Started with a very long day. An early start saw us all drive down in 4-5 cars to Folkestone, jump on the Eurotunnel train and we had drizzle and rain to take us down the 90mins or so into France to Chantilly. Slight disappointment the day before when we heard that the main course we were booked on (Vineuil) had a big competition on the day with young pros/amateurs from all over Europe playing. So we played the other course, Longeres. Very serious on the range and putting green with all these young pros about… the Swashbucklers soon lowered the standard.
Humid and sunny weather, the course was ok bit samey. Reasonable nick just not many memorable holes to be honest. Notably Mr Graham Lovely had a fantastic 15th…a short par 5 found him towards the front of the green in 2 and he putted up rolling his putt in for his first ever eagle…for 5 points…. and to win the hole…. and the match and help take the back nine by 1.
Phil took the overall win for the day with 35 points, Backdoor, Richie and myself coming in joint 2nd with 33.
We all saddled up after the round finished as we found out the course didnt like shorts (Mr Jaggs) and headed down the couple hours to Paris. Traffic was quite heavy, a quick wrong turn on the ringroad for us found copilot Jaggsy snapping away at the Effiel tower, Montmatre and downtown paris.
A very tired tour, all booked into the Paris National and despite a half finished hotel and the draft Heineken running out we all enjoyed the evening after a very long day.
L’Abatross, Paris National
I didn’t realise but the redeveloped course had only been opened to play for a few weeks (it has previously hosted the French Open for a number of years). The Albatros course is the venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup, a lot of work is being done on the hotel (its not very pretty), and clearly some work to do on the trimmings of the course and the organisation itself. Its hosting the French Open again in June and I’m looking forward to seeing how it shapes up and how Rory attacks it.
A few branded shirts and driver covers purchased by us in the newly opened shop helped to convince us it’ll a great event in 2018. The course was excellent (no surprise), and the greens very good given how much work has been done on them and the course in general. No marshalling I’m afraid so we had nearly a 6hour round in the warm humid sunshine… the cold beers barely touched the side in the evening.
Shot of the day was undoubtedly Jim’s on the 18th. With water all on the left and an island green, after a long tough day, Jim cleared the water with his second shot ending up in a very tricky spot left of the green. In some lush rough with no margin of error, he chipped in for an eagle to finish. Other contenders would be Phil’s double skip off the water to then bounce up to the green on the 15th island green, and I knocked a nice 6iron close into another island green on the 13th.
Winner on the day RichieBandit came in with a very impressive 32 winning the front and I managed to half the back with “The Claw” (see above).
Shower, beers and food in the evening after watching Palace miss out to ManUre in the FA Cup final. Yeti’s 2nd team apparently, and he did enjoy the win…. and they didn’t run out of Heineken… result. We also had a gutted Mr Loveless who took several hours to calm down after his mighty Eagles had lost.
Golf Du St Omer
Next day we had a 3hr drive up to St Omer from Paris in some very heavy rain… together with some heavy heads after the night before. A long drive, but we all pulled up eventually to a very green, lush and well kept St Omer Golf for our next round.
Quite a compact welcome clubhouse, we knew we had some rain coming but the course looked in great nick… exceptional greens.
Course itself was very hilly, all holes with interest and character with the exception of par5 and par4 on the back. Considerably more hills than than Surrey National (though more up/down rather than our side-to-side if that makes any sense). A few of us walked it and it wasn’t too bad. I noted early on that it would be a great model in terms of course preparation and finishing for Surrey National if we had investment and resources. Highly recommended if you fancy a trip over to play any courses around Calais.
A number of people had played the course before (a few played on Graham Adams’ 50th tour recently), but new to most and I think we all enjoyed it despite the weather coming in on the back nine weighing a few down. I managed the overall win on the day with 35, Richie anmd Le Jaggsy coming in joint 2nd just one behind.
We stayed at the hotel at the course, a very nice setup and an excellent 2 course meal as compensation for not playing Vineuil at Chantilly on Day1. Late night for most (some more than others), a very good (long) day all round.
A 25minute drive next morning and we were at the coastal, links style course of Wimeraux. Perhaps a tad lush with recent humid weather which worked in our favour, it’ll be much trickier when dry and firm. An overcast day for us but only a few spots of rain in the afternoon.
Course weaves around within itself, some lovely holes that would no doubt be very different if the wind had gotten up. A nice contrast to the two parkland and ‘stadium’ courses we had played previously.
We ended if lovely warm sunshine, Simon taking the final day with a fantastic 41 points, Sean on 38 and Jim on 37.
Strongbow adding up all the scores for the week and Richie came in with 35 points on the last day and took the overall tour win with 134 points. Well done ChelseaBoy! I came in second with 130 points, and Phil 3rd with 124.
Phil won Mr Loveless’ 2 sleeve challenge and received a very nice 2018 Ryder Cup headcover as a prize.
Finally some thanks….
On behalf of all 12 of us, big thanks to Phil who once again was the driving force behind the trip away. We all had a fantastic trip despite the early course switch at Chantilly.
Matty Strong and Jim managed the scoring and results with aplomb, and also to our linguist Simone Le Bailey who sorted out the whip bar bills and baguette ordering with style and grace.
Invalid Displayed Gallery