This week the European Senior Tour will make its seventh visit to the Legend course at Constance Belle Mare Plage, a layout that has proved itself the ideal home for the seasonal finale, with its habit of seeing the cream rise to the top.
Designed by European Tour veteran Hugh Baiocchi the Legend course was blessed with a superb plot of land, but the South African didn’t waste the opportunity as he plotted 18 holes through the trees and alongside the lagoon.
The result is a track which tests from the tee, calls for courage with approach shots and demands aggression on the par-fives.
Having claimed the MCB title in both the last two years England’s Paul Wesselingh is the perfect man to assess the course and he says: “It’s very tight and there’s a premium on accuracy which is my strength.”
Colin Montgomerie agrees. “It’s very narrow from the tee and finding the fairway is a must,” says the 2010 Ryder Cup captain. “You need to keep the ball in play and make some putts. I think it’s a fantastic layout and a good test of golf.”
The early holes give the players some leeway, particularly the par-five fourth hole which has traditionally been one of the easiest on the course. But it can also soften the golfer up because the 426-yard par-four fifth plays as the most difficult on the course. It‘s demanding from the tee and no less difficult with the second shot.
It’s a tough introduction to the teeth of the course, either side of the turn, holes which twist and turn between the trees, calling for accurate placement between water hazards.
The closing holes offer a distinct challenge. The 13th is rarely unlucky being a par-five that is routinely one of the simplest on the course.
But what follows is a stern test of three par-fours which have featured amongst the six toughest holes in each of the last three MCB Tour Championships. Players need to maintain patience through this stretch and accept that par is no bad score.
Literally and metaphorically the players are out of the woods when they hit the 17th tee. That stretch from 14 to 16 is the last through the trees – and the final two holes are also more likely to reap birdies.
The 17th is a par-three that plays over the edge of the lagoon to a wide green. The biggest threat to the score is lapsed concentration, watching the water skiers skim across the water to the left.
The final hole also features water, but not from the tee. Instead it is the approach which has a large lake down the right side, and a smaller pond short-left of the green.
The hole calls for a bold approach, but if executed well red numbers are on offer, indeed it has been the most birdied hole in two of the last three years.
Whatever happens the safari-style clubhouse is a great spot to end the round, overlooking the 18th green, with the deer wandering across the fairway, the scent of the barbecue in the air, a cold drink to quench the thirst and the chance to dwell on the good shots and forget the bad.
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