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A New Jewel in the Crown for St Emilion

10th November 2014

Set to open in the spring of 2015 is a stunning new golf course just 10 kms from the village of Saint Emilion, a UNESCO listed World Heritage of Humanity site. A first for this area, the course will be a gem, in harmony with and enhancing the famed vineyards of St Emilion and neighbouring Bordeaux.

Ten years ago Gaetan Mourgue d'Algue and his son André were searching for suitable land on which to build an exceptional golf course. They discovered a magnificent 252-acre piece of property located in a valley fringed by hundreds of well established oak trees and framed by vineyards.

They immediately fell in love with the site, perfect for a golf course and not far from the Tower where Montaigne wrote his essays in the XVIth century. They then went into developing a proper concept and got the permits before selling the project to a Canadian company, called Intrawest. A few years later, they got the opportunity to buy back the whole project and set about building what is destined to become one of the best courses in Europe.

Tom Doak (Left) and André Mourgue d'Algue

Now with the land ready to build, who would design the course for them? Having played quite a few courses designed by well known architect Tom Doak, and especially Pacific Dunes in Bandon Dunes, Oregon, the family decided to hire Tom.

His artistic talent is renowned all over the world and so is his love for nature and his ongoing desire to preserve it. The goal here is ultimately to build a natural golf course that respects the site without ever distorting it. It will be fun to play for all types of players while remaining a challenge for the best; two essential components of a good golf course.

Now with nine holes in play, though not open to the public, and the second nine seeded , the course will open in the spring of 2015. Tom Doak has fitted in numerous visits, despite his busy schedule.

Planning the development from the outset, Tom declares himself more than satisfied with the progress and maintains that this course, will be one of his very best.

Despite hot summers the South West of France has its share of rain and with over 3 hectares of lakes this will provide any necessary irrigation. Rainfall will provide natural watering, and the grass has been specially selected to withstand hot summers and periods without rain. All machinery has been carefully chosen and the mowers are hybrid. The course will be kept in top condition and in due course will employ a team of twelve greenkeepers, along with a highly qualified superintendent,

Golf is part of the family heritage in the Mourgue d'Algue family. With 30 national titles and 40 selections in the national team, Gaëtan, the father has dedicated his life to the development of golf in France.

For 40 years, Gaetan has largely been involved in three major golf business activities; the organisation of professional tournaments among which the “Trophée Lancôme”, the creation of golf courses and of the first European guide “Europe's Top 1000 golf courses-Peugeot Golf Guide”, and the first worldwide guide “ The Rolex World's Top 1000 golf courses .”

His wife, Cécilia has probably one of the most outstanding records in French amateur golf with 45 national titles and two silver medals at the World team championship. After winning the NCAA in 1995, their daughter Kristel turned professional on the European Tour. As for their son, André a scratch player and a national champion in his own right, he joined his father in golf course construction after graduating in engineering and political science.

The Mourgue d'Algue's are also developing a first hamlet composed of 11 houses aimed for the golfers. Well integrated to the beautiful region of St Emilion, they are located by the clubhouse with views on the course, the vineyard and a XIIth century roman church. The houses will be completed for the opening of the course in 2015.

Kristel Mourgue d'Algue-Lawton playing the 14th

A new experience will be proposed that will combine the “art de vivre à la française” with the British golf experience. That is the new challenge that is facing now this family of champions!

Check out the course website as the course approaches completion and get a taste of what's to come

"Le Golf - un Grand Cru signé par Tom Doak "




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