Like all grassroots hackers, I sometimes have a perfect day.
If I could call it in advance, Id be able to pick a golf course worthy of the occasion. As I cant, where Im at is what I get.
Most recently, it was Granville, widely recognised as Frances purest links, on the west of the Cherbourg peninsula.
Par for the course: The Hotel du Golf Barriere has the best course in the area
A raised first tee revealed scorched fairways surrounded by oceans of waving beige grass. Wayward balls would be swallowed without trace.
My companions assessed the danger of swirling crosswinds off the Bay of Mont St Michel as they prepared to play.
Seconds later, they groaned and headed for the rough while my tee shot arced down the middle and curled obediently on to the green. Even without the sea views, the dunes and the gingerbread clubhouse, Id have loved it.
For self-drive British golfers, Normandy offers the ideal combination of convenience and quality. At dusk, our small fleet of BMWs rolled on to the Brittany Ferries overnight ship from Portsmouth to Caen.
At dawn, they rolled off it, arriving three quarters of an hour later at Houlgate, a watery Peter Alliss course that compensates for a cramped forest layout with an exceptional welcome, a low green fee and a lunch of Norman peasant splendour.
In the heart of Calvados, a digestif is an appropriate finale. Variety and contrast, Normandys secret golf ingredients, are well illustrated by the journey from Houlgate to Deauville.
Starting in lush countryside, home to sleek cows that provide milk for Camembert and Brie, it ends 20 minutes later in the most sophisticated resort on the coast of northern France.
Old world: The half-timbered hotel is just a hope across the Channel
In summer, the Parisian elite flock to Deauville to enjoy horse-racing, the casino and the pleasures of tables stocked with fresh seafood from local fleets. In early September, theyre joined by Hollywood for the Deauville Film Festival, a European showcase for American movies.
The hilltop Hotel du Golf Barriere, imposingly half-timbered in the regional style, provides luxury living with spectacular views over the town and the English Channel.
It commands 27 holes of golf, 18 of them forming the best course in the area. Opened in 1929 and regularly updated since, the lush parkland is impeccably maintained. In keeping with Deauvilles upmarket profile, magnificent villas line the fairways, many of them with bright flowers spilling over thatched roofs from pots built into the ridge lines.
Next June, Normandy celebrates the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on the beaches further west. In golfing terms, the memories will be most intense at Omaha Beach where fairways occupy territory fought over by American troops shortly after they arrived in Porten-Bessin on the shore below.
La Mer, the older and better of the two courses, goes right out to the coast, most impressively at the 6th hole, which flies Allied flags over a shrine dedicated to the troops. This is cliff-top rather than links golf, but that doesnt stop the wind playing havoc with errant shots.
On the front nine, expansively open fairways are marked by isolated stands of trees, while the back nine head inland through hills and valleys.
As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the holes were named for Second World War heroes Eisenhower, Patton, Churchill, Montgomery with descriptive panels beside the tee boxes. Heading further west to Granvilles picturesque fishing port for the last night of the tour, we picked a fish restaurant from a row of unpretentious family-run places.
The interior was creaky, with uneven tables, faded velvet chairs and gingham cloths. The food was simply cooked to emphasise the flavours of the sea and served by perky waitresses.
This is the old France you hate to leave, so when we did, after the Granville golf the next day, we went quickly. After three hours on the Normandie Express fast craft from Cherbourg, we were back in the real world and already planning our next trip.