Brittany might be better known for crepes, family camping holidays and Asterix the Gaul but with gorgeous food, sensational golf and even better weather, it’s hard to believe so few Irish golfers have made the trip.
With a regular Brittany Ferries service from Cork to Roscoff - and the ferry company’s new, bespoke Golf Desk service for Irish golfers now up and running - there really is no good reason why you shouldn’t grab the car and the clubs and head for this beautiful corner of northwest France.
A quick call to Brittany Ferries’ specialist Golf Desk or a click on www.BrittanyFerries.ie/golf will tell you all you need to know about the best, seven-day golfing trips and make it easy for you to choose the package that suits you best.
If you like, they will make all your arrangements and look after all your tee times, hotels and ferry bookings for prices that start at *€708 per person.
Boasting 21 great courses and a fine selection of hotels ranging from the stylishly modern to the traditional French chateau, Brittany is a treasure trove for the intrepid golfer looking for new challenges in stunning surroundings.
Getting there is pretty painless too - the Brittany Ferries crossing from Cork to Roscoff takes 14 hours and there are departures every Saturday from March to November, arriving in France on Sunday morning aboard the flagship ferry the Pont-Aven.
It’s more a cruise ship than a ferry with a choice of comfortable cabins, restaurants, shops and onboard entertainments including a swimming pool and leisure area.
Booking through Brittany Ferries’ specialist Golf Desk (they’ve been servicing the UK market for years) is highly recommended as they know all the best hotels and courses and made life even easier by offering four key itineraries based on a formula of hotels and courses they know will appeal to the visiting golfer.
Each is based on a seven-night break (one night on board each way and five nights in France), with four, five or six days’ golf. Sailings depart every Saturday afternoon from Cork and return the following Saturday morning with the first sailing on 15 March 2014.
Bordered by the English Channel to the north, the Celtic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Bay of Biscay to the south, Brittany is the ideal holiday destination for Irish golfers who love seafood, bustling seaside towns, stunning scenery and the promise of more than 2,000 hours of sunshine per year on the south coast.
With careful planning, you can enjoy one of the golfing trips of a lifetime, taking on a selection of courses that range from true championship challenges to more forgiving but nonetheless enjoyable tests.
Food lovers will not be disappointed either. The Bretons take their food very seriously and you’ll be spoilt for choice whether you eat at the golf club or venture further afield. The region is particularly known for its exquisite seafood.
Below are some sample itineraries from Brittany Ferries
- St Malo and Northern Brittany – stay at Hotel Univers, St. Malo with golf at Val Andre, Des Ormes, Dinard, StMalo, Freslonniere, Ajoncs D’or
- Benodet and Western Brittany – stay at Grand Hotel Abbatiale, Benodet with golf at L’Odet, Cornouaille, Plomeur Ocean, Val Queven, Brest Iroise
- Rennes and Central Brittany – stay at Domaine de Cice-Blossac, Rennes with golf at Cice-Blossac x 2, Freslonniere, Rennes St Jacques
- La Baule and Southern Brittany – stay at Hotel Mercure Majestic, La Baule with golf at La Baule, La Bretesche, Savenay, Pornic
For more information visit brittanyferries.ie/golf or sign up to receive their email updates at brittanyferries.ie
*Price based Benodet and Western Brittany itinerary and cover 2 in a standard car for return sailings Cork/Roscoff, sharing an inside 2 berth cabin each way, plus 5 nights hotel B&B sharing twin room plus 5 rounds of golf.
- Brittany golf course guide -
Golf les Abers Brest - Plouarzel
Near Brest and close to the coast on the western tip of Finistère, this fine course runs along a wooded valley, amongst granite stones.
Golf Club des Sables d'Or les Pins, Fréhel
The old nine-hole links has been developed into a magnificent 18 hole course on the sands of Fréhel. Wide open rolling fairways make it a course suitable for all levels and with striking landscape and coastline it also offers the most beautiful scenery.
Golf de St Cast
Nine holes are traditional links with the rest on the uplands with impressive views of the Emerald Coast. In fact, the sea is visible from every hole.
Golf des Ajoncs d'Or Lantic
Just north of St Brieuc between Roscoff and St Malo, this 25-year old course takes its name from the lovely yellow gorse which covers much of the parkland and wooded areas.
Golf de Baden, Baden
Situated in southern Brittany, not far from the historic walled town of Vannes, Baden is a relatively open and generally forgiving course, though it can bite back if the wind whips in from the Gulf of Morbihan. While you're there, why not check out the mysterious standing stones at nearby Carnac? There are more than 3,000 of them, dating back thousands of years. This is real Asterix the Gaul territory.
