I recently had the pleasure to return to Golf de la Bresse course located in Rhone/Alps region some 60 kilometers to the north-east Lyon.
Bresse lies on the south-western edge of the Jura Mountains with the city of Bourg-en-Bresse best known around the world for the production of two wonderful foods.
Poulet de Bresse is a marvellous unique French breed of chicken renowned for its rich, gamey depth of flavour and the second is that fine French cheese, Bresse Bleu and first produced just after World War 11.
Just as renowned is the GoIf de la Bresse, a superb parkland style course and given it was still in the later stages of winter I fully understood the course would not be at its picture postcard best.
I had spent many, many wonderful days playing and competing at Golf de la Bresse and now I was returning as a fully accredited Europen Tour media representative along with being a member of the Association of Golf Writers.
But no matter what season of the year, driving back through the front gates of Golf de la Bresse was like being reunited with old friend as so many fond memories came flooding back.
And in walking back into the club I was warmly welcomed back by Stefan the club manager, Marinette who works tirelessly in the office, the green keeping staff and starter along with Nicolas Musy, the very much respected young professional, who all simply going out their wayto make me feel so welcome.
What was surprising is that the staff have not changed since I was a member which undoubtedly speaks volumes just how happy everyone at Golf de la Bresse is with their work at the club.
Golf de la Bresse was designed by Jeremy Pern and is one of some two dozen 18-hole courses he has designed in over eight countries.
After previously working with renowned golf course designers Robert Trent Jones, John Harris, Cabell Robinson and John Harridene he moved out on his own in 1990 and four years after moving to France.
Pern became a member of the British Institute of Golf Architects in 1988 and a decade later became the Institute’s vice-president.
Golf de la Bresse is among 11 golf courses he has designed in France and it’s a country where Pern has designed more golf courses than any other.
The Peugeot Golf Guide (2006/7) says Jeremy Pern has designed a golf course at Gold de la Bresse “that requires just about every golfing skill; power and precision off the tee, a sharp and clever short game and slick putting
“It might be hard to play in damp conditions but when the sun shines the golf course comes into its own. The tempo of the play is good, with pleasantly alternating open field and woodland holes. In fact, there is something for all tastes.
“The better golfer will enjoy the opportunity to get to grips with a number of interesting challenges, especially for club selection, but players of all levels are never really intimidated.
“The sometimes undulating greens with too few different pin positions are not always easy to read and can add a few unwelcome strokes to the card for careless putters.”
In conclusion the guide says: “The clubhouse is pleasant and provides both a warm welcome and fine fare .. typical, you migh suppose, of a region where they know what good food is all about.
“One of the top golf courses in the Rhone/Alps region.”
One of the tops at Golf de la Bresse is Nicolas, the club’s resident professional who has been at Golf de la Bresse for 13 years.
Unlike a lot of teaching professionals, Nicloas has a superb manner in his coaching. He understands very much the fundamentals of the game and has no trouble in passing on his enormous knowledge to those seeking lessons.
Nicolas himself a very useful golfer and has competed in many regional pro-ams and contested 2010 Allianz Golf Open de Lyon at the nearby Golf de Gouverneur course.
If there were an extra paragraph in the Peugeot Guide on the staff and the professional at Club de la Bresse is would come to same conclusion: ”Arguably, one of the best club management teams and club professionals in the Rhone/Alps region.”
On the day of our visit, Nicolas went out of his way to make us feel comfortable in organising a round of golf at Golf de la Bresse.
From the back tees of the par 72 Golf de la Bresse it measures 6,009 metres while from the yellow tees it plays 5,499 metres whereas off the blue tees is 4,985 metres and the ladies play to 4,658 meters.
The Number 1 index hole is the par four, sixth hole (405 meters – white tees; 360 meters yellow and blue; 324 red tees) where a good tee shot is paramout in hitting into green well protected front right by a strategically placed bunker with water for any shot right of the bunker.
The sixth is a super hole whereas other standout holes include the second, ninth and the short par four 11th where a good drive will set up birdie for a second shot at right-angles to the fairway but over water.
The par three, 12th is a great hole where Jeremy Pern has laid out a hole at 153 meters off the white (102 meters off the red) and over water where a par three doesn’t have to be 200 meters to be challenging. But fall short and your assured of a watery grave.
The par five 14th is a another good test and at 448 meters it is the second longest on the course and just 32 meters off the white compared to the par five 18th.
So again merci to Golf de la Bresse and my hope now is I don’t leave it so long between visits.
Hereunder is a selection of photographs from our golf outing I do hope you enjoy.