The stunning range at Quebec’s Fairmont Manoir Richelieu Golf Club overlooks the St. Lawrence River
By: Scott Kramer
One of the first things you see upon reaching the apex of the mile-long, straight uphill cart path at Fairmont Manoir Richelieu Golf Club in eastern Quebec is an amazing view of the practice facilities. Twelve artificial tees, lined up with neatly stacked pyramids of golf balls, look like they’re positioned right against the St. Lawrence River – almost as if a wedge shot will reach the water. While it is a well-designed optical illusion, the length of the range is still only 220 yards at it deepest position.
“We originally had it slated to extend 400 yards, but we ran out of both time and funding to complete it that way,” says longtime Director of Golf Jean-Philippe Moffet, who insists that golfers not use woods on the range tee. “So we affectionately call it our warm-up facility, rather than our practice range. The wind and breeze come in from the water and keep many of the balls on property.”
Even with the limited space, Manoir Richelieu Golf Club created a beautiful space that fits the terrain and makes golfers want to spend time outdoors practicing.
According to Moffet, an unplanned bonus of having the range on top of a hill is the impact it has on beginning students. “When we give lessons, most of the balls go high in the air so clients are very pleased with that,” he says. “Hey, first impressions always last. Most of your shots go high in the air, so you get confidence right away. And with a view and backdrop like this for golfers warming up for a round, the day can’t get off to a bad start.”
From the vantage point of the range, the river stretches 10 miles across and faces the city of Kamouraska on the south shore.
As distracting as the view is, golfers still find a way to focus on their game. There’s a prosperous lesson program operated on the adjacent 100-yarddeep short-game area that’s replete with its own putting green, well-manicured bunkers and a private teaching building.
“We have an academy that was use to teach private lessons,” Moffet says. “We also contract with other teaching teams in Quebec, who come with small groups and specialize in short game instruction.”
Those short-game lessons inevitably bring room nights to the hotel, revenue to the hotel’s restaurants and green fees to the golf course. “Typically they teach in the morning, and then the students go play with the pro in the afternoon,” says Moffet. “We have that every weekend.”
The range also attracts many hotel guests who don’t bring their clubs along on vacation. Rental clubs are included with an hour of range time, but their availability largely depends on how crowded the course is.
“If we have 200 golfers up here for the day, which is often, then we probably won’t have room,” says Moffet. “But yes the range is open to hotel guests, visitors and the course’s restaurant patrons.”
Moffet has seen the river view for 20 years and says that it never gets old, but he finds the sight of a perpetually packed range even more attractive.