Pevero is located in the chic Costa Smeralda region on the Italian island of Sardinia. In the late 1960s, the Aga Khan thought that the peninsula between the Bays of Cala di Volpe and Volpero on the north east coast would be the ideal setting for the first golf course on the island.
By 1972, his vision was realised when an 18-hole, 6717 yard layout – designed by American golf course architects Robert Trent Jones and Ron Kirby – was opened for play to much critical acclaim – so much so that it was chosen six years later as the venue for the Italian Open, won by Dale Hayes. Pevero is certainly a daring design and this strategic course is set on the edge of the rugged, jagged coastline. On a clear day there are some glorious views across the turquoise sea to distant Corsica.
The outward half is routed in an anti-clockwise direction around Pevero Bay with water featuring at two successive holes – the 6th and 7th – where the former is a short par four that doglegs left to a green protected by a pond to the left and the latter is a long par three with water to the front and left and a putting surface guarded by five greenside bunkers.
The back nine forms a clockwise loop beside the beach of Cala di Volpe (the Bay of Foxes) and it too has a pair of holes where water comes into play. The 321-yard par four 16th has a pond short left of the fairway and another located long right, beside the green so both the tee shot and the approach are threatened. The 182-yard par three 17th has water in front of the green and two bunkers at the back to catch over hit tee shots.
Although Pevero is situated on the beautiful Costa Smeralda with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea from every hole, don’t think such a fabulous location is not without its climatic problems. When the famed north wind – the Mistral – blows, controlling a golf ball round this course is a tough task for even the professionals.
Italy as a country will never be a high profile golf destination, but the island of Sardinia is a pleasant retreat for Europeans wishing the escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
In the northeast corner of the island just north of the port of Olbia, golfers will find themselves at Pevero Golf Club – which famously provided magnificent vantage points for Mr. James Bond in the summer of 1976 for “The spy who loved me”. Although 007 did not do battle with an arch enemy on this property, that task was left for Robert Trent Jones Snr who took on the challenge of routing a course across rocky hilly terrain which was not easy.
The routing is very tough at this course. The topography doesn’t lend itself to a simple flow. Each hole sits alone as its own unique creation. On the back nine, the distance between many of the holes becomes very noticeable as RTJ Snr wrestled with how to connect each hole to the next. To his credit, the architect does introduce a number of panoramic views with thrilling backgrounds.
This course is pleasant, but tough to fall in love with. In addition to the routing, the biggest challenge I found was calculating the distances on approaching shots. There’s so much uphill and downhill that you frequently get caught out. On a side note, it’s really sad that Marco Simone GC was given the 2022 Ryder Cup as Italy is not a golf destination, the country does not have outstanding golf and there were dozens of better options across the continent. Shame ‘money’ had to get the way – but such is life.
I played the course a few days ago and although I am not particularly a fan of RTJ I have to admit I liked it a lot. The course is cleverly routed through hilly terrain and rock formations in two Loops that reach on opposite sides toward the sea. The course conditioning was immaculate. Very fast and undulating Greens. Almost all of the holes were interesting and the course Plays very tough. Par is hard to play. Combined with the breathtaking scenery and the top Level clubhouse, there is nothing to complain about. For me Pevero is one of the Top 100 golf courses in Europe. And clearly superior to Is Arenas.