Marco Simone (Championship) - Central Italy - Italy

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club,
Via Marco Simone 84,
00012 Guidonia (Roma),
Italy


  • +39 (0) 774 366 469

  • Ivan Marin

  • Jim Fazio, Tom Fazio II

  • Stefano Pietrobono


Situated just a half an hour’s drive from the city centre of Rome, near the historic hill town of Tivoli, the challenging 18-hole Championship layout at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club was set out by architect Jim Fazio in the late 1980s.

Fazio was certainly a busy man around that time in Italy as he also designed the course at Le Querce (now named Golf Nazionale), which debuted in 1990, and the architect has since returned to renovate Olgiata in 2010 and lay out the course at Golf Club Paradiso del Garda in 2002.

The Golf & Country Club lies within a beautiful old estate – complete with a restored 11th century castle – that belongs to fashion designer Laura Biagiotti, with the grounds extending to more than 350 acres. The 7,000 square metre clubhouse is reputed to be one of the largest in Europe.

As far as the club’s tournament history goes, the Italian Open was held here in 1994, just three years after it first opened for play, when Eduardo Romero held off a strong challenge from Greg Turner to win the event by a single shot, with a sixteen under par aggregate total score of 272.

At the end of 2015, it was announced that Marco Simone would become the third golf venue in continental Europe to host the Ryder Cup in 2022, somewhat surprisingly beating off strong bids from courses in Austria, Germany and Spain.

In December 2015, we contacted Fazio Design about the proposed course alterations and Tom Fazio II responded with this:

"I was working for my father, Jim Fazio, at the time we did the course where I lived in Rome for the two years it was under construction in 1989 and 1990. I will be working with Jeremy Slessor from European Golf Design. Currently, we do have some preliminary designs. We are all very excited to see the Ryder Cup going to Italy."

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits to be delayed by a year, consequently Marco Simone Golf & Country Club will host the event in 2023 rather than in 2022 as previously announced.

The reconstructed Championship course will showcased its new livery in September 2021 when the Italian Open returns to the Rome club for the second time.

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Reviews for Marco Simone (Championship)

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Description: Situated just a half an hour’s drive from the city centre of Rome, the challenging 18-hole Championship layout at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club was set out by architect Jim Fazio in the late 1980s. Rating: 7.4 out of 10 Reviews: 5
TaylorMade
Gustav Lindell

I played this course in autumn 2022, just one year before Ryder Cup 2023. Having played multiple DP World Tour best courses before, I have to say Marco Simone was right there with the best of them. With the surroundings now completed for Italian Open 2022, the course was in great condition - difficult, sure but in a right way.

Almost every hole you face will have strategic choices. On the hilly part of the course you will have possibility to cut cornes or dodge bunkers with great drives. On the lower parts you can try to stay out of the water with perfectly situated drives or leave it short of the hazard. There are plenty of cleverly situated bunkers and well guarded greens to make choice to take the flag on approaches a risk.

The condition of the course was pretty much perfect. Fast greens and thick roughs force you to focus on your play with every shot. It was easy to get from one problem to another if being too greedy (or having too much confidence on your abilities to match the tour pros shots). But for match play, it pushes you to take the needed risks.

Marco Simone has a sense of a place designed for competitieve golf. It is not your cozy castle course with old trees and historic sites. Rather, it is a challenge you take on from the sports side of golf. Yes, the restaurant and the club house are there and service is great, but the real star is the completely redesigned and rebuilt golf course.

I am a bit puzzled to see so few reviews after the overhaul of the course. For me, it was one of the best golf experiences ever. It's ranking on this site is obviously based on the old reviews and should be way higher on the lists.

October 03, 2022
10 / 10
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Tim Robertson

My family and I recently took a trip to Rome and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to play the upcoming Ryder Cup venue so I ventured out on a casual Tuesday morning in September. Here are aa couple of things stood out from the start:

In the US a course like this wouldn't have had nearly the laid back atmosphere I encountered. The people at Marco Simone were as welcoming as can be & the tee sheet, at that time, was as open as could be.

Some upgrades for the Ryder Cup & Italy is still learning to appreciate golf but that is not to say the people weren't great.

