|Owned and built by the town of Correncons and at an altitude of over 1,000 meters, Correncon en Vercors Golf Club is nestled in the French Alps. (Brandon Tucker/TravelGolf)|
CORRENCON, France - It's hard to really fault Correncon en Vercors Golf Club for any of its shortcomings, when it's possibly the prettiest, most tranquil round in the French Alps.
The saying around here about first timers who find the course to be tricky and narrow is, "We want them to come back so they look for their balls."
The golf course was conceived by the village in the mid-1980s, when the golf industry really caught fire in France. They called on Hugues Lambert, a familiar French golf course architect, to design, and construction began, all by local farmers and builders, in 1987.
For 2009, the village is celebrating the course's 20th anniversary, and they're considering another nine holes. The village is proud of the club, saying it has been instrumental in developing summer tourism in an area more known for winter sports.
At an altitude of 1,100 meters, Correncon en Vercors is a mountain golf course as scenic as you'll find. It's also practically in the middle of nowhere. While no houses surround the course, you will pass the occasional hikers and even horseback riders on trails nearby. But the crack of a golf ball will be loud and echoing the entire 18 holes.
The golf course is on the short side, just 5,264 meters from the championship tees, the longest of four sets here. But what the course lacks in length, it makes up for in tight fairways and sharp doglegs.
Some of the holes that play uphill, like the No. 1 handicap 10th, play well longer than their listed length. With its small green and narrow, dogleg fairway, even scratch players will have a hard time making par here.
One hole that is simply too tempting to resist being aggressive on is the par-4 17th. It's just 255 meters, gently downhill from the championship tees, with a mountain backdrop. It's your last chance with a big stick too, because the 18th is a delicate, downhill par 3 that isn't much more than a wedge to the green. You'll have views of the nearby Correncon village.
Correncon en Vercors is an imperfect golf course in an idyllic setting. This is classic mountain golf, with small greens, tight fairways and picturesque views. Be sure to look behind you on some of the holes that play uphill (there are plenty) for some of the best scenery. This is a golf course that will eat up longer hitters who insist on hitting driver. It's probably best to play it on the reserved side - especially the first go-around.
While nearby Grenoble International, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design, is a more suitable championship course, Correncon en Vercors edges it out in the mountain scenery department. For these reasons, it's easy to forgive a few tricky holes that might eat your lunch for you the first time around.
Green fees are 30-55 euros, depending on the course condition. The golf season in Correncon is relatively short, usually running from April through September, depending on the snow season. There is a full driving range and short game area and a David Leadbetter Golf Academy.
Just a quick walk down the hill from the clubhouse, the Hotel du Golf is the best place to stay in Correncon. The three-star, spacious mountain lodge-type accommodations, complete with animal skin chairs and throw pillows, boast a one-star Michelin-rated restaurant serving more than 250 vintage wines.
On site is a hot tub and outdoor pool. You're just a quick walk into the village and have access to the hiking, horseback riding and biking trails around the Alps.
September 8, 2009
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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