by 68), the course, although remodeled, retains all its British charm. The challenge is to reach your greens, which we commonly call “postage stamp”!
Golf Estérel Latitudes in St Raphaël is a modern course designed in 1989 by Robert Trent Jones and complementary to its neighbor in Valescure. You will really feel like you are playing a different course from back tees or advanced starts. The signature hole: n ° 6 Par3 where you have to cross a water obstacle called the “ladies’ hole” because, it seems, infidel women were once thrown into it!
Golf de Sainte Maxime, before hitting the first ball, admire the magnificent view that opens on the tropezian coasts and the Mediterranean from the clubhouse. It is a rather technical course, in particular the last 9 holes which hug the sides of a fairly steep hill, with some spectacular holes including two Par3, the 6 and 17.
Golf de Beauvallon in Grimaud bordering the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, he is one of the patriarchs of the Var golf courses (1923). It only became 18 holes in 1996 when six new holes were added to the 12 old old course holes. These last six are placed in a hilly part of the Domaine de Beauvallon from where the view of Saint-Tropez and Gassin is superb from hole 7.
Saint Tropez Golf Club is the latest golf course along the Var coast signed Gary Player and Gerry Watine. Nestled on the sometimes steep hillside between Gassin and Saint-Tropez, it is a haven of peace. Spectacular too! The differences in level can reach more than 30 m and the greens are huge and undulating. However, its access is limited because it is reserved for members and their guests and for some privileged green fees.
Golf de Dolce Frégate in Saint Cyr sur Mer was designed by Ronald Fream between vineyards and olive trees on steep hills that fall into the sea. It offers ultra-spectacular views of the Mediterranean (the departure from the 10 is the summit). In mistral weather … certain holes (11 or 13) facing or across the wind are as many challenges for undecided players. At 18 which arrives under the hotel, you have to add the slope … rising!
Golf de Valcros at La Londe les Maures, conviviality and discretion for this somewhat unknown course. Reasonably hilly with water obstacles to relativize and make interesting a fairly short par 70 (5000 m from the yellow balls). A place that cannot be invented and the beaches of Lavandou (and the fort of Brégançon) nearby for a golfing day more intimate than the others.
Golf de Valgarde at the Guard, at the gates of Toulon, under the tutelage of Coudon. This perfectly flat municipal golf course is played on foot and with a jump! The water of sorgues runs everywhere, in puddles where poplars grow (in 5), in gutters which run on the right, on the left, but especially across fairways as in n ° 1 where there are three, blow on suddenly, to put you in the bath from the start!
Barbaroux golf course in Brignoles where from the A8 motorway between Brignoles and Le Luc, one can see one of the fairways of this course, designed in the Provencal hills by the American architects Pete & P.B. Dye. They have made the most of its twists and turns to make it a golf paradise for some, a hell for others. There is an undeniable fact: you have to be precise and rather good player to appreciate all the subtleties.
Crossing the Estèrel Massif
Golf de Saint Endréol in La Motte is one of the prettiest golf courses on the French Riviera. We are in the bath of the Provencal valleys from the first tee from where we must dive at an angle, below through the umbrella pines. Nice ballistics calculation when the wind blows, as well as on the par 3 of hole n ° 13 whose green is placed on the water of the Endre river.
On the side of the Alpes de Provence
Golf de Roquebrune The Roc à Roquebrune sur Argens is a very tourmen course On the flank of the Alpes de Provence tee which marries the hills facing the Massif des Maures and located in a characteristic environment of umbrella pines, cork oaks and thorny but fragrant bushes that form arbutus, cistus, and other junipers. Natural obstacles are the main difficulty.
Golf de la Sainte-Baume in Nans les Pins, a Mecca of Provence under the cliff from which extends the pleasant course which bears its name the Sainte-Baume immortalized by Cézanne. A word of advice, at 15, play a wood 3 to hit the ball and put your ball on the fairway, facing the glazed tile roof of the Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle (where de Gaulle and… Marie-Antoinette stayed). Something for lovers of golf, history and the art of living.
Golf du Château de Taulane à la Martre is located at an altitude of 1000 m. The magician Gary Player has made it one of the most beautiful courses on the Coast accessible to all handicaps. One hour from Cannes, meet with calm and freshness on an 18-hole course of 6300 m and 120 hectares of forest and lawn.
On the side of the Massif des Maures
Golf de Terre Blanche in Tourrette where Dave Thomas, the architect of the famous San Roque in Sotogrande, near Marbella, designed two dream courses on the Terre Blanche area of the Four Seasons Provence. The “Château” is the longest course (6616 m) and the “Riou” which takes its name from the stream which crosses the domain turns its 6005 m around the resort.
Vidauban golf course
Do not fit in the travel bag!
Vidauban Golf Club is the fifteenth course, the most beautiful of all, installed on the flanks of the Massif des Maures south of Vidauban, facing the vineyards. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones senior who said about it: “This is the route where I had fun because I was left completely free to create”. But it does not have a commercial existence, you can only play it at the invitation of one of the members!
What to see…?
There is the coast and the hinterland. The Côte d’Azur in Var is of rare natural beauty thanks to the two wooded massifs that are the Moors and the Esterel; they descend to the sea where they sometimes fall in escarpments of red rocks and coves of blond sand which make the colors and all the charm of this unique region. Near Hyères, the islands, especially the protected Port-Cros, deserve a trip to the sea or even underwater for divers.
The Var hinterland is no less attractive, especially for those who love Provence and its snail-like villages gathered around their old church and the place for bowlers. There are often good restaurants with local products and more and more good “Côtes de Provence” wines which have also created a very attractive road route which takes you on a tour of the Var region from Grimaud to Tourtour or from Fayence to Salernes in passing through Garde Freinet, les Arcs, Lorgues, Entrecasteaux and many others. In summer, all these villages are enlivened by patronal festivals where bowls and aioli always have a favorite place.
If you pass near Luc or Vidauban, don’t forget to make a small detour to visit the magnificent site of the Cistercian Abbey of Thoronet (church, cloister) which dates from the 12th century. In Saint-Maximin, the basilica dates from the 13th century while in Les Arcs the old Saracen tower offers a view of the whole region and shelters in its old exposed stone walls the “Watchtower Tower”, table toacked with Michelin. Finally, for those who venture further north to go play Terre Blanche or Taulane, the detour on the road which overlooks the Gorges du Verdon and Lake Ste-Croix is always worth the detour.