Ryder Cup 2018: Hole-by-hole tour of Le Golf National
Le Golf National has hosted the Open de France 26 times in its 28-year history, but it has never seen as big a spotlight as it will with the 2018 Ryder Cup.
Before the tournament, check out this hole-by-hole tour of the course, which will play to a Par 71 at 7183 yards (or 6568 meters).
(Yardages may vary for tournament play)
Players will want to impress on the first tee, but you can’t be overly aggressive. The water comes into play very quickly about 80 yards from the green. Players will impress more with their second shot than they will with their first. The correct shot to take from the tee is aim for the left of the fairway, rather than going for a massive drive over the humps to the right. You can’t be too greedy off the first tee, you should look to leave yourself 155-160 yards to the green.
With a back-left pin, this is one of the most difficult tee shots on the course. You can be heavily penalized if you come up short. If the pin is front-right, or middle of the green then it is a bit of an easier challenge.
This is a relatively straightforward driving hole, but you want to avoid going right if you can. Anything down the left tends to bounce out towards the fairway and if you manage to hit it straight down the middle, it can bounce on the downslope meaning it is easier to get the green in two. It’s not the easiest second shot because there’s a big bunker in front of the green which can be tough to get out of. A real risk-reward hole.
A hole which went through a major reshaping with the works done two years ago. There was a massive bunker between the fourth and fifth holes, which was nearly 200 yards long. That has been filled in to benefit the spectator experience as you now have sight of both holes. A big drive is imperative here and your second shot could be anything between a mid to short iron depending on the wind. The green is very generous with a massive slope from back to front. If you are ten feet past the pin though, you can have a tough putt coming back.
This will be an amazing area for spectator viewing. If you’re stood at the top of the hill alongside the fairway, you’ll see both the fourth and fifth holes from tee to green. It is a dogleg to the right with no hazards, and although early in the round, the fifth and sixth holes are probably the two easiest par fours on the course. Players will be looking to put pressure on with birdies – players in the Open de France know these holes give you an opportunity to move up the leader board.
On a favorably windy day, this could be a drivable hole. You can bump and run it up to the green. It’s a massive green, around 50 yards long, so you can really play with pin positions. I think the toughest pin position is at the front of the green. If you find the back of the green with your second shot, it can leave a really tricky putt back down to the hole. One of the public entrances to Le Golf National is right next to this green, so it will be a busy area all week.
From the seventh to the 18th, there’s no let-up – there are no easy holes. But this is a magnificent hole to start the run. It’s a tricky tee shot because players will have to take driver to get into play and leave as short an iron as possible. Along the fairway down to the green will be hospitality suites, so there will be a lot of people around this hole, making it feel much more congested. The second shot in is downhill and into a green which is well guarded at the front.
From an elevated tee, it can be tricky working out which club to choose. You’re at the top of a hill so you’ll have the wind in your face which is not necessarily the case when you get down to the green. If you’re not on the green, there’s a slope on every side of it which makes chipping tricky. Putting is also tough as there are a lot of very subtle borrows.
Usually into the wind, from an elevated tee you have rough on the right which you need to avoid. If you’re too greedy with a draw, the fairway slopes into the water on the left. The green is very narrow and double tiered with the lower tier at the back. If you are laying up, you have to pick your spot with your second shot in order to control the ball with your pitch.
This is a very entertaining hole because you can see some glorious second shots. It’s a relatively straightforward tee shot, with water on the left and rough on the right. You have to be precise, but the beauty of this hole is the second shot is to an elevated green. Getting your distance right is what it’s all about because you can’t see the bottom of the ag. The green is quick and slopes from back to front.
This cracking hole has been restored to its original architectural design, with the reintroduction of the lake during the renovation works in 2016. You’re now hitting full length across the water to a green which has a double slope, from the left edge to the right edge as well as two new bunkers at the back. One of the signature holes on the course.
This might appear on paper to be an easy hole, but it has its challenges. The drive is intimidating with bunkers on both sides and if you go wide of the right-hand bunker you are unplayable. Your second shot is uphill to a green which is one of the toughest on the course. Like the fourth, it has strong slopes which increase the difficulty if you find yourself in the wrong position.
The water to the right of the fairway has been brought back to its full splendor. Strategy here is to leave a longer second shot in than you think. There won’t be many players trying to y the water on the right. Position off the tee is the most important part of this hole. The green is not a tough one, it’s quite at, but you must be careful of the water at the front of the green if there is a forward pin position.
Again, wind will play a very important part here. Wherever you are, the double tier on the green, which slopes from front to back, comes in to play. If you push it left, you will end up with a bunker shot which could be as long as 40 yards, which is really tough to get close to the pin. We will see a lot of chipping and putting on this hole.
There will definitely be drama on this hole. It is risky pushing it as close to the water as possible from the tee meaning players will be hitting in slightly longer second shots over the water to the green. The hardest pin position is down the right, closest to the water. The easiest pin position is back left because you have the safety of the roll off area. This will be an amazing spectator hole. The designers called it ‘Le Juge’, which translates to The Judge, and that’s certainly fitting.
One of the most intimidating short par threes in golf. When the pressure is on, it makes it even more difficult. Since the renovation work in 2016, the hole now has more pin position options. The right hand one is an obvious one for risk-reward and a left-hand pin could be very tricky if you over-hit it. If the ag is short, there is a slope which will bring you back towards the pin, and if the ag is at the back you can attack an uphill putt.
The toughest shot on this hole is the drive. You won’t be able to go for anything if you’re in the rough which is why it is imperative to find the short grass. Best to find the right side of the fairway too as down the left it’s tough because there are slopes all the way, like the Valley of Sin at St Andrews. The green, like the one at the 12th, runs from back to front with very accentuated slopes.
Down the right there are bunkers and rough, and all the way down the left is water. A good tee shot enables you to get to the middle of the fairway, but your second shot into this long par four is a knee-knocking experience. The green is massive, it’s the second-biggest on the golf course, and has a lovely range of pin positions. There is some slope on the green but it’s quite at. You’ll have 6,800 spectators in the grandstand at the green, with several thousand more lining the fairway. It will be one of the best amphitheaters golf will have ever seen.