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Saumane, the treat of the Alpilles

In the middle of the Vaucluse mountains, with superb views of the Alpilles and the Luberon, the Saumane golf course is a feast for the eyes. Its difficulty also makes it a great challenge. Former French champion Jean Garaïalde was inspired by the hilly natural landscapes to lay out a steep 18-hole course full of traps that well deserves its slope of 141 white starts…

A few kilometers from Avignon, within driving distance of the charming city of Isle sur la Sorgue nicknamed “Comtadine’s Venice”, the Saumane golf course is an ideal place to enhance sunny holidays but also to test the state of of his swing. Less known than its neighbor in the hinterland, Pont Royal and its route designed by the legend Severiano Ballesteros, it is nevertheless worth the detour, with its very Provençal charm, its breathtaking views of the Alpilles massifs, its terrace panoramic view, its attractive restaurant and the sporting challenge it represents.

the golf course is always full, with its 730 members and its 19,000 green fees all year round

Jean Garcia, director of the Saumane golf course

Jean Garaialde did not want to make Saumane a place for passing tourists or beginner golfers. It must be said that the course, which was launched in 1990, needs no artifice or complacency to attract the crowd. As the owner and manager of the premises Jean Garcia explains, “the golf course is always full, with its 730 members and its 19,000 green fees throughout the year. Games of four follow one another even in winter. It must always be beautiful here! We even set up an entry fee for 6 months.

Sublime views of the Alpilles

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 swimming 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 for modesty for those who hope to take advantage of the rolling fairways and the hot air favorable to the flight of the ball. The big hitters will have to beware!

Jean Garaïalde made matters worse

With its 6191 meters of white, Saumane is immediately solid on paper. From the tees it is downright impressive with plenty of doglegs, lots of blind tees, huge fairway bunkers and several cleverly placed water hazards. Mastering the “powerfade” is a real plus for keeping the ball in play…

It’s a course where you have to learn to place the ballwarns Jean Garcia. You must first be a good strategist and a precise player.”

Hole n°1 immediately puts you in the mood. This par 4 in right dogleg is still 393m uphill with a grove of maritime pines to be avoided at all costs and then you have to attack a deep but narrow green with diabolical slopes!

Hole n°1, serious right dogleg, puts you in the mood right away!

When we came, the greens, cored three weeks earlier, were a little slow. Fortunately, one would be tempted to say…”This is usually one of the strong points and one of the big difficulties of our course, swear Jean Garcia. They were at 2.80 on the stimpmeter before coring. You have to get to know them well to hope to score.”

The greens were still a little slow when we came.

The continuation of the course is not really more comfortable, even if the hole n°5, which overhangs the whole of the course, offers a sight which softens the morale started by a series of bogeys.

Hole n°9 also offers a sublime dive towards the club house. A pleasure for the eyes which should not make us forget the need to fly over a body of water on the third shot of this par 5 of 534 meters in double dogleg. A word of advice, if your index is not one digit, prefer the yellow departures (5,782m), the experience will undoubtedly be more pleasant…

Dive to hole n°9 and the clubhouse in the distance!

Unmissable 19th hole

The nine return holes are more straightforward and more conventional, even if the tightness of the face-offs remains the leitmotif of the course.

The departures are narrow, as here at hole n°14.

Hole n°14, an almost modest par 5 (480m for the whites, 454m for the yellows) alone symbolizes the character of Jean Garaïalde’s layout.

The start in a corridor of pines is narrow, the attack of the green in two is almost impossible despite a good drive. The green is indeed defended by a piece of frontal water. Also beware of the out of bounds for shots that are too long!

No. 18 offers a final oppressive start with water to the right and left of Dolgeg uphill. Even if the drive finds its way to the fairway, you will still have to try to avoid a huge bunker which blocks access to a small raised green. The par will be a very good score. As on all Saumane holes!

The start of hole n°18 seen from the yellows. Whites, the water hazard on the left is invisible, beware!

The panoramic terrace which stretches out its arms to you is then an invitation to relax which cannot be refused after such a journey. Fountains in water hazards will feel a lot less stressful with a drink in hand. Long live the 19th hole, unmissable this one!

The restaurant and bar terrace is a “must do” in Saumane.

Because we will not forget to also warn that walking is rather sporty.

Visually appealing, Saumane is therefore a golf course that conceals traps that will put your swing to the test. Be ready for the challenge!

Practical IT

Official site : https://www.golfdesaumane.fr

Visitor green fees : from 65 to 85 Euros (18 holes)

Restaurant : golfer’s menu at 23 Euros

Virtual visit of the course

©Fly Over Green

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