Fly & Swing To New Heights With The Alpine Flying School & Gap Bayard Golf Club

Here’s an adventure for the golfer’s out there who enjoy discovering new heights.

Now that restrictions to travel are being lifted, why not treat a flight yourself to double French alpine flying and golfing adventure?

This is what we did recently thanks to Alpine Flying School –  and the Gay Bayard Golf Club –

The Alpine Flying School and Gap Bayard have their homes high in the stunning French Alps with the Alpine Flying School located overlooking the pretty village of Apres-sur-Buech and the golf course located on the outskirts of the town of Gap.

For the Alpine Flying School, it’s just the perfect take-off point to explore and wonder at some of the finest scenery in Europe.


No sooner are you in the air and you’re surrounded by eye-catching, camera-grabbing scenery.

The excitement of jumping aboard a flight with Alpine Flying School begins with being able to drive your car or ride your motor-bike and park right beside the hangar where the school’s aircraft await. It’s just so different than having to park your car miles away and needing to catch a shuttle ride to the terminal?

The Team At The Alpine Flying School …

First there’s a very friendly welcome in meeting the Alpine Flying School’s leading instructors Remy Desbenoit and Dr. Christian Lahaye.  Remy has been a pilot for more than 30 years and has more than 12,000 hours of flight as a glider and microlight instructor while Christian proudly boasts well over 500 flying hours.

Whether you’re looking for a ‘discovery’ flight over the stunning scenery or taking a first lesson in learning yourself how to fly, Remy and Christian are there to help fulfill your dreams.

The Alpine Flying School’s leading instructors Remy Desbenoit and below Christian Lahaye

What Makes Your Alpine Flying School Adventure So Special? …

We sat down with Remy & Christian for a small question and answer session to learn more about the delights to be savoured in stepping aboard one of the school’s aircrafts.

Qn:  What can people expect to see when arriving at the Alpine Flying School?

Answer:  “The first reaction is the stunning location of the school amid such breath-taking scenery. It is like a picture postcard. The school is located at altitude above the village of Apres-sur-Buech and with the aerodrome first used in WW2.  The landing areas have been improved while the planes are state-of-the-art aircraft with modern hangars in place to house the planes.

We’re yet to take to the sky but this is the stunning view of the pretty village of Apres-sur-Buech from the home to the Alpine Flying School. (Photo – @TourMiss)

Looking down on the Apres-sur-Buech aerodrome and the home to the Alpine Flying School. (Photograph – Eric Bosgiraud)

And your Alpine Flying School’s flight is read for boarding.  (Photo – @TourMiss)

“What has not changed is the delight of being surrounded by some many stunning mountain peaks and that thrill of adventure in getting a birds-eye view and also flying of magnificent-looking lakes, rivers and towns.

“This region of France also boasts more than 300 days of sunshine a year and that is why it is a magnet for travellers the world over.  People come here to ski in winter as the school is very close to skiing stations and in the summer months, the region is a mecca also for dozens of activities including camping, hiking, bike-riding, canoeing, hang-gliding, paragliding, golfing and, of course, our very strong passion of flying.

“The school offers also offers the hire of motor-bikes and we can also arrange golf outings at the close-by Gay Bayard, and one of the finest Alpine golf courses in the region.

AFS dans les Alpes du Sud entre amis from Eric Bosgiraud on Vimeo.

“It’s relatively easy getting to the school as we are located around a 90-minute easy drive north from Marseille while it is just a two-hour train journey on the TGV from Paris to the close-by town of Gap while Grenoble is also not very far away, so there is no excuse is not being able to find you way to the school.

“We’re also surrounded by many excellent villages, boasting many wonderful restaurants”.

Qn:  What type of planes does the school fly and what are the procedures in place before you take to the air?

Answer:  “The Alpine Flying School offers a choice of planes.  We have a Sinus Pipistrel Motor Glider which is a two-seat, single-engine ultralight motor glider, a Dynamic WT9 ULM which is a fantastic two-seater, ultralight and light-sport aircraft and a superb Savage Cub ULM.

