Developed by the Leonardo Caltagirone Group, the 18-hole championship course at the Terre dei Consoli Golf Club is located within an enterprising residential resort which lies to the north of the capital and it’s a Robert Trent Jones Jnr design that first opened its doors to golfers in 2011.
The name Terre dei Consoli refers to a territory that was considered precious to Roman Consuls during the days of the Roman Empire and Via Francigena, the historical pilgrim route from France to Rome, cuts across the course behind the par five 8th hole.
Unusually for a modern layout, the course is set with an out-and-back routing and as a result of this the 9th hole is located furthest from the clubhouse. With three par fives (including back-to-back three-shotters at holes 7 and 8) and only one short hole on the front nine, par is set at 38 for the outward half.On the way home, three short holes and two par fives sets par for the back nine at 35. The signature hole is regarded as the 150-yard 17th, played to an island green, but the 480-yard, downhill 15th – where a severely contoured green sits behind a small creek – also has much to commend it.
When I got home, I looked at google maps to see exactly how close the course at Terre dei Consoli is to the layout at Golf Nazionale and found out the most northerly point on the former (the green on #8) is just over half a kilometre away from the most southerly point on the latter (the green on #6).
Effectively, the two courses are separated by Via Sutri Vecchia – which is a small portion of the Via Francigena pilgrim route – but you would never guess they were such near neighbours as the difference in landscape between the densely wooded Golf Nazionale and the far more open outlook here is like night and day.
At the moment, a temporary clubhouse is being built but this will make way in the next few weeks for a brand new building which will result in a resequencing of holes. The present #18 will become the new #1 and so on, meaning the current signature #17 (with its island green) will become the home hole. With that in mind, I’ve used the new hole numbers in this review.
There’s good movement in the property so fairways are never flat and boring. Instead, they’re routed up and over this rolling terrain, with minimal interference from housing, which is quite remarkable for any residential development. For the vast majority of the round, you’d think you were playing parkland golf in the middle of the countryside.
I liked the front nine but felt the 3-hole loop (holes 8-10) across the aforementioned Via Sutri Vecchia were a little too contrived, evidenced by the par three 8th with acres of sand in front of the green. On the back nine, the 14th was a testing downhill par three with the green sitting behind a burn that slashes diagonally across the fairway.
Parallel holes at #15 and #16 (played uphill then downhill) were also testing, especially the second of these holes, rated stroke index 2. The drive on the 17th was also a challenging shot, played from an offset tee across a large wetland area, before the hole heads uphill towards the green. I’ll reserve comment about the new finishing hole as my aversion to water holes (and island greens in particular) might get me into trouble here…
Overall, I was surprised by the way Terre dei Consoli was so unlike the previous two RTJ2 tracks I’d played just days before at Antognolla and La Bagnaia! The look and feel here was quite removed from the other two courses (especially with the style of bunkering) which left me wondering if this was due to relative budgets, different contractors, the aesthetic quality of the topography or some other factor(s).
Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable round at a club which is just about to reach the next level with a brand new clubhouse. Exciting times ahead then for everyone at Terre dei Consoli and I wish them well.