Adventure into Italy…
….Italy presents golf travelers with plentiful opportunities to enjoy their favourite game in a country rich with culture and history and a deep-seated appreciation of the beautiful things in life.
Formerly an elitist sport in Italy, golf has surged ahead over the past 15 years and, according to the European Golf Association, the country today has more than 93,000 registered players and about 280 courses.
The British introduced the sport of golf to France and Italy, and eventually many other European countries, in the late 1800s when tourism to the continent was developing rapidly. Golf courses were established first in the Tuscany region, then the northern lakes districts, and later in Rome and other centres.
One of Italy’s oldest golf club is Rome’s Circolo Roma Acquasanta. Even though this club is ‘only’ 100 years old or so – relative youngster – the backgrounds are intertwined with those of the surrounding settlements and landscapes. It’s a story repeated throughout Italy.
Sometimes a course’s sporting connections are as interesting as the ancient buildings and monuments that surround it. For example, Acquasanta is where Italian golf champion Massimo Mannelli won the Italian Open in 1980 and where he is now employed on staff as a club professional.
Mannelli is one of the prominent names of modern Italian golf – along with two-times Italian Open winner Ugo Grappasonni, 1976 Italian Open winner Baldovino Dassù, Costantino Rocca, Massimo Scarpa, Emanuele Canonica, rising star Matteo Manassero, and the seriously talented Molinari brothers – Edoardo and Franceso Molinari. In the women’s game, five Italian-born players are currently ranked in the world’s top 400: Guilia Sergas, Diana Luna, Veronica Zorzi, Giulia Molinaro and Sophie Sandolo.
PaR nz Golfing Holidays has hosted a number of tours through Italy over the past 4 years, playing courses near Rome, Florence, Milan, Como and – to many travellers’ delight – Venice. Each course and club has its own compelling character, challenges and delightful surprises. The hardest part is choosing a favourite.