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THE GOLFER IN SEARCH OF A CLIMATE.
It is surely fair to presume ter clothing, it is more than likely that no golfer goes abroad for the to search out weak joints in your winter with any object other than harness. to seek a climate for himself No doubt the Riviera is better. some member of his household. On the warm days of the Basses A man of much experience told Pyrénées the habitués will deny the writer that he knew no woman it. Gathering themselves together “ whose health permitted her to on the terrace before the Gassion live in the home which her hus- at Pau, and gazing at the snowband provided for her.” Be this clad Pic du Midi, or on the plage as it may, it is certain that the at Biarritz admiring the tumbling British householder is occasionally breakers, they will fall to condriven to exchange the hardships gratulating one another as proudly of coal famines and London fogs as if the glorious sunshine were for the sometimes greater severi- the creation of their own efforts. ties of the winter of the south “ What the deuce does a fellow of France. We say “sometimes want to go to the Riviera for, greater severities” advisedly, for when he can get such weather as fresh in our memory, at the mo- this here?” But when the stormment of writing, is the winter of cone is hoisted, and the scud 1893-94, which saw 20° of frost, comes racing up over the loweron the Fahrenheit thermometer, ing sky from the sea, with a fallin such resorts of the British cli- ing glass and falling thermometer, mate-hunter as Pau and Biarritz. they will bethink themselves in siThe truth is, the weather of the lent or in profane sorrow, accordBasses Pyrénées is not to be re- ing to their manner, of the blue lied on. Now and again a winter Mediterranean and the palm-trees is uninterruptedly delightful; but of Cannes. these are exceptions occurring in For there, too, they might be a series of winters, of which each playing golf as well, in a sense, will comprise one or more cold as at Pau or Biarritz. In a sense, “snaps” of a week or two. The far better, for at Cannes it is merit of the climate is that the an easier game to play—a game
snaps” are brief, and that with fewer difficulties; a shorter when the sun shines the heavens course, with fewer of
" those delight you with a more than horrid bunkers ”; a very gentleBritish blueness. While it lasts, manly style of golf, in fact—so however, the cold is more severe gentlemanly as to be almost ladythan the cold of an ordinary like. The ladies golf there, zealwinter at home; it takes you ously, under the gracious patronmore by surprise, by reason of age of the Russian Grand Duke ; the suddenness of its attack; it and since the train now stops to takes you at a disadvantage, be- set down golfers at La Napoule, cause coal-fires are hard to come the course is easy of access. To by, and it is difficult to heat the the plain golfer of the east of Fife houses to the degree of British there may seem to be a little too home-warmth. If it should catch much of grace and of high digniyou unawares without warm win- ties about it; but, after all, golf
levels non - golfing distinctions. and in point of distance shorter, There is no law of hereditary to crawl along from Toulouse, precedence about getting into the beside the upper waters of the hole.
Garonne, and to come down on But at Cannes, no less than Pau through the Hautes Pyrénées. elsewhere the Riviera, the Here you may pass by Luchon, golfer who is compelled to take may branch off to Bigorre, may thought about the temperature find yourself in the neighbourhood must be especially watchful in of Lourdes, where they will perthe sunset hours. From four to form any miracle upon you, even six is the time of danger, when to the extent of curing you of the air strikes most chilly on the missing short putts. tender chest or lung. Later, the In Pau you will find a quality temperature rises again. More- of softness in the atmosphere over, when it is dark the golfer which even the greater warmth will naturally wrap his tweeds of Cannes did not supply. You about him, whereas the sunset, will dwell, most probably, in one in its gay beauty, insidiously in- of those great and good hotels, the vites him to go unprotected. Gassion or the France, which stand Nevertheless, when all is said, on the high terrace from which you Cannes is better wintering - look out over the rushing Gave and place, regarding the winter away on over numberless billows months strictly, than the golf of foothills, rising higher and resorts of the Basses Pyrénées; higher till they lead the eye to and since there is golf there—of the shining snow - peaks of the such quality as one may at least Pyrénées, culminating in the lofty be grateful for on the Riviera- isolation of the Pic du Midi. Or it may be said at once that the —there is always an alternativewinter campaign of the climate- for a week the whole landscape hunting golfer can nowhere else may be wrapped in haze, and you be as well begun. The accommo- may have no visible evidence of a dation, as everybody knows, is ex- mountain within a thousand miles cellent, even if it be rather dear; of you. By preference, however, but when it includes such a meas- let us take the more pleasing alure of warmth and sunshine, per- ternative. Then, after the “little haps it is not excessive. So for breakfast," which you will suppleDecember and January the golfer ment, if you are wise, with somewill do well at Cannes, and by thing certainly not less solid than early February he may be be- an euf à la coque, you will stroll thinking himself of a change of along the terrace, westward, past quarters — not a change for the the famous Chateau Henri IV., better, so far as the quarters go, whose wonderful tapestries you but a change to better golf. About will reserve for the consolation the first of February the climate of your eyes on a weeping day, of Pau is becoming trustworthy. when the vent du sud has brought
If a man is in a hurry, on leav- a curtain of rain to shroud from ing the Riviera, to arrive in the you the beauties of the Pyrénées. neighbourhood of the French And so you win your way into the Atlantic seaboard, the train ser- wood on the hillside, and along its vice between Marseilles and Bor- winding footway, which gives lovely deaux is one of the best in France.