Take your pick of aircraft on offer at the Alpine Flying School.  (Photograph – Eric Bosgiraud)

Your doorway to the Alpine Flying School’s briefing room (Photo – @TourMiss)

“What everyone admires is the modern, smart design of our aircraft as we have three high quality machines that combine safety and performance.

“All our guests are warmly welcomed and for those who would like their flying experience to go a step further, we host iniation lessons in a first step in learning in hopefully flying a light aircraft yourself.  To do this, we have within the hanger a modern briefing room where our guests can sit in air-conditioned comfort.  We use the room also to conduct our briefing and debriefing classes before and after each flight.

“Also, we know that not everyone may be comfortable stepping aboard a small aircraft but both Remy and I can assure you we will do everything possible to dispel any fears you may have to make you feel as comfortable, as possible.

Stunning scenery surrounds on your Alpine Flying School flight. (Photograph – Eric Bosgiraud)

Photograph – Eric Bosgiraud

“The opportunity to explore this spectacular region of France from the comfort of our aircraft is an experience to be enjoyed and, who knows, if you choose to attend our instruction courses you could one day find yourself piloting a plane on your own.

“So, before taking to the air you will be knowledgeable in the basics of the aircraft then once aboard, it’s just a matter of fastening your seatbelt for the discovery sensation of a lifetime”.

Qn:  It is very clear this is also an experience that can be shared with family members and friends?

Answer:  “Yes, very much so and this is what the school promotes.  Families flock to this region and so many now are visiting the school to experience the adventure that awaits.

Wings over the alps and great photograph by Eric Bosgiraud of the stars of the Alpine Flying School.

Your author soaring to new heights and with Christian (right in photo) at the controls (Photo @TourMiss)

“You’re never too young to fly and again, it’s a first step in getting over any fears and that sense of accomplishment the younger ones can go back to their school friends with tales of the adventures they’ve experienced flying among the alps.

“We are often complimented on is our affordable prices with flights very inexpensive, including our combined flight and motor-bike riding packages.  (See special offer below)

Also, there’s a camping ground on site along with a bar and restaurant while you can drive your car or ride your bike and park right beside the hanger. How many flights have you flown that allows such convenience?

Qn:  And, as you mentioned, you have a few motor-bikes for hire.

Answer:  “Yes, they’re very popular and it allows us to offer our guests the opportunity to also explore the many magnificent villages with the choice of a new Africa Twin 1100, a 500 CBX Honda or a KTM 790 Adventure R to explore the region.

“It means you go flying in the morning and then spend the afternoon riding your motorcycle.  We rent the motor bikes from a half day to a week, or a weekend.  Also, you can combine the flying/riding experience by choosing one of many packages we offer.

“A visit to the Alpine Flying School just got doubly enjoyable!”

Golf & The Alpine Flying School …

Being a dedicated golfing website, we are not going to forget about our golfing friends so here’s a proposal the great many golfers out there would never consider.

Why not combine taking to the skies with the Alpine Flying School with a flight taking in the spectacular-looking Gap Bayard golf course and then go back with your clubs to play this great Alpine golfing gem?  This will surely give new meaning to ‘course knowledge’.

The school can make this happen by arranging for you tee-up on this course located on the outskirts of Gap.

What a view and from behind the first green at Gay Bayard GC – Photo @TourMiss)

The 10th green at the Gap Bayard course on the outskirts of Gap. (Photo – @TourMiss)

The Gap Bayard course was designed by renowned French-born designer, Hugues Lambert.

Lambert knows the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region well.  He is a specialist in mountain layouts where golf courses have been laid out in the heart of some emblematic landscapes.  When you arrive at Gap-Bayard, you will note the club house and driving range are grouped together which is a trait of Lambert’s design work.

Then from the first to final holes, Lambert has used the topography of the terrain to design a golf course that weaves it’s way for some 6,000 metres off the ‘tips’. Though for  much of your Gap Bayard golfing journey you will find yourself being distracted by the spectacular sights of the surrounding peaks, or in the case standing on the ninth, staring down at the town of Gap located some 500 metres below.

