Estate Living Magazine Investment - Issue 34 October 2018 - Page 38

Ryder CUP Our golf editor has flown north for the (boreal) winter and it looks as if he’ll be well entertained both on the course and off. What a year it has been for France, and coming up from Africa, the pounding heat of one of the hottest European summers on record was a real surprise. This was then followed by the deluges that broke the heatwave and washed away large areas in the southeast of France. There was the excitement of the World Cup, a Tour de France that broke all sorts of records, including the first Welsh national to ride up the Champs-Élysées in the yellow jersey, and finally golf’s supreme team event, the Ryder Cup, will be coming to Paris. The Ryder Cup team selection processes are now over and Tiger, against all the original odds, has made it into the mix as a player for team ‘Ooo Esss Aaaay’, while the Europeans are using social media-type phrasing such as it being time for a little ‘Yankee spanking’, but the talk and the hype are now almost over as it’s time for the real on-course work to begin. But what golfing pedigree, if any, do the French have to showcase professional golf’s premier team event? Historically, Jean Garaïalde, who won the Open de France 12 times in the 1960s and 1970s, is the most successful French player in history, with Jean van de Velde possibly the best known after 36 | his spectacularly unsuccessful play over the 72nd hole at the 1999 Open Championship, which eventually cost him the title. In more recent times French pro golf seems to be very healthy indeed, with the names Bourdy, Dubuisson, Jacquelin, Levy and Levet making regular appearances on the leaderboards at pro events around the world. The Open de France now has a virtually permanent home at Le Golf National, which will play host to the Ryder Cup, and courses that have hosted the French Open multiple times, such as Le Touquet, Golf de Chantilly and La Boulie, are well known to golfing aficionados. Despite France’s tongue-in-cheek reputation as the country where the ‘customer is always wrong’, it is undoubtedly a tourist Mecca, with over 82 million visitors last year and the world #1 ranking (again!), so they must be doing something right. It is a little known fact that the most visited place in France is not some obvious attraction like the Eiffel Tower, but Mont St Michel. ‘Mont St Where?’ I can hear some readers asking themselves. Mont St Michel is one of France’s top tourist attractions, and is perhaps a good example of the country’s hidden secrets, not least of which are the rest of its golf courses.