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‘New Course’ by Gil Hanse set for summer opening at Les Bordes Golf Club in Loire Valley, France

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The new owners of Les Bordes–the principals of European private equity firm RoundShield and a few outside partners–have spent two years invigorating new life into France’s famed Loire Valley region through the historic estate and globally recognized golf club.

Embraced by nature, a sense of community, and spread across 1,400 acres of mythical Sologne Forest, substantial investment since 2018 has created an environment for fun and adventure for families at Les Bordes. Located a 90-minute drive from Paris, the Loire Valley is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage region famous for its chateaux, medieval towns, fine wine, gastronomy, and breath-taking landscape.

New family facilities have been delivered across the estate including a natural swimming lake with a white sand beach, enhanced equestrian facilities, boating lakes, archery, fishing, cycle, and electric quad paths, and a new tennis center. Younger family members can experience a petting farm, go-kart track, pony riding, and adventure playgrounds, with a kids’ club, ice-cream shop, and zip lines coming this winter.

golf course, aerial view, golf

Gil Hanse designed the New Course at Les Bordes Golf Club. It is scheduled to open this summer. When it does, there will be three courses at the private golf club, which many cite as one of continental Europe’s finest. This is an aerial view of the 7th hole.

Les Bordes Golf Club is exclusively private and governed separately from the rest of the estate. The opening of its highly anticipated second 18-hole course will take place this summer. Named the New Course, it was created by globally acclaimed golf architect Gil Hanse, who authored world top-100 courses Castle Stuart and Ohoopee Match Club as well as the 2016 Rio Olympic Course. The New Course is Hanse’s first project in continental Europe.

Lauded for his restoration work, including two of the next three U.S. Open venues–The Country Club and The Los Angeles Country Club–Hanse has already completed work on an accompanying 10-hole short course at Les Bordes, the Wild Piglet.

The recently developed new golf courses join the existing Old Course, to provide members with a diverse yet complementary array of playing options. Commissioned by Baron Marcel Bich in 1987, the Old Course is one of Europe’s premier golf courses. A tree-lined, par-72 course measuring more than 7,000 yards, it weaves through the Sologne Forest, intertwined with a stunning complex of lakes that offer a sublimely serene setting.

This course was designed by the late Robert von Hagge, whose award-winning portfolio includes more than 100 courses around the globe; with the Old Course widely considered to be his masterpiece. The design of the course represents the epitome of heroic golf architecture, with exciting risk/reward decisions to be made throughout. Much like his later effort at Le Golf National, host of the highly successful 2018 Ryder Cup, the Old Course is perfectly suited to the match play format and provides a stage for the utmost in spirited competition amongst the Golf Club membership.

Throughout its history, the Old Course has been perennially ranked amongst the top five courses in continental Europe and has often been regarded as one of the most difficult courses in the world. Whilst the challenge of the course is still quite formidable from the back tees, recent improvements have made the course more playable and multi-dimensional. Overly penal rough and trees encroaching on the lines of play have been removed, resulting in a more enjoyable and strategically compelling course presentation. In addition, the implementation of a new maintenance program is already yielding much firmer conditions that promote the ground game to a greater extent and make the length of the course less impactful.

As a result of these developments, the global allure of Les Bordes Golf Club is greater than ever. Formed in August 2019, it is accessible to members only and their guests, and includes approximately 140 current members.

Additionally, leading London-based architects Michaelis Boyd have completed a full renovation of the clubhouse and 24 of the 39 member cottages, while work on a new member gym, sports bar, mini-spa, and private lounge and games room, including a golf simulator, is to be completed for March 2021.

“We are blessed with a beautiful site in one of the most stunning and culturally-rich areas of France, 90 minutes south of Paris,” said Driss Benkirane, founder of RoundShield and an avid 6-handicap golfer. “With my fellow owners, a group which includes my co-founder and a handful of other long-dated partners, we aim to create the pre-eminent European golf club and to build a relaxed and fun-filled community for all members of the family – golfers and non-golfers, adults and children alike.”

Near-term plans include the announced partnership with Six Senses for the transformation of the on-site 19th century ‘Chateau Bel Air’ into an 88-key luxury hotel and spa, the creation of a community village square with restaurants, shops, a farmer’s market, and an outdoor amphitheater centered around the estate’s 13th-century priory, and a variety of residential homes also designed by Michaelis Boyd, half of which have already been reserved by golf club members prior to a mid-year release to market.

 

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A University of Maryland graduate, Dan is a lifelong resident of the Mid-Atlantic, now residing in Northern Virginia. Fan of the Terps and all D.C. professional sports teams, Dan fell in love with golf through Lee Trevino's style and skill during his peak years. Dan was once Editor of Golf Inc. Magazine.

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  1. Christian Soldier

    Mar 4, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    Will they keep the Muslim horde out.

