Le Prince de Provence in southern France is surely one of the most private golf clubs in the world. When you consider that there are only 27 or 28 members the degree of privacy is no idle boast. An invitation to play, of course, is difficult to come by.
The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones with the 4th hole being a tribute to Trent Jones’ own design of the par-3, 16th at Augusta National Golf Club.
About 30 miles south of Le Prince de Provence on the coast of the Mediterranean is the famous seaside villa of St Tropez. For a brief period of time I contemplated renting a convertible and riding in to town with the wind blowing in my hair. It seemed the appropriate manner in which to travel in that part of the world. After all it was summer, the weather was great, and I was in the mood for some sort of adventure. In reality I think my dear lady thought I had taken leave of my senses, or had watched too many old movies, but was prepared to go along with my flight of fancy. As it turned out I couldn’t find somewhere to rent the jalopy of my dreams and so we travelled along the coast from St Maxime to St Tropez in our modest Renault Laguna….at about 2 miles per hour! In fact after about half an hour crawling along the road we turned around and went back to St Maxime.
When I first began photographing golf courses I was never too sure of the appropriate attire to wear when doing my job. Eventually it occurred to me that if I dressed as if I was about to play golf myself there could be no reprisals. On that day in St Maxime I was dressed ready to go to Le Prince to photograph following the afternoon at St Tropez. While standing on the footpath Lynn went for a walk to the water’s edge. When she returned she suggested I might like to go and see “the scenery”. It didn’t seem to me that the waters of the Mediterranean would be much different if I was fifty yards closer. With somewhat of a twinkle in her eyes she insisted that I might like the scenery. When I finally realized that she was referring to swimsuits, or lack-there-of, of some of the beach inhabitants I had to politely decline the opportunity as I thought the sight of a man dressed in long trousers, polo shirt, and leather shoes wandering about the sand of St Maxime might just attract the attention of the local constabulary.
The exchange rate for the Australian dollar was pretty shabby when we were in the south of France. As a consequence fine dining and advanced appreciation of French cuisine was out of the question. Just the same, our time in the St Tropez area was brief, but fun. I didn’t manage to play Le Prince de Provence, I thought it better not to put them in the position of having to say “no” by asking. So even though my golf clubs were idle in that part of my journey, I have to say that the time spent in the area was great fun.