Golfer in Les Bordes, like nowhere else

Renowned for its two legendary courses, this Sologne club continues to develop with the same concern for excellence. Detail review.

Last weekend, as the Indian summer went into overtime, the Les Bordes Golf Club estate turned out to be more of a little paradise than ever. Drowned in the middle of the Sologne forest, in Saint-Laurent-Nouan (Loir-et-Cher), with its deer roaming free, the 560-hectare property is timeless. Here, the cellular network is almost non-existent. The small inconvenience that does not seem to disturb the 250 members of the club, which has 19 nationalities.

On November 11, several of them came to enjoy the place. At the clubhouse, we meet a small group of Britons, who, once their game is over and their sandwich – copiously garnished with a thick slice of artisanal ham – swallowed, are preparing to join Orleans airport to return in London, in one hour flat. Seated a little further, on the terrace, it is a French member, owner of a historic brioche shop in Tours, who invited some friends to come and enjoy the two courses, the Old and the New Course. The service is attentive, worthy of a great restaurant. A detail that gives extra soul to the experience, most French fans of the little white ball not being used to so much attention. This varied clientele demonstrates that Les Bordes, contrary to its reputation, is not reserved for extremely wealthy foreign financiers. To become a member, you certainly have to pay a substantial entry fee (transferable after ten years), but the annual fee is then equivalent to that of a private club in the Paris region.

Fauna and flora inventory

Driss Benkirane, founder of the RoundShield Partners investment fund, owner of the premises, is on the way to winning his bet. Make this mythical golf course a select club like there are only in the United States or in the chic suburbs of London. Most of the projects announced over the past ten years have long played the role of Arlesians. But today, the businessman keeps his roadmap. When he took over the estate in 2018, the creation of a second course was at a standstill. Just like that of a hotel and houses diffused in the forest. Aware of the potential of the former property of Baron Bich – whose course, designed in 1987 by Robert Von Hagge, is considered by many to be the most beautiful in France -, he hastened to relaunch the project of an additional 18-hole , in place of the old Ganay 36-hole golf course, located at the entrance to the estate, near a 12th-century priorye century.

The original idea was to build the route “willby Van Hagge, sketched out by the architect a few months before his death. But Driss Benkirane prefers Gil Hanse – to whom we owe the Olympic golf course in Rio or Castle Stuart, in Scotland – a designer rooted in his time, more in tune with the environmental issues of our time. The latter imagines the New Course, a tribute to the British links. Resolutely different from its elder, the Old Course, it is inspired by the layouts of Tom Simpson – Sunningdale, Chantilly, Morfontaine, Fontainebleau – with wide fairways (planted with fescue, a grass that does not consume much water), lined with gorse, of heather and 140 small and deep bunker pots. He creates next to a pitch and putt«luxury», Baptized Wild Piglet, of ten by 3, nods to the greatest tracks in the world. Next January, the maintenance of the courses will be appointed to Romain Basque, the greenkeeper of the Morfontaine golf course, while, in terms of eco-responsibility, the site has already adopted an environmentalist, Maurice Sempé, who has made an inventory of the fauna and flora, and today watches over the estate’s arboreal heritage.

From 2018, Driss Benkirane also undertook the renovation of the clubhouse housed in the former hunting lodge of Baron Bich, and the cottages lining the fairways of the Old Course. This one was named after Michaelis Boyd, the architect of Soho Farmhouse, in the Costwolds, the address for the London jet-set to go green. Proof that Les Bordes Golf Club is also destined to become a refuge for recharging one’s batteries. Where we practice golf… but not only. This is how we find on the site a Solognot village, a natural swimming pool with its fine sandy beach, a fishing pond, an equestrian center, bicycles, tennis courts, a go-kart circuit…

Stone or wooden houses

The last stones of the edifice will also soon be laid. Work on the hotel, announced ten years ago, will start in a few weeks. Managed by Six Senses – which will open its first address in the provinces here -, it will take place around the Château de Bel Air, a 19th century residencee century. The latter will house a few suites and a gourmet restaurant, while a spa, fifty rooms and as many hotel residences will take place in the surrounding woods. Within driving distance of the Old Course, the construction of the first houses, in traditional stone or contemporary wood, decorated by Michaelis Boyd, has also begun. A first series of twenty houses – eighteen of which have already been sold to members – is under construction, twenty-five others will be created in the process.

All candidates for purchase are invited to experience the lifestyle of the Domaine des Bordes for a weekend. On the program: night in one of the cottages, discovery of the clubhouse, site activities and the Wild Piglet course. The sesame to access the Old or the New Course remaining to be invited by a member. It’s your turn.

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