Not touching a golf club for days, and about to go mad, I finally arrived at Golf de Chailly sur Armancon, a 16th Century castle turned inviting resort. Along with offering a seductive hammam spa, tennis, swimming, gorgeous suites, and two restaurants, the course is both bedeviling and a delight.
While most of the fairways are wide open, and perfect for relaxed rounds, there are several holes that present taxing challenges, mainly due to cavernous bunkers, dramatically contoured, elevated greens and numerous water hazards. It’s also visually exciting, set amid rich farmlands, and popular with beautifully attired, highly serious French female players. Stay at Chailly for two days. It’s a paradise for finding vineyards, la cuisine Francaise, and several fun holes that will long be remembered.
France is hardly gripped by Ryder Cup fever. There are a few signs about the Cup near Paris but not much else. The most exciting golf activity I have encountered thus far on this journey is in the person of “mad man” Stephane Barras, a teaching pro I met at the Chailly Course. His motto is “less drama, more birdies” and his mantra is squeezing every ounce out of life. He’s been crisscrossing the globe, setting up golf academies with wealthy patrons in the Middle East or the US, as well as promoting his MLA Golf website (particularly his new putter). He also works with several LPGA players on their putting technique.
“Golf is a feel game and while I didn’t have much success on the European Tour, I know putting” he boasts, after reminiscing about his days in Florida with famed idiot savant golf whiz Moe Norman. “He was a real character, not me so much” modestly adds Barras. “I am just having fun”
Fun he is. “In the winter I am a ski pro, in the summer a putting master. Tell your readers to come see me. I will change their lives. Golf is an intriguing game and I will make it even more fun. Absolutely!”
A true gentleman. This 54-year old Swiss original urged me to drive 7 plus hours just to play his home course, the ultra-famous and ultra-challenging Crans sur Sierre in Switzerland (Trust me I will soon).
Keep an eye out for Part 3 as Edward Kiersh travels through France during Ryder Cup Week at www.golftravelandleisure.com
Celebrating the Good Life at Chailly Burgundy
Finishing Fabulous France at Clotilde Davenne Winery
Golf in Paris – What Ryder Cup?
How to Survive Without Golf in France
L’Albenza Golf Club in Bergamo Italy
Grape Discoveries – Touring Tuscany Vineyards
Jetsetting with Jack and the Kennedy’s at Frankfurter Golf Club
Risks and Rewards on an Italian Hillside – Villa Castagnola