Situated a mere 20 kilometres to the north of Milan, Barlassina Country Club is an exclusive and private club, which was originally founded in 1956 by a group of wealthy Italians who wanted to escape to the peace and tranquility of the countryside.
They ended up in the Park of the Groane (Parco delle Groane), one of the most important Regional Parks in Italy, which extends to more than 3,400 hectares. The course was originally laid out by Englishman John Morrison and was later modified by Commander John D. Harris. Barlassina is routed through the old oak trees and it’s a really varied and pleasant parkland course which uses the gently undulating land to great effect.
If you get the chance to visit Barlassina, ensure that you relax for a while in the sumptuous clubhouse that was designed by the top Milan architect Luigi Vietti.
I played Barlassina in November and really enjoyed my round. The club has quite an old school feeling around it but isn't stuffy at all. The highlight of the round were the greens which ran true and fast for this late in the season. They must be truly wonderful when it's a bit drier. Milan had quite a bit of rain lately so the tee boxes and fairways were a little soft underfoot but overall I thought the course had drained well. I didn't slip once. There was no standing water and you could hit from all lies and areas. The fairways were still in very good condition.
I would describe Barlassina as a serene course with a gentle routing. The scenery is wonderful with many mature trees changing their colour at this time of the year. There are no tricks ahead of you and even if your tee shot goes astray, you should be able to find the ball under the trees. There's no thick undergrowth. I really like that there are number of dog legs (left and right) which I enjoy as a design feature. Longer hitters can cut the corners but can also be blocked out by trees. The green complexes are often nicely defended by bunkering (excellent quality again) but are not overly undulating. However the breaks are quite subtle. I don't think there's a weak hole on the course and every tee shot gives you something to think about. I would say that the par 3s are a little long for my liking (anything over 150/160 years on a par 3 is too long I find...).
Overall, I very much enjoyed my round at Barlassina and look forward to coming back on a nice summer's day. If you're in the area you should go and check it out.