- 3100 Route de Bagnols en Foret | 83440 Tourrettes, Provence, France
- 33 04 94 39 90 00
Set in beautiful rural setting in Provence, France, some 35 minutes’ drive west of Cannes on the French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur), Terre Blanche Spa and Golf Resort is a classic luxury destination with a lot to offer golf travelers. There are two high-quality courses available for hotel guests – Le Château and Le Riou, with the former being the tougher challenge. Designed by the late Welsh professional golfer and architect Dave Thomas, each layout embraced natural features of the land including lakes, valleys, ravines and woods to deliver courses that suit the environment.
Le Château is considerably longer (7087 yards, 6480 meters) than Le Riou (6444 yards, 5892 meters) and its combination of slick greens and well-positioned water hazards and bunkering make it a championship course of some repute. Golf World Magazine UK ranked Le Château No. 13 in its list of Top 100 Golf Courses in Continental Europe 2016-17, while Terre Blanche was ranked No. 1 in the Top 100 Golf Resorts in Continental Europe.
Le Riou’s steep fairways and immaculately kept greens overlook the village of Pays de Fayence. The course, which is open to hotel guests and members, was ranked No. 39 in France by Top100GolfCourses.com in 2017.
Golfers can warm up on the rooftop range, take a lesson (children can go to the Leadbetter Academy) or get their swing fixed using video analysis at the cutting-edge Albatross Golf Performance Centre, a certified European Tour Performance Institute. That’s if you can extract yourself from the infinity pool and five-star service at the resort.
Le Château course: You’ll need a driver off the tee to score well here due to the length, but beware of obstructing trees and bunkers that are positioned in likely landing areas on the undulating fairways – especially on doglegs. There are water hazards on seven holes (2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11 and 16). The greens are large so it is all about getting your approach near the flag.
Le Riou course: It is shorter but requires more precision off the tee. The club pro recommends using a hybrid or long iron. You’ll be hitting over water hazards on Holes 8, 9, 13 and 18.
When to play: Being in the sunny south of France, both courses play year-round.
Par: Le Château 72 ; Le Riou 72
Le Château: 7087 yards, 6481 meters
Le Riou: 6444 yards, 5893 meters
Slope: Le Riou 146. Le Château 150
Rating: Le Riou 73.4. Le Château 78.1
Le Chateau’s 11th is the signature hole with a rock creek that cuts across the fairway and two large bunkers guarding the par 5’s green. Le Riou’s 18th is regarded as its most memorable, with a stream that runs down the right side of the dog-leg right and fairway bunkers all the way down the left of the par 5.
The pro says: “Terre Blanche has to be considered as a whole. The golf courses are enhanced on the golf side by state-of-the-art practice facilities … Then there is the five-star hotel, the spa and restaurants.” – Jean-Marie Casella, Director of Golf
The resort experience:
This five-star resort is constructed like a Provençal village on a hillside, with 115 Suites and Villas (from 60 square meters to 300 square meters / 646 square feet to 3229 square feet) each with a private terrace and view over the surrounding area. Although pitching itself as a place of natural beauty where you can get away from the hustle and bustle, it is only 45 minutes’ drive from Nice International Airport and even closer to Cannes.
Terre Blanche is billed as a resort for couples and families with youngsters or teenagers due to its mix of activities and places to relax. The centerpiece of Terre Blanche is a 600-square-meter (1966-square-foot) infinity pool that overlooks the resort, the Provence countryside and nearby villages. Next to the pool are private cabanas where you can stretch out and enjoy the same view. The Spa features an indoor pool that opens to a heated outdoor vitality pool and fragrant garden. It also has 14 massage and treatment rooms available.
Taste buds are not forgotten here either. There are four restaurants, offering a variety of culinary experiences (including one with a Michelin star).
Terre Blanche keeps winning awards for its service, including Europe’s Best Luxury Golf Resort Spa and France’s Luxury Hideaway Spa at the 2016 World Luxury Spa Awards as well as France’s Leading Resort at the 2013 World Travel Awards.
Dine and wine:
The first place to book yourself into is the Michelin-star Le Faventia, which offers refined contemporary French gastronomy. Led by celebrated chef executive Philippe Jourdin, who received two Michelin stars when he joined the resort in 2003, expect fine local wines to compliment dishes such as Bœuf Français De Race (French beef fillet tournedos with duck foie gras, roasted then smoked with vine cuttings and served with Seillans wine and aged port sauce).
You can also head to Le Gaudina (breakfast or brunch in a cool setting), Le Tousco (salads, pizza and burgers by the pool), Les Caroubiers (gourmet and original dishes at the clubhouse) and Le Pitchoun (a buffet for children up to 12 years old).
The separate white stone and red clay suites and villas make it feel like a village community rather than a hotel. Once inside, you’ll notice a mix of contemporary and traditional Provençal décor and light interiors. The creature comforts include heated bathroom tiles, double vanity bathrooms, a lounge and a private terrace. The most luxurious option is the Premier Villa, which also has a separate living room, large terrace, dining area and two bathrooms.
An impressive variety of outdoor adventures await in Provence. Explore some of Europe’s biggest canyons at Verdon Gorges, tour local vineyards on an electric bicycle, visit the perfumeries of Grasse, or take in the lavender fields on the road to Avignon. Terre Blanche can organize half- or full-day trips to these locations as well as some other great activities. The brave can take a gliding lesson at the aerodrome at Fayence to get a complete view of the area from the air in silence, or take a helicopter tour instead. I’ll be spending a day on the Riveria and travelling to St Tropez and Pampelonne Beach by boat.