Dec
26
2017
Vive le golf en France: Golf de Saint-Cloud (Part 2)
By Stephanie Wei under Travel

This is the second part about my recent adventures playing golf and hanging out in France for two weeks earlier this month. For part 1 of this series, go here — which is, of course, highly recommended! Like what you see? Check out and follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat…what am I missing?

 

(Photo by Patrick Koenig)

After the quick jaunt in Normandy, we arrived in Paris. Oui! Who doesn’t love Paris? Oui! I mean, no! I’ve been a couple of times, but I don’t think I’d been in almost a decade, so it was definitely long overdue, not to mention it was my golfing buddy-in-crime Patrick Koenig’s first trip. Though we only had one (and a half) free evening(s),  and I made the most of it and hit up a couple of the main tourist spots, where we dressed like cat burglars and performed impressive stretch routines and high-kicked our way throughout the city.

We traveled from Normandy to the Paris area to experience Golf de Saint-Cloud, where we battled the elements (again) — sleet, rain, sun, hail, snow, wind, etc. — with nine holes (plus three-five more). There are two 18-hole tracks, the Green Course, designed by some architect named Harry Colt, and the Yellow Course.

Saint Cloud is a private club, but it’s not like Pine Valley (women are admitted as members and allowed to play on days other than Sunday afternoons!), so it’s possible to experience this lovely track. Our friends at Private Golf Key can assist with you access to the most sought-out and exclusive courses in France and design a trip tailored to your desires.

The par-3 8th hole at the Green Course (pictured above and below) is the signature hole, aka the Eiffel Tower hole. Yup, that’s right, there’s a breathtaking, unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower. It’s like the trees designed to form this perfect window down the chute for this incredible backdrop. For golf geeks and Francophiles, this is like reaching nirvana.

Best part was our timing. We played as quickly as we could to get to the Eiffel Tower hole and we play really fast (when we’re not doing making silly videos and posing for goofy photos). It was raining and cloudy when we kicked off the round, but by the time we reached the fourth hole, the powerful and mighty sun fought its way through the overcast skies and started to beam down on Saint Cloud.

The lighting on the par-3 5th was downright magical.

As I’m sure you can tell, I took this photo, not the Insta-celeb pro photog. However, one of Koenig’s photos on the same hole was super sweet:

Back to the 8th hole. Patrick knocked his shot to about six feet. He made the putt for birdie and celebrated like it was 1999.

Quick fun story that is so awesomely French: The nice lady at the front desk of the clubhouse told Patrick and I that we could use trolleys (pull carts). We had been told earlier by our almighty leader Olivier that we would not be able to use them, but I mean, the lady that worked at the club told us otherwise, so we were like, OK, cool!

We braved the rain with our trolleys on the first hole without an issue. Same with the second hole– so we thought. The par-4 no. 2 is a really, really long hole and the second shot into the green is kind of blind if your drive is on the left side of the fairway. Koenig struck his second shot and apparently went pin-hunting, but he didn’t think he could reach the green and we couldn’t see the ball land. Shortly after his strike, we hear some people yelling kind of angrily. We looked at each other confused because we hadn’t seen anyone in front of us, but at the same time, we were like, “Whoops! Sorry!”

Photo by Patrick Koenig

As we walked just a few yards further, we saw a couple of greenskeepers who were doing some work behind the green. There was no one else in sight. After we tried to apologize and sheepishly putted out, one of the guys said something to us in French. We once again apologized for not speaking French (I can’t tell you how much of an asshole I feel like every time this happens even if it’s not entirely logical or rational). Luckily, the guy spoke English fluently and told us we were going toward the fifth hole, not the third, and pointed us in the right direction. He also informed us that we weren’t allowed to be using trolley and we politely said we had been told otherwise. We were kind of baffled and discussed the confusion before the greenskeeper guy instructed us to leave the trolleys by the third tee because someone was en route to pick them up.

At first, we were a little irked just because it caught us off-guard, but then I decided it was such an awesome encounter and exchange. It was one of those “Only in France!” moments, and I truly mean that only in a positive way. The guy was straight-up and possibly borderline rude, but perhaps not. After we hit our tee shots on the third hole, I couldn’t stop laughing at the brilliance of the moment because 1) I’d never experienced a run-in like that; 2) I couldn’t see the same thing happening in the U.S., Canada or the U.K. and Ireland.

You had to be there, but trust me, it wouldn’t happen in the States and if it did in the other countries, the person would be extremely apologetic. At the same thing, why shouldn’t a person who knows the rules and works at the golf club — regardless of his job or meaningless title — speak frankly to a couple of guests and inform them how to proceed. Plus, they were greenskeepers, so they obviously would know if trolleys weren’t allowed because of the conditions and the possible damage (?) they could have inflicted, or perhaps it was just no-trolley day.

Photo by Patrick Koenig

For the next three or four holes, it felt like this gang of around eight maintenance workers were trolling us. Or we all just happened to have impeccable timing. They drove the trucks with leaf blowers, etc. about 10 yards behind us in the fairway, or if we were on the green, they would pause their work momentarily while we played the hole out. (See video above for a montage of photos.) I personally found the whole thing hilarious, but I could see a bunch of snotty d-bags not being so amused.

We finally lost them around the seventh hole. I think it made us play faster and reach our goal of getting to the eighth quicker. Oui, only in France! J’adore!

Here’s another angle of a view of the Eiffel Tower from Saint-Cloud.

Photo by Patrick Koenig

Stay tuned for the next installment, featuring Le Golf National, the 2018 Ryder Cup venue, along with our escapades at the main tourist attractions in Paris!