The iconic French region of Provence is the idyllic setting for an exciting new 18 hole golf course opening this summer that observes and preserves all the traditional and historical values of design.
The new course, part of the Domaine de Manville a country 'Palace' hotel which also includes 30 rooms and suites is just a short drive from Avignon and forty-five minutes from Marseille.
It is the creation of renowned golf architect Thierry Sprecher who has produced more than 50 masterpieces in 12 countries during his 30-year career and is defined by his philosophy that allows the terrain to dictate the character and challenge of the test.
The entire concept of Domaine de Manville was devised by Patrick Saut who grew up in the region before pursuing an immensely successful career as head of a major corporation with 9,000 employees.
With his wife Edith, they settled back in the Alpilles region, a small range of mountains south of Avignon where Vincent Van Gough once painted and Patrick explained: “We had lived away from our beloved Alpilles yet we still dreamt of the olive groves, the vineyards, the countryside of pines and rock and the sound of the Provence wind. We knew we would come back one day.”
It is that essential natural beauty that the architect Sprecher has maintained on the site where foremost British architect Martin Hawtree originally laid down nine holes in 1989 although the new course replaces that design.
The outstanding features of the new design include raised teeing grounds which offer commanding and panoramic views of the holes with their narrow fairways which also emphasize the need for accuracy. As if to underline the traditional nature of the course, the fairways will evolve with each season of the year rather than being tender green all year and the olive trees and streams will provide natural obstacles.
The golf course opens in September 2014 and hotel guests will have exclusive access to the course from June 2014. The Maisons de Domaine are nine homes surrounding the course to be sold as shared ownership.
In truth this is a course that looks as though it has existed for many years as an intrinsic part of the landscape.