La Pavoniere Golf & Country Club is one of three Italian projects that have been completed by the Arnold Palmer Design Company (the other two are Ca’ Della Nave near Venice and Castello di Tolcinasco in Milan) and it’s a mid-1980s layout that sits within an estate that once belonged to Prince Leopoldo de’ Medici.
The landscape’s a little flat in this part of Tuscany so a significant amount of soil was shifted to create some contours around the estate. As a result of this earth movement, a number of small, interconnected lakes now provide their own strategic challenge on both the front and back nine.
The first eight holes are separated from the remainder of the course by a line of birch trees and these fine arboreal specimens have been supplemented by almost two thousand new plantings that will add greater definition to the holes when they reach maturity.
Feature holes include the long par three 5th and short par four 6th, routed on opposite sides of the same lake, and the second of these two holes is most unusual in that the tee shot is played to an island fairway from where an approach to a sand-fronted green is then executed.The back nine concludes with a demanding par four that doglegs right from the tee, past an intimidating lake that feeds into a small pond on the left side of the fairway, and the home green sits behind this smaller body of water in front of the clubhouse.
Le Pavoniere Golf Club in Prato is just outside of Florence. It is the flattest course I played in the Tuscany area, and thus the easiest walk. As with the other Italian courses BRING WATER. There is a lot of clover here, might want to consider orange golf balls.
First hole good welcoming hole. There is a water hazard left but it shouldn’t come in to play, along with a couple of fairway bunkers. Favor the left side off the tee and it will give you a great vantage to the green for birdie opportunity coming out the gate. The 2nd hole is a demanding par 4. Slight dogleg right with water all the way down the left side. The third is a reachable par five. Left off the tee will give yourself the best shot at getting home. There is a water hazard on the right side. Although when I played it was dry. I don’t know if it was the time of year, but the water hazards were either empty or way down. This certainly had a negative impact on the visual appeal. The number one handicap hole is the 4th. A long par 4 with water down the right that then juts left in front of the green. The 5th is a Florida par three. The short par 4 6th is an excellent birdie oppty. It is an island fairway, with more room right. Big hitters probably do not want to hit driver and there is a BAB in front of the green. For the most part, it should not come into play as most will be hitting flip wedges to the green. The 7th is a well designed hole. Water right fairway bunker left and a green that is protected by four bunkers. The 8th is a short par 3. The redan green is protected by a BAB left. The 9th is a reachable par five. However, danger lurks as it has 13 bunkers, five greenside.
The 10th looks tougher than it is. Water down the right side that meanders towards the green, fairway bunkers left and a large greenside bunker right. Decent tee shot should give you a mid iron to the green. The 11th is another reachable par 5. The fairway bunkers should not come into play and the green is protected on the right with bunkers. The par 4 12th is bisected by the creek at a 45 degree angle. There is more yardage favoring the right side off the tee. However, this forces your approach to carry the right greenside bunker. The 13th is another island fairway, but this one is a lot tougher. The hole is longer and the landing area much smaller. Additionally, there is a large bass akwards L shaped bunker on the front and right of the green. The 14th is a mid length par three. Do not over cook it left into the water hazard. There are four greenside bunkers, but as two are long, they rarely come into play. The 15th is the number 2 handicap hole. There is water left on your approach, the difficulty is the length. The16th is a three shot par 5. There are seven fairway bunkers to navigate around. The 17th is a mid-length par 3 protected by three greenside bunkers. The 18th is a super finishing hole. Dogleg right with water on the right side off the tee. The approach must carry another water hazard. To par this hole you need to hit two good back to back shots.
Decent course, it was unfortunate that the aesthetics were muffled by the lack of water in the hazards.