Thursday, 29th September, 2016

Golf ‘Grand Cru’ by Tom Doak

Story published at 17:25, Tuesday, November 18th, 2014


Hole 14 of Tom Doak's Domaine Golfique Du Grand Saint-Emilionnais

Hole 14 of Tom Doak’s Domaine Golfique Du Grand Saint-Emilionnais

Golf is part of the family heritage in the Mourgue d’Algue family. With 30 national titles and 40 selections in the national team, Gaëtan, the father has dedicated his life to the development of golf in France.

For 40 years, this visionary has largely been involved in three major golf business activities; the organisation of professional tournaments among which the “Trophée Lancôme”, the creation of golf courses and of the first European guide “Europe’s Top 1000 golf courses-Peugeot Golf Guide”, and the first worldwide guide “The Rolex World’s Top 1000 golf courses.”

His wife, Cécilia has probably one of the most eloquent record in French amateur golf with 45 national titles and two silver medals at the World team championship. After winning the NCAA in 1995, their daughter Kristel turned professional on the European Tour. As for their son, André a scratch player and a national champion in his own right, he joined his father in golf course construction after graduating in engineering and political science.

Always in search of exceptional sites for golf course construction, Gaëtan and André discovered ten years ago this magnificent 252-acre piece of property located in a valley fringed by centenary oak trees and framed by vineyards and located just 6 miles from the village of Saint Emilion, a UNESCO listed World Heritage of Humanity site.

They fell in love right away with the site so well suited for a golf course not far from the Tower where Montaigne wrote his essays in the XVIth century. They then went into developing a proper concept and got the permits for in turn selling the project to a Canadian company, called Intrawest. A few years later, they got the opportunity to buy back the whole project and to build one of the best courses in Europe.

Having played quite a few of his courses and especially “Pacific Dunes” in Bandon Dunes, Oregon, the family decided to hire the Maestro of architecture, Tom Doak. His artistic talent is renowned all over the world and so is his love for nature and his ongoing desire to preserve it.

The goal here is ultimately to build a natural golf course that respects the site without ever distorting it. It will be fun to play for all types of players while remaining a challenge for the best; two essential components of a good golf course.

With seven acres of lake, rainfalls will provide a natural watering. By the same token, the selected grass is low on water and the mowers are hybrid. The overall maintenance is top-notch with 12 workers in the long run just for the course, and a highly qualified superintendent, playing off 3-handicap.

The Mourgue d’Algue are also developing a first hamlet composed of 11 houses aimed for the golfers. Well integrated to the beautiful region of St Emilion, they are located by the clubhouse with views on the course, the vineyard and a XIIth century roman church. The houses will be completed for the opening of the course in 2015.

A new experience will be proposed that will combine the “art de vivre à la française” with the British golf experience. That is the new challenge that is now facing this family of champions!

Domaine Golfique Du Grand Saint-Emilionnais www.segolfclub.com

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