Italy: Blossoming Golf Destination

Villa d’Este is scenic and challenging and one of Italy’s many elite golf options.

Toward the end of Tiger Woods’ post-Masters press conference an Italian journalist asked the freshly jacketed champion about the 2022 Ryder Cup, which will be held for the first time in Italy.

Woods brushed off the query. The event is three years away. His answer was unimportant, anyway. The question – and the performance over the last year by Woods’ final round playing partner Francesco Molinari – are examples that golf is thriving these days in Italy, a country with 250 courses and 90,000 regular golfers.

Earlier in the week, before he squandered the 54-hole lead, Molinari was asked about golf’s growth in his homeland and to measure the impact of his impressive victory last summer in The 147th Open at Carnoustie.

PerryGolf’s 2020 British Isles Golf Cruise includes final round of The 149th Open.

“I think fortunately, golf is starting to be, you know, very different now from where it was when I was growing up, and dreaming of just purely being here one time and playing in one major, would have already been a dream coming true,” Molinari said. “So I think now, the situation is a lot better. Obviously I’m helping a little bit with getting golf in the news and hopefully, you know, kids will see more and more about me and about golf in general and pick up the game, and there’s going to be more Italians in the future.”

Molinari, No. 7 in the world golf rankings, wasn’t the only Italian golfer who competed in Augusta in April, either. Four ladies participated in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, giving another indicator of the game’s health in Italy.

With its Old World charm, beauty, culture and gastronomic delights, Italy has forever been a prime destination for travelers. Now, excellent golf options make it an even more attractive option.

PerryGolf’s Best of Italy Escorted Golf Vacation is a 12-night tour from Aug. 30th to Sept. 11th in 2020 delivering five rounds of golf, including a round at Marco Simone, site of the aforementioned Ryder Cup in September 2020. Located 10 miles from the center of Rome, the club was named for the castle on the property which was built during the Middle Ages.

Jim Fazio and David Mezzacane designed the original golf course in 1989 and Marco Simone won the bid for the Ryder Cup in 2015, selected over courses in Austria, Germany and Spain.

The 24 competitors in the 2022 Ryder Cup matches – and the guests on PerryGolf’s 2020 Tour – will tackle a completely redesigned golf course. Tom Fazio II (son of Jim Fazio) is working with European Golf Design to build holes that will test the best in the game. The renovation also creates a more efficient infrastructure, allowing the necessary room for hospitality suites and grandstands.

Golfers will continue to enjoy views of St. Peter’s Dome on a property enhanced with new ponds, lakes and an irrigation system for the golf course.

“We are truly honored and fully committed to host an ‘epic’ Ryder Cup,” Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna, President of Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, told RyderCup.com. “We are excited to share our passion and to open our doors to every player, amateur and fan who wishes to be part of the spectacular transformation that is taking place. We are working to build a strong legacy for the next generation of golfers.”

Marco Simone will carve its place in the Ryder Cup’s storied history soon enough. It’s the centerpiece of any golfing journey to Italy but hardly alone in a discussion of the nation’s elite golf courses.

Firenze Ugolino opened in 1934. The layout, designed by U.K natives Cecil Blandford and Peter Gannon, ripples through the Chianti hills, accentuating the landscape of olive trees and indigenous vines.

On May 1st, 1983 the late, great Seve Ballesteros chipped in for eagle on the 18th hole in the final round of the Italian Open to force a sudden-death playoff with Bernhard Langer and Ken Brown, which he won.

Villa d’ Este, located near the beautiful Lake Montorfano was also designed by Gannon. The course sits roughly 1,200 feet above sea level and meanders through a variety of native woodland areas. A quaint par-69, this well-manicured course attracts the nation’s premier golfers annually.

PerryGolf has delivered seamless customized trips to the world’s premier international golf destinations since 1984. We are uniquely qualified to arrange every aspect of your vacation.

Countdown to the Ryder Cup accelerates as team rosters take form

Expect to see the team of Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth often during the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National. They won five of a possible seven points as partners in 2014 and 2016.

We’re three weeks away from the Ryder Cup, the biennial competition between the United States and Europe. The U.S. leads the all-time series 26-13 and holds the Cup after winning in convincing fashion at Hazeltine in 2016.

We’re counting down the days until the opening tee shot, no doubt.

Recent history, however, favors Europe, which has won the last five matches held on its home soil. The U.S. last won in Europe, in 1993, at The Belfry when Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth were less than a year old.

