Tourists have been heading to Tuscany for centuries. The British, in particular, have always been fond of the region since the days of the Grand Tour when they came over the northern hills into Florence. Cultural delights, superb scenery, fine food and some of the world’s most delicious wines have now been joined by top flight golf courses to add the Tuscany’s long list of attractions.
One of the newcomers is on the western coast with stunning views out to sea and back inland to the Maremma hills. The Argentario Resort Golf & Spa is an exclusive and expensive complex, so don’t be put off by the brutal architectural exterior of the hotel, everything inside is of a serious five star quality.
The course is long, probably too long off the back tees for holiday golf, at 6,800 yards and it is also a hard walk with numerous climbs, so best take a buggy. Spring or early Autumn are the right times to visit as when we played, at the beginning of March, the course was extremely wet which meant that buggies were not available. Also, in high Summer the place can become baked, so do pick your times sensibly. Otherwise this is a spectacular, challenging layout and certainly no place for the novice. Players climb around wooded hillsides and rocky outcrops with some fine raised tee shots to enjoy. We found some of the holes are downright intimidating, and none more so than the par 4 18th where one has to fly an enormous drive over tall trees and a stream at 210 yards to have any chance of reaching the green.
However bad the round, the clubhouse offers some delicious Tuscan wines and excellent local food but this does not come cheaply. In fact nothing comes cheaply at Argentario so take plenty of money with you. This course is certainly worth playing and the hotel is terrific once one gets over the shock of the outside design but is no place for travellers on a budget.
Date: August 15, 2013