Le Golf National's Final Holes
Running the Gauntlet
Like a great classical score, Golf National builds to a mesmerising crescendo that brings drama to the fore around its vast swathes of water.
I hope plenty of matches make it to the final four holes, because that’s when Le Golf National really comes to life. It’s a challenging course throughout, but this is when it bares its teeth and breaks your heart or makes you a hero if you’re strong enough to conquer it. It feels like there’s more water than grass on three of the final four holes, and every shot is filled with peril. Every hole has the potential to see birdies and bogeys (or worse), meaning that matches will twist and points will change hands in a flash (or a splash).
The 15th and 18th in particular, flanking either side of the same stretch of water and with connected island greens overlooked by thousands of fans, will be as close to a gladiators’ arena as you get on a golf course. If one suits your natural shot shape, the other won’t. If you struggle on 15, you’ll dread 18, which is a longer, even tougher version of its sibling.
Shots that would normally be a walk in the park for the world’s best golfers – a wedge to the 15th green, perhaps – will get pulses racing as the wind whips and changes direction. Hit a high pressure 200-yard iron shot stiff on 18 and you’ll deserve the point or half point it wins you. At least there’s no shortage of water to jump into if you sink the putt that wins the Ryder Cup.
404yds, par 4
”Positioning is vital on the short par 4 with the water down the right and the fairway narrowing at ideal tee shot length. The semi-island green makes distance control key as pins will be tucked over the water.”
173yds, par 3
”Played from an elevated tee, it takes a brave shot to leave an uphill putt on a green that slopes towards the lake and is protected by sand short left. A remodelled green allows some exciting new pin positions.”
480yds, par 4
”This is a long, bunkerless par 4 which demands you find the narrow fairway. The elevated green falls steeply away left, so a drive up the tighter left side can leave the easier line for the approach.”
466yds, par 4
”Bending to the right with water left, this is one of the hardest tee shots, with bunkers catching anything too cautious. The green is vast but water is tight to the front and pin positions will be exacting.”