EVIAN LES-BAINS, France – The weather is challenging the Evian Championship’s unveiling of its newly redesigned course.
A brutal winter and an equally difficult spring made implementation of the $8 million redesign complicated. Heavy rain last weekend and more rain Tuesday are further softening the Evian Resort Golf Club in this championship’s debut as the LPGA’s fifth major. There’s more rain forecast Wednesday and Thursday.
While players commend the staff for the way they’ve prepared the course, there are issues with some bare patches of grass expected to be marked as ground under repair and players saying the greens are a little inconsistent in the way they’re reacting to shots.
“Obviously, this first year, the course still needs time to grown in,” Paula Creamer said. “I think next year, we’ll have a better assessment. It has a lot of potential when it all grows in.”
Cristie Kerr agreed.
“I think it’s OK,” Kerr said. “Obviously, it’s not in the shape they wanted. That’s just the way it is when you try to get it all done in such a short period of time, but we do love this place.
“There are some rough patches, but it’s definitely playable. I think once this course is in shape, it is going to play hard.”
Creamer and Kerr both praised Evian as a first-class host to a major.
“Everything else is incredible here,” Creamer said
The course will play longer as a par 71 this year instead of a par 72. The yardage is marked as 6,433 yards, but it can be played 300 yards longer.
“I like the re-do, what they’ve done so far,” Angela Stanford said. “It’s not as goofy. With the changes, you don’t have to be a billy goat to play it anymore. You just have to be a half a billy goat.”
The course is built on the side of a mountain. There were so many uneven lies in the original design, but they’ve been softened with gentler sloping landing areas. Architect Steve Smyers collaborated with European Golf Design to create a longer course that will be a more strict test of driving skill and second shots into larger, more undulating greens.
“I love this event, I love coming here,” Brittany Lang said. “It’s one of the prettiest places we go and a good venue. We’re lucky to have Evian as our fifth major.”