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GOLF GUIDE


FIVE TO PLAY Villaverde Following extensive refurbishment,


Villaverde (villaverderesort.com) hosted its first European Senior Tour events in 2016 and 2017. Improvements include a two-tier driving range and a spaceship-like clubhouse. The layout unfolds over rolling hills outside the industrial town of Udine, with around 7,000 mature trees and lakes as the main hazards. The restaurant showcases delectable local produce like prosciuto crudo, balsamic vinegar, wines and chocolate. Staying at the 17th-century Villa Policreti


(villapolicreti.it), a wine hotel next to the Castel d’Aviano course, is delightfully Italian. The area also offers invigorating golf among forests in the foothills at Tarvisio (golfsenzaconfini.com) and splendid sea views at Trieste (golfclubtrieste.net), the


first course in the area set up by Allied troops at the end of the Second World War. For sophisticates, Italy’s grandest golf


break is Sardinia, the long, narrow island that pulls in toffs with yachts. The three classy courses are as far apart as the island permits. Pevero (peverogolfclub.com), on the northerly Costa Smeralda in chic Puerto Cervo, is the most dramatic. Like its neighbour, Sperone, across the straits in Corsica, it was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr with due appreciation for the jagged coastline. Is Molas (ismolas.it), near the capital, Cagliari, is well integrated into the rolling hinterland around the southern tip, while Robert von Hagge’s Is Arenas (isarenas.it), halfway up the west coast, is a shoreline mix of dunes, forest scrub and natural water features.


San Domenico Golf, Puglia Even by Italian standards, Puglia came late to golf, but this millennium layout near the fishing port of Savelletri is an excellent starting point. Flat terrain has been exhaustively landscaped to create a links- style layout, with lots of sand and water. Sparse olive trees and stone walls do little to stop the prevailing winds off the Adriatic — factoring them into the tactical equation is part of the challenge — while indigenous shrubs in waste bunkers evoke the landscape’s barren nature. A 15th-century fortified watchtower built by the Knights of Malta to repel waves of invaders from the sea has been converted into the boutique Masseria San Domenico Hotel. Green fees from £85-£134. golfpuglia.it


Poggio dei Medici Golf Club, Tuscany The best bolthole in the Florentine catchment area is set in a picture-postcard Tuscan landscape . Think iconic cypress trees, vines and pines growing over the steep Mugello hills. Not super-fit? Order a buggy. The course is well-tuned to its environment, with natural streams, artificial lakes and daunting bunkers to trap the unwary. Named for the power-hungry dynasty that ruled the area with force and cunning between the 14th and 17th centuries, the focus is a large country house, now an elegant 70-room hotel. In a famously foodie region, the restaurant is right up there. Green fees: Resident from £48, non- resident, £62. golfpoggiodeimedici.com


108 ABTA Golf 2018


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