National L'Albatros Golf Course France
18 Holes 6625 Metres Par 72
The 'Albatros' (the venue for the French Open) is a championship golf course reserved for players with a mimimum handicap of 24.
Designed by Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge over a once totally flat plot of land, it winds its way through towering artificial sand-hills designed to cater for spectators. It provides an alternating sequences of US style, and typical links holes.
Down in the playing arena, you are in another world. The slightest or technical slip can lead to disaster on any one of the 18 holes, all of which are defended by every sort of hazard.
Although difficulties are finely balanced over the whole this golf course, the last 4 holes are decisive. If you are not on top of your game, try match-play, and play further forward!
Although demanding, the golf course shows its hand, and the score on your card reflects how well you played!
The French Golf Federation’s Executive Committee and its President Claude Cartier decided the construction of the Golf National in September 1985. Three years of work, from July 1987 to October 1990 finalised the course. It was then inaugurated by Ray Floyd, Greg Norman, Jeff Sluman and Marc Farry.
Hubert Chesneau golf-course designer was invited to create from past corn fields of over 139 hectares (350 acres), around the Chateau of Versailles (once home of Louis X1V), a Stadium course of International stature. On completion The Golf National would not only be the home for the French Open but also a centre for both National and International Championships. It would also be open throughout the year to the amateur golfer on a pay as you play basis.
The concept was based on opening a tip for roads or building diggings.
One might be surprised with a links course with water hazards. These hazards and rolling terrain similar to that found in many Scottish Links courses became the concept. Trees took too long to grow in a short period of time when the course had to be, from 1991, a championship course. The hillocks or hummocks offered excellent facilities for television coverage of future championships.
As the course was created from a "clay base" it was essential that irrigation be of major importance so that the fairways would remain dry whilst any water would flow into the "hazards".
After the inauguration of The Golf National, the Albatros Course was
the venue for the first French Open in June 1991 when, in a day of both
wind and rain, Nick Faldo described the course as both tough but fair.
Faldo was not the only world-class player to speak favourably of The Golf
National, and it was of prime importance that many others supported Faldo.
In March 1994 Golf Weekly ranked The Albatros Course 3rd European Championship
Course through a survey carried out within the PGA Tour Professionals.
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