The only element missing from the Tournoi du Printemps was the sun, which for three consecutive Provençal days made only fleeting appearances. Luckily, the same could be said of the wind and rain, so that the little white balls could be pursued up the fairways, along the formidable roughs, and in the case of Ruedi, into the water.
The courses of Pont Royal and Servanes form a vivid contrast. The former, a tortured course built on the hilltops surrounded by vines, with each hole separate from, and bearing little resemblance to, the one before. Many holes of Pont Royal are not for the faint hearted, particularly the par 3 played over a chasm of 150 metres.
Servanes meanders placidly along a plain bordered by olive groves and the rocky escarpments of the Alpilles, without a house or road in sight – or rather one, occupied doubtless by some irreductible Gaulois. Both are amply endowed with hidden brooks and opaque ponds, necessitating stops by the proshop to purchase more balls. At least the searches in the rough were rewarded by the fragrant scents of wild thyme and assorted herbs, and back in the Servanes clubhouse, by a tasting of the oil from the trees visited along the way.
We were comfortably housed in the Moulin de Vernègues, dating from the 13th C, and from which one can step onto the 3rd of Pont Royal. A former monastery and relais de poste hostelry, with cavernous cellars and an ancient door of solid oak, it now has more rooms, a spa, and a large pool area, courtesy Maranatha hotels, suggesting that a return trip in more clement weather might be called for.
The elegantly prepared dinners were helped down by wines from the local Ch. de Calavon, finely blending an array of grape varieties for an agreeable finish. Watch out for their 2015 rosé which those of us resisting a siesta on Saturday to visit their cellars were luck to preview.
As for the golf, in the pairs competition on the Friday, the pairings by promotion failed reach the level of the preferred partners, with Bernadette & Caroline leading the field, just in front of the formidable 88’s, with the ‘79’s trailing, having forgotten to score their card. In the individual competition on the Saturday, the MBA’s held sway, the ladies net won by Catherine (’78) and the gross by Stéphanie (’00), after a recount, the men’s net by the valiant James with two reconstructed knees, and the gross by Torquil with a magnificent 20 gross points . The Sunday scramble returned many scores below par, Chris, Catherine (encore elle) recording 74 gross (63 net).
Our thanks to camarade Reinold Geiger for his generous L’Occitane gifts, shipped from nearby Manosque, Olivier de la Giraudière for the ever welcome Lanson champagnes, François Montenay for the Chanel, Patrice Poggia for the musical CD’s, Maranatha Hotels for the weekend in Le Frégate, and Florence from Open Golf for the Carte Premium, & her fairy godmothering TLC!