Golf Course Architecture - Issue 69, July 2022

70 A major revitalisation project has been completed at the enigmatic club in the south of France that emerged from Robert Trent Jones’ grand plan. Toby Ingleton reports V IDAUBAN, PROVENCE , FRANCE Bold and beautiful ON S I TE With thirty-ish members and their guests each clocking up just a handful of rounds per year, a pair of fourballs constitutes a busy day at Vidauban. The club is off the beaten track – a long, winding road that connects two small Provence villages – from which the only clue to its existence is the f leeting glimpse through the trees to the tenth hole. By then, you’ve already passed the simple, signless gate that at any glance seems nothing more than the entrance to a rural home. Robert Trent Jones hadn’t intended for it to be so elusive. In the 1970s, he discovered the site – on the fringes of the Plaine des Maures nature reserve; where rolling hills peppered with umbrella pines are a haven for wildlife, and seams of rock crack through a landscape with endless vistas of astounding beauty – and was compelled to buy it, making a grand plan for three golf courses and a thousand homes. But his vision never became reality, with two decades yielding a single course and an abbreviated street of homes before local authorities – thankfully, many would agree – called a halt to further development. Maybe a fitting legacy is that the course Jones did build at Vidauban would become one the finest in continental Europe. And that status is now elevated further, following a major revitalisation project. Jones worked alongside his son Bobby on the original layout of the course in the early 90s and the club – which, following a period of uncertainty and