Normandy’s Pays d’Auge region is where some of France’s best cheeses, such as camembert, are made alongside highly-prized drinks such as the fiery apple brandy Calvados. This slice of France is also blessed with a selection of fine golf courses; and for the gourmet golfer an excellent base is the Hôtel du Golf Barrière, a luxurious golf hotel situated on the slopes of Mount Canisy, just five minutes from the coastal town of Deauville.
Many famous guests have enjoyed the old-world charms of the Hôtel du Golf Barrière since it opened its doors in 1929, including Errol Flynn, Harrison Ford and Yves St Laurent, who smile from their autographed photos inside the foyer. Just opposite is the cool Le Green Bar, where guests can sink into the red velvet armchairs and choose from a selection of thirty types of Calvados.
Only a long putt from the hotel is Golf Barrière de Deauville, rated among France’s top 20 prettiest layouts. The three loops of nine holes are in excellent condition throughout the year, with beautifully manicured fairways and greens. The original 18 holes (red and white tees), built by Tom Simpson in 1929, comprise a lovely parkland layout, with a nice mix of undulating fairways and varied holes with panoramic views over Deauville and Pays d’Auge country. The other nine holes (blue tees), designed in 1964 by Henry Cotton, have a more wooded character.
Another excellent 27 holes, also connected to the hotel, are located 15 km south of Deauville at Pont L’Évêque, famous for the Normandy cheese of the same name. Golf Barrière de Saint- Julien’s main 18-hole layout, called Le Vallon, is hilly in sections and winds through lush Normandy pastureland. The higher part of the course encourages some open-shouldered driving, and the lower section features several testing water hazards.
Look out for holes 9 and 18, two par-fours where you must play your second shots over water to reach heavily bunkered and undulating greens, with the marvelous chateau-style club- house as a backdrop. If you have time, stop by the restaurant for some fine French cuisine before taking on the nine-hole Le Bocage course.