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Saint Germain : a true battlefield

Some six months after the Normandy landings on June 6th 1944 the Royal Navy arrived at Saint Germain on 26th December  and the club welcomed the Allied Troops.

In 1940 the state of the golf club had been dire.  The clubhouse, restaurant and changing rooms had been looted and the golf course had been used as a racetrack for German cavalry. Many posts had been planted on the longer holes to prevent allied planes from landing.

Despite the difficulties, Louis Touvet kept the energy and determination to maintain and preserve his life’s creation.  After the Liberation, the returning members and the allied troops noticed that he had managed to maintain the course in good condition despite being close to the battlefields. In fact, one of his last great pleasures was to witness the first matches between allied officers and soldiers where previously the enemies of France had played out their war games.

General Eisenhower (the Supreme Allied Commander) used to play regularly with other American generals.  Members of the club created strong ties of friendship with English and American troops, and more than 50 members of SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) received honorary membership cards before they left in 1967.  Some of them played in the Saint Germain golf team including Colonel Bob Conrad, Lieutenant John Gray, and General Parker.  When the team captain, Sand Bertrand, asked one of them what his handicap was, in order to play in the Puiforcat Cup, the reply was “Red wine, of course”.