On October 2, 2015, Tom Doak was in France for the opening of the full 18 holes at the Golf Club de Saint Emilionnais, in the heart of the Bordeaux wine region. Our client Andre Mourgue d'Algue, who developed the project with his family, won the first members' competition the next day [and was the only player in the field to break 80!].
Laid out across rolling, wooded terrain, with a strong oak flavor and hints of heather and gorse, the full-bodied course belies its 6200-meter length with a course rating of 73.8. Only 36 bunkers were necessary to complement the strategy of the holes, which is generally dictated by the small, undulating greens. Refurbished stone farm buildings at the top end of the course are the home of the pro shop and eventual clubhouse, as well as the centerpiece of a small residential village development.
In keeping with the ethos of the wine region, the new golf course is self-sustained in its water supply, with no bore water for supplement. All of the rainwater that falls on the site is collected through a network of small streams and ditches that we created, and directed to large holding ponds at the bottom of the valley. This is the sole irrigation supply for the course; it is required to subsist on what nature allows, so fescue grasses have been used throughout the course to reduce irrigation demands.
Standout holes include the par-4 opener with its wide fairway and Road hole style green; the par-3 3rd playing downhill to a heaving putting surface; the drivable par-4 8th with its green atop a small ridge; the 392-yard [check] 13th snaking between oaks off the tee before carrying the central stream on the approach; and the 600+ yard 15th playing sharply downhill after the tee shot to a green guarded by small mounds in the lowest corner of the property.