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Masters 2024: Reduced-scale clubhouse trophy and green jacket to Scottie

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In the world of golf, there is Scotty and there is Scottie. Scotty Cameron gave the world of golf a nickname for a prestigious putter line, and Scottie Scheffler has now given the golf world a blueprint for how to negotiate one of the toughest tournaments to win. Scheffler won the Masters tournament for the second time in three years. He separated from the field around the turn, making a trio of birdies at holes eight through ten. On the long walk home, he added three more birdie at 13, 14, and 16, to secure a four-shot win over Masters and major-championship rookie Ludvig Åberg.

As the final group moved along the ninth hole, a quadrilateral stood at seven-under par, tied for the lead. Scheffler, playing partner Collin Morikawa, and penultimate pairing Max Homa and Åberg advanced equally toward Amen Corner, with the resolution of the competition well in doubt. Morikawa flinched first, getting too greedy (his words) at nine and eleven. Double bogey at each dropped him farther back than he wished, and he ultimately made a ten-feet putt for bogey at the last, to tie for third position.

Ludvig Åberg made the next mistake. Whether he knew the Ben Hogan story about the approach into 11 or not, he bit off way more than he should have. His approach was never hopeful, and ended short and right, in White Dogwood pond. Åberg finished the hole in six shots. To his credit, he played the remaining seven holes in two-under figures. Finally, Max Homa was the victim of the finicky winds over Golden Bell, the short, par-three 12th hole. His disbelief was evident, as his tee shot flew everything and landed in azaleas behind the putting surface.  After two pitch shots and two putts, Homa also had a double bogey, losing shots that he could not surrender.

Why? At the 9th hole, Scottie Scheffler hit one of the finest approach shots of all time, into the final green of the first nine. Scheffler had six inches for birdie and he converted. At the 10th, he lasered another approach shot into a tricky hole location, then made another fine putt for birdie. Within the space of thirty minutes, Scheffler had seized complete control of the tournament, but Amen Corner still lurked.

At the 11th, Scheffler played safely right with his approach. His chip shot was a wee bit too brave, and left him a seven-feet comeback putt for par. He missed on the right side, and gave one shot back to the course and field. His tee ball on 12 was safely aboard, and he took two putts for par. On 13, the 2022 champion drove slightly through the fairway, then reached the green, with his first two shots. His seventy feet-plus putt for eagle eased up, four feet past the hole. His second putt went down, and he was back in the birdie zone. As on nine, his approach to 14 green finished brilliantly within six inches. His final birdie came at the 16th, where he negotiated a nine-feet putt for a deuce.

Scheffler reached eleven-under par and stood four shots clear of Ludvig Åberg when he reached the 18th tee. His drive found the lower fairway bunker on the left, and his approach settled in a vale, short and right of the green. With dexterous hands, Scheffler pitched to three feet and made the putt for par. With a big smile, he embraced caddie Ted Scott, who won for the fourth time at Augusta National, and the second with Scheffler. Ludvig Åberg finished alone in second spot, four back of the winner. Not a bad performance for the first-time, major championship participant Åberg, and not a bad finish for the world number one and second-time Masters champion Scheffler.

 

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5 Things We Learned: Saturday at the Masters

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Just as the honorary starters broke our hearts with the reality of ageing, so too, did Saturday, with the revelation that third-round Tiger Woods is not yet (if ever) what he once was. The great champion struggled mightily to an 82, tied with three others for high round of the day. Among the top ten, the worst score posted was DeChambeau’s 75, but the large Californian remains in the hunt. Day four will see 2022 champion Scottie Scheffler pair with Collin Morikawa in the final game. In front of them will be Max Homa and Ludwig Åberg. The antipenultimate pairing will feature DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele.

If you look at the one-off major winners, most took advantage of their only chance at grand slam glory. For golfers like Homa, Schauffele, and others, Sunday the 14th might represent their best and only chance at claiming a major title. For Scheffler, Morikawa, and DeChambeau, the ability to join the two-time and three-time, major winners club holds great appeal. Finally, a young’un like Åberg seeks to jump-start a more-than-tour-winner career with a major title. Many of the greats won them early, and the Swede from Texas Tech would love nothing more than a chance to join that company.

Sunday at Augusta, as always, will be riveting. It will provide hope throughout the first nine holes, then gut many a competitor’s heart coming home, rewarding just one with a new item for the wardrobe. Plan your menu and choose your outfit. Masters 2024 is about to conclude. Until then, let’s reveal five things that we learned on day three of the year’s first men’s major.

1. The three most critical holes on the first nine are …

numbers four through six. You might make some birdies at the first and last trios of holes, but the middle triumvirate of fairways and greens determines your day. Play them even par or better, and you’ll lose zero shots to the field. Get on a downward spiral of slightly-wayward shots, and recovery will be nigh impossible. Anyone who makes three at the fifth, as Tiger Woods did on Saturday, will get giddy.

2. The three most important holes on the second nine are …

ten through twelve. We realize that we commit heresy by omitting one of Herbert Warren Wind’s Amen Corner traces, but par or better is critical at 10. Dry landings at 11 and 12 set the competitor up for two par fives in three holes, sandwiched around a straightforward, par-four hole. Remember when Ben Crenshaw began his march to glory in 1995? It all started with birdie at the 10th.

