“A golf course? Here?” were our collective thoughts as we headed behind the town of Mouans-Sartoux on the route de Cannes towards Grasse. Yet in this densely populated place, there is still plenty of space for the Saint Donat golf club.
Friends from Switzerland, with whom we are playing on this day, explained the directions to us. Simple as they may be – find the Golf de Saint Donat sign – there is still much exploring to do when we get there. Arriving is only the first phase.
It is quite unbelievable that such a large golf course can find a home in the middle of a bustling residential area. However, as we later discover, a multitude of vegetation in the form of forest, bushes and copses is concealed in the hilly landscape. Next to the golf course, there are also other sports facilities and the local tennis courts.
The golf course itself occupies an extensive area with a clubhouse, exercise facilities and a variety of parking places: it makes a good impression. Having arrived on the terrace, a beautiful view of a large pond with a villa property in the background opens up before us. Beyond that and everything else is hidden from view, we can only see a narrow Par 3 on the left and a portion of the 18th hole.
Our initial plans are to take the course on foot, but our friend counsels the buggy: “Later in the day, it can feel quite mountainous.” I am glad we followed his advice. After the first two holes, we already found ourselves heading uphill. The greens undulate in this hilly terrain. When you can combine fitness and endurance with gameplay, all while enjoying the landscape, you know this will be a good day on the course. From a sporting point of view, the course is a challenge and not only for high and medium handicappers. For the longhitter, several perhaps unwelcome surprises await at many holes.
The Par 5 tracks are short, the Par 4s (except for two tracks of over 300 metres) are tricky. With each hole, the golfer has to adapt to the changing requirements of the course. Golfing like this could not be a more interesting or scenic experience: the pace is fast and the setting is sublime. Along with the many other people playing on this fine day, we decide to end four and a half hours of golfing in the sun on the wonderful terrace. All in all a great golfing day. We’ll even let the grumpy welcome by a few staff members and the slightly unpleasant smell in the locker room and the toilets of the clubhouse slide. These small problems should be given more attention by club management – a little motivation and perfume would work miracles here!