Lido di Venezia is a long, narrow sandbar that separates the lagoon of Venice from the Adriatic Sea and it’s one of the most fashionable bathing resorts in Europe. However, the Lido is also the location of the Golf Club Venezia and their fine course is located at the southern tip of the island. Here, the social exclusivity of Italian golf manifests itself geographically as it requires a ferry ride to access the course from the city!
Built as a 9-hole layout by Count Volpi di Misurati at the instigation of car magnate Henry Ford in 1930, the course was extended by Ken Cotton and John Harris to its present 18-hole configuration in 1951. Within four years, the course was hosting the Italian Open and would do so a further twice, in 1960 and 1974. In more recent times, it was home to the Italian Seniors Open, with the competition held here from when it was established in 2004 until 2007.
Routed around the Venetian fortress of San Nicolo, Venezia is a delightful, eclectic amalgam of parkland-cum-links, with lovely tree-lined fairways laid out on sandy soil and the putting surfaces of the holes that end the front and back nine lie within the boundary of the former military stronghold.
The 187-yard par three 9th is played blind over a moat and rampart to a green that’s further protected with a bunker to the front left of the putting surface. The 360-yard 18th is the last of five straight par fours and it doglegs left with water either side of the landing area. Two large frontal bunkers protect the green on either side to catch any offline approach shots.
Circle Golf Venezia is located on the island of Lido, just 30 minutes by water taxi from the heart of Venice- thereby providing a unique golfing experience in an iconic destination
Originally a links style course routed around the ancient Venetian fortress of San Nicolo, the trees planted in the course's early days have matured and now provide a tight tree lined parkland style course. And I do mean tight!
The course rates as hard for most players, but the shorter straighter hitter who can stay out of the trees can score quite well. The course is nicely contoured, and a lovely course to walk. Gentle undulations throughout offer some interest and relief from what is essentially a flat course.
The green complexes vary in size, but have enough movement to retain your interest. Some are quite small targets, while others are larger, but with distinct areas of the green allowing for a variety of pin positions. Most are protected by clusters of bunkers.
An accurate golfer should be in their element here as length is not a major issue.
And once the tee shot is caressed into a position on the fairway in view of the green, I found a number of the greens to be quite appealing targets.
Notable holes include holes 1, 3, 9 (over the old fort wall), 15 & 18.
Golf Club Venezia is certainly an interesting course, but in my opinion the course might benefit from pruning back of the trees which I believe have grown beyond the original links design. They dominate just a little too much.
Nevertheless it is a fine course and a proud club. No golfer should visit Venice and not play Venezia! It really is a unique golfing experience..
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.