3. The most interesting and efficient round of day three came from …

Collin Morikawa. Birdies at the first three holes, followed by bogey-birdie at six and eight, then ten consecutive pars to finish off the second-low round of the day. Morikawa has improved each day, from 71 to 70 to 69. He has won majors in England and California. He has the temperment for this sort of day, but will certainly be in the hottest of all cauldrons around 3 pm on Sunday.

4. The guy who lost the most ground on day three was …

Nikolai Hojgaard. The dude failed to make par from the seventh green to the 16th. After three consecutive birdies around the turn (8 through 10), the Great Dane tumbled to earth with five consecutive bogeys. 11 and 12, we understand, but 13 and 15 are par-five holes, for goodness sake! No matter where he finds himself on day four’s back nine, it will be hard to put that stretch of golf out of his mind.

5. Our pick for the green jacket is …

impossible to nail. We suspect that certain players should and could perform on Sunday. We remember when Retief Goosen, a great US Open winner until round four of 2005, lost his mojo. We recall days when Rich Beam and Y.E. Yang pulled major titles away from Tiger Woods. Things go wrong on Sunday, and they go wrong super-quick at Augusta.

We’ve decided to ascend Mount Olympus for our Sunday selection. Who better than the 2021 Olympic champion to add a long-awaited, first major title. It’s Professor X for us: Xander Schauffele.

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5 Things We Learned: Friday at the Masters

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You don’t see leaves on the ground at Augusta National. The grounds crew and superintendent’s staff take care of those sorts of things, so that both course appearance and consistency of play are preserved at the top tier. We saw leaves on the ground today and, given the force and perseverance of the wind, we’re lucky that we didn’t see tree trunks along the fairways. We did see higher scores than secured in round one, and some of the three- and four-hole stretches were downright inconceivable. The cut after 36 holes came at six over par, and five dozen golfers reached the weekend of play. Numbers always define the story of a tournament, and we’ll let them define the five things we learned on day two of the 2024 Masters tournament.

One: 60 + 10

Sixty golfers posted scores of 148 or better through 36 holes, to reach weekend play. Ten more golfers posted 149 and missed the cut by a single stroke. The ones who missed the cut by a stroke included former champions Mike Weir, Zach Johnson, and Sergio Garcia. Also among the brood were current US Open champion Wyndham Clark, and Nick Dunlap, who won on the PGA Tour as an amateur in January, and subsequently turned professional. Of the ones who survived by the slimmest of margins, surviving to the weekend were former champions Jose Maria Olazabal, Hideki Matsuyama, and Adam Scott, along with Rickie Fowler and Tom Kim. Golf’s cut is a cruel and unconcerned blade, and each Masters tournament reminds us of this fact.

Two: One

The number of amateurs to make the cut in the 2024 Masters is solitary. His name is Neil Shipley, and most folks love him. He wears his hair to the shoulder, and appears to have the proper balance of intensity and chill. Shipley opened with 71, then held on for 76 on day two. He made the cut by three shots, and will collect his share of hardware on Sunday. It’s safe to say that Shipley will turn his attention to learning the course, as well as his own self under pressure.

Three: 23

For most sorts fans, 23 recalls the greatest NBA player of all time, Michael Jordan. For Justin Thomas, it’s a number that will haunt him for a long time. Thomas reached tee number fifteen on Friday at even par. The two-time PGA Champion played the subsequent, four-hole stretch in 23 shots, missing the cut by a shot. On fifteen, he went for the green in two, in some sort of halfhearted manner. He got wet with shot number two, went long with his pitch, and three-putted from the fringe. On sixteen, he played away from safety and found elevated sand. His blast went down the hill, and he missed his approach putt in the wrong place. On seventeen, he missed his drive right and his approach long, and lost another shot to par. The coup de grace took place on the home hole: drive so horribly left that he had to pitch out to the fairway and hit three metal into the green. His third double bogey in four holes dropped him all the way to 151 and plus seven. Among the many questions, the foremost one was why he dropped his longtime caddy on the eve of a major championship. Surely Bones would have saved him one of those shots, and perhaps more.

Four: Forty-Nine divided by five or six

Tiger Woods cannot possibly win title number six at Augusta in his 49th year, can he? Not on this broken body, and not from seven strokes behind, right? Not with so few competitive rounds over the most recent months, and not one year removed from a third-round withdrawal from this very tournament. Well, if he cannnot possibly win, allow us to dream and hope a bit, and hold on to a fantasy.

Five: 3 that we like

We like Scottie Scheffler, of course. He seems to have a sense of Augusta National, and he was able to hold on in 2023 for the championship. We like Nikolai Hojgaard, because he might have just the proper combination of naivete and experience for a first-time winner. Finally, we like Collin Morikawa, a winner of two separate major titles. Winning at Augusta National requires a certain amount of length, unless you putt lights out. Morikawa might be embedded in one of those putting weeks.

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