The Evian Championship - Seduced... by a Singularly Charming Golf Course

Hole #2 at Evian, a breathtaking downhill par 3 

The championship course was resplendent; Fairways bathed in abundant Alpine sunshine, and clear blue skies set a sparkling stage for the start of the 2015 Evian Championship.

Watching the coverage of this tournament it quickly becomes clear that the golf course at Evian Resort Golf Club, has a special place in the hearts of the players. They speak about in interviews and on social media. The sublime lakeside location, with its majestic mountainous backdrop, is certainly part of it, but the allure of this golf course goes beyond the obvious beauty of the site. The Evian Resort Golf Course... I would venture to say... has a uniquely seductive personality. 

Pink flagsticks complement the lush emerald greens of Evian Resort Golf Course

Golf courses, like people, have personalities. Some are affable and easy going, while others are distant and demanding... some quiet and calm, others open and exuberant. We who play the game know this, and Evian's personality, I can happily confirm, is delightful. 

We'd been looking forward to playing at Evian for years, and when our closest friends moved to the French Alpes... just a couple of towns away... we knew the time was right.  So we made our way there this summer, and on a sun-drenched day in early July we experienced firsthand the singular, seductive charm of Evian Resort Golf Course.

 Hole #16, another enticing par 3 with a narrow stream-side green.  Nick birdied it, I... did not.

The seduction began well before we approached the first tee. We'd booked a twilight tee time, but arrived early in the afternoon, giving us time to have lunch, look around, and spend some time on the practice range. --> READ MORE

Le Chalet du Golf

Cocktails and lunch on the terrace at Le Chalet du Golf , Evian Resort. 

Lunch, on the terrace at Le Chalet du Golf, was sublime; from the Alpine cottage setting... to the perfectly-curated menu of French specialties. 

Happily, we're not adverse to drinking before golf, so we ordered cocktails. I had the signature Evian Cocktail, a delightful mix of rum and strawberry juice, topped with a dash of banana liquor, Nick decided on a Kir Royal. Both drinks were perfectly prepared... and assertively pink. 

In the US, an all-you-can-eat buffet often means long lines and massive quantities of deceptively mediocre food. The "Buffet Complet" at Le Chalet du Golf is NOT that kind of buffet. The French tend to value quality over quantity... in all aspects of life, but particularly when the subject is food. The result here is a refined selection of salads & charcuterie, cheeses and deserts.  It was my choice for lunch and I'd highly recommend it.  Nick had Steak Tartare and declared it to be "tres bien assaisonné". He's French, by the way, so he knows exactly what "well seasoned" steak tartare tastes like. 

With our lunch we enjoyed a half a bottle of Côtes du Rhône and... a bottle of Evian water, bien sûr.  It was the kind of leisurely lunch one might expect to have at a country auberge, more so than at a golf course, but there we were on that charming stone terrace overlooking a verdant fairway.

Flowering shrubs, climbing blossoms and decorative plantings are everywhere at Evian Resort Golf Club.
A three minute shuttle ride took us to the driving range which is just one part of an extraordinary training center, a training center that includes an actual four hole course where students can practice in real life conditions. Access to the training complex is free for guests of Evian Resort... and a bucket of balls is free when you book a tee time. 

We each hit a bucket of balls at the range, enjoying the well maintained grass tee.  Then, after our usual lets take a cart (Nick) vs lets walk (me) discussion... which was more like a heated argument in this case... we calmed down and headed for the course. In a cart. 

Despite an exceptionally dry month of June, the course was in stellar condition for our early July round
Located in the center of a fabulous 47 acre park, the golf course at Evian Resort is, not surprisingly, a classic parkland style course. The setting is pastoral, lush and verduous. Mature trees line the fairways creating natural boundaries, while greens are guarded by myriad white sand bunkers and a variety of whimsical water features...  that aren't so whimsical when they claim your golf ball(s). 

Hole #5 - A breathtaking beauty where some of those "whimsical water features" come into play.
Watching some of the world's best golfers struggle on this course during the Evian Championship, an average golfer might regard it with... trepidation.  However, one must remember that courses are always set up harder for major championships... and that there are four sets of tees at the Evian Resort Golf Course allowing players of widely varied abilities to find the level of challenge... and fun... they're looking for. 

Hole # has a special place in my heart
I actually made a birdie on 8. Yay me!  I made a couple of pars too. Nick did somewhat better.  And, the thing is, we both played the entire round with a sense of émerveillement... a real sense of wonder at the mountain vistas and sparkling lake views that presented themselves throughout. 

Hole #8 - Lake Geneva... or Lac Leman... was never out of view for too long.
The staff; in the pro shop, on the course and at the restaurant were friendly, knowledgable and helpful.  The course was busy, but we hardly felt the presence of other golfers while we were playing.  It was the kind of golf day one dreams about. 

The final round of the this year's Evian Championship is just hours away, with a leaderboard that promises an exciting day to come. Players will then have to bid adieux to the magical Alpine venue... and I'm guessing they'll be looking forward to the 2016 championship as soon as they do.