The French Riviera is an ideal getaway for any golf enthusiast with golf courses blessed with spectacular fairways with backdrops of the Mediterranean, mountainous countryside and forested hinterland.
Many of the region’s golf courses have been designed by top golf course architects including Robert Trent Jones Snr and Robert von Hagge, and have superb clubhouse facilities and on site resorts. Most French Riviera golf courses have prime locations and close proximity to beautiful perched villages, vineyards, yachting ports and top Provençal restaurants so it’s easy to combine other pursuits with a round of golf or two whilst on the French Riviera.
Here are our recommendations for the Top 5 golf courses on the French Riviera:
1. Monte-Carlo Golf Club
Route du Mont Agel, 06320 La Turbie, France Tel: +33 (0)4 92 41 50 70
Monte-Carlo Golf Club is actually not located in Monte Carlo-Monaco, but in nearby La Turbie. It is an 18-hole par 71 course of 5679 metres (6210 yards) designed by Willie Park Jnr and was opened in November 1911 by the Societé des Bains de Mer (SBM).
Set at an altitude 900 metres above sea level, the course at Monte-Carlo Golf Club offers breath taking panoramic views over both the mountains and French Riviera coastline, especially from the fifth hole where you can see 3 countries at once – France, Monaco and Italy.
The course has immaculate fairways and is hilly with a long gradual climb to the clubhouse and some challenging shots posed by changes in elevation.
With a restaurant open every day except Mondays and an elegant clubhouse, don’t be put off by its proximity to Monaco and the ‘rich and famous’ – this is one French Riviera golf course you should definitely visit!
Bespoke Yacht Charter’s Top Tip: If you are a guest staying at Hotel de Paris, the Hermitage or Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort you should enquire with the hotel reception about ‘La Carte Cercle Monte-Carlo’ which is a loyalty program entitling you to a 50% reduction in green fees at Monte-Carlo Golf Club.
2. Golf Country Club Cannes-Mougins
175 Avenue du Golf, 06250 Mougins, France Tel: +33 (0)4 93 75 79 13
During a 14 year period, Golf Country Club Cannes-Mougins hosted the Cannes Open as part of the European Golf Tour and has been played by some reputable winners such as Greg Norman, Ian Woosnam and Severiano Ballesteros.
Opened in 1923, this 18-hole par 71 course of 6312 metres (6903 yards) was redesigned in the late 1970’s by golf architects Dave Thomas and Peter Allis.
With a scenic setting winding its way through the Parc de Valmasque Forest, wide open fairways, lengthy greens and natural water hazards at various sections of the course due to the integration of the Bouillide River in the layout, this course poses enough of a challenge to test any golfer.
3. Golf de St Endréol
Route de Bagnols-en-Forêt, 83920 La Motte, France Tel: +33 (0)4 94 51 89 80
Situated between the Var and the French Riviera, Golf de St Endréol was opened in 1992 and designed by Michel Gayon. With a course length of 5883 metres (6434 yards) we recommended a golf cart as it can be a strenuous walk as the course is laid out across 160 hectares of the 4-star Les Domaines de St Endréol Golf and Spa Resort.
Suitable for all playing levels, this par 72 gem is renown internationally and proves to be one of the best regarded golf courses in the region – it’s rated 14th in the top 50 French golf courses by “Golf Européen”, and is also deemed by “Golf Magazine” to be one of the 18 most beautiful French Riviera golf courses.
Grab your clubs and head there for a sun-filled round with a picturesque backdrop of parasol pines, the River Endre and the imposing rock formation Rocher de Roquebrune.
4. Golf Country Club de Saint-Donat
270 Route de Cannes, 06130 Grasse, France Tel: +33 (0)4 93 09 76 60
Located in the heart of the French Riviera between Cannes and Grasse, this 18-hole course of 6031 metres (6595 yards) offers an easy walk around a Robert Trent Jones Jnr-designed layout.
Taking advantage of the landscape, you’ll need clever club selection to aim close to the par 71 for this course with obstacles including sloping terrain, river bends and trees bordering many of the fairways and greens.
We recommend playing during the week as the course gets very busy on weekends.
5. Terre Blanche
3100 Route de Bagnols en Foret, 83440 Tourettes, France Tel: +33 (0)4 94 39 90 00
Terre Blanche is located within 30 minutes’ drive of Cannes or reached by helicopter from Cannes, Nice, St Tropez or Monaco. It is often referred to as the apple of the eye in French Riviera golfing terms with two excellent golf courses that meld seamlessly within a high-end hotel/golf/spa resort.
