Golf Club Punta Ala is situated outside the prosperous seaside resort of the same name in southern Tuscany, where the fairways are laid on a promontory overlooking the island of Elba in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Simply put, it’s an absolutely beautiful spot to play golf.
This upmarket resort destination is largely frequented by wealthy people who own luxury second homes in the area and possibly have a boat moored in the marina. Sailing regattas are actually Punta Ala’s main claim to sporting fame but the golf facility is not without its admirers.
The course was literally carved out of a dense forest in the early 1960s when its eighteen playing corridors were designed by Giulio Cavalsani from a hilly, 150-acre property above the town. A gorge also cuts through the site and this natural feature is brought into play on several occasions during a round here.Punta Alta is renowned as a tough track and its two most difficult holes arrive at the 390-metre 8th, which plays steadily uphill from tee to green, and the 428-metre 12th, a long par four that doglegs right and slightly downhill to a sand-protected green. Any golfer marking a net 4 on the scorecard at both these holes will be well pleased with their efforts.
I was back to Punta Ala after 13 years and I was really looking forward to playing it again.
At the check in the guy at the reception told me the course was in very good shape... well, this makes me wonder what the course looks like when it is in bad shape! :P
The layout itself is very interesting and diverse with a lot of dogleg holes and a few very nice views but I think a lot of fairway bunkers and other features which should protect the balls are not positioned well unless this course was not meant to be played with drivers for players who can hit their drives over 200m carry. Bunkers are positioned on 160-180m which makes them useless (in a bad and a good way unfortunately) for good players and at the same time they are punishing average and short players which anyways can not reach the greens in regulation from that distance off the fairway, yet alone from the bunkers... bare in mind that the course is quite long.
The following holes stand out: 5th - monster dogleg right Par-4's to highly elevated green. 7th - nice and wide downhill Par-5 with beautiful views. 12th - another monster dogleg right Par-4 with the green well below the fairway. 14th - slightly downhill dogleg left Par-4 towards the beautiful Stone Pine trees and the green nestled in between. 16th - slightly uphill dogleg left Par-4 with second shot to the green over the ravine. 18th - short but tricky dogleg right Par-4 with nice and well protected green.
Bunkers are very good and greens are quite nice but that is about it. Tee boxes are pretty bad. Fairways are nothing special and the whole course would need refreshment / reseeding as the years have sadly done its part. Some fine sanding now and then would help a lot... Surprisingly the owners have the funds to build a new hotel on site but not enough for proper course maintenance which this course would definitely deserve.
Some signs would be more than welcome on the 16th for all players using a golf cart as the green is not accessible by golf cart... I did a lot of driving around the hole back and forth to figure that out! And while you leave the cart by the bridge and cross it to get to the green, don't forget to take your clubs for the tee off at 17th hole too as the man's tee box is also on that side of the ravine...
Punta Ala clubhouse still offers one of the best views in Italy.
A course well worth playing if you are in the area...