of the mountains between the It is more interesting, however, tree-stems, down to the links on
the level plain of Billères. Here derfully beautiful when we conyou find a club-house more pic- sider that we are out of our own turesque than most of the build- country, which is the best turfings designed or adapted for such producer in the world. Until we uses, with a verandah, and a bal- come to the four last holes, the cony opening from the ladies' club- absence of hazard assists the rooms above. At a little distance general suggestion of this all-peris Lloyd's club-making shop, sur- vading peace. The verdant plain rounded by a mass meeting of is dotted with occasional thorny the unemployed caddies, who will bushes, at which, when our ball clamour in pleasant Béarnaise for gets into them, we should swear your custom.
Among these sa- in any other climate. There are botted and berretted oiseaux 1— some bluff escarped faces, with many
of them sad rascals, it is the holes perched on plateaux too likely, in the degeneracy in- above them; there is a hole evitable in those of the lower among apple-trees; and, having humanity who consort with the accomplished these, we drive over, golfer or the horse
are to be
or into, the plot, valuable from found some sterling good players. its gutta-percha deposits, of The plain of Billères lies low, on peasant of the country; and so, a level almost with the river Gave. over another field, fenced by high South of the river the lower ranges hedges, back again to the smiling of the Pyrénées begin to rise im- plain and the glancing river. Demediately. Doubtless it is by spite the comparative absence of reason of its situation that it is so hazard in these first fourteen holes, peculiarly windless. The golfer, they are not to be done in a very starting on his round from the low score, for they are long, though club-house, and playing out for there is a certain sameness in their the first hole or two along the side features or lack of feature. The of the river-into it, if he pull his last four holes amply atone for ball-recognises at once this pe- this—they are full of expression. culiar quality. There is a peace For the first of them you may go in the atmosphere-a peace which straight, if you please, over Lloyd's is inexpressibly soothing to the shop, over several other outhouses, irritated nerves (no man ought to over the mass meeting of the lose his temper or to miss short oiseaux, over a branch of the putts at Pau), but a peace which —but you will need to be a is not altogether wholesome to one greater than Douglas Rolland to who comes direct from the golf- carry them all. Nevertheless, links of our keen east coast. over this branch of the Gave you However, the judiciously spent must go, or give up the hole and interval at Cannes will have pre- all the honours pertaining to it. pared the system for a grateful If you face at right angles to the assimilation of the peace. The direct, heroic line to the hole, you quality of the golf is in harmony may cross the river with a half with the soothing conditions of iron - shot; but the bolder and the climate. The lies are excellent, nearer you drive to the straight the turf more beautiful than we line the shorter will be your apare accustomed to find it in links proach stroke. For the last hole which do not skirt the sea, of all you again cross this limb of
1 A plural of oisis, often in use in old provincial French="loafers."
the Gave, with a full iron-shot-a escarpments, the apple - trees, the ,
, distance much the same as that of hedges, and the ramifying Gave. the St Andrews short hole going Only, on his return from this out. The two holes intermediate, afternoon round, let him beware, the sixteenth and seventeenth, for here too, as on the Riviera, bristle with brambles, while the the sunset hours are the most latter, in addition, presents pecul- treacherous. He may walk homeiar facilities for à visit to the ward again through the grove, or, river.