Le Golf National is the host course for the matches, which head to France for the first time.

PerryGolf is thrilled to offer a fully managed Escorted Tour to Southwest France in September, 2019. Guests will enjoy five rounds and four wine tastings during this 11-Night journey through the Bordeaux and Biarritz regions. While France might not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a golf trip, the presence of this year’s Ryder Cup proves the country is rapidly growing in appeal and opportunity. Medoc Les Chateaux is a terrific links inspired design offered on this Escorted Tour while Saint Emilion is a recent addition, yet another polished gem from the creative genius of Tom Doak (Barnbougle Dunes, Cape Kidnappers).

Indulge in the rich gastronomy and exquisite wines of Bordeaux, enjoy the refined sophistication of elegant Biarritz, tour Saint Jean de Luz, a noteworthy tourist destination since the early 19th century.

As it pertains to the upcoming Ryder Cup matches, he 12-man roster for each team is rounding into shape. Both teams are stacked. Anticipation always surges in the days prior to the Ryder Cup, still expert analysts feel these could be some of the best matches ever. Earlier this week, NBC Sports golf analyst Mark Rolfing told Sirius XM PGA Tour radio hosts Brian Katrek and John Maginnes that the 2016 Ryder Cup was the greatest sporting event he’s ever covered or attended, including several Super Bowls and other major spectacles around the globe. No one would be surprised if these evenly matched teams in 2018 surpass that lofty mark.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk made three of his four picks Tuesday afternoon and there were no surprises as he selected Ryder Cup rookie Bryson DeChambeau, winner of consecutive FedEx Cup Playoffs events, and wily veterans Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. The American legends have combined to appear in 18 Ryder Cups, participating in 78 matches.

Team Europe captain Thomas Bjorn also added experience with his four selections on Wednesday. He selected Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey – who bring a wealth of winning memories in their combined 19 appearances.

Poulter has played well over the last year and has a phenomenal Ryder Cup record, including victories in 12 of 18 matches and a perfect singles record. Garcia has struggled this season but is on the record calling the Ryder Cup his favorite event. He’s claimed 22 points in eight appearances during which he’s been on the winning side five times.

Furyk has one final selection to make after this week’s BMW Championship at Aronimink, outside Philadelphia. While the soon-to-be 29-year-old bomber Tony Finau appears to be the leading candidate, Kevin Kisner, Xander Schauffele or Brandt Snedeker could play their way into consideration with a victory this weekend. 

Of course, the Ryder Cup has been contested throughout Europe over the last decade as the European Tour has shown the wisdom and foresight to expose an array of nations to the exciting matches in an effort to enhance interest and grow the game.

PerryGolf can take you and your favorite golfing partners to walk the same fairways and greens where matches have been decided, cups won and champagne-soaked celebrations spilled deep into the night.

Our 2019 British Isles Golf Cruise includes attendance to the final round of The 148th Open at Royal Portrush, and also a round at the K Club Palmer Course, site of Team Europe’s Ryder Cup victory in 2006. The Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course, which played host to Europe’s convincing 16.5 to 11.5 romp in 2014 is a popular selection on any of our Custom Tours to Scotland.

The dramatic finish at Valderrama was the ideal setting for the 1997 Ryder Cup when the late Seve Ballesteros captained Team Europe to victory over an American squad that included a rookie named Tiger Woods. Perhaps no golfer is more synonymous with the Ryder Cup than the fiery Spaniard. His presence, when the team expanded to include all of continental Europe in the late 1970s, helped elevate the matches to the worldwide status they enjoy today. Ballesteros and fellow countryman Jose Maria Olazabal, known as the Spanish Armada, breezed to an 11-2 record in their fourball and foursomes matches. Valderrama is a staple on PerryGolf’s many Cruises to the region, including the 13-Night Spain, Portugal & France Golf Cruise in late May / early June 2020.   

Enjoy these 5 must-see attractions in Rome

Opened in 80 AD, the Colosseum had a capacity of 80,000 spectators, making it the largest amphitheatre ever built. The ruins still stand and are a certain stop on any tour of Rome.

 

Rome is a city beyond compare, combining a blend of romance, culture, history and beauty to create an ideal destination for any traveler possessing a keen sense of adventure and intellectual curiosity about previous eras.

Millions of guests from around the globe visit Italy’s capital each year, mingling with the city’s 2.8 million residents amid relics and structures that date back two thousand years. While many visitors indulge in exquisite dining and fine wines in the evening, they perhaps walk the avenues the next day to observe the architecture, parks, gardens, monuments and museums, burning calories while enjoying the scenery.

