If you are driving on the A6 in the direction of Lyon, you can only notice the Château de Chailly before arriving in Dijon. This 5-star hotel, unbleached white with a red roof, houses an 18-hole course where each green is a real fortress. Recently rearranged, I played this golf course in July 2019.
A perfectible customer experience.
Before playing any course, there is everything that happens before; booking the tee time, arrival, reception, payment etc … And first impressions are important especially for a golf like this.
The absurd unique pricing
Two types of prices are available online; before 4 p.m. it will cost you 75 euros, and after 4 p.m. the green fee will be 45 euros. And that’s it. I played the course on a Friday evening after 4 p.m. and I witnessed the fact that the pricing does not affect the crowds. After 6.30 p.m., the golf course was deserted. However, there is no shortage of solutions and the technology exists. Some time ago, Stéphane de Durfort told us about yield management; a management system that modulates the green fee rate to optimize the occupation of the course. If such a system were applied here and given the low attendance at the time, it is very likely that the green fee was only around thirty euros.
The debate not being there, it is time to get out of the car and go to the reception.
Upon entering the clubhouse, the very well-stocked pro shop occupies every square inch available. There is absolutely everything in here. And if you are missing anything, the proshop can provide it.
Received by the director Julien Narcisse, he explains the modifications made to the original layout. The major change is the 9th which is to become the 18th. A major change to which I will return.
During his explanation, he was interrupted by another member of staff who appeared from the office located behind the reception desk. Another one who has never heard of customer relationship or customer experience. I felt that the director was not very happy with this intervention.
Once the administrative formalities done, I headed to the washing station. My clubs needed it especially after 2 days of non-stop golf. To my surprise, the station is far from clean. Between the grass upstream and a loose piece of pipe laying around, the station could have been cleaned. Instead of taking care of the logoed caps, the employee who interrupted us could have taken a look.
The training area is the first good surprise in golf. Covered posts with carpets in good condition, a putting green next to the start of the 1st hole, perfectly raked bunkers, and a grass practice on the left of the driving range, make you want to spend hours there.
18 greens built as fortresses
Whether it is from the start or on the second stroke, the greens are real fortresses. Well defended with bunkers or water hazards, they are often elevated and offer a spectacular point of view either when you admire them or when you turn back when you are on one of them. Among these 18, a few caught my attention.
Each green needs to be capture and hole 2 is no exception. His 2 huge and deep bunkers are a trap that should not fall, so I fall into it! When approaching the bunker I notice that there is only one rake available. An aberration that will only get worse because all the other bunkers on the course have several rakes.
11 is the signature hole. A par 3 with a green as a peninsula and the castle overseeing the course in the background. If you want to take great pictures I suggest you play it in the morning. Because in the afternoon the sun is above the castle and therefore you have it right in your eyes.
The 14 is a short par 4 that requires only one thing: drive the green in 1! Challenge accepted. My first drive goes straight on the trees on the right and I think that the ball falls just at the foot of a tree before the water obstacle. It is out of the question to leave the tee box without giving it another shot. On my second one, the ball fades slightly, goes around the trees and seems to be heading straight to the flag. I see the ball contact the fairway and bounce slightly to the right. There is nothing left but to hope for.
Walking down to the green, I spot my second ball, on the green a few meters from the flag. I succeeded. But as I approach I find the first one, play my approach and take in the putt. It will still be birdie. For the record, I also played the second ball. Result: 2 putts. At least whatever happens it’s a birdie!
17 is the penultimate fortress. It is a short hole on which you have to calculate your second shot with accuracy. The green (unfortunately I have no photos, the sun had already disappeared) is high and very well defended. I heard that somewhere before. A ravine-like stream is the first defense. Vegetation on the left and a bunker on the right complete the picture. Whatever the perspective, it is really superb and is for me my favorite.
Finally the 18th, this short par 5 is defended by a moat! Long hitters will be able to touch the green in 2 provided they make a second surgical stroke. A little short and it’s in the water. On the right is the bunker. There is not much room to drop the ball.
A superb course but some details to review
The course fill out all your expectation. Its architecture and the views it offers are stunning. On the other hand, I found that the green fee price had little added value, which tarnished the customer experience. The impression of dissociation between the castle and the course is impressive. Also at the start of 10, the club house is far very far. With the hot weather or a pressing urge, it takes several minutes to go back and forth. At this price, and in summer, I still don’t understand why there is no water point on the course. This is a service, which certainly requires maintenance, but which will certainly add more to the value of the green fee.
This is what the customer is looking for. But if you want to play after 16h for 45 € a superb course even in summer, while accepting the few services around the course then go for it.
Otherwise there are other courses in the region which for a similar green fee offers more benefits than just playing on the course.