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Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64). (1910 - WW2)

In 1910 an 18-hole golf course was created by Harry Colt which profoundly transformed the site. The course was located in stunning surroundings in the vicinity of the Château d'Abbadia. The club continued until the outbreak of WW2.

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Layout of the course in 1911.

Layout of the Harry Colt course in 1911.

 

The top picture below shows the castle. At this time some rooms where used by the golfers, a golfers clubhouse was constructed following WW1.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Images from The Sketch July 1913.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Images from The Sketch July 1913.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Images from The Sketch July 1913.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Images from The Sketch July 1913.

From The Sketch July 2nd 1913. Images © Illustrated London News Group. Images created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

The golfers clubhouse was installed in the 1920s.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The first tee.

The first tee.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The first hole.

The first hole.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The second green.

The second green.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The thirteenth hole.

The thirteenth.

 

Below Bernard Darwin’s article about Hendaye for Country Life April 2nd 1927 is reproduced here by kind permission of  Dick Verinder, editor of ‘The Joyous Spirit of the Game’ (Dormy House Press, 2018) 

"The Chasm. 

The taste for natural magnificence in golfing hazards is, I am afraid, a dying one. We are grown more sophisticated than our forefathers, and do not think much of hitting over a mountain or a river for its own sake. We sneer at shots of such elemental splendour and say, truly enough, perhaps, that there is nothing in them, and that for the man who can hit the ball they hold no terrors and no chance of punishment. 

I think that this superior attitude of mind robs us of a good deal of simple fun; but, whether that be so or not, I have now found one hazard so tremendous that the most superior person cannot afford to sneer at it. This is at Hendaye, a very few miles away from St. Jean de Luz, where I have been staying. 

The Hendaye course, though still a little new and rough, has many charms. It is perched on a hill looking down on the loveliest blue sea, and looking, incidentally, straight across to the State of Maine in America. Away on the left is the river Bidossoa dividing France from Spain, and on the farther side of it is Fontarabia and the tall, gloomy Spanish hills rising up behind it. However, I must not be led away by thoughts of scenery from this noble hazard. It comes at the seventh hole (there are only nine holes open in the winter season) and consists of a gigantic chasm. The cliffs run sheer down on either side of it, and at the bottom, almost infinitely far beneath us, the sea comes purring in and breaking in white wavelets. 

‘If this wasn't stunning enough,' as Mr Boffin would say, the chasm has not to be carried with the tee shot, but with the second, and that from rather a precarious lie. Most of the spectacular hazards of the golfing world confront the player when he can tee his ball.  It is the necessity of playing the ball where it lies that makes this the most terrific of all shots. The hole is a 'dog-leg.' If we play timorously round the chasm, it is a five hole; if we go out for England, home and beauty, it is a four. 

Not only is this hole gorgeous and terrifying in appearance almost beyond belief, but it is cunningly devised. We played two rounds of nine holes and did not discover the secret of the hole until it was too late. The secret is an absurdly simple one. It consists in the fact that the farther you hit your tee shot, the farther you have to hit your second. 

We hit our tee shots as far as we could, and the chasm yawned in front of us too wide to attempt with anything save a wooden club from a perfect lie. We had not discovered that the chasm grows wider, and not narrower, as it comes inland. We ought to have taken a half iron shot from the tee on to a pleasant little green plateau of turf. From that point it was not, as I should judge, more than 150 yds. or so across, and we could have sailed home with irons. As it was, we had hit our very souls out only to be confronted with appalling brassey shots. 

Never have four reasonably sensible golfers been made to appear to themselves more thoroughly foolish. We felt like men who had nearly starved to death fancying themselves prisoners on a island, while all the time there was at low tide a causeway to the mainland that could be crossed dry shod. 

Even making allowances for this pretty little 'sell,' however, I think that for pure, natural, rugged splendour I have never seen a shot to equal this across the chasm at Hendaye. There is no golfer in the world so sure of himself that he would not breathe a little thanksgiving when he saw his ball alight on the farther side. One of our party was an American golfer whom I had last met at Pine Valley. I told him that here, at least, was a hazard which even that great course did not possess, and he looked at it with sad and envious eyes as if wondering whether it could not be transported there."

During the second World War, the Atlantic Wall (a coastal defence system and fortifications built by the Nazis) changed the landscape, notably by the felling of trees on Point Sainte-Anne and the construction of concrete bunkers.

Following WW2 the land returned to agriculture. Attempts were made to destroy the blockhouses but the efforts were unsuccessful. Nowadays the concrete remains are hidden by groves.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club. Château d'Abbadia, the golf course and clubhouse.

The above image shows the Château d'Abbadia, the golf course and clubhouse. John Llewellyn collection.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club. The Château and golf clubhouse.

Another image showing the Château d'Abbadia and the golf clubhouse.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The fourth hole.

The fourth hole and Château. John Llewellyn collection.

 

Hendaye (Abbadia) Golf Club, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The Château and golf course.

The Château and golf course.

 

Just to add, the club continued to be listed in the Golfer’s Handbook into the early 1960s but it’s more likely that the club ceased to exist following the war.

The Google Map below pinpoints the location of the course