The 18-hole Pines Course is recommended to golfers in France and abroad. Set out in a superb pine forest, its magical style has survived throughout the generations. Four years ago, Open Golf Club launched a restoration plan while taking into account the evolution of the game and the traffic constraints endured by a publicly opened club.
One of the recognition of work and investment done came from the Golf World ranking.
Golf World Continental Europe Top 100 Ranking has now become a much expected rendez-vous for the best European golf courses outside the British Isles. In the magazine’s latest release, Hardelot les Pins made history by moving up 71 spots from rank 98 to 27.
According to Golf World’s Top 100 rankings editor Chris Bertram, this is simply the highest climb ever recorded in the history of the ranking.
This international recognition comes after 4 years of ongoing restoration work led by golf architects Frank Pont and Patrice Boissonnas. The Dutch/French pair was hired in 2011 by Open Golf, owner of Hardelot Golf Club, to rejuvenate their northern gem laid by legendary British architect Tom Simpson (1877-1964) between 1929 and 1931.
Most golf historians agree that Simpson produced some of his best work on French speaking soil with world acclaimed courses like Morfontaine, Chantilly and Fontainebleau around Paris and some exciting local attractions like Royal des Fagnes (Spa, Belgium) or Chiberta near Biarritz.
If Hardelot was for some time over shadowed by its prestigious cousins, this is now history as les Pins is in the process of recovering every bit of its former glory.
Most of the architectural work is now achieved and should be fully completed by next spring after one last winter of detailing and finishing.
Under the expert supervision of German Master Greenkeeper and agronomist Norbert Lischka, the club has also started a long term agronomic transformation with the double objective of reducing chemical use and turning the soil into a drier firmer surface more suited to reveal the subtle architecture of Tom Simpson.
Changing the playing conditions at Hardelot includes a large variety of task such as cutting trees, deep drilling the greens, built new maintenance sheds, change sand in the bunkers, source better irrigation water and convert the dominating meadow grass into a more balanced bent/poa/fescue mix. Over time, the expected strengthening of grass quality should enable the club to extend greens and fairways back to their original width.
With the energetic leadership of the Scottish General manager Ken Strachan, Hardelot les Pins is now ready and eager to welcome golfers from all horizons for a fun enjoyable round of golf paying tribute to the genius of Tim Simpson.
What do we know of the original course?
Simpson’s thoughts and theories on golf architecture are clearly described in the books and articles he wrote or in the speeches he gave. Thanks to the numerous sketches he published together with his thoughts, he leaves absolutely no doubt regarding his preference in terms of strategy, tree management and bunker style.
Regarding Hardelot itself, the architects were able to gather some rare but very important documents allowing them to get a good vision of what the course was like when delivered by Simpson. Such documents include an original 1929 plan drawn by the architect himself describing the exact routing and part of the bunkering, a 1939 aerial picture, some original scorecards, Simpson sketches of holes 8 and 12, and finally some pictures at ground level showing with details with precision like for example the 7th green or the 13th fairway.
Many achievements allow Open Golf Club to strengthen the quality of courses and services offered to players. With an European reach Open Golf Club is the golf player's biggest ally in search of quality.
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