A Golf Guide to Northern Italy
Part I – Playing golf around Lake Garda – a truly delightful experience for every golf player.
“. . . impossbily cute little lake towns with charming waterfronts wherever you go”
The region around Lake Garda has always been a favorite for holidaymakers. But have you ever considered playing golf there? The lovely courses are individually designed and fit well into the chequered landscape of the Lake Garda Region: four 27-hole courses, four 18-hole courses and one 9-hole course. This year, a brand-new, top-modern 36-hole course called Chervò Golf San Vigilio which has just opened has turned the area into a golfer’s paradise.
The golf courses around the lake are extremely varied with at least one course for every type of golfer, whether ambitious semi-pro or novice. Best of all: all courses are well-established golf clubs with a great variety of facilities and not artificially created resorts. Add in Italian culture: great wines, excellent cuisine, friendly people, and you get a perfect vacation.
Eastern Shore Courses
There are two golf courses on the eastern shore of the lake: Ca‘ degli Ulivi, a 27-hole course above Garda, and the Golf Club Paradiso del Garda, an 18-hole course in top condition which meets world class standards. The Ca‘ degli Ulivi has an American PGA-Pro, Daryl Franck, who offers courses to help you gain the Golf Proficiency Certificate as well as courses to improve your handicap in both English and in German.
Golf Club Verona
In the hinterland, in the region of Custoza, the long-established Golf Club Verona is an 18-hole course featuring a demanding layout which has been awarded the green flag which stands for a successful symbiosis between golf and modern environmental protection. From the very beginning the Verona Golf Club has been a supporter of an agronomic, ecocompatible system of management with a low impact on the environment. Thanks to its historical background, its beautiful course, its comfortable clubhouse and, last but not least, the helpfulness and efficiency of its staff as a whole, the Golf Club Verona can easily be considered as one of the most prestigious ones in Europe.
Golf Club Villafranca
Just a few miles from the Golf Club Verona, the visitor will be pleasantly surprised by the Golf Club Villafranca where great importance is attached to sociability so that every day guests can participate in a communal lunch: regardless of where you happen to be on the 18-hole course, all meet together for lunch in the guest room. If you’re playing golf in order to relax, the Golf Club Villafranca is possibly the course you’re looking for. It is located some 25 minutes away from the southern bank of Lake Garda, and its 18 holes are embedded beautifully into mostly flat pastures and fields.
The manicured fairways are surrounded by high trees and thus have the appearance of an oasis of calm. After playing you can enjoy a nice glass of Custozza wine in the old clubhouse (an old, restored 19th century building).
Near to Sirmione, behind the historical battlefield of Solferino, there’s a new highlight: the 36-hole Chervò Golf San Vigilio. In autumn 2009 a 5-star spa hotel will open next to the course. Designed by the German architect Kurt Rossknecht who, after his numerous projects in Europe and South Africa, took on the challenge of constructing his first golf course in Italy, making the best possible use of the natural and historical wealth of the Abbey of San Vigilio.
Having an expanse of 110 hectares to work with, Rossknecht developed a 27-sample hole course with another 9 executive holes, creating a circuit that interprets perfectly the original characteristics of the plot. With a maximum extension of 6775 metres from the “Gold championship” tees and 5070 metres from the “Ladies” tees, with another three intermediate teeing areas, the course is capable of offering a tough challenge for more experienced players, yet a thoroughly enjoyable circuit for beginners. The water hazards, greens well defended by strategically positioned bunkers, the articulated fairways surrounded by extensive rough, as well as the wide range of combinations offered by the 18-hole circuit with three different teeing areas, ensure that the game is always varied. A long, wide Driving Range completes the circuit, with numerous tee-boxes.
Western Shore Courses
The western shore of the lake is characterized by four completely different golf courses. In the northernmost part of the lake you can find Italy’s third-oldest course, the Golf Club Bogliaco. The course lies at an altitude of 100 metres, covered with oleander, laurel, cypresses, olive trees and other plants typical of Mediterranean vegetation. The raised position gives a splendid view over almost the full length of the lake and the mountains which surround it. The decidedly mild climate offers the possibility of playing all year round.
The 9-hole course Il Colombaro offers farmhouse-style vacations, perfect for all those who want to improve their golf technique in a relaxed way. The Golf Club Colombaro is located on a lovely hill above Lake Garda not far from the city of Salò. The 9-holes course is relatively short and ideal for beginners and golf players, who want to exercise on the course without feeling pressured. The course is made up mainly of par 3 holes and is embedded in the beautiful landscape of the plateau.
Proceeding along the west coast of Salò towards the south there’s Gardagolf, the most well-known golf course on Lake Garda. This demanding 27-hole course has twice hosted the Italian Open.
Not far away from Gardagolf lies the Arzaga Golf Club, another 27-hole course. The first 18 holes, Arzaga I, were designed by Jack Nicklaus II, while the 9-hole course, Arzaga II, was designed by Gary Player. Arzaga”s Golf Academy is the first Teaching & Learning Centre of the PGA of Europe in Italy. Embedded into the hilly landscape near the Garda Lake, the Arzaga golf courses have been planned in different ways with the attempt to satisfy the beginner as well as theÂ professional player.
Just under 35 driving minutes from Lake Garda in a westward direction is Lake Iseo, the so-called ‘little brother’ of Lake Garda. Here you will find the 27-hole Golf Club Franciacorta, newly open in spring 2009. The course is so varied that each hole is different.
. . . to be continued . . .