GOLF IN NORTHERN BRITTANY
An easy drive from the ports of St Malo and Roscoff, northern Brittany welcomes the golfer with a sumptuous menu of courses.
Northern Brittany has breathtaking countryside, historic towns and quaint villages waiting to be discovered.
Enjoy the rich seafaring history of St Malo and the sheer elegance of neighbouring resort Dinard.
Add the pristine medieval charms of Dinan, breathtakingly beautiful countryside, and even an enchanted forest, and you’ll still have only scratched the surface of this region’s delights.
STEP BACK IN TIME IN ST MALO
Walking through the cobbled streets of St Malo’s old town feels like you’ve stepped back in time. This popular tourist destination and busy ferry port offers visitors an authentic glimpse into Brittany’s important seafaring past.
The beautiful city curves out to sea on a stunning natural harbour that has created some of the best sandy beaches on the Emerald Coast.
Rising out of the granite, St Malo is a maze of medieval streets bursting with history and culture.
The legacy of pirates and the siege during the Second World War entwines with the bustling array of arty shops and the delicious smells from restaurants, outdoor markets and cafes, for a romantic atmosphere. Oysters and crêpes are local delicacies to be enjoyed in the restaurants of the town.
Intra-Muros, the ancient walled town, forms the heart of St Malo where the stunning Gothic and Romanesque Cathédrale de St Malo dominates the skyline.
Walking along its ramparts, visitors can see spectacular views of the town and harbour, including the islands and forts scattered just out at sea.
The pretty islands of Grand Be and Petit can be visited on foot at low tide, with the Fort National reachable on foot from St Malo’s longest beach, the Grand Plage.
If you enjoy hiking, the GR 34 coastal path travels right around the Emeral Coast and extends across most of Brittany’s coast from Mont St Michel to Le Tour-de-Parc.
With so many crêperies in the town, you’ll be sure to find somewhere to try Brittany’s famous galettes, savoury pancakes made with buckwheat and filled with ham, sausage, cheese, scallops and whatever you else might choose, as well as the sweet crêpes.
Thin and crispy gavottes covered in chocolate and caramel au beurre salé are also popular tasty treats. Don’t forget to try some locally brewed cidre!
THE GOLF PLAYLIST – Plan the perfect golf break
An easy drive from the ports of St Malo and Roscoff, Northern Brittany welcomes the golfer with a sumptuous menu of courses.
For seaside golf there’s the stunning links at Dinard, the spectacular holes at Val André, the open scenic fairways of Sables d’Or and St Cast, the tranquil beauty of Ajoncs d’Or or the moorland features of St Samson.
Inland, choose from the stylish course at Château des Ormes, the forest and lake setting of Golf de St Malo, or the pretty parkland courses nearer to Rennes – La Freslonnière, Cicé Blossac and St Jacques.
DINARD GOLF CLUB
This stunning links may remind you of classic British (more specifically, Scottish) courses such as Turnberry or Royal Montrose and with very good reason. Founded by the British and designed by a Scot, Tom Dunn, Dinard is the second oldest course in France (after Pau, in Aquitaine), dating back to 1887. With pot bunkers and tight lies on sandy turf fairways edged with gorse and heather, this is a must play, especially as most of the time you’re down by the shore. Not the longest, at a little over 5,800 yards, it is nevertheless an ever interesting and intricate challenge. Small, well defended greens mean you have to be on your mettle to score well, especially when the wind blows, which it usually does.
Our opinion: A must play for all golfers. Not long but can be very difficult. Favourite Hole: 6th.
GOLF DU DOMAINE DES ORMES
Situated between St Malo and Comborg, Des Ormes is set in a 370 acre estate surrounding a 16th century château. The domaine also houses a family friendly resort with campsite, hotel, log cabins and even tree houses (look out for them on your way round). The course cuts through mature woodland, with beautiful flowerbeds and delightful lakes adding a sense of style in keeping with the setting. The course isn’t particularly long but there’s certainly no shortage of subtlety. The club house was originally a farm building and oozes character, but if the sun’s out be sure to enjoy a drink or bite to eat alfresco on the terrace in front of the château.
Our opinion: A wonderful complex which has a hotel, superb facilities and a great course. Favourite Hole: 10th.
