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A Visit to Souillac Golf & Country Club
27th October 2010

Souillac before the advent of the motorways was a favourite stopover for the Northern French driving to the South. Now it is a busy provincial French town, actually in the Lot but in the heart of the beautiful Dordogne Valley. Famous for the ancient roman Abbey of Sainte Marie the town still has much to offer the visitor.

Situated within a few kilometres of the town is Souillac Golf & Country Club. Set in magnificent forests the club offers amazing panoramic views from many of the lodges which surround the golf course and from the course itself.

Originally a 6 hole course it fell into disuse and was bought by group of investors who then started to build the lodges and had the idea to extend the course. So Souillac Golf course came to life. The six holes were renovated and extended to nine and then in 2002 the well known and respected golf architect Jeremy Pern extended the course to its present 18 holes.

Opened in 2003 with players from the famous French rugby club Toulouse, the course has gone from strength to strength. Well maintained and in magnificent countryside the course, the lodges and it's amenities have become increasingly popular with the French golfing population and attracts many English and Dutch visitors.

The recent world financial crisis has affected all visitor destinations but Souillac continues to attract more than its fair share of visitors. The lodges surrounding the course are sold freehold and the owners can either let through the club or privately when they are not being used for their own purposes. Being freehold they can also be sold as the owner wishes. For details concerning the lodges it is best to contact the club management direct by using their user-friendly website at  http://www.souillaccountryclub.com/index .

In addition to the 18 hole golf course there are tennis courts, a 10 bay driving range, a good putting green, restaurant and bar. Apart from the main swimming pool near the clubhouse there are 8 other pools amongst the lodges and a kids club for the youngest holiday makers.

The best times of the year to play the course are April, May, June, September and October. The summer months of July and August are just too hot and the course is not the flattest I've played. In fact it is hilly, indeed very hilly but with panoramic views of the wooded countryside. Whilst it does not pretend to be a major Championship course, there are many good and entertaining holes and it presents a good test of  golf. If you are not hitting the ball straight then come well prepared with ammunition as most of the fairways are well lined with oak trees.

The on-site restaurant, 'Le Magdalena' is open from April to November and makes an excellent meeting point for guests and members of Souillac's own Golf Association, the Golfers of Mas del Teil.

A great way to make new friends, or just relax in front of the fire place or near the pool - depending upon the season! On the menu a mix of local French and international cuisine. Children's menu available.

The holiday homes surrounding the course are spacious, of the highest standard and well equipped. The houses are privately owned and personalised. They are built in small hamlets, in harmony with the natural environment. This gives the resort a very special, intimate feel. An ideal location for your golf or family holiday in France.

Look on the club website for full details of the lodges, prices and availability
http://www.souillaccountryclub.com/index.asp

Or contact the club through their resident director Ludovic Hanks  - email golf@souillaccountryclub.com

Living as we do near the town of Agen, more renowned for its prunes and rugby than golf, my wife and I spent a very interesting and enjoyable few days at Souillac Golf Club at the beginning of October. At their invitation we stayed in one of the well equipped functional and furnished lodges.

Having spent more years than I care to recall in the golf industry, organising events for sponsors, distributing golf equipment and since 1997 initiating, writing, and visiting locations for our internet golf magazines ( http://www.amateur-golf.com/index.html and http://www.golftoday.co.uk/ ) I have travelled and visited golf courses around the world.  Souillac has many things in its favour and exudes an atmosphere of welcome and friendliness that is quite special.

There are ever increasing and  expanding network of travel possibilities making it easier than ever to get to France from the UK. The TGV is constantly opening or planning new routes, there are excellent and ever improving auto routes and routes nationales, and more and more airports are opening or adding new routes and airlines to their services.


One such development that has taken place after much planning, is a new airport in the Corrèze department of southern central France called Brive Vallée de la Dordogne Airport. Lying south of Brive-la-Gaillard or Brive and just fifteen kilometres from the town of Souillac, services started here in June 2010.

There was already an airport at Brive to the west of the town, but this was very small and and is now shut for commercial traffic. The new Brive Vallée de la Dordogne Airport is important not only in terms of providing convenient flights for those who already own property in the area, but it will almost certainly also impact on the property market and affect the decisions of those who are considering buying property in South West France. It is also certain to make a difference to the tourist trade in the area .

Currently, CityJet is operating a summer service between London City Airport and Brive Vallée de la Dordogne Airport, with Airlinair operating three times a day services to Paris Orly. These flights connect well with CityJet services from Orly to London City airport. Check on
http://www.cityjet.com/ for full details of their service. So popular has the route to Brive been that CityJet have put in place a schedule for Christmas flights between 17th December and 7th January.

