Le Golf National L’Albatros is the undisputed leading light of golf in France. This modern, sleek course has come to a fine maturity since it was first opened in 1990, and is everything a modern championship course is supposed to be – 7300 yards long, with a very clear style of play (inland-links, in this case), a number of signature holes and with the capacity to host a crowd. It was, therefore, no surprise to learn that Le Golf National was chosen to host the 2018 Ryder Cup, the major event it was born to host. Having hosted the Open de France every year since 2002, it has had a lot of practice hosting premier competitions, and the Ryder Cup is sure to be a huge success here.
This pristine golf course has water running right through the heart of it, in more ways than one. While many French golf courses feature no water features and go heavy on the bunkers as a defence mechanism, Le Golf National brings risk versus reward strategies into play, creating that element of drama that makes the premier golfing competitions all the more special. Holding your nerve at Le Golf National is not particularly easy.
All of the world’s best golf courses have a challenging closing stretch of holes, so when the title comes into view, the pressure comes on and anything can happen. This is very much the case at Le Golf National, with the final four holes built around some devilish mounds and lakes that can fluster even the finest players. Shoot too short and find the water, and overcompensate and go too far and find a bunker or a tough downhill chip in tough terrain. You can’t say you had a good round at Le Golf National until the ball is in the cup on eighteen, which is the mark of a world-class golf course.