Golfing has grown increasingly popular over the past decade, thanks in no small part to one Tiger Woods, who has proven to be a diligent, exacting, and exciting player both on and off the green. Woods’ celebrity has meant a ton of new golf watchers and enthusiasts, who jump at the chance to work on their handicap, especially while on vacation.
Italy may not be the first place one thinks of for a golfing vacation, but it does have some terrific courses set in stunning locations, many of which are near the tourist routes of Rome, Florence, and Milan. So if you’re a golfer interested in hitting the links in Italy, you’re in luck!
Golf in Italy is still very much a wealthy (wo)man’s sport in Italy, but there are a number of public courses in Italy, too. As this is a travel site, this post is going to focus on some of the most beautiful golf courses in Italy, rather than the most challenging. Bear in mind that it can be difficult to obtain access to many of the private courses in Italy unless you are traveling with a golf vacation agency or are staying in the golf resort’s respective hotel. Ready to tee off?
Location: Costa Smeralda, Sardegna (Emerald Coast, Sardinia)
Architect: Robert Trent Jones
The Pevero Golf Club, commissioned by Aga Khan in 1972, is nestled between the Cala di Volpe and the Pevero Bays of Sardinia. Although it is considered one of RTJ’s finest and most beautiful courses, it is also known to be challenging thanks to its rugged setting and occasional strong Mistral winds.
Area Info: Sardegna Tourism Board – Arzachena
Location: Between Bari and Brindisi, Puglia
Architects: European Golf Design
According to Fulvio Golob, Editor-in Chief of the Italy golfing magazine Il Mondo del Golf and author of Golf Around the World: The Great Game and Its Most Spectacular Courses, this par 72 golf course is “one of the best courses in our country.” It also boasts some amazing lodging options: Borgo Egnazia Resort, Masseria Cimino Guest House, and Masseria San Domenico.
Area Info: Puglia Tourism Board
Location: Castelgandolfo, a village in the area south of Rome known as the Castelli Romani
Architect: Robert Trent Jones
If God were a golfer, she’d probably golf here because the Pope would be her caddy! Castelgandolfo is famed for being the site of the papal summer residence. The club house at the Castelgandolfo Golf Course is inside the former residence of Cardinal Flavio Chigi, nephew of Pope Alexander VII, who purportedly entertained his mistress La Pavona (the Peacock) there.
Area Info: Province of Rome Tourism Board
Location: On Lake Como, one hour north of Milan
Architect: Peter Gannon
One of the most prestigious golf clubs in Europe, kings and celebrities have played the links on this par 69 course. The actual villa of Villa d’Este, located about seven miles from the course, has long been acclaimed as one of the best hotels in the world. It even has a private helipad in case you want to drop in incognito.
Area Info: Lake Como Tourism Board