September is coming to a close but before it can make its way to the exit door, there’s one more event that could spring a surprise: the Ryder’s Cup – the biennial all-men’s golf tournament that bring the greats of the golfing world, Tiger Woods included, together to square it off across the greens.
If you haven’t already heard, this year’s Ryder Cup will be held at Le Golf National in Guyancourt, France, a half-hour’s drive West from the capital of Paris. Put together by Hubert Chesneau and Robert von Hagge with the help of French golf architect Pierre Thevenin, the Le Golf National is your standard 18-hole deal stretched across a bright green, sunny countryside. The course opened in October of 1990, and has since been the site of the Open de France, the oldest golf tournament on the European continent.
So what are they playing this year at Le Golf National? Three different courses across its eighteen holes —the shortest one being the Oiselet (French for birdie), which is played on nine of the eighteen holes for par 32. Next is the Aigle, (French for eagle) at Par 71 and 5,691 metres. Finally, the longest course is the Albatros (French for, well, Albatross), played across all eighteen holes at par 72 across 6,703 metres of sprawling thoroughfare, yellowed bunkers and stillwater. The Albatros is what they’re playing for this year’s Ryder Cup, as it’s the standard course used by the Open de France.
How to get there? Guyancourt is near enough for a drive from Paris, so if you’re up to renting a car or know someone from France who can drive you, strap in for a quick ride and you’ll find yourself there in no time. Otherwise, there’s a train and a number of buses you can catch that constantly ply the route between the Capital and little Guyancourt. If you can, book a couple of nights in Guyancourt itself— accommodations here are adorably quaint, with places like the Best Western The Wish Versailles and Ibis Styles Guyancourt Versailles offering that special French countryside comfort. If you can’t find a place to stay, though, Paris is close enough for you to keep going back and forth, although that might do a number on your shopping and dining money.
While Ryder Cup is the main attraction at the end of this month, Guyancourt is on its own a quiet place for wandering tourists. Between sunny days on the green you can give the town a quick roam, although the town is really more of interest for those keen on history and architecture – St. Victor Church is a gothic remnant of French history and sits at the centre of town, while the Battery Bouviers stands as a bit of old French military tradition now repurposed for the modern age.
Of course, if you’re looking for an experience that’s truly iconic to the region, you can head over to the nearby Palace of Versailles, legendary in its size and historical significance in France’s turbulent past. Stroll the expanses of Versailles’ hedged lawn before heading back to Guyancourt for the rest of this year’s Ryder Cup where you might see Tiger Woods reclaim his “Mount Rushmore of golf” stature, if he hasn’t already.