Jet2 is also due to start services from Manchester in May 2011, but it remains to be seen whether other airlines will join them and whether any flights will operate year round. Places to watch for information include the airport's site (http://www.aeroport-brive-vallee-dordogne.com/), and you may also wish to keep an eye on the websites of Ryanair, easyJet, flybe and bmibaby as these have also been mentioned as being possibly connected with the airport.

Only a month after announcing the continuation of CityJet flights from Brive - Dordogne Valley to London City airport,  Jean - Louis Nesti - General Manager of the airport - confirmed that 2010 bookings for flights to and from the new airport had far exceeded expectations.

In announcing the new service for 2011 General Director of Jet2.com, Ian Doubfire said Jet2 is "delighted to launch this new route linking Brive - Dordogne Valley airport to Manchester"

Having arrived at Souillac and enjoyed your golf you may wonder what else is there to do? - Well the answer is plenty!  When you're not playing golf or even if you come on a non-golfing holiday there are many family activities. These include swimming in the Dordogne river, bike riding, canoe trips, caving, high roping, horse riding.... there really are a 1001 wonderful ways to have a truly fantastic holiday in this absolutely stunning part of France!

 

There are many interesting places to visit Sarlat and Rocamadour to name but two, and nearby to Souillac is  a very interesting fortified water mill still in working order as the proud owner is only too happy to show you.

 

Then, and in France, a very important part of the enjoyment of any holiday itinerary is where to eat.  Apart from the club's own restaurant ,which serves excellent food, there are many in the immediate vicinity. On our first night we ate at the hotel and restaurant La Terrasse Meyronne.

Originally a fortified castle on the banks of the Dordogne river it was converted into a hotel-restaurant by the Liebus family in the late'20s and is today owned and run by Francoise and Gilles Liebus. Their welcome and hospitality were first class - and the meal wasn't bad either - in fact every bit as good as the welcome from the owners.
http://www.hotel-la-terrasse.com/

The "piece de resistance" was to eat Sunday lunch at the beautiful and magically restored Chateau de la Treyne. Perched on the banks high above the Dordogne and run now by Philippe and Stephanie Gombert.

They took over when Philippe's mother who had originally restored the building decided to retire.

The hotel is the quintessential example of luxury and yet warm and friendly in ambience and the way in which you are greeted and served by the staff.

The chef has been "in situ" for more than 10 years and still cooks with passion and an expertise that would delight Michel Roux Jnr and his rather fierce Sous-Chef Monica Galetti.

The lunch which we all enjoyed was simply superb and accompanied by some excellent local white and red wine from the Cahors region at Puy L'Eveque.

The hotel which is part of the Relais & Chateau group stands in a formal French garden surrounded by 300 acres of  private parkland, there are 14 rooms and two suites.

Prices can be found on the full website of the hotel   http://chateaudelatreyne.com/

and special short breaks including golf at Souillac are available by contacting the hotel or Souillac Golf & Country club direct.

In conclusion let me quote from the Souillac brochure:-
" Discover the magnificent Dordogne Valley in one of the prettiest regions of France, famous for its full bodied wines and delicious French food, visit a castle or a market, have a fun family day out on the water..........Play a round of golf on our beautiful 18 hole course, enjoy a game of tennis, sip your drink beside one of the 9 lovely pools or make friends with other guests at the clubhouse & restaurant.....  Whatever your idea of leisure & fun, our friendly staff are there to make your golf and family holidays in France very special."

I often think brochures contain so much froth and puff that they are virtually useless in forming a considered opinion on whether to visit - In the case of Souillac, La Terrasse Meyronne, Chateau de la Treyne and the whole area you will not be disappointed if you do decide to visit.

Full information on the course and lodges, prices etc can be seen on the club website http://www.souillaccountryclub.com/index

Also have a look at this page and see the reduced green fee offers that are available at Souillac available from GolfToday
http://www.golftoday.co.uk/index.html

Open Fairways Golfers Passport

Golf O Max discounts 2 x 25% off 1 green fee and 2 x 2 for - 1 weekday and weekends year round

Play for Half Price with the 2-fore-1 FRANCE vouchers all year except July 15 - August 15

For information on all golf courses in France see our entry for France in our Golf Course Guide

We met golf writer Barry Ward and his wife Chris at Souillac and Barry's report on the area and the club at www.posh-golf-travel.com

Stuart Barber
Amateur Golf http://www.amateur-golf.com/index.html
GolfToday http://www.golftoday.co.uk/




 









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