Review of Golf de Joyenval ‘Marly’
Golf de Joyenval is an extremely private golf club nestled in the forest of Marly, barely 30 minutes from central Paris. The club is unknown outside of French golfing spheres, and even within France not many people know it exists. However, this fact is slowly changing as the golf club has started showing an interest in hosting major golf tournaments, including recently the Vivendi Cup in 2010.
Despite this increase in exposure, the club remains strictly private, and is purely for the enjoyment of its members and their guests. I had the pleasure of playing the course in the summer of 2013 and all I can say is what a massive shame.
There are two 18-hole courses, the Marly considered the better of the two, and the Retz, both designed by the late Robert Trent Jones Sr. Although Trent Jones has designed numerous courses on the Continent, this must rank as one of his greatest achievements as the quality of golf here is superb. Although not quite as hilly, the style of course is reminiscent of The Grove in north-west London.
Although the first three holes of the Marly course are relatively tame, the challenge really kicks in from the 4th hole. A long walk to the tee of this Par 5 can’t hide the fact you’re going to have to carry a water feature and literally thread your ball through the most narrow of fairways. When you think the danger has been averted, you’re faced with yet another water feature positioned sadistically right in front of the tight green.
Throughout the course, there are some superb holes which have been expertly crafted into the site’s subtle undulations. The par 4 ninth hole climbs gently back up to the clubhouse from an elevated tee box and has a litany of bunkers surrounding the green.
In complete contrast to the front nine holes, the back nine has a stretch of holes from 10 through to 13 which weave through the ancient woodland, with in particular a beautiful par 3 also teeing off from an elevated tee box down to the raised green.
No expense has been spared on the maintenance, with pristine tee boxes, carpet fairways and brilliantly smooth greens. On the day I played, green keepers and grounds men outnumbered the guests on the course and this level of detail is replicated across the site.
The Clubhouse is a stunning building both impressive with its sharp edges, member’s pool, exquisite fine dining restaurant and expansive bar area, as well as being understated by not taking the attention away from the main attraction.
I can only say, it is a shame to all golf enthusiasts that clubs like Golf de Joyenval don’t allow visitors. Everything about the site’s infrastructure and the golf on offer makes playing the game of golf an absolute pleasure. If you do get an invite to play here, take it and enjoy every minute of it!
- Designer: Robert Trent Jones Sr
- 36 holes
- Par 72
- Length: 6,153 metres (6,729 yards)
- Slope 144
- Golf club website: http://golfdejoyenval.com/
- Phone number: 01 39 22 27 50
- Address: Chemin de la Tuilerie, 78240 Chambourcy