Tourists have traditionally flocked to Rome and north of the Italian capital when seeking to explore Italy but there are many more delights on offer for those prepared to venture a little further south – and the same applies to golf.
People looking to play golf generally head to courses near some of the more popular