Golf de l'Odet, Bénodet
Three miles from Bénodet, this course has been carved out of more than 250 acres of woodland. An excellent test for all levels.
Golf de Val Quéven, Lorient
Designed by Yves Bureau and built on agricultural land, the Quéven-Lorient course runs alongside the river Scorff, skirting woods and crossing valleys and is only minutes away from Lorient town. Hilly with a great variety of holes, featuring several dog-legs with well-positioned water hazards.
Golf de St Laurent, Carnac - Ploemel
This Michel Fenn design, ranked as one of France's top 40, is a superbly maintained championship course which has twice hosted the French Professional Championship.
Golf de Rhuys Kerver, St Gildas de Rhuys
An attractive course, set in natural surroundings with flat fairways, water hazards and the superb scenery of the nearby coast. It has had extensive work done in recent years which has ensured its in condition is good all year round.
Golf Ploemeur Océan, St Jude
Though relatively short, it is known as one of the toughest courses in southern Brittany. Featuring many large pot bunkers and sloping fairways, eight of the beautiful 18 holes have water hazards. In the winter the wind off the sea turns this into a very challenging course indeed.
Golf de Rennes, Rennes - St Jacques
An impressive championship course, renowned for the quality and speed of its well-protected greens. There is a real mixture of tight and open fairways and the 18th has a great finish across water to an island green.
Golf de Cornouaille, La Forêt Fouesnant
Designed by Fred Hawtree, part of the course's charm is the frequent choice the player must make between playing safe and going for broke. Undulating fairways are expansive and good use has been made of water hazards, bunkers and woodland throughout the course.
Golf de la Freslonnière, Rennes - Le Rheu
Just under and hour from St Malo, La Freslonnière opened in 1989 is a quality, tree-lined parkland course, well sheltered from the wind. Though not long, it is difficult with many water hazards, tight dog-legs and narrow fairways.
Golf de St Samson, Trégastel
Only a short drive from Roscoff, this heathland course is quickly earning an excellent reputation. Don’t miss the views of the Pink Granite coast.
Golf Club de St Malo, Le Tronchet
Designed by Hubert Chesneau, the mastermind behind French Open venue Golf National, and set in the ancient hunting grounds of Mesnil Forest, St Malo has matured very nicely indeed over the past quarter of a century. From first (a relatively gentle par five) to last (a great closing hole with a well guarded green in full view of the clubhouse terrace), this is amongst the very finest of the new generation of French golf courses.
Golf Club des Ormes, Dol de Bretagne
A championship golf course set in a 370 acre estate surrounding a 16th century château and including a family friendly resort with campsite, hotel, log cabins and even tree houses (look out for them as you play a round). The clubhouse, originally a farm building, retains the original beams and fireplace, but if the sun's out you simply must drink and dine alfresco, and maybe even take a dip in the outdoor pool to cool off.
Dinard Golf Club, St Briac sur Mer
This stunning links may remind you of classic British (more specifically, Scottish) courses such as Turnberry or Royal Montrose - with very good reason. Founded by the British and designed by a Scot, Tom Dunn, Dinard is the second oldest course in France after Pau. Dating to 1887 it has pot bunkers and offer tight lies from fairways edged with gorse and heather.
Golf Club des Rochers Sevigné, Vitré - Sévigné
Near to the town of Vitré, a pleasant parkland course winding between La Vallère lake and the old château. The course has a well-balanced layout where tactics win over power.
Golf de Pléneuf Val André, Le Val André
Regularly ranked among the top 10 courses in France, and at the heart of an intimate seaside town with a wide range of bars and restaurants, it hosts the annual Open Blue Green Côtes d'Armor Bretagne on the European Challenge Tour. With generally generous fairways, some corking short holes and a couple of intimidating tee shots over ravines, it’s a little bit linksy, partly parkland with a hint of heathland at a fraction of the price you'd be paying for its equivalent in Scotland or Surrey.
Golf de Cicé Blossac, Rennes - Bruz
Close to Rennes, it opened in 1992 and is very much in the American style. Suitable for all golfers, it's an easy walk and has wide open fairways and large, generous greens. A new hotel has been built for those that prefer the convenience of staying on site rather than in Rennes itself.
Golf de Brest Iroise, Landerneau
One of the most challenging courses in Brittany and ranked 13th in all France, the fairways tend to be tight and the rough can be punishing. The course now also boasts a superb clubhouse which provides a great venue to relax after what is sure to be a challenging test.