There are no shortage of regulars on GOLF’s Top 100 Courses in the World list — in fact, it’s nearly all regulars. But that’s not to say there’s no churn or fresh faces. This time around, seven newcomers made the cut, and in the coming days, we’re going to introduce (or reintroduce!) you to each of them. Here’s a closer look at No. 97 on the 2021-22 ranking: Les Bordes’ New Course in France.
No. 97: Les Bordes (New)
Gil Hanse/Jim Wagner (2021)
The holy grail for a course is to be built on sand. The build process is easier, the end product often more graceful, and such soil promotes proper playing conditions going forward. The neat thing? Various pockets of sand are being discovered in the most unusual places, from Nebraska, Wisconsin and rural Georgia to here, two hours south of Paris.
Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner made the most of the opportunity in 2019-20, building a most welcome low-profile course. Remember Spinal Tap and 11 on the dial? Too many modern designs scream at the player. Not here. The routing makes exquisite use of the land’s six- and eight-foot falls with the golfer often not seeing where his tee ball finishes. An appealing amount of mystery and uncertainty exist. Meanwhile, the muted landforms are a walker’s paradise and the various grasses/vegetation lend the course a handsome texture.
As for the golf, Hanse and team cut formidable bunkers into the sandy environs; the art is having your tee balls and approach shots skirt past the trouble. Central hazards abound and numerous rounds are required to sort through the design asks. Most of the greens are open in front and many are at grade with their surrounds, presenting countless run-up shot opportunities that dovetail with the bouncy playing conditions derived from the sandy soil underneath.
This design is one for the ages — literally — as its wholly playable by youngsters and aging players alike. Too few modern courses meet that criterium, but this one est parfait.