Golf course architect Gil Hanse travelled from his home in America to France’s famous Loire Valley earlier this month to hit the first tee shot at the official opening of the New Course at Les Bordes, his first design project in continental Europe.
In direct contrast to Les Bordes’ Old Course, the New Course features a more traditional heathland style. When combined with the 10-hole short course – the Wild Piglet, also created by Hanse and opened in 2020 – members of Les Bordes Golf Club will receive one of the greatest golfing experiences in the world.
Hanse said: “We’ve never built anything in continental Europe and we wanted to make sure that our first project was going to be something special, and Les Bordes gave us that opportunity. I have always loved visiting France, and to have the chance to create this course and leave a lasting legacy in such a beautiful part of the world makes me particularly proud.
“The golf facilities at Les Bordes are on a par with anywhere else in the world. When you consider the variety and contrast of the Old and New, the originality and quality of design coupled with the Wild Piglet and Himalayas putting green, across the board there are outstanding facilities for serious golf and fun golf – and there are very few places who can say that.
“One of the challenges that we were excited to accept was to have the chance to build a golf course on the same estate as (the Old Course), a course that has been ranked as the best in Europe. There are elements of a number of golf courses (in the New Course) including a lot of the great heathland courses around London and Paris. I think that I am always influenced by Pine Valley, which is very near to my home, and I think that some of the scale of National Golf Links is apparent out theretoo. If you roll all of those into one, I think that’s a pretty good recipe.
“With the three golf courses and the amenities that are already in place and the ones that are coming, I can’t see how Les Bordes won’t be considered one of the finest golfing destinations in Europe or in the world.”
Set 90 minutes south of Paris in France’s magical Sologne Forest, the New Course fits harmoniously into its surroundings, with the fairways blending seamlessly into the natural vegetation and trees, and maximum care and attention was taken by Hanse and his team to clear the location and preserve the natural environment.
Featuring large bunkers, subtle elevation changes and incredible green complexes, the layout measures 7,211 yards from the back tees but, in contrast to the Old Course, is expected to play shorter than its overall length due to the firm and fast playing conditions.
Jack Laws, director of golf at Les Bordes, said: “The opening of the New Course is a significant landmark in the history of Les Bordes and the culmination of many years of hard work from Gil and his team, and everyone here on the estate.
“The New Course is an outstanding golf course with truly exceptional architecture. It’s incredibly exciting what Gil has achieved here, and its addition means that our members and guests will be in the enviable position of being able to enjoy two world-class, but very different golfing experiences.”
The opening of the New Course headlines three years of investment at Les Bordes, developing a community where all family members have endless possibilities for fun and adventure. Completed on-site amenities include natural swimming lakes and pools, beaches, watersports, go-karting, fishing, equestrian, petting farm and biking and walking trails.
Future investment plans include an announced partnership with Six Senses for the transformation of the 19th century ‘Chateau Bel Air’ into a luxury hotel and spa, a village square with shops and restaurants and a variety of residential homes in various styles, as well as an equestrian centre, an organic farm, an art gallery and outdoor amphitheatre.
A video documenting the New Course and Les Bordes Golf Club can be viewed here.