Me and my partner stayed and played at Donnafugata and Verdura on a two destination golf holiday in September 2017.
After the disappointment of Donnafugata (also reviewed) the two courses at Verdura were a revelation. I had been looking forward to playing a Kyle Phillips’ designed course since seeing the glowing reviews of Kingsbarns and I was not disappointed. These are both stunning gems, beautifully conditioned, and in my opinion should be amongst the top courses in Europe.
It is hard to pick a favourite between the East and the West, as they are similar in character and each a joy to play. There is hardly a weak hole amongst the 36 and both courses end with stunningly picturesque (and difficult) stretches of holes.
As both courses are on the coast the wind largely dictates the difficulty, but both courses generally have wide enough fairways to enjoy the round no matter what the conditions. The difficulty generally lies with getting close to the pins on the large and undulating putting surfaces.
On the West course, holes 15 to 18 form a loop away and then back to the watchtower clubhouse. They make a fine climax to the round and a real test for anyone with a good card going up to that point. 15 and 17 are par threes in different directions, and generally exposed to cross winds. 17 is shorter, but more intimidating as visually it gives the impression of anything long or left being destined for the Med! The 16th is all about hitting the fairway in preparation for a long second into a large green. The staff claim that John Daly referred to the 18th on the West as the ‘Pebble Beach of Europe’ and if true it is easy to see why – all down the left of the hole there is simply a wooden fence separating the course from a cliff and the blue waters of the Med! Having negotiated an intimidating tee shot, a long second is played to an undulating green positioned under the clubhouse bar, with the Med once again waiting to claim a pulled approach! A tricky two putt and time for a well earned drink...
The Rocco Forte hotel around which these courses are designed is expensive, but for those able to afford the prices Verdura is a stunning location for a golf holiday.
Date: October 21, 2017