GOLF DE GRANVILLE
Located at Bréville, Golf de Granville is a true links and offers sensational views across to the Channel Islands. Re-seeded over recent years, with refurbished bunkers and celebrating its centenary in 2012, Granville is brimming with heritage and bears many tell-tale signs of the great designer Harry Colt, such as several plateau greens which, combined with the wind, present a real challenge in stopping the ball on the putting surface. If you’re looking to put together an itinerary featuring different types of course then this really has to be on your list. Or, if you’re simply seeking a top quality track then Granville ticks that box too. As an added bonus, it’s also on the Bay of Mont St Michel so one of the most popular and romantic tourist destinations is nearby, smack bang on the border of Normandy and Brittany. Free trolley hire when playing this course.
Our opinion: A ‘must play’ if you enjoy links golf. Favourite Hole: 5th.
GOLF DE RENNES ST JACQUES
On the south west of the city, this is an impressive championship course renowned for the quality and speed of its greens which you will find well protected. There is a real mixture of tight and open fairways and the 18th has a great finish across water to an island green. The clubhouse always has a buzz about it due to being close to the city.
Our opinion: This course produces many very good players and is a good test. Favourite Hole: 5th.
GOLF DE LA FRESLONNIÈRE
Freslonnière was opened in 1989 and designed by Alain du Bouexic. It has all the following facilities – 2 practice areas, approach area, putting green, plus pitch & putt – and is a high-class parkland course beautifully lined with trees making it well sheltered from the wind. It is not a long course, but difficult with many water hazards, tight dog-legs and narrow fairways. The clubhouse restaurant is highly recommended – under an hour from St Malo.
Our opinion: In some places you will need to walk single file as the fairways are so narrow. Good for the short accurate player. Favourite Hole: 8th.
GOLF DE CICÉ BLOSSAC
Close to Rennes, this course opened in 1992 and is very much in the American style. Suitable for all golfers, it’s an easy walk and has wide open fairways and large, generous greens. The clubhouse, with its restaurant and bar, has an authentic country club atmosphere, and beside the lake a new hotel has been built for those that prefer the convenience of staying on site rather than in Rennes, even though the city is only 9 miles away.
Our opinion: Another very good course worth playing in the Rennes area. Favourite Hole: 9th.
GOLF DE ST SAMSON
Designed by the famous Hawtree and Son partnership, St Samson is 6280 yds, par 71 and is a joy to play as it twists and turns through a landscape of pine forest and moorland. Near the spectacular Pink Granite coast and the resort of Trégastel, this is ideal for the mid handicap player. The 18 holes are varied, gently testing with many natural hazards making it challenging but not overly demanding.
Our opinion: Only a short drive from Roscoff and with all facilities on site, this is a perfect location for a short break. Favourite Hole: 12th.
GOLF CLUB DES SABLES D’OR LES PINS
The old 9 hole links course has been developed into a magnificent 18 hole course on the sands of Fréhel. The wide open rolling fairways make it a course suitable for all levels of player and with striking landscape and coastline it also offers the most beautiful scenery, amongst which you will find five water holes. It now also has a great clubhouse and restaurant.
Our opinion: A pleasant short links style course on the north Brittany coast. Favourite Hole: 13th.
GOLF DE PLÉNEUF VAL ANDRÉ
With exceptional views along the coast, Pléneuf-Val-André is an outstanding seaside course. A mix of clifftop links and heathland, it boasts some truly memorable holes that combine undulating fairways, thick rough, and well-protected greens. Holes 9 to 12 are particularly worthy of mention and can make or break your round, but the rest of the course is impressive – including some corking short holes. Regularly ranked among the top 10 courses in France, green fees are a fraction of the price you’d pay for an equivalent course in the UK.
Our opinion: A genuine ‘must play’ course and annual fixture on the European Challenge Tour. Favourite Hole: 9th.
GOLF LES AJONCS D’OR
Lying between St Brieuc and Paimpol near Brittany’s northern coast, this course takes its name from the lovely yellow gorse which covers much of the parkland and wooded areas. It’s a well-designed long course with generous fairways and a lake which comes into play on the 8th and 11th holes. Overall, the wonderful scenery and well-crafted holes mean it’s fast becoming a great favourite with visiting golfers.
Our opinion: A ‘must play’ when in northern Brittany. Favourite Hole: 6th.
NORTHERN BRITTANY DESTINATION GUIDE
With crowd-free fairways set alongside stunning coast and countryside,
golf in France can’t be beaten. Add to this outstanding food and wine,
a unique après-golf ambience and great value ferry-inclusive packages,
and you’ve got a golf break you’ll never forget!
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