more likely, may prefer to drive By all which efforts you have in one of the closed hack-carriages well earned your déjeúner, well which he will find in attendance. cooked and served in the club. For the homeward walk is up-hill, house, and thereafter, a smoke and this is not the "caller” air of in the shade of the verandah, the kingdom of Fife. In the English with the unequalled panorama of Club he may find whist or games of the Pyrénées before you. Here greater hazard, or billiards, either you will discuss the bad luck French or English, or literature which attended you
on your equally polyglot. He will find round, and when your friends are multitudes of his compatriotsweary of this theme, you will be always a consideration to the Eng. told the story of the foundation lish innocent abroad—and many of the club — how, with the im- fellow-countrymen of the original mortal exception of Blackheath, immortal “Innocents." it is the most ancient golf-club, The climate throughout Februsouth of the Tweed, in all the ary is nearly sure to be a joy to world as known to the moderns. him. If he please, he may vary The writer having claimed his golf by hunting with the Pau uncle one of the original hounds, who probably show the founders of the club at Pau, a best sport of any pack out of waggish friend informed him that England. He may make expediit was rare to meet a man whose tions into the Pyrénées, with the uncle had not founded the Pau object of shooting izards — the Golf-Club. The truth is, that a Pyrenean chamois — who are an little colony of Scottish and Eng- elusive quarry. If he be exceplish gentlemen finding themselves tionally fortunate, he may even at Pau, sorely in need of occupa- achieve the glory of shooting a tion, and with the plain of Billères bear. But by the end of February before their eyes, betook them- it is likely that he will begin to selves to golf as naturally as find the peace rather too much for ducks to water, and established him. A disinclination to a second the club which now flourishes so round, which he had never known pleasantly. In the club parlour in the keen air of Scotland, will be hangs a picture of three surviving beginning to warn him that the too founders-Archdeacon Sapte, Col- kindly climate is relaxing his eneronel Hutchinson, and Major Ponti- gies. He will sigh for a keen breeze fex—to whose likenesses the golfer to revive his vigour, and will listen, will turn grateful eyes.
with the ear of longing, to the freInured by the training of quent dictum of the habitué of Pau, Cannes to the atmosphere of that "it always blows a gale at peace, and invigorated by the dé- Biarritz.” He bethinks him that jeûner, the golfer may again tempt it would be good for his lungs, good fortune among the buissons, the for his muscles, good for his ap
petite, good, finally, for his golf, to In place of the snow-clad Pyrénées, taste once more the flavour of a his view shows him a tumbling race gale—and the final consideration of white-crested billows—as fine a decides him. The journey is not a sea as any on the Atlantic Coast. great one.
Three hours or so, ac- He will mount an open fly—with the cording to the caprices of the train- mental observation that the flies of service, should take him to Bayonne, Pau were like the plain of Billères whence a further train voyage, or itself, shut in—and be driven a a drive of something over three short mile, up-hill, to the golf links. miles, will land him at Biarritz He will reverse the order of the and the caves of Æolus. In the going which was his habit at Pau. Æolian qualities he may chance to There he habitually walked to the be disappointed—the bags of all links, and drove from them, because the winds are not always opened they were down-hill from the town. at Biarritz, as the reports which Here he will by preference drive he heard at Pau had seemed to to them, and walk down—always indicate—but he is not likely to choosing to walk in the direction fail to notice a salutary ozone-laden of the less resistance. Moreover, breath off the sea, which is refresh- in the more vigorous air he will ment after the great peace of the find the walking less fatiguing. At plain of Billères.
He may even the same time he will reflect, if he comment on this to a habitué of be wise, that the climate of BiarBiarritz, and in that case will be ritz, which he may trust now that answered by an 'Oh, Pau! My it is March, was scarcely to be de dear fellow, one cannot breathe pended on, equally with that of there," which should induce reflec- Pau, in February. tion on human nature and on the in- From the high ground, if the estimable blessing of contentment day be clear, he may still see the with one's lot. At Biarritz he will Pyrénées and the Pic du Midi, find hotels as good as those at Pau, but at so great a distance that his and somewhat cheaper. Indeed driver, who would preferably talk he will recognise that his expenses Basque, tells him in French, which —other things, such as his thirst, he has a difficulty in understandbeing equal—have been in a de- ing, that it would promise better creasing scale with each move,- for the weather if the snow-clad Pau cheaper than Cannes, Biarritz peaks were not visible. The clubcheaper again than Pau. There is house he will find to be a building satisfaction in this, as in the more of less glory, beauty, and comfort generous, more free air that he in- than that of Pau, though answerhales gratis. He will repair to the ing its purpose adequately. club of his compatriots, which he The links of Biarritz and of Pau will find similar to that of Pau, do not compare well; they are too though smaller; and again, in its dissimilar. While the features of designation, he may note a sugges- the latter are their length, their tion of greater liberality. At Pau flatness, the excellence of their it was the "English" Club—here, lies, and their comparative imwith appreciation of the delicate munity from hazards, the links of susceptibilities of an island adjacent Biarritz are remarkable for their to England, it is yclept the Brit- boldness, their undulations, and
“ ish” Club; in which name the their numerous difficulties, which Scotsman too may have enough are not always avoided when the Caledonian patriotism to rejoice. ball lies on what ought to be the