Ten years after Italy became a Republic in 1946, Circolo Golf Torino moved to the Parco Regionale La Mandria, the old hunting estate of the former ruling House of Savoy. The Turin club, then thirty-six years in existence, had found the perfect woodland site for its members to pursue their sport.
Englishman John Morrison designed the original Blue course and some time later, the 18-hole Yellow course was added. A number of holes were renovated in the late 1990s by the Canadian architect Graham Cook in preparation for the 1999 Italian Open, won by Scotland's Dean Robertson. In more recent times, Graham Cook has been involved in updating the green complexes as part of – in the words of the club – “a master renovation plan”.
Both the Blue and Yellow are classic parkland courses laid out over gently undulating terrain with plenty of trees, bunkers and water hazards to punish wayward shots. This is exemplified on the Blue course’s 171-yard par three 13th hole, where the raised green is framed on three sides by trees and protected in front by both sand and water.
The Italian Open returned to Golf Club Torino in 2013, won by Frenchman Julien Quesne and the La Mandria club also hosted the event in 2014, which South Africa's Hennie Otto won.
Graham Cooke – course architect writes: “Prior to the last Italian Open held at Golf Club Torino, I was engaged to create more drama and interest for the Blue course. I primarily added a series of creative, grassy accent mounds throughout the course. The mounds were sculptured with hollows and peaks in such a way that no form was repeated. The introduction of these forms made a major impact, as the course had limited grade changes and the existing features, especially fairway bunkers, had no framing or backdrop.
The program gave numerous bunker sites a proper home and the visuals from the tees were greatly enhanced. Other parts of the program involved tee additions, fairway cutting pattern changes and a few green complex changes.
In summary, I was very pleased with the results and the members and professionals who came to the Open were charmed by the new, more expressive, appearance of the course. This project demonstrated that accent mounds, properly sculptured, can impart an older feel to an established course. It is my firm belief that the original architect would have been pleased at the results and would have embarked on a similar look had he had the material or budget when the course was originally built.”
August 27, 2014