A round at Moliets delivers something very, very few courses in Continental Europe can – genuine linksland.
It might be the most authentic links experience in our Continental Top 100, more similar to that which we expect on Great Britain and Ireland’s seaside courses than anywhere else on mainland Europe.
The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and elsewhere in France all have courses that could challenge this suggestion, but Moliets is at least as authentic as them all.
Whereas in the others the dunes are usually populated with trees and bushes rather than simply marram, and the turf not the fine fescue we expect on our coastlines, Moliets looks and feels closer to ‘home’.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1989, its coastal phase is magnificent, an expanse of bright white sand sitting next to the distinct vibrant green of a carpet of undulating fairway.
The 13th’s eccentric green – which would not look out of place at Cruden Bay or North Berwick – concludes one of France’s finest holes. Perfection.
The background sound of the Atlantic’s crashing waves and the purity of the scene makes this phase one of the Continent’s most visually breathtaking and enticing.
This is the scene that greets you on the 13th, whose eccentric green – which would not look out of place at Cruden Bay or North Berwick – concludes one of France’s finest holes. Perfection.
The links journey continues with two holes set in opposite directions, the common theme being the wind off the Atlantic. The latter is another Continental highlight, sitting tight to the beach as the 13th does.
So why is Moliets ‘only’ in the 80s of our Continental Top 100? Despite it being named in US magazine Golf Digest’s ‘Best 100 courses outside the US’ in 2009/10.
Well the seaside holes are only a sixth of the course and while the rest is solid, it lacks the pyrotechnics to be much higher.
These are holes of a woodland nature, weaving between tall pines, over significantly undulating fairways and around deep bunkers.
The last three are strong woodland holes even if your mind is probably still digesting the sensational beachside stanza you’ve just lapped up.
The 2nd is one of the best of this type, starting with a blind drive and ending on a narrow green with a steep drop off to the left.
Another stellar two-shotter arrives two holes later, set along an undulating fairway between tall pines and a blind, sporty short 4 ends a steady first half.
Moliets is set in a vast holiday camp and there is then a long-ish journey to the 10th, passing children on bikes and adults with surf boards.
Other than the seaside holes the highlights of the back nine are the uphill 11th – set between two bunkers – and the robust downhill par 3.
The last three are strong woodland holes even if your mind is probably still digesting the sensational beachside stanza you’ve just lapped up. Chris Bertram