Ahead of the opening in October this year, golfers can now enjoy a tantalising glimpse of the new golf course at Sicily’s Verdura Resort, part of Rocco Forte Hotels.
Viewers can plot their way along the spectacular new par-four ninth hole on the East Course, which is part of the major renovation project. With nine of the holes ready for play in August – as world-renowned golf architect Kyle Phillips returned to the site of his original design in Sicily to work his magic again.
The result is a remarkable success, with the new hole offering stunning views across the Mediterranean, while asking some serious questions of accuracy, strategy and distance control with a slight dogleg design.
The tee shot demands careful placement to avoid water on the left and right, while a fairway bunker lurks on the right side. Once that is safely negotiated, an undulating green is guarded by two bunkers, which requires an approach shot with enough loft to clear more water and hold the green – and all with the beach and the lapping waves just a few steps away.
Phillips said: “The drama of the coastline has been improved, so we have made the most of it. That ninth hole is an example of what happened and how we have managed to make a fantastic new hole out of it. We have certainly made the most out of what was available to us and we’re proud of what has been achieved.”
The extensive renovation will see a number of new features and modification of the course route, so some of the hole numbers have been adjusted. But this has allowed for the restoration of previous favourites and also some exciting new additions.
Phillips said: “One of the things that we didn’t have before – but we have now – is a double green, a bit like some of those huge greens at St Andrews. It will be the new eighth hole (par five) and the new 10th hole (par four) which will share a green. It was something I had pondered at one time before. But Sir Rocco is a golfer, we were out there walking one day and talked about doing it and he was excited about it. The green is absolutely massive and could be very interesting if you are putting on the wrong part of it!”
He added: “It is new, fresh, the result is great and I think it will be really well-received. I expected it to turn out well but it’s definitely reached the level we were striving for.”
Guests can take advantage of the Unlimited Golf package until November 21, which includes an unlimited number of rounds, daily full breakfast, and €100 F&B credit per stay. Complimentary additions also include shared buggies, use of the driving range and spa facilities.