Golf Tourism: Les Bordes creates history

Published on : Thursday, November 26, 2020

Globally recognised for being home to one of the world’s most prestigious golf clubs, the new owners of Les Bordes have devoted the last two years to delivering new life into France’s famed Loire Valley region as the estate has quietly entered an eagerly awaited new chapter in its history.

Only a 90-minute drive from Paris and spread across 1,400 acres of mythical Sologne Forest, significant investment since 2018 has created an environment at Les Bordes for endless fun and adventure for all the family, embraced by nature and a sense of community and connectivity.

The Loire Valley is already recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage region famous for its historic chateaux, medieval towns, fine wine, cuisine and breath-taking landscape, and the owners, the principals of RoundShield Partners and a few outside partners, have moved quickly to invest in their Les Bordes masterplan.

New family facilities have already been delivered across the estate including a natural swimming lake with a white sand beach, enhanced equestrian facilities, boating lakes, archery, fishing, cycle and electric quad paths and a new tennis centre. Younger family members can experience a petting farm, go-kart track, pony riding and adventure playgrounds, with a kids’ club, ice-cream shop and zip lines coming on stream this winter.

On the golfing side, spring 2021 will herald the opening of a much anticipated second 18-hole golf course, with the owners having secured the services of globally acclaimed American architect Gil Hanse – who created the 2016 Rio Olympic Course and world top-100 courses Castle Stuart and Ohoopee Match Club  – for what is his debut original design project in continental Europe.

Hanse is also lauded for his restoration work including three of the next four US Open venues – Winged Foot, The Country Club and The Los Angeles Country Club – and has already completed work on an accompanying 10-hole short course at Les Bordes – the Wild Piglet – with US authority immediately placing it in its top-25 par-3 courses in the world.

When viewed together with Les Bordes’ original Old Course, already determined as one of Europe’s masterpieces and of a contrasting style to the New Course, the members of Les Bordes Golf Club – which is an exclusive, private club and governed separately from the rest of the estate – will be welcomed into one of the greatest golfing experiences in the world with an incomparable 46-hole combination.

As a result of these developments, the global allure of Les Bordes Golf Club is greater than ever, with members of Pine Valley, Merion, Riviera, Sunningdale, Royal St. George’s, Friar’s Head, Royal Melbourne and Morfontaine among the approximately 140 members who have joined since the club – which is accessible only to members and their guests – was formed in August 2019.

Additionally, leading architects Michaelis Boyd have completed a redesign of the clubhouse and renovation of 24 member cottages, while work on a new member gym, sports bar, mini-spa and private lounge and games room, including golf simulator, is to be completed for March 2021.

Driss Benkirane, founder of RoundShield and an avid six-handicap golfer with membership at several clubs including The Berkshire, Royal Cinque Ports and Ballybunion, said: “We are blessed with a beautiful site in one of the most stunning and culturally-rich areas of France, and all within 90 minutes of Paris.

“With my fellow owners, a group which includes my co-founder Richard Sharp and Bluecrest founder Mike Platt, we have aimed to create the pre-eminent European golf club and to build a relaxed and fun-filled community for all members of the family – golfers and non-golfers, adults and children alike.

Near-term plans include the announced partnership with Six Senses for the transformation of the 19th century ‘Chateau Bel Air’ into an 88-key luxury hotel and spa, the creation of a community village square with restaurants, shops, a farmers’ market and outdoor amphitheatre centred around the estate’s 13th century priory, and a variety of residential homes designed by Michaelis Boyd, half of which have already been reserved by golf club members prior to a year-end release to market.

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