France’s La Mer at Le Touquet Golf Resort has undergone a major restoration project as part of long-term plans to restore the course and resort to their 1930s glory.
The Harry Colt classic, regarded as one of the finest links on the Continent, opened in 1931 when Le Touquet was the most fashionable resort in Europe. But fortification and bombardment during World War II resulted in significant damage to the terrain and the abandonment of four of Colt’s original holes.
While efforts were made to restore these holes in the 1990s, the discovery of aerial photography from the 1930s helped golf architects and leading restorers of classic courses in Europe, Patrice Boissonnas and Frank Pont, bring the entire course back to what now closely resembles Colt’s original design.
“This is the kind of commission a golf architect dreams about,” Boissonnas said. “Finding lost holes from a legendary course designer like Harry Colt – the mastermind behind the New Course at Sunningdale, the West Course at Wentworth and Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, to name but a few – is like finding treasure in a treasure hunt. There are so few situations like this, and when they do come along, it is very exciting.
“Along with a great sense of responsibility, this renovation gave me a strong sense of the opportunity to put things right. As part of reviving the missing four holes – the 13th to the 16th – we were able to restore Colt’s original dogleg right par-5 15th, described by his design rival Tom Simpson as one of the best he’d ever seen. Returning the par-3 16th to its original setting has also allowed us to reinstate a spectacular downhill par 3.”
While the classic La Mer has been restored to its original layout, significant investment in the 45-hole Le Touquet Golf Resort – part of the Open Golf Club group – continues.