Regarding the course, much will be written about the course in the near future but here was my take away...

The golf course is good but it definitely isn't great. The higher up the property the better the golf holes. The lower section of the golf course is average at best. Hole three through nine are very generic golf holes with little to think about and minimum strategy.

The highlights of Marco Simone are the holes further up the property, a couple of those holes are:

No. 2: A 470 yard four with a carry over a valley to reach a fairway with a bunker in the middle. Head to the more conservative right side of the fairway and you will have an obstructed view of the green on your approach. If you take on the left side of the fairway make sure you avoid the native area but you will have an unobstructed view of a challenging green. In my opinion this is the best hole on the course.

No. 11: Short uphill dogleg left with a stream running completely up the left hand side. A great risk reward where the more stream you challenge the more hole you take off. The fun part about this hole is that the approach is uphill which means that knowing precisely where you want to layup or the yardage you want to the flag is extremely important.

No. 12: This hole is the par five version of the second hole. The blind or semi-blind second shot will be remarkably similar to your second shot on hole 2.

No. 17: A long challenging par 3 with a variety of options. They can put the flag in front part of the green and bring the bunker into play or stretch out hole and have the flag in the back. If it is in the back of the green the creek to the left will likely say hello to a number of golfers.

There are a couple of holes that will grab headlines and I am not sure I feel like they are great holes:

No16: This hole is supposed to be a drivable par four measuring 340 yards but it is straight down hill. The problem with 16 is that there is no bail out. If you lay up into the fairway you are left with an awkward stance and a 75 yard pitch shot over water with no bail out. Realistically everyone is going to take a fairway wood and aim it short left of the green and pitch on if they don't hit the green. This hole is set up to be a dramatic point of the course, but the hole is far too dramatic to create viable options for entertaining golf.

No. 18: The stereotypical finishing hole. Long downhill par 5 with a pond short left. We have seen this finishing hole far too often, especially in professional golf. Similar to 16 there really isn't a great second option so you will likely see everyone going for it. Creativity may not be the number one skill required for this hole.

Ultimately Marco Simone will likely be polarizing. It's highs are very good but its lows are well below the quality of the event it will be staging. I am sure the crowds will be electric & I hope the golf matches it because the golf course itself will not be the star.

September 01, 2022
5 / 10
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Claudio

Very surprised there are not reviews after the course has reopened following a complete redesign to be ready for the 2023 Ryder Cup! Definitely a must play if you are in the Rome area, even though I still prefer the unique atmosphere of Acquasanta or the surroundings of Golf Nazionale. Anyhow, the couse is very fun to play as the holes are designed to be played in very different ways depending on the teebox used. Not very long from the yellow tees but considering the slope of the greens it is of paramount importance to place the ball close to the pin if you want to make sure you don't want to make more than two puts. Quite a hilly course, I suggest a buggy if you are not well trained, especially in the summer. There are several holes where you play the second shot not beeing able to see the green, which I do enjoy much. A couple of par par 5 are reacheable in 2 (8th and12th) and the 11th and the 16th for the long hitters could be reacheable par 4. Surroundings unfortunately are not that nice as there have been a number of real estate deveolpments.

March 16, 2022
8 / 10
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Andrew Harris

Played this course on a very hot summer's day and was glad we had the cart. I thought the layout was superb and both enjoyable and challenging. Some of the holes on the back nine were particularly windy too.

I probably wouldn't recommend playing it in the height of summer as it is just a bit hot. May or September may be a better time. Italy has also had a drought this year so while the tees, fairways and greens are exceptional if you go a little further off line it is extremely dry.

I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is in the area.

August 04, 2017
8 / 10
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Jake S

I had the good fortune to play Marco Simone on a warm summer day. The course is laid out on a grand scale, over rolling terrain outside of Rome. There is plenty of room to work with and good bones in the initial design, so I suspect Mr. Fazio will have some fun getting it ready for Ryder Cup 2022. The 16th in particular is an excellent par 5 with a creek running right up center fairway and guarding the green. That will be a great sight on foursomes day. Elsewhere, the course is bold and carries interesting features, with a castle thrown in as well. There is great opportunity to enhance this course to something very dramatic.

Jake Starr

January 16, 2017
6 / 10
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