- Italian golf resort options
Italian golf resort options
Italian golf resort options
We’ve been to France, Portugal and Spain during our latest series on golf resorts around Europe and we now switch our attention a little further east to Italy. There are approximately 92,000 registered golfers playing on around 240 courses across the country and there’s plenty of scope for visiting golfers being able to tee it up at one of the nation’s many non-private golf facilities.
We begin in Piedmont, in the northwest of Italy, at the 36-hole Bogogno Golf Resort. The 50-bedroomed hotel has operated since 2014 and its leisure amenities include a spa, swimming pools, small football pitch, tennis and floodlit padel courts. The restaurant and bistro next to the clubhouse offers Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, with a wine list selected from famous Italian and international wineries.
Located just over an hour’s drive to the northwest of Milan, the resort lies in the foothills of the Monte Rosa massif mountain range with two late 1990s Robert von Hagge-designed 18-holes in play, named Bonora and Conte. The facility actually opened with only one course initially but it proved so popular the architect was asked to return to split this layout in two then add another nine holes to each half of the original.
Just a few kilometres away from Bogogno lies Golf Club Castelconturbia, with 27 holes in play. The on-site boutique hotel boasts 19 elegantly furnished guest rooms, all with air conditioning, satellite TV and views of the internal garden. The adjoining restaurant has a large, covered terrace and splendid views of the finishing holes on all three nines. Here you can sample the specialties of regional and international cuisine, accompanied by special labels from the wine cellar.
Golf was played here until the early 1960s but the course then fell into disrepair and the club was abandoned. Twenty years later, Robert Trent Jones Senior revived the original 9-holer and added another couple of nines to form the layout that’s in operation today. Golfers who’d like to play the 18-hole course that staged the Italian Open twice during the 1990s should tackle the Blue and Yellow nines.
A 2-hour drive east from Castelconturbia will take you via Milan, Bergamo and Brescia to Lake Garda, with the 27-hole Arzaga Golf resort located close to the crystal-clear waters of the lake. The on-site Palazzo Arzaga Hotel and Spa are currently closed for renovation but there’s alternative accommodation meantime in the nearby Borgo di Drugolo, consisting of a dozen apartments that can each house between 2 and 8 guests or there’s Villa Montecroce, comprising four 2-8 person apartments with a large garden and outdoor swimming pool.
The original 18-hole course opened in the late 1990s, designed by Jack Nicklaus II, making it one of Jack Junior’s rare golf projects located outside America. Gary Player added another nine holes so there’s quite an eclectic mix of styles here. The two layouts are quite different so it makes sense to play all 27 holes then make up your mind which nines you prefer.
Moving south into Tuscany, the 5-star hotel at the Toscana Resort Castelfalfi features a rather unique 31-room accommodation building – having been converted from a former tobacco warehouse – and there are also villas and apartments to rent. The property also features a wellness centre, along with heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and there are six restaurants serving high quality dishes prepared from Tuscan produce.
The golfing element at Castelfalfi dates back to the early 1990s but Wilfried Moroder and Rainer Preissmann were called in around ten years ago to remodel the layout, creating the 18-hole Mountain course and 9-hole Lake course. The former is a challenging, championship-standard design, while the latter is a shorter, more open layout that’s suitable for a fun game with golfers of all abilities.
A pleasant one-hour journey further south through the beautiful Tuscan countryside will see you arrive at La Bagnaia Golf & Spa Resort, on the other side of Siena. It’s an IMG Prestige property with two medieval settlements, Borgo Filetta and Borgo Bagnaia, providing 99 room and suite accommodation options. There’s also a swimming pool, wellness centre and relaxing garden to stroll around.
The 18-hole golf course is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design, one of only three Italian projects the American architect has worked on. Set out as an inland links with rolling fairways routed around five attractive lakes, the course at Royal Golf La Bagnaia occupies a huge 325-acre portion of an even larger estate so only the super fit golfer should consider walking here – buggies are virtually essential, allowing you to stop occasionally and take in the magnificent surrounding views.
Another hour’s drive to the coast from La Bagnaia brings us to the Monte Argentario promontory and the 5-star Argentario Golf & Wellness Resort, which was recently licensed as the PGA National Italy, a designation it holds until 2029. The four floors of the hotel are home to 73 rooms, starting with minimalist contemporary designed units on the first floor and ending with master and business suites (along with a wellness centre and gymnasium) on the fourth floor. All rooms have private balconies and there are adjacent villas for those who might prefer a little more privacy.
The golf course is a joint effort from David Mezzacane and Baldovino Dassù who laid out the holes in 2006. Located next to the Duna Feniglia Nature Reserve, the front nine holes play down towards then back from the Orbetello Lagoon, with the back nine routed around olive groves on higher ground close to the clubhouse.
We end our Italian golf resort feature on the other side of the country, near the small fishing village of Savelletri on the coastline of Puglia, where the 5-star Borgo Egnazi provides the main accommodation option for golfers visiting the San Domenico Golf resort. There are 63 hotel rooms and a spa in the main building and a further 92 casetta offering self-catering facilities, together with four swimming pools and several restaurants and trattoria (including the Michelin-starred Due Camini).
The golf course is a European Golf Design project (Andrew Hagar was the lead architect before he moved to Faldo Design) and it opened for play almost 20 years ago. Original stone walls and olive trees on the former farmland were retained during construction and large waste areas of crushed rock and indigenous vegetation were added to emphasise the local landscape surroundings.
Eight editions of the European Challenge Tour Grand Final were staged here from 2005 to 2012 so it’s a championship-standard layout which is more than capable of testing the professionals.
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