The Bouge family (French aristocrats) originally owned the estate which stayed in the family for two centuries before it was purchased by Bond himself, actor Sean Connery in 1979. Connery owned the estate for 20 years before Dietmar Hopp purchased it and built his Provence dream – a luxury resort with golf courses.
The courses benefit from an average of 300 sunshine days each year so they are a superb choice for practising your swing, and as well as the two golf courses the complex hosts the Albatros Golf Performance Centre and Leadbetter Academy so you can hone your technique.
The pinnacle of Terre Blanche is the 18-hole Château Course, well known for numerous water features. Stretching 6616 metres (7235 yards), it is accessible for those with a handicap under 35 and has playing conditions of a championship course. Each year in September, the Chateau Course welcomes the ‘French Riviera Masters’, the only Senior European Tour championship hosted in France.
Le Riou is the second golf course at Terre Blanche with steep fairways and offers a challenging game. At 6005 metres (6567 yards), the course is reserved for club members and their guests, as well as guests of the hotel. Le Riou is the venue of the Open of the Ladies European Tour Access Series, the “Terre Blanche Ladies Open”.
With such a broad selection of excellent golf courses on the French Riviera, we found it hard to pinpoint the top 5! Here are 3 other recommended French Riviera golf courses that came close to making par in the top 5 list:
1. Royal Mougins
424 Avenue du Roi, 06250 Mougins, France Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 49 78/9
Designed by Robert von Hagge, this par 71 beauty is one of the most prestigious golf courses of the French Riviera and situated near the village of Mougins with close proximity to Cannes and Nice Côte d’Azur Airport.
Opened in 1993, the course requires strategic game play with water hazards, bunkers and hilly terrain offering no respite for the entire 6004 metres (6566 yards) from tee off.
Green fees include golf buggies and plenty of balls, however bear in mind that Royal Mougins is a private golf course so it is reserved for members and their guests first.
2. Riviera Golf – Domaine de Barbossi
802 Avenue des Amazones, 06210 Mandelieu-la-Napoule, France Tel: +33 (0)4 92 97 49 49
Situated at Mandelieu-la-Napoule near Cannes, this 18-hole par 71 course has limited space but serves a suitable challenge for all abilities with rising greens, bunkers and trees dotted along the 5513 metres (6029 yards) course length.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Snr and opened in 1991, it was rebranded as Riviera Golf de Barbossi after it was acquired by the Barbossi Estate in 2008. One to include if you’re looking for on land pursuits as part of your Côte d’Azur yacht charter itinerary.
3. Château de Taulane
D6085, Route Napolean, Le Logis du Pin, 83840 Castellane, France Tel: +33 (0)4 93 40 60 80
Located an hour from Cannes at Le Logis du Pin, this course is worth a visit for the spectacular journey to get there alone.
Designed by Gary Player and opened in 1992, Taulane is a par 72 course of 6240 metres (6824 yards) with water hazards and pine-forest framed fairways with a picturesque backdrop of the Château de Taulane and mountains.
Our pick for stand out holes are the 9th and 18th which form a double green.
FRENCH RIVIERA GOLF PASSES
There are numerous companies offering French Riviera golfing holidays and combined golf resort-spa packages in the south of France, however if you are on a Cote d’Azur yacht charter and fancy an occasional swing or two, take advantage of some French Riviera golf passes.
Golf Pass Provence run by Golfeo who are a major golf tourism body sell several golf passes so you can maximise your time and money on some of the top golf courses on the French Riviera. French Riviera golf passes for sale are based on buying a pass for 3 or 5 green fees – passes are named 3GF Provence, 3GF Riviera Prestige, 5GF Provence and 5GF Prestige Riviera.
Riviera Golfer sell golf passes from 1 month validity upwards that offer reduced green fees across several golf courses, and discounts at selected pro golf stores. The Riviera Golfer website has a free membership subscription that gives you access to course notes and aerial videos.
For more information on what Riviera Golfer offers or to buy a pass, head to www.rivieragolfer.com
Check out our new article Golfing Yacht Charters on the French Riviera
This article was written by Rebecca Whitlocke, who with over 10 years travel industry experience loves to share ‘must-do’ destination tips and hidden spots to discover in France and beyond.
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