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Golfy doing everything right to put French courses on the map of Europe's best

Gone are the days when Spain was the go-to golf destination for Brits looking to soak up the sun while enjoying the best courses in Europe.

Because the beers and cheers of the Costa Del Sol now have stiff competition in the shape of chateau living and fine dining in the heart of France.

Our friends across the channel will host the Ryder Cup next year on the famous Le Golf National in Paris.

Domaine de Vaugouard
Domaine de Vaugouard

But you don’t have to be Justin Spieth or Rory McIlroy to sample the best France has to offer.

First stop on our trip was the delightful Domaine de Vaugouard, little more than an hour south of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Sipping a welcome Champagne on a terrace overlooking the eye-catching course, the hotel’s amiable general manager Francoise Couilloud filled us in on its golfing delights.

And his summary of what was to come lived up to expectations.

The chateau at Domaine de Vangouard
The chateau at Domaine de Vangouard

The first nine holes were tight – very tight – with trees closely lining almost every tee box, but hit the fairway and you’ll give yourself a chance. Easier said than done, of course.

The back nine opens up, but water comes into play, with the final green sitting beneath the terrace we had sat upon five hours before.

Back on said terrace with a post-round beer, tales of missed putts and shanked drives were shared to the backdrop of a view to savour.

But equally eye-catching was our next stop, less than an hour south to the four-star Domaine du Roncemay.

Water in play at Domain du Roncemay
Water in play at Domain du Roncemay

It’s just a stone’s throw from Auxerre, but, nestled within 80 hectares of woodland, the former 19th century hunting lodge feels as far-removed from the pace of city life as can be.

And that tranquillity resonates onto the golf course, with barely a sound to be heard as we teed off early as dew coated the luscious green fairways.

Again the course offers a fine challenge, but with the more open tee boxes my natural draw saw fewer drives clattering trees to the left.

Our round was followed by a super buffet lunch before we headed to of the regions many famous vineyards, this one owned by our playing partner for the day, Jean-Marc Brocard.

He divulged the secrets – although I suspect not all of them – on the art of winemaking, and indulged us in a refreshingly welcome tasting session.

Stunning views at Domain du Roncemay
Stunning views at Domain du Roncemay

It was the perfect precursor to experiencing the best of Burgundy gastronomy back at the hotel’s gourmet restaurant – with, of course, an extensive wine list.

Pike and cabbage cake with crayfish bisque and scallops with black radish and shrimp tarama are two of its dining highlights.

After a few glasses of red I certainly slept easy that night, safe in the knowledge that I’d be returning with my clubs to see what other golfing delights France has up its sleeve.

The trip was hosted by Golfy, which promotes a network of hotels and golf courses across Europe, including in France, Spain and Belgium.

Holders of one of its discount cards are afforded attractive rates at all of its 162 courses, as well as cheaper hotel bookings.

The Indigo e-card offers a 25% discount on green fees and 15% off accommodation. It costs €49 in the UK.

The Platine e-card provides a 30% discount on green fees and 25% on golf breaks, and is available for €180.

A green fee at Domaine du Roncemay would typically cost €66, but is just €44 with a platinum card.

For more information click here.

For more information on Domaine et Golf de Vaugouard visit the website here.

For more information on Domaine et Golf du Roncemay visit the website here.

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