Why this completely flat-land?
My inspiration was to create a stadium: a golf course that would be able to receive great championships with ideal conditions for not only players but also spectators and the media – particularly television coverage.
Contrary to most of the courses being built at the time on natural undulating ground, I preferred to create a landscape that would be ideal for “natural grandstands”. With this in my mind there was no alternative but to start with a “blank canvas”.
From my first “drafts” I conceived the overall plan of the 3 courses. I then exchanged my sketches with R.Von Hagge, who had agreed to act as Consultant for the main course – not yet called, ‘The Albatros’.
My basic idea was to create the three courses utilizing materials from the Parisian Region. Materials that had problems finding ‘a home’ due to their ‘earth-works’ characteristics.
From July 1987 the site received around 400/450 lorries a day, discharging their loads.
In all, land fill and the creation of water hazards, created a land-mass movement of 1.6 million cubic meters!
Even though I had planned the topography of the site there was still the necessity for a twice weekly visit to ensure any refinements or modifications.
From the start, all the top soil was stored so that it could be re-used for the final presentation.
During the summer months of 1988/89 we dug-out the 9 hectares of water hazards and re-laid all the natural water courses.
Towards the end of spring 1988 the Benedetti Company started the specific course construction.
The first sowing of grasses took place in September 1989 and this was carried through till June 1990.
Regrettably on June 27th 1990 an enormous storm washed away part of this work.
However we continued, as our previous commitment for the organization of the Ford Classic for October 6th and 7th 1990 that had already been confirmed and publicized.
In parallel to this was the official inauguration on October 5th 1990.
We were delighted to welcome as the first players on the Albatros: Greg Norman, Ray Floyd, Jeff Sluman and Mac Farry.
The first Open de France on its ‘home course’ was played in June 1991.
Completion, and the opening of the Aigle (18 hole) and the Oiselet (9 hole) courses were in the following months.
From approval by the French Golf Federation to final construction took 5 years.
A further 26 years passed before the PGA gave its approval to hold the 2018 Ryder Cup to The Golf National de France on the Albatros Course…
I hope to be still there at the National in September 2018 – 34 years after my first draft (1984) of a National Centre.
Hubert Chesneau – May 2011