Practice on a vast island of green at the Vichy-Forêt golf course in Montpenser (Alliers)

The electric cart juggles paths, cuts curves and grassy hollows, and covers puddles. The role of the owner! Suddenly, Philippe Ducher stopped the car in the middle of the bushes. “Listen!…. The birds. The whole soul of Montpensier Golf is there. In the song of sparrows. They are in their home. It must be said that they have something to frolic at, the birds. Roe deer, pheasants, ducks, and other wild animals find their home here.”

Amid 85 hectares of forest 65 hectares of grass

Julie de Soulier’s photo
No roads and no light pollution. A bubble of air and green a stone’s throw from the bustle of Vichy. Philippe Ducher became the building’s owner in 2014, but he’s been golfing since its construction in 1993. “When the structure’s aura began to deteriorate, I couldn’t close myself. I literally loved the site. The stated ambition: to make the Vichy-Forêt de Montpensier golf course even better. A place to exercise Many innovations have been made.
Indoor and outdoor exercises, spacious training site, 18-hole golf course on a dedicated deck, construction of a bridge club that brings together about forty members every Wednesday and a competitor sports federation (one of the teams has just entered the Nationale), a mobile home area … fitness room (sauna, Jacuzzi), eight inns you’ll soon follow. “Eventually we will be able to come, play, relax, eat and sleep here on site.”

From the green to the fairway to the wild swamps

The first attraction remains, of course. Approximately 6 km. An alley of greenery and rows bordered by trees over a hundred years old and natural trees. The right lawn in all its aspects. From the green to the waterway through the wild swamp. Rounding, hollows, core bunkers and then water cuts that need to lengthen the blow or turn around.

“For every level of practice. We change departures regularly. Our regulars appreciate that.”
Members, let’s talk about it. Less than 200 in 2014, nearly 400 now. The numbers speak for themselves. “And above all, we have a very strong increase in the number of daily attendance (daily attendance). There are more and more Bedouins in this sector. Among our clients, we count many Puydomois.”

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To be sure, the golf cart stops to greet practitioners today. We come from Clermont, Riom, but also from Lyon, Loire and show our satisfaction. “What a calm! What happiness! Regulars welcome and congratulate the master of the place on the speed and quality of repairs to the damage to the greenery caused by the recent hail storm.
Philippe Ducher knows he can count on an outstanding maintenance team. “There is no outside speaker here. What a homemade job! We have our own asshole farm where we can take the meatballs needed for repair. Four gardeners, a mechanic, a green keeper or a spring man. »

Sleeping huts on site

In terms of hospitality and agency, Philip also knew how to surround himself. Two chefs, three people in the dining room and two in the reception to manage the club house of 600 square meters, as well as balconies with modern architecture that he built on acquisition. Both the bar and the restaurant are open to non-authorized persons. In collusion with the Rotary, the structure also receives schools. “We are thinking of setting up a golf school. The practice is fully adapted and a qualified instructor is already providing his services.”
We finish with the role of the owner. Philippe Ducher mentions the possibility of setting out trails open for hikers and mountain bikers, and planting cherry trees. “I like coming here to walk around as if I were in a park….” We are ready to follow him.

the program. Until July 14th, Great Golf Week with singles and doubles competitions.

The gardeners at Montpensier Golf Course seek perfect harmony with nature

Between respect for the environment and the economic aspect, the Vichy-Montpensier golf course has succeeded in finding its place. Green-kee per is the main gear of the scale
“Nature is not at our service, but we are at its service.” Kévin Gidaszewski has traveled too far in the middle of French golf courses and hasn’t seen what makes Montpensier’s 18-hole special. “Here, I have the impression that I am walking in a garden. Early in the morning, in the dew, it is common to see deer come to quench their thirst in our ponds. When they see me, they quietly return to the bushes.” Make way for the golfers! Immersed in a wooded environment, the course is affected necessarily out.
“In the summer, the forest cover brings the beneficial coolness. On the other hand, in the rainy season you have to deal with wet areas. Autumn brings the leaves. We know how to handle all this well. Thus, throughout the year, we can offer a real green environment for our practitioners.” »

Daisies have their place.

Arrived in 2019, Kévin is the environmental ranger at the Vichy-Forêt de Montpensier golf course, the temple keeper. My role is to coordinate the work with the other four gardeners. We also interact with users. The course is actually a bunch of small details. With a high point, the grass.
So the site and global warming require adaptation. We chose herbs that are more heat-resistant. We play at sternum height. Leave the areas without mowing. “We also have to deal with clay soil restrictions and bans now from ‘and that’s good’ for phytosanitary products. Coexist with ducks, herons and deer at this price.”

Optimum water management with five ponds to preserve 65 hectares of grass

Water management is essential to the golf course. In Montpenser, not a drop comes out of the tap. Everything comes from heaven thanks to a smart and impressive device. Five successive ponds fed by a natural slope and a dense network of underground drainage or ditches. Storage capacity: 40.000 cubic meters! In the service of three huge pumps that return the precious liquid to small, buried, electronically controlled jets. Five for each green.
Each pump has a flow rate of 60m³/h. Water passes through channels up to 200 mm in diameter. Other pumps act as levers to fill the main pond where there is a futuristic looking technical room. “The entire device has been completely revised and improved, and requires massive maintenance. Kevin Jedszowski, the environment keeper, insists that we are responsible for every drop of water.
Faced with the challenges of tomorrow and today, he knows he has an obligation to be a role model. Being in tune with the surrounding forest, clouds and nature is an exercise that touches on an economic reality.

Pictures of Michelle Shallier

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