PerryGolf offers a 14 night Escorted Tour to Italy in late August / early September which wraps up in Rome where guests are pampered at the 5-star Hotel Bernini Bristol, a historical palace built in the late 1800s that offers an abundance of modern amenities and an ideal location in the heart of the city in the shadow of Piazza Barberini.

The golf is fantastic and diverse in Italy as guests on a PerryGolf Escorted Tour enjoy six rounds, including one at Marco Simone, located 10 miles from the center of Rome and sharing the grounds of an 11th century castle. Marco Simone is the site of the 2022 Ryder Cup and from several holes offers a view of St. Peter’s Dome, which was designed by Michelangelo. The brilliant Italian fashion designer Laura Biagiotti (“The Queen of Cashmere”) and future husband Gianni Cigna bought the property in the late 1970s and commissioned American architect Jim Fazio in 1989 to carve out the outstanding 27-hole golf course.

PerryGolf also offers an array of Custom Tours to fit your schedule and desires as well, for groups large and small. Whatever your preferred route, plan or party size, be sure to visit these five places on your visit to Rome.

The Colosseum

If your travels to Rome allowed you only one sight to see, this would surely be it. Then again, you’ll hardly face that problem on a PerryGolf Escorted Tour as there is ample time allotted for each sight to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. And this architectural wonder deserves to be savored and explored.

Also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, The Colosseum was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD and his son, Titus, opened it with a bang eight years later, presenting 100 consecutive days of games – which included gladiators battling and wild animals fighting. After four centuries, the arena fell into neglect and only one-third of the original structure remains today. Nearly four million visitors tour the grounds each year.

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Pantheon

Perhaps Michelangelo himself best described this former temple the first time he gazed upon it, saying it looked more like the work of angels than the work of humans. The best preserved Roman Monument, it was built in 120 AD by Emperor Hadrian, who collaborated with Apollodorus of Damascus on its design. The building became a church in the 7th century and features the world’s largest unsupported dome, measuring 142 feet in diameter – nearly 50 feet larger than than the dome on the U.S. Capitol. Supporting the building are 16 massive Corinthian columns weighing 60 tons apiece. During construction each column traveled down the Nile River during spring flooding and onward across the Mediterranean Sea before arriving in the heart of Rome.

Vatican City

Located inside the city of Rome is the world’s smallest fully independent city-state which serves as headquarters to the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican City gained its current status on the 11th of February, 1929,  signed into existence by the Italian leader Benito Mussolini. St. Peter’s Basilica, built between 1477 and 1480, is a featured building while inside the Vatican Palace the Sistine Chapel features the renaissance art of Michelangelo, including his remarkable paintings on the ceiling, which have been fully restored in recent years and are vibrant and clear today. A central point to the ceiling art is nine scenes from the Book of Genesis, including The Creation of Adam, a work without compare in the High Renaissance world. The majority of Vatican City’s 600 residents live abroad, although it remains, of course, the residence of Pope Francis.

Roman Forum

The center of ancient Rome, the Forum ruins give a glimpse of the temples, basilicas and vibrant public spaces that beginning in the 7th century served as host to religious and secular events. Rectangular in shape, it was once the home to battles between gladiators, general elections, public speeches, criminal trials and also functioned as the centerpiece of Roman commerce. It developed and transformed over many centuries under different rulers and was eventually replaced by nearby buildings constructed under the rule of Julius Caesar among others. Augustus Caesar gave the Forum its final configuration.

Trevi Fountain

As legend has it, toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain and ensure your return to Rome. Millions of liras and euros have no doubt plummeted to the fountain floor in this pursuit. Dating to the earliest Roman times, the fountain served as a display of an ancient Roman aqueduct. Built mostly of travertine stone, the Trevi Fountain is 85 feet high and spills 2.8 million cubic feet of water daily. The theme of the fountain is the ‘taming of the power of water.’ The muscular, majestic form of Neptune (16 feet in height) is the primary figure among the intricate carvings, which include his two steeds and their tritons as well as Abundance, holding the horn of plenty and Health, drinking from a serpent filled cup. Pope Nicholas V ordered a restoration in 1453 and the fountain has enhanced its reputation as Italy’s most beautiful in the centuries since.

 

Top 5 Golf Courses to Play In The Mediterranean

Valderrama has played host to many European Tour events and the 1997 Ryder Cup. It’s consistently rated as the No. 1 course in Continental Europe.

