Historical of the golf
It’s in 1988, for the Golf de Biarritz Le Phare’s centenary, that the International Training Center and Golf Course of Ilbarritz opened its doors. Built on the former estate of the mysterious and very wealthy Baron Albert de l’Espée, you can see the remains of his magnificent castle all along the course.
Ideally conceived for the all levels golf adepts’, their training and improvement, the International Training Center and Golf Course of Ilbarritz benefits from an exceptional setting and unique architectural concept. Realised by the architect Pierre THEVENIN, it reproduces around a circular practice all the game situations found on a real Golf Course.
Four Golf Schools propose individual lessons and golf initiation or improvement programs, with access to the 9 holes course.
We have 300 golfing members and receive near 40 000 visitors each year (16 000 green-fees and 24 000 entries to the huge driving range). The International Training Center and Golf Course of Ilbarritz has an increasing popularity each year.
In order to adapt to this growth, the Société des Golfs de Biarritz invested in November 2003 nearly 800 000 € in the extension for the restaurant, pros’ offices, pro shop, caddy-master and the complete renovation of the locker rooms.
After 8 months of construction, the International Training Center and Golf Course of Ilbarritz officially opened its doors on 22th of July 2004 with this new design and a larger receiving capacity.
The main entrance, whose place has not changed, will be the only access to the Center. The stairs lead to the “viewpoint” which allows you to discover the sumptuous panorama view of the Bay of Biscaye.
The stairway ends at the entrance of the “La SOCKET” restaurant, the Reception, the Pro Shop and the Schools’ offices. Beyond are the Management office and the locker rooms.
The terrace outside the reception is intended for the bags and the trolleys, giving access to the driving range and to the course period. There exists a secondary exit that is used in the evening for the players once the main gate and the reception are closed. (it is well indicated)
On the first level, there exists a nice meeting room for the training periods, the seminars and the golf schools.
The Castle of Ilbarritz
When you play on the Ilbarritz Golf Course, you’ll be surprised by the beauty of the site and it’s spectacular views, but also you’ll notice an old building, witch was a magnificent chateau in the past. This chateau was owned by a mysterious and lonely man: The Baron Albert de l’Espée.
In 1894, he employed many people for the construction of this very special castle. In this five floor building (40 metres height), you could find sumptuous wooden stairs nicely sculpted, but also the largest organ ever built for a private individual. He loved to play Wagner on it (today, this superb instrument is in the famous church of “the Sacré Coeur” in Paris). The Baron Albert de l’Espée who used to live like a real hermit in this huge property, built many rooms and kitchens separated from the castle because he couldn’t bear the odours of the cuisine. Moreover, 3 km of covered path were also built for him to walk all around his property without getting wet.
Then, one day, nobody knows really why, the Baron sold his property by auction, and never came back.
At this time, the Castle finally opened its doors, and all the most brillant musiciens of the moment made superb concerts in the organ’s room.
During the first World War, the castle was changed into an hospital, till the mid 20’s. Then everybody left and the building was deserted. The degradations and the pillaging started.
During the second World War, the Germans took possession of it (it was their main base in the area), then after the war, it turned into a farm.
Today an important renovation project is on the way, to give back a little bit of youthfulness to this building, by transforming it into a luxurious establishment.