Established by English businessmen in 1907, Menaggio & Cadenabbia is the second oldest golf club in Italy. Twelve years after its formation, the primitive 9-hole layout that comprised the club’s first course was extended to a full 18 holes when land became available for expansion.
The family of Antonio Roncoron (founder of the Italian PGA) acquired the club in 1961 and the new proprietors maintained its English connections by appointing Commander John Harris to completely redesign the course, a few years after its change of ownership.
Set out on beautiful hilly terrain close to Lake Como, the narrow fairways of this enchanting course will probably never host a major national golfing event but that matters not a jot as the holes fit the landscape perfectly, stretching as they do to a modest 5,482 metres in total length.
Feature holes at this Italian beauty include back-to-back short par threes at the 2nd and 3rd, consecutive par fives at holes 13 and 14 and a pair of short par fours that round off the routing in fine fashion at the 17th and 18th.We understand the architectural firm of Turner MacPherson has worked with the club recently, renovating a number of greens and consulting on course routing, and we’d like to think these measures will allow this spectacular site to serve golfers well into the new millennium.
I played Menaggio on a hot day in August. I would recommend taking a trolley or even a buggy but my friend and I carried our bags and paid the price after 18 holes. We were exhausted. It's a hilly course with lots of up and downs. It is also quite narrow so unless you're dead straight off the tee, you will find yourself in tree trouble.
The clubhouse is very Italian but inside full of treasures of golf history. The range is practical but also very narrow. The two loops of 9 lead you back to the clubhouse so you could take a break mid-round.
The course was well conditioned but a bit wet in patches and they were doing some work on the fairways. We played on a weekday afternoon and at times felt like the only people on the course. The greens rolled very nicely and not too quickly. The setting of course is wonderful, right above Lake Como with many wonderful views around the area.
If you are in the area, Menaggio is well worth a visit. It's a challenging course in a lovely setting.