There are some outstanding golf courses in Northern France including rustic links, established championship parklands and dense majestic woodland courses. No wonder this is such a popular golf destination. 

Northern France encompasses a huge surface area. From the most westerly point, the rugged and wild cliffs of Brittany, it stretches east running through Normandy. It then continues eastwards until it reaches the most northerly region of France, the Pas-de-Calais. 

See also: What are the best golf courses in Northern France?

belle dune golf club
The outstanding Belle Dune golf club

There are many famous towns within the area. These include the likes of Lille, one of France’s largest cities renowned for its shopping and vast student population. On the Normandy coast, surrounded by white cliffs, is the fishing port of Dieppe.

And further down the coastline is the glitz and glamour of Deauville. This elegant town is juxtaposed by the rural and unpretentious Trouville across the estuary.

See also: The ultimate guide to a Deauville golf tour

Towards Brittany but still officially in Normandy, is the iconic Mont-St-Michel. It is a tidal island renowned for its striking abbey positioned at its highest point. And lastly the fortified port city of St Malo once a home to pirates employed by the king of France. 

Northern France is truly diverse and this beautiful landscape is home to many outstanding golf courses which let’s explore now…

Golf Courses in Pas de Calais

The region of Pas-de-Calais is located at the most northern tip of France. At its closest, it is just 21 miles from England. The region is hugely popular with Brits crossing the channel in droves. They come to enjoy not only great golf, but vibrant towns like Le Touquet, with its fabulous bars and restaurants.

It is here where there is the greatest concentration of top class golf courses. Therefore it may not come as a huge surprise when you consider the tens of thousands of British golfers who flock here on some kind of annual golfing pilgrimage. 

Most of these British golfers will cross the channel one of two ways. Either the Eurotunnel, the train upon which you can drive your car, or by ferry going from Dover into Calais. 

Working our way south from Calais, after just 10 minutes’ drive is the truly authentic links course of Wimereux. Like many golf courses in this region, it is positioned on the coastline with great views over the English channel.

But unlike all of them, it is the only one which can claim to be a true links course. Very unpretentious, hugely welcoming and fun, this is a must-play when crossing the channel. 

Hardelot golf club is next up with two fantastic golf courses, the Pines course and the Dunes course.

The Pines course is regularly voted as one of France’s and Europe’s top golf courses. Even more so following the recent renovation to reestablish its former heathland character.

The Dunes course is much newer and a completely different test of golf. For starters it is significantly more up-and-down and more parkland in feel.

Not much further down the coast is the renowned Le Touquet golf club. This is another club with two courses, La Mer and La Foret.

It is La Mer which takes the plaudits and for good reason. A Harry Colt classic which meanders through windswept sand dunes, the course is a beast. Like the Pines course at Hardelot, it regularly gets ranked as one of France’s and Europe’s best golf courses. 

Other golf courses of note include the outstanding Golf de Belle Dune, an unheralded course but thoroughly enjoyable to play. Part parkland, part heathland, part links, it really is one of the top golf courses in Northern France.

There is also Arras golf club, previous host venue of the Ladies European Tour. Add to this Saint-Omer golf club, another with European kudos having for many years hosted a European Challenge Tour event.

See also: What are the best golf courses in Le Touquet?

Golf Courses in Normandy

As you cross the border into Normandy, you have a handful of great golf courses. This includes the traditional Dieppe golf club, a relatively open clifftop course overlooking the English channel. 

There is also Saint-Saens, home to a championship golf course which surrounds a beautiful 19th century chateau. This chateau, known as the Chateau du Vaudichon, also operates as a clubhouse, hotel, restaurant and bar! A fantastic location and thoroughly enjoyable course.

As you drive further into Normandy, the next two courses are real highlights. Etretat golf course is perched high up on the cliffs just a short drive from the charming town of Etretat. It is a popular detour for many golfers making the journey down to Deauville. The layout is not overly challenging, but all it needs is a bit of wind to start making a mess of your scorecard!

The other course is one of my personal favourites and is the Champ de Bataille golf club. The embodiment of a ‘hidden gem’ it is tucked away in a dense and magical woodland. In past times it has been recognised as one of, if not the best golf course in Normandy. Yet still it remains relatively unappreciated.

As you get closer to the golfing epicentre of Normandy, the two towns of Deauville and Trouville, there are a number of golf courses to choose from. Foremost amongst them is the Tom Simpson classic at Deauville golf club. This is a fantastic design with subtle elevation changes and numerous dog-legs.

Within a 10 minute drive are three more golf courses. Firstly Saint-Julien golf club with its wonderful clubhouse. Next up Amirauté golf course renowned for its modern art sculptures as well as the fact 16 of the 18 holes flirt with water. And lastly the homely and not overly challenging Golf de Deauville Saint-Gatien.

Last up, on Normandy’s western border, is another of France’s few authentic links golf courses, Granville golf club. The design was originally established by the great Harry Colt and Charles Allison. Over the years, the club has carefully attempted to restore the original bunkers and reseed specific varieties of grass. A really wonderful course and a lovely way to round off our golf courses in Normandy.

Golf Courses in Brittany

France’s most westerly region, Brittany retains much of its rural charm, much like Cornwall in the UK. There are numerous golf courses dotted throughout the region with most positioned somewhere along the 2,900 kilometres of coastline.

Unlike many other regions throughout France, Brittany has very few, if any golf courses which make it into the various European Top 100 golf course rankings. That is not to say however, that the courses aren’t challenging or that they don’t have spectacular scenery. It’s also very fair to say all of those courses have provided an incredibly friendly reception and outstanding food. Is that not what golf is all about? 

Regardless of your perspective on that last point, one of the better golf courses is Dinard golf club. Not so much a links but a clifftop course in the same mould as Etretat and Dieppe golf clubs.

Opened in 1887 and designed by Scotsman Tom Dunn, it is one of France’s oldest courses. Despite being heavily bombed during the second World War, it reopened in 1949 with a brand new art-deco clubhouse designed by the famous architect Marcel Oudin. 

Further along the coastline you’ll come across the fantastic and picturesque Val André golf club. Val André has on many occasions hosted European Challenge Tour events. The topography of the surrounding landscape offers the course spectacular coastal views, with these particularly impressive on the back-nine.  

Another great course positioned on Brittany’s southern coast is Saint-Laurent golf club. It is just 20 minutes’ drive from the seaside town of Carnac. Weaving through a forest of pines and oaks, it is a real challenging layout despite its rather rural feel. 

To Finish

As you can see there are some fantastic golf courses in Northern France. With such easy access from the UK and other countries, you can understand why it is so popular. 

If you are interested in a golf holiday to northern France, I would thoroughly recommend using a tour operator, who will work with you to understand your requirements, preferred golf courses, location, budget etc. It is worth every penny, not just for the bespoke recommendations but also all the organisation.

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