Although the history of golf in Italy goes back over a century, its beginnings in the region can be traced to Florence, which was an English colony at the time. Till today, the game has never truly taken hold in Italy. Approximately 125 years since the foundation of the first golf club, the country has only around 250 golf courses. In spite of this, Italy has somehow managed to offer some truly magnificent golf courses, whether you want to consider the architecture of the course or the beauty of the landscape. Here are five Italian golf courses that you must visit while you live there.
The Biella Golf Club
The Biella Golf Club, known otherwise as Le Betulle (The Birches), is located near the foot of the Alps, between Turin and the Aosta Valley.The course sits on gentle slopes in the countryside, and was designed by the English architect John Morrison. The Biella is an 18-hole, parkland course, par 73, and is said to be one of Italy’s best golf courses. It makes for a fun and challenging game, and the gently undulating landscape, framed by forest, dotted with streams and ponds, with the Serra moraine hills on one side and the Alps visible behind them, will truly leave you breathless. The Biella is open from April to November.
Venice Golf Club
The Lido di Venezia or Venice Lido is a long sandbar in Venice, the site of only three settlements with a combined population of around 20,000. You probably know it for the Venice Film Festival, which is held at the northern end, but Alberoni in the southern end is home to a technically demanding, gorgeous, and rather unique golf course. To reach the course, you must take a boat ride from Venice city, which adds to the whole experience. The course itself is home to an old Venetian fort, and parts of the fort have been incorporated into the architecture of the course. Venice Golf Club started out as a 9-hole course in 1930, but was expanded to an 18-hole layout in 1951. The course is described as a mixture of parkland and links, with few water hazards after the water inlet at the first tee.
Although there is some dispute over exactly which is Italy’s oldest golf club, the Roma Aquasanta is considered by many to hold this title. The club was founded in 1885, but the golf course itself was founded nearly 20 years later, in 1903. Leaving aside of the specifics of the title, there is no doubt that this is a historic and beautiful course. The course is situated in the middle of picturesque rural Italian countryside, and has spectacular views, including some of ancient Roman ruins. Big hitters may find the course to lack challenge due to its lengths, but playing here still requires some skill, and most players will enjoy what Roma Aquasanta has to offer.
Argentario Golf Club
Situated in the Maremma region of Italy, near Tuscany, the Argentario Golf Club is one of Italy’s newest clubs, but one that has developed a great reputation during its short existence. As is to be expected in this part of the country, the landscape and the views from the golf course are fantastic. The climate is equally delightful, making it possible for the course to remain open throughout the year. The par 71 course was designed by Baldovino Dassu and David Mezzacane in 2006, with olive groves, dramatic plunges, dangerous water hazards, and overall, some particularly challenging stretches. Another remarkable feature of the Argentario course is the fact that it is all run organically, and even has AgriCert certification.
Milano Golf Club
This is another club that goes far back, almost a century, to 1928. Located a mere 20 km outside Milan, the Milano golf course was originally designed by Cecil Blandford and Peter Gannon as an 18-hole course. In 1958, a magnificent new clubhouse was built, and the course was expanded to 27 holes. Not only the entire course, but each individual hole here exists in a space of remarkable peace and seclusion (except, unfortunately, for when the nearby racetrack at Monza is in operation). This is flat, parkland terrain, with sporadic, mostly gentle undulation, surrounded by woodland.