England’s Sam Walker, who won last year’s Allianz Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne, gives his guide to the event’s host venue, Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André.
Hole 1: Dogleg right. Quite a tough hole to start with, because the wind is always whipping in from the sea on the left. So a par here’s never a bad way to start your round.
Hole 2: The second is an uphill dogleg left, and is another tough hole. You have to drive over the corner of the trees, and if you don’t hit the fairway, you can be in real trouble. With the wind coming straight at you, you’re normally left with a four or five iron for your approach, so par’s your good friend here.
Hole 3: This is a par three where the wind is again coming in off the left, so club selection is crucial. It’s just over 200 yards, and depending on the strength of the wind I usually go with a four iron.
Hole 4: The fourth is quite a straightforward hole, with bunkers guarding the right of the fairway. If you hit a three wood off the tee you’re only going at the elevated green with a wedge, so it’s a good birdie chance.
Hole 5: Quite a short par four, with trees down the left. Again, positioning off the tee is crucial. The green is tiered so you have to be accurate with your approach, but if you are a birdie’s there for the taking.
Hole 6: The sixth is a dogleg slightly right, but the wind is usually coming from the left which favours you. If you get your drive away, you’re probably only left with an eight iron for your second shot, so it’s another birdie chance.
Hole 7: A par five which is another birdie hole if you have a go at it. If you get your drive away and the wind is helping, you’re probably only left with a short-ish iron for your second shot.
Hole 8: A tough par three, which is usually into the wind. You don’t want to come up short of the green, because you’re left with a really tricky chip over a bank, which can catch you out.
Hole 9: Another tricky hole because of the wind. You want to be on the right hand side of the fairway, because it’s a slight dogleg left. There are dunes covering the front of the green, so you have to be spot on with your approach shot.
Hole 10: A fairly short hole, and you can have a run at it because it’s downhill all the way. But you’ve got to pay attention to the wind again, because the hole runs right along the sea. If you want to play safe you can just take an iron off the tee, but that sometimes leaves you a tricky little approach shot.
Hole 11: A good par five where you should probably be looking to make birdie. The fairway’s wide open and you haven’t got much club for your second shot. If the wind’s with you it’s probably only an eight iron – but if it’s against you, it might be a three wood! That’s how much difference it makes.
Hole 12: A really good, tough par four. It’s uphill, and doglegs slights to the right. A three wood off the tee leaves you an eight iron with your second shot to an elevated green, which is normally pretty firm.
Hole 13: A good par three where you usually take around an eight iron, because the wind is helping. The green’s quite tricky because it slopes towards the bunker, so you have to put it in the right spot.
Hole 14: A great hole, with out of bounds down the left and gorse down the right, so it’s very tight. You can try to hit your drive over the gorse, but you’re taking a risk if you don’t quite catch it. So a lot of people play safe and just hit a rescue club off the tee. But if you do get hold of your driver, you’ve only got a nine iron or even a wedge to another elevated green.
Hole 15: A short par three of around 120 yards or so. With the wind helping, it’s easy to over-club and go through the back of the green. It can be misleading because the tee is sheltered by trees, but there aren’t any around the green. So you’ve got be really careful, and the green is also quite tricky, with a tier running from the back to the front.
Hole 16: A short par four, where the wind is again helping you. If you hit your driver, you’re probably only left with a 50-yard chip shot. You can afford to have a go, because there’s plenty of room down the right hand side of the fairway.
Hole 17: A good hole which dog legs to the right. If you take a three wood off the tee, you’re left with about an eight iron for your approach shot to a tricky green, which is usually very firm and has a tier in the middle.
Hole 18: The lucky last is a slight dogleg left, so you need to find a decent position off the tee. There’s a big bunker guarding the front of another firm green, so distance control is crucial.