It has been one of the most talked about courses of the year and Le Golf National did not disappoint. Long and brutal as well as clever and stunning in equal measure. Not to mention a substantial presence of H2O which proved as magnetic as ever.
Two teams under the captaincy of Greencard MD Richard Munroe (Team USA) and Greencard PGA Pro Paul McLean (Team Europe) battled it out over 3 days in a modified stableford match play format to decide which team would take the honours in the inaugural event.
With 5 points available in each game, the magic number was 35 ½ points to win the match outright. Day one followed a stableford based 4 ball better ball match play format as well as a bonus point available for the best better ball score over the full 18 holes. It meant that all matches had something to play for over the full 18 holes and that to win a hole the team had to score at least one Stableford point. Needless to say, there were a few holes halved with no scores.
Richard Munroe (C)
Paul McLean (C)
Day One: The Course Wins
At the end of the first day the score board read 16 -4 in favour of Team Europe. However, the talking point was undoubtedly the golf course. With rough up to waist high and acres of water to avoid, all of our players found themselves digging in to the ball pocket on more than one occasion. Greencard PGA Pro Paul McLean hosted a clinic on the morning of the first day and talked about the need for accurate driving, stating there was a premium for hitting the fairways around the Albatros Course and so it proved. The fairways, although generous in places, are surrounded by the type of rough usually reserved for the U.S. Open. A visit to the long stuff inevitably ended up at best in a hack out sideways or backwards and at worst a re-load.
The course is being prepared for the upcoming French Open which takes place at the end of the month and whilst the top players in the world will undoubtedly still manage score well, for the club golfer the course was providing a great test. Those that managed to avoid the long grass and the numerous lakes were greeted with manicured fairways and immaculate greens. The course will prove a wonderful challenge to the top professionals of the European Tour as well as the cream of Teams USA and Europe.
Day Two: USA Fight Back
Day 2 produced a much closer affair with the format being repeated from day one. Team USA took the session 10 ½ to 9 ½ leaving the overall scores at 25 ½ to 14 ½ to the European Team. The stars for Team USA were the pairing of Lodewijk Schlingemann and Kathleen Lucey who won their match against Phil and Marian Raybone, both would go on to keep their 100% match record for the whole event.
As with day one, the course took centre stage on a hot and sunny Sunday in Paris. A little knowledge and familiarity from day one helped the players navigate their way round the Albatros but the penalty for missing the fairways was just as severe, as were the large lakes of the closing holes. That did nothing to dampen the spirits of the players as they battled the course and each other before enjoying some well-earned refreshments in Le Golf National’s 19th hole.
Image Gallery from the 2018 Greencard Ryder Cup at Le Golf National
Day Three: It’s All Over
So, to Day 3 and the singles. A slight shuffle in the teams due to injury found Greencard MD Richard Munroe switching teams to represent Paul McLean’s Team Europe however, one of the stars of Team USA, Kathleen Lucey, kept up her winning record to take the points against the short term European.
Once again, the matches followed the same scoring format and resulted in a tied session with 15 points going to each team. It left the final scores at 40 ½ to 29 ½ to the European Team thanks to their first day margin of victory.
Whilst the European Team took the honours, it was the course that won out by the end of the trip. The European Tour will face a stern test when they arrive at Le Golf National for the French Open, however, the course will really come in to its own for The Ryder Cup in September. Not only is there a good mix of risk and reward holes but the finishing complex is, in our opinion, one of the best, most cleverly designed pieces of golf architecture we have seen.
Le Golf National Course – Our Thoughts
It is fair to say the 18th hole may not be used a huge amount in match play but the Albatros course has a stunning 4 hole complex all in view of the main grandstand that will see most matches finish in front of the cheering crowds. Holes 15 and 18 sit alongside each other on either flank of a huge lake and both feature semi-island greens. The 16th hole, a relatively short par 3 sits adjacent over another sizeable stretch of water and whilst the 17th hole plays away from the complex it is sure to see the majority of the matches conclude within this huge amphitheatre. It is a real gem that should be on your bucket list of courses to play.
Whether you are heading to Paris to watch the Ryder Cup in person, or you are staying at home to enjoy the full coverage we think you are in for a real treat on what is undoubtedly a perfect course for the biggest event in golf.
If you were unable to join us this year but would like to play the course, we are planning to run another Ryder Cup style match again at Le Golf National in early summer 2019. Dates and details will be on our website in the coming weeks.