February 17, 2021 By: Jason Lusk — The design duo of Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner will open a new 18-hole layout this summer, with a target of mid-July, at the private Les Bordes Golf Club in France.
The golf club is near the upscale Les Bordes Estate – about 80 miles south of Paris – but operates independently with membership available by invitation. The golf club already is home to the Robert von Hagge-designed Old Course, which opened in 1987.
The 18-hole layout by Hanse Golf Course Design will be named the New Course, and an accompanying par-3 course that opened last year was named Wild Piglet, with holes ranging in length from 131 yards to 198 yards.
Unlike the Old Course, which plays through a forest, the New Course is built on sandy, rolling and more-exposed terrain. The 7,391-yard New is intended to play fast over hard ground through heather, broom and century old pine, chestnut, birch and oak trees. The course is most similar, yet still different than, several heathland courses in England and France, according to a media release announcing the planned opening.
“The New Course is very responsive to the landscape that it sits in,” Hanse said as part of a question-and-answer session that was included in the media release. “… The diversity of the plant materials is really something we have never encountered, with the broom and the bracken and the variety of trees throughout the property and the fescue grasses.
“Now they’ve also introduced heather, so I think that there are all these great textures there that the golf course just seems to sit amongst. That’s what make it unique. I can’t think of another golf landscape that looks and feels like the New Course at Les Bordes.”
Hanse and Wagner have created many highly ranked courses, including Streamsong Black in Florida, Ohoopee Match Club in Georgia and the Olympic Golf Course in Brazil. Their renovations include Pinehurst No. 4 in North Carolina, TPC Boston in Massachusetts and Colonial Country Club in Texas. Their restoration work has included several U.S. Open hosts including Winged Foot in New York, Los Angeles Country Club in California and Merion in Pennsylvania.
The pair has stayed busy through the pandemic with several projects in the works besides the New Course at Les Bordes, including the new PGA of America East Course in Texas and the Ban Rakat Club’s Ballyshear Golf Links in Thailand.
The New Course hasn’t been the only recent work at the club, which is owned by the principals of European private equity firm RoundShield and a few outside partners. Architects with the London-based firm of Michaelis Boyd have completed a full renovation of the clubhouse and 24 of the 39 member cottages, and a new gym, sports bar, mini-spa and private lounge, and game room are scheduled to be completed in March.