The golf course is the usual mix of four par-3s, four par-5s and 10 par-4s.

From the uphill first hole, and measuring 309-metres, to the signature hole and the par-4 18th and four metres longer than the first, Gay Bayard is a golf course where a good drive will be rewarded with a strong chance of par, at worst.

The views at Gap Bayard are so good as to easily take your mind off golf. Be sure your mobile phone or camera is fully charged. (Photo – Gap Bayard)

This was the beauty I found in playing Gay Bayard.   You will stand on many tees with plenty of towering trees for company but the view ahead is mostly wide-open fairways, and on my visit, with little rough at all.

What I liked about Gay Bayard is that a good number of tee shots such as the fourth, sixth, ninth, 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th holes you are actually playing to fairways or greens below level of the tee.  Standing of these particular holes seems to give you a little sense of authority, so much so, you just want to get away a good tee shot, and moreso at the last where the stately-looking clubhouse is proudly staring at you in the distance.

If I had to choose a favourite three holes, and while thrilled to have played a second shot into the uphill par-4 12th to just two-feet for a birdie, it would be the back-to-back par-5 eight hole and the par-3 ninth along with the par-4 15th.

The eighth, at 491-metres off the yellow tee, is a very slight dog-leg right-to-left hole and after getting your tee shot away from between the trees you arrive on the fairway to be greeted by the impressive sight off to the right of the mountains staring down on you.

Leaving the eighth you take the path through the pine trees emerging onto the raised tee of the 184-metre par-3 ninth holes and where your attention is immediately drawn to the stunning view to the town of Gap well below.  The ninth hole is rated 15 index on the scorecard and guarded front left by a bunker that I managed to find on route to a bogey ‘4’.

My birdie on the par-4 12th was initially luck more than anything.  We know in golf when the game is a little off, it helps to change something.  I had made a mess of the 11th so I arrived on 12 tee deciding to change my golf ball.  Though the sight of a brand new Callaway Chrome ‘Soft’ heading right into the trees was not planned though I had the fortune of the ball running between two towering pines and emerging on the other side presenting me with a clear shot to the green.  An 8-iron second shot to just a couple of feet to walk off with a ‘3’ had me pretty chuffed with myself.

What a golfing backdrop! The view off the 15th tee at Gap Bayard GC – (Photo @TourMiss)

An Augusta National like 18th hole tee shot here off the 18th tee at Gay Bayard. With the sight of the clubhouse below, a great reason to hit it straight with your final tee shot. (Photo – @TourMiss)

I chose the par-4 15th again because of the stunning backdrop of the Alps.  As I pointed out, you stand on a raised tee looking down a hole measuring 356-metres off the yellow tees and another hole at Gap Bayard that cries out to send your tee shot soaring to the fairway well below.

The closing hole at Gap Bayard is your first sight of the clubhouse since teeing-up though it’s a kind of Augusta National 18th hole tee shot where you first have to thread your way between the trees on both sides of the tee to a fairway below.  With the tee shot proudly well down the fairway, and having managed not to be blocked by a clump of trees on the left side, it was also a clear shot – a 9-iron – and finished the round with a very-satisfying two-putt par.

Gay Bayard was truly Alpine golf at it’s best with the golf course in wonderful condition, the fairways generous, the greens very receptive and all the time, the surrounding Alps making for an imposing and impressive sight.

And here’s a great great Alpine Flying School introductory offer !

The Alpine Flying School adding a new definition to flying and riding. Photograph – Eric Bosgiraud

Enjoy a 45-minute discovery flight and the use of a motorcyle for two days for only Euro 150.  Usually, Euro 186.

What are your waiting for?

…….. Special thank you to Remy, Christian and everyone at the Alpine Flying School and also a big thank you to Gaetan Demard at Gap Bayard Golf Club.  Looking forward to returning.

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