On the edge of the Erbisoeul forest near Mons, the Royal Golf Club du Hainaut consists of three nine-hole circuits, each with their own distinctive character. The two old courses – Les Bruyères and Le Quesnoy – were designed by Tom Simpson in 1933, threading a path between stands of trees that demand precision off the tee. The lay-out of the third circuit, Les Etangs, which opened in 1990, reflects the way golf has evolved. The modern club is lighter, with a more flexible shaft and a larger 'sweet-spot' in the head, enabling the player to drive the ball further. So Les Etangs is long and wide, but balances things by protecting its greens with a formidable array of bunkers that leave little margin of error on the approach. Choose which combination of courses you want to play, and combine two generations of golf in one outing. The charming, thatched clubhouse is an added delight.
Around and about: If you drive to Wallonia via Lille, the first course you reach is Mont Garni, which comprises three six-hole loops of championship standard, and a further six holes for beginners. Championship-standard Château de la Tournette and Pierpont are not much further on. The pick of the hotels around Mons is the four-star Mercure Mons, set in a forest just outside the town, which is notable for its magnificent central square, Grand-Place and its wealth of historic buildings. Other accommodation options in the centre of Mons are the IBIS & Infotel.