C. K. Cotton with Frank Pennink laid out the original 18 holes at Olgiata Golf Club, one of several Italian courses that he designed or restyled in the 1960s. A second nine holes have since been incorporated into the same large estate that lies to the north of the capital.
"His [Ken Cotton] best course abroad was Olgiata in Rome," wrote Donald Steel in Thin End Of The Wedge – a life in golf, "scene of Great Britain & Ireland's first victory in the 1964 World Amateur Team Championship."
In actual fact, the property was once a stud farm, producing world class thoroughbreds – like Nearco in the 1930s and Ribot in the 1950s – and a horse racing track still exists to the south of this massive golf and residential complex.
All 27 holes at Olgiata are set in sumptuous parkland surroundings where the terrain is mildly undulating and fairways are separated by avenues of magnificent mature trees. The two 9-hole loops of the West course fan out from the clubhouse in opposite directions with many of the well-bunkered holes gently doglegging left or right.
Tony Jacklin became Italian Open champion at Olgiata in 1973 and, more recently, Ian Poulter claimed the title here in 2002. The club has twice hosted the World Cup, the first time in 1968 when the Canadian two-man team of Al Balding and George Knudson lifted the trophy. On the second occasion in 1984, the Spanish winners from two years before, José Maria Cañizares and José Rivero, triumphed again.
September 22, 2011