Apr
8
2018
Vive le golf en France: 2018 Ryder Cup, Le Golf National and Paris (Part 3)
By Stephanie Wei under Ryder Cup

This is part 3 from golf party (#partiedegolf !!) in France for two weeks in December 2017. For part 1 and 2 of this series, go here and here — which are, of course, highly recommended!Like what you see? Check out and follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.

*Update: I wrote a draft of this post back in December/January, but then I traveled across the other side of the world to Taiwan to learn Mandarin and forgot I never published it! Better late than never and it’s obviously an evergreen post and I’m sure there’s even more anticipation now with the Ryder Cup just around the corner! Enjoy. 


Photo: Patrick Koenig

After storming through several golf courses in Normandy, we made our way to Paris. I was giddy with excitement to play Le Golf National’s Albatros Course, home of the 2018 Ryder Cup, which is about 20 miles outside the city and near Versailles.

To our disappointment, it snowed quite a bit overnight, so when we rolled up to the course right before sunrise, it was like a winter wonderland. We crossed our fingers that perhaps if we waited a few hours, the snow would melt and the course would be playable.

Alas, that didn’t happen, but a little bit of snow and frigid temperatures weren’t going to stop us from touring the venue where the best players from Europe and the United States would battle it out for always much-anticipated biennial matches!

Welcome committee!

First things first, my partner-in-crime Patrick Koenig took some sick photos, so you can get a feel of the layout.

 

Still lovely, right?

Le Golf National was designed and built to host a large championship, with the French Open in mind. In fact, inaugurated in 1906, the French Open is the oldest national open in Continental Europe and has been part of the European Tour’s schedule since the tour’s inception in 1972. The event has been held at Le Golf National almost every year since it opened in 1991, including the 100th edition in 2016.

As you can see, the stadium design provides plenty of great viewpoints for spectators and has the capacity to welcome 60,000-plus fans per day. If you’ve ever attended or watched a Ryder Cup in Europe, then you know that the fans truly bring the spirit, singing catchy songs with lyrics catered to individual players from both sides of the pond.

The biggest takeaways:

    • It’s not the easiest start in the world, with water bordering the first two greens.

 

 

  • There are many potentially intimidating approach shots where water comes into play.

 

  • It should be fun watching the pros test their short games around the greens with all the mounding, banks and slopes.

 

  • The closing stretch hole nos. 15-18 are the most notable and challenging — distance and accuracy will be key (sounds so cliche, but seriously, just seeing the wholes made my heart jump). They’re absolutely fantastic for the match play format, and no doubt we’ll witness even *more* thrilling drama than usual in close matches that go the distance.

 

  • The 15th fairway is guarded by a large lake along the right side, but that’s not all — then the green is almost completely surrounded by water. The par-3 16th is incredibly visually intimidating, with water coming into play again, of course. Club selection is pivotal, especially if the wind is blowing. Then, there’s the 18th, with bunkers along the right and water lining the left side of the fairway all the way to the island green.

 

  • It’s a beastly track with a great finishing stretch, not to mention very spectator-friendly, which makes it an awesome Ryder Cup venue. Excited, yet?!


Take a break from the golf and check out Versailles for a few hours during Ryder Cup week!

 


A collage of photos from our day at Le Golf National, along with being tourists at Versailles and Paris. We popped by to see some of the main sites — like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe — where Koenig showed off his top-notch high-kicking and stretching routines. Impressive af.