Right from the start of the first hole, the tee shot is crucial. You don’t have many options and a 2 iron or a 3 wood, should keep you out of trouble. You will be left with a mid to short iron to the green, but you will need to be accurate, especially with a pin position just a few meters away from the water and some bunkers around the newly shortened green.
On this hole, the most difficult thing is to correctly assess the amount of water you have to carry, the distance your ball has to cover before touching down on the green surface. In fact, the equation is very simple, the further left the pin is, the more water you have to carry. The most dangerous flag position being the left far end one where power, distance as well as accuracy are required.
Though extended in 2004, this long par five seems quite simple to cope with. It requires a long tee shot aiming for the left part of the fairway. From this side of the hole, you will have much easier access to the small and well‐defended green. Next to it, an oak and a bunker team up to make the access from the right almost impossible. If that sounds tough, just bear in mind the far right pin position, just behind the tree, that the pros are treated to during the Open de France.
The tee shot requires a solid drive to the middle of the fairway of this long par four. New fairway bunkers in 2016 mean you will have to be straight and long before going further uphill towards an elevated green. The second shot played from the thick rough will be a tricky one if the pin is on the front part of this green, which is huge and full of slopes.
An important and challenging par four, it requires a solid tee shot to the left part of this elevated fairway and another solid iron shot down to the far green. While tall fescue can be found down the left of the fairway, making for an uncomfortable tee shot, on the opposite side is a steep bank, ensuring this hole is far from straightforward.
This is the second par five that was extended in 2004. Though the water hazard on the left is not really in play, players will require two solid shots, quite often into the wind, to reach the longest and narrowest green on the course, which is also well guarded by a few deep bunkers.
Played down wind, this very short par four has seen some golfers almost hitting the green from the tee. The wise, sensible shot is to hit a two or three-iron to the middle of the fairway with a second shot to the heart of the green. Keep away from the water hazard on the left and the reward could well be birdie.
A dogleg-right with a huge bunker on the bottom right of the fairway, the tee shot on the 12th is no easy matter. In fact, the longer your drive is, the narrower the fairway is getting. Only a drive carrying the bunker and ending up in the bottleneck a few yards ahead will offer you the ideal spot for your second shot to this elevated green. Players heading for the green from both the high rough or the bunker seldom reach the putting surface with their second shot and they might even struggle getting down in two on this large bumpy green.
Reshaped in 2004, the 13th offers a very narrow route to its fairway. This dogleg-right is a technical and demanding hole. If your tee shot is not long enough, you will find yourself with an almost impossible second shot to the well-protected green. Not only do you have to carry the water in front, but you also have to avoid the oak trees guarding the green.
The last of the holes extended in 2004, the 14th has a huge bunker defending the green, which is now difficult to reach in two. Even big-hitting players find it difficult to reach, particularly when swinging into the wind. The two-tier green also presents a challenge to players looking to gain an advantage here.
It might just be as difficult to get a par on the 18th as it is to make a birdie. The tee shot is essential, with water on the left and pot bunkers on the right. The final hole ranked as the hardest at the 2017 Open de France, with 147 bogeys or worse made throughout the course of the week. It should make for a fascinating final hole with everything to play for.
Le Golf National Golf Course
The Albatros course at Le Golf National is an 18-hole golf course in France, near Paris. Designed by architects Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge, in collaboration with Pierre Thevenin, it is located in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, southwest of central Paris.
Architect HUBERT CHESNEAU
Last Championship --