 

Warm breezes, the fresh aroma of eucalyptus and beautiful scenery make the Mediterranean a desirable destination for golfers any day of the year. PerryGolf offers a variety of Cruises and Custom Tours to the region, enabling travelers to enjoy the arts, architecture and gastronomic delights so readily available. These five golf courses are certain to challenge and enchant all golfers.

Valderrama

Considered the top course in Continental Europe, the demanding layout at Valderrama has been the home for many European Tour events and the 1997 Ryder Cup, which Europe won in thrilling fashion, 14.5-13.5 over the United States. It’s the only time the matches have been held in Spain and is remembered best for the fiery leadership of captain Seve Ballesteros, the nation’s finest golfer. Another native son, Sergio Garcia, claimed the 2011 Andalucia Masters title at Valderrama.

Located in the southern tip of Spain, near Gibraltar, Valderrama enjoys a rich history, opening in 1974 as Las Aves, and taking its current name in 1985. Three-time Open Champion Henry Cotton served as the first golf professional at Valderrama. Tiger Woods played in his first Ryder Cup here in ’97 and was No. 1 in the world when he won the 1999 WGC-American Golf Express tournament on the venerable layout two years later, defeating Miguel Angel Jimenez in a sudden-death playoff.

The signature hole on the Robert Trent Jones Sr. design is the 17th, a 540-yard, par-5 featuring a steep-banked pond that defends the green. Many matches were settled in this dramatic amphitheater during the ’97 Ryder Cup as the world’s best golfers accepted the risk and attempted to reach the green in two shots. The course has earned the reputation for immaculate conditioning year-round.

 

Alcanada 

Robert Trent Jones Jr., a legendary architect as well, designed Alcanada, which opened in 2003. This sparkling gem on the Mediterranean Island of Mallorca winds through pine and olive groves, measuring more than 7,000 yards from the championship tees and delivering sparkling views of the nearby island Alcanada and its iconic lighthouse.

In general, internet reviews describe Alcanada as a tough but fair golf course. Perhaps the stunning beauty of the sea offsets the challenge. Regardless, a round on this hidden gem is certain to be memorable.

 

Oitavos Dunes

Down in the southwest corner of Portugal, 30 miles west of Lisbon along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean lies a breathtaking golf course designed by renowned American architect Arthur Hills. Oitavos Dunes, which opened in 2001, was ranked No. 55 in Golf Magazine’s 2017 World Top 100.

Hills’ natural links rolls and flows through the sand dunes, umbrella pines and coastal transition areas. The course measures 7,010 yards from the tips as a par-71.

“We disturbed little of the environment as we routed the golf course in harmony with a piece of property sculpted by nature,” the architect said.

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Finca Cortesin

How pure is Finca Cortesin?

So pure it wrested the Volvo World Match Play away from Wentworth in England after a 45-year run, and played host three times (2009, 2011, 2012) in four years.

Ross Fisher, Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts earned titles in the prestigious event which routinely includes many of the world’s top-ranked golfers. Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood praised the immaculate condition of the course, which is located in southern Spain. Garcia even compared the greens to Augusta National’s, which he conquered in dramatic fashion last April.

Cabell Robinson’s design is not for the weary or weak-spirited. The beast measures nearly 7,500 yards from the back tees and features 102 bunkers!

 

Oceanico Faldo

In the Central Algarve region of Portugal, the six-time major champion Nick Faldo designed a fair, yet demanding par-72, that registers more than 7,100 yards and features a slope of 138 from the championship tees.

“I like my courses to be challenging to whoever plays them,” said Faldo, who has more than 50 golf course projects completed or in progress around the world. “There might be easy holes in some places, but they are a challenge because you have to think about them, and that is what I am after. The best compliment you can get in the design business is when players come off the course and say ‘wow, that was a challenge.'”

The resort also features a floodlit par-3 course – just in case there’s not enough daylight to get your fill of golf.

 

 

2022 Ryder Cup in Italy | Marco Simone Golf & Country Club

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club | 2022 Ryder Cup
Marco Simone Golf & Country Club | 2022 Ryder Cup

It’s official. Italy will host Ryder Cup 2022 at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.

Established in 1989 by the fashion designer Laura Biagiotti, Marco Simone Golf & Country Club was created to be suitable not only for relaxed play but also for international championships. Read more “2022 Ryder Cup in Italy | Marco Simone Golf & Country Club”