In the middle of the Vaucluse mountains, with magnificent views of the Alpilles and the Luberon, the Saumane golf course is a delight for the eyes. Its difficulty also makes it a great challenge. Former French champion Jean Garaïalde was inspired by mountainous natural landscapes to design a steep, trap-filled 18-hole course that is well worth its slope of 141 white tees…
A few kilometers from Avignon, a short drive from the charming town of Isle sur la Sorgue, nicknamed the “Venice of Comtadine”, the Saumane golf course is an ideal place to enjoy a sunny holiday but also to try the state of your swing. Less known than its neighbor inland, the Pont Royal and its route designed by the legend Severiano Ballesteros, it is nevertheless worth the detour, with its very Provençal charm, its impressive views of the Alpilles massifs, its panoramic terrace, its attractive restaurant and the sporting challenge it represents.
the golf course is always full, with its 730 members and 19,000 green fees throughout the year
Jean Garcia, director of the Saumane golf course
Juan Garaialde he did not want to make Saumane a place for passing tourists or beginner golfers. It must be said that the field, which was launched in 1990, does not need artifice or self-indulgence to attract the crowd. As explained by the owner and manager of the premises Jean García, “the golf course is always full, with its 730 members and 19,000 green fees throughout the year. The games of four follow each other even in winter. It must always be beautiful here! We even set an entry fee for 6 months.
It must be said that the view, the preparation of the land (despite some areas under repair during our visit), the climate, the table, the pool even for the residents of “Madame Vacances”, everything is attractive. Business seminars are also frequent thanks to the many adapted rooms. But beware, the course itself is a call to modesty for those hoping to take advantage of the rolling fairways and hot, ball-friendly air. Heavy hitters will have to watch out!
Jean Garaïalde made things worse
With his 6,191 meters of target, Saumane is immediately solid on paper. From the tees it’s downright impressive, with lots of doglegs, lots of blind tees, huge fairway bunkers and several cleverly placed water hazards. Mastering the powerfade is a real advantage in keeping the ball in play…
” It is a field where you have to learn to place the ballwarns Jean Garcia. First you must be a good strategist and an accurate player.”
Hole #1 immediately gets you in the mood. This straight dogleg par 4 is still 393m uphill with a grove of maritime pine trees to be avoided at all costs and then you have to attack a deep but narrow green with devilish slopes!
When we arrived, the greens, de-cored three weeks earlier, were a bit sluggish. Fortunately, one would be tempted to say…”This is usually one of the strengths and one of the great difficulties of our course, I swear Jean Garcia. They were at 2.80 on the stimpmeter before the core was extracted. You have to know them well to aspire to score.”
The continuation of the course is not really more comfortable, although hole No. 5, which dominates the entire course, offers a view that softens the morale initiated by a series of bogeys.
Hole n°9 also offers a sublime dive into the clubhouse. A pleasure for the eyes that should not make us forget the need to fly over a mirror of water on the third shot of this par 5 of 534 meters in double dogleg. One piece of advice, if your index is not in the single digits, prefer the yellow starts (5,782m), the experience will undoubtedly be more pleasant…
Unmissable hole 19
The back nine holes are simpler and more conventional, although the narrowness of the lateral serves is still the leitmotif of the course.
The 14th hole, an almost modest par 5 (480 m for white, 454 m for yellow) symbolizes the character of Jean Garaïalde’s course.
The exit in a corridor of pines is narrow, the attack of the green in two is almost impossible despite a good drive. The green is effectively defended by a piece of frontal water. Also watch out for out of bounds for shots that are too long!
No. 18 offers an oppressive start to finish with water to the right and left of Dolgeg uphill. Even if the drive hits the fairway, you’ll need to try to avoid a huge bunker that blocks access to a small elevated green. The pair will be a very good score. As in all the holes of Saumane!
The panoramic terrace that stretches out its arms to you is then an invitation to relaxation that cannot be refused after such a trip. Fountains in water hazards will feel much less stressful with a drink in hand. Long live the 19th hole, this one cannot be missed!
Because we will not forget to also warn that walking is quite sporty.
Visually attractive, Saumane is therefore a golf course that hides traps that will put your swing to the test. Get ready for the challenge!
Official site : https://www.golfdesaumane.fr
Green fees for visitors : from 65 to 85 Euros (18 holes)
Restaurant : golfer’s menu at 23 euros
©Fly over green