I can’t vouch for the resort as I didn’t stay here but the new clubhouse, driving range and surroundings are very smart. The course was busy on arrival so Giulia in the golf club office, who seems to run a pretty tight ship, suggested we play the back nine first to avoid congestion on the front nine.
This turned out to be a wise move for two reasons: we managed to get round holes 10-18 in less than two hours and we also played what we felt was the weaker of the two nines first. That’s not to say they were bad holes – far from it, they just didn’t quite match up to the other half.
Holes 10 and 11 are fine; a solid par four with a ditch in front of the green followed by a par five that rises slightly uphill to the green. Both holes are played through a lovely olive grove, which also houses the 16th and 17th holes.
The 12th was a perplexing short par four, narrowing dramatically with trees on either side before veering left to the green. If you’re not on the right side of the fairway then you’re totally blocked out for your approach shot. The par fours at holes 13 and 14 were a lot more inviting, even with a large tree in the middle of one of the fairways.
The front nine kicks off in fine style with a par four hole that bends left to a green protected in front by a little ditch. The following two holes are easily the best on the property, both played from seriously elevated tee locations with the lagoon as a fantastic backdrop – they’re great holes but they’re also something of a problem as expectations for more of the same are never realized.
The 6th and 7th are routed on either side of a small pond so water has to be avoided to the left of the fairway on both holes then the 9th heads back to the clubhouse, flirting with another pond to the right side of the green. Looking back now, there was a lot more water around than I imagined at the time!
Maintenance is a definite issue here as some of the fairways have large bare patches, perhaps due to a faulty/leaky irrigation system, but they’re not of a standard you’d expect to find at a PGA National course and it’s something that really needs to be addressed.
Don’t allow a relatively minor aspect of conditioning cast a shadow over the many other good things going on at Argentario because the greens were great, the bunkers were sensibly positioned and the water hazards were not overly penal.
Still, a course with a slope rating of 141 from the back tees (at 6,218 metres) is more than capable of baring its teeth, especially when the coastal breezes kick in.
Date: August 20, 2019