A joint venture development group has retained Jacobson to design an 18-hole golf course in the southernmost Italian province of Calabria located on the “toe of the boot” across the Strait of Messina from the island of Sicily.
Jacobson’s layout will be part of The Jewel of the Sea resort located amid beautiful white sand beaches of the Ionian Sea, unspoiled Mediterranean coastlines, and an area rich with culture and history known as the “Southern Italian Riviera.” The resort is aimed primarily at Northern Europeans, with flights from Dublin, London, Germany, and Holland taking a maximum of two-and-a-half hours.
“The site is spectacular,” said Jacobson. “No matter where you are on the golf course you will have dramatic vistas in the distance – whether it’s the mountains, the sea, the rolling hills, local vineyards, or ancient castles. It’s a very unique setting that we think golfers are going to love.”
Jacobson has designed a course that ranges in length from 4,900 to 6,800 yards with five sets of tees and generous fairways aimed at accommodating golfers of all levels. The resort property starts at sea level and there is 250 feet of elevation change on the 200-acre golf course, providing dramatic sightlines on a number of holes.
Consistent with Jacobson’s design philosophy, his goal will be to make the course enjoyable, unique, visually stunning, and challenging to draw golfers of all levels back to play time and time again. Flexibility in the design will allow the course to play long and tough for single-digit handicap golfers and provide an opportunity to host tournaments for professional and top amateur players.
“It’s not very difficult to design a golf course that’s hard for people to play,” Jacobson said. “The challenge is to design a course that is aesthetically attractive and interesting enough that the average player can enjoy it, but also include elements that challenge top players.”
Bunkering is one of the more important design elements of any golf course design and Jacobson said he plans to use large bunkers inspired by those of Alister MacKenzie at Cypress Point. Fairways will be contoured to collect rather than repel the shots of the average resort golfer and bunkers will be strategically located to challenge better players while not punishing the average golfer. Greens will be relatively generous in size with moderate contouring but with areas where pin placements can be tucked during tournament play.
Jacobson is taking a “green” approach to course maintenance. Native drought-resistant grasses will be used in non-play areas to assist in erosion control and to reduce the amount of irrigation required. The course is scheduled to be completed in 2010.
Jacobson Golf Course Design www.jacobsongolfcoursedesign.com