There’s no let up at the par-4 5th – the hardest hole on the card – which measures a brutal 499 yards from the white tees, while the layout’s eclectic nature comes to the fore two holes later with a dinky 126-yard par three. What the hole lacks in length it more than makes up for in the fiddly nature of the green, with anything hit long running off the back, leaving a very difficult up-and-down for par.
The back nine is far more tree-lined and, as such, more demanding from the tee, while a number of deep bunkers serve to keep you honest on your approaches to the greens. It’s also where the drama really steps up a gear, with the stretch of holes from 13 to 17 being the strongest part of the course – deftly bringing out the best of the topography’s natural features.
The driveable par-four 15th, with a cavernous bunker front and centre just 50 yards short of a narrow green that slopes off on both sides, is notable for its fun as much as its strategy. It all sets up for a grandstand finish with the closing hole, a stunning par five where water comes into play if you chose to take on the green in two.
There’s no doubt that Hanse has done a brilliant job here, carefully sewing together the lumps and bumps of the natural terrain to craft an outstanding course that feels like it was shaped by the elements rather than a digger.
The previously mentioned Wild Piglet course is a condensed version of the New – with all the same strategic challenges in miniature. None of the ten holes measures more than 150 yards, but good things often come in small packages and that’s certainly the case with this delightful little course.
Golfing challenges ticked off, the new-look Les Bordes is very much a country sporting estate, with the owners having introduced a host of new facilities, including a swimming lake with a white sandy beach, enhanced equestrian facilities, boating lakes, archery, fishing, cycle and electric quad paths and a new tennis centre. Children are catered for, with a go-karting track and a zipline being just some of the activities on offer for kids big and small.
Les Bordes has also announced that the château the Bichs stayed in during their visits will soon be transformed into a Six Senses resort. Expected to open in 2024, the building will include a restaurant, bar and spa facilities, with branded suites and villas hiding among the woodland around the property. Phase one of its Cour du Baron development project will see a number of properties built throughout the estate to offer members a more permanent ‘home away from home’ when they are visiting to play the course. As part of the ownership, members will be able to offer their home back to the club to rent out when the property is vacant, should they so wish.
With just 200 members currently on the books, and no visitor play allowed except as a member’s guest, Les Bordes offers golf at its unashamedly most exclusive, but if you ever get the chance to go, clear the diary and make the pilgrimage. You won’t be disappointed, and you’ll have some envy- inducing stories to tell your friends for many years.
For more details about Les Bordes, go to lesbordes.com. Matt flew from Farnborough to Orleans with Jetfly, the leader in fractional ownership of private jets in Europe for both business and private aviation, with a fleet of 50 Pilatus aircraft that can land at international airports and local airfields. For more details, visit jetfly.com.