Chantaco: A Club Steeped in History

Chantaco in St-Jean-de-Luz hosts the Lacoste Ladies Open de France from October 4-7. Find out more about this historic club with a unique sporting heritage, set in the heart of the Basque country, at the foothills of the Pyrennees.

Chantaco in St-Jean-de-Luz hosts the Lacoste Ladies Open de France from October 4-7. Find out more about this historic club with a unique sporting heritage, set in the heart of the Basque country, at the foothills of the Pyrennees...

On November 1, 1928 the Golf de Chantaco was inaugurated with more than 300 spectators following a great match : Arnaud Massy, the club's first professional and the only French major winner, Jean Gassiat, Aubrey and Percy Boomer.

Chantaco was the realization of a man's vision : René Thion de la Chaume. He discovered Saint-Jean-de-Luz and the Golf de la Nivelle in 1922, and soon after purchased nearby land and several farms such as Etcheverria, Urchabaleta, Kantia, Mochobaita, Coyoénia et Chantacoénia. The latter, whose name's origin is probably a derivation from Santiago, gave its final name to the golf club.

René Lacoste & Simone Thion de la Chaume

The great golf course architect Harry Colt designed the layout for the 18 holes. The Clubhouse was designed by Jean Walter and construction was supervised by Emile Picot.

Many celebrities soon came to Chantaco : the Prince of Wales, Charlie Chaplin, the Prince of Bourbon, Jeacques Thibaud, etc.

Mrs Simone Thion de la Chaume, British Ladies champion in 1927 and French champion on 13 occasions, took over the club's presidency from her father in 1930. She had to deal with the great challenge of keeping the club afloat during the war and to allow for its restoration in 1945. Her husband, the tennis champion René Lacoste, enabled the course management team to avoid mandatory work deportation during the war by having over 40,000 additional trees planted.

In the 50s and 60s many great French golfers came from Chantaco: Garaïalde, Harismendy, Pascassio, Larretche, Laffitte, Tapia, Artola, Mendiburu, etc. In 1967 Catherine Lacoste became the first foreigner, the only amateur (to date!) and the youngest player to win the US Women's Open.

Catherine Lacoste with the 1967 US Women's Open trophy she won as a 22-year-old amateur

Catherine Lacoste became President in 1974 and, assisted by her brother François Lacoste who also used to be a scratch golfer, preserved her parent's legacy until 2009 when her niece Camille Lacoste became the club's fourth President.

Chantaco remains today one of the most recognized clubs in France thanks to its support to competitive golf, both through its teams and by hosting championships such as the Lacoste Ladies French Open, to the quality of its course and to its welcoming atmosphere.

For further information about the club visit: http://www.chantaco.com/

Article from Ladies European Tour:
http://ladieseuropeantour.com/main_article.php?id=62675&pid=1005
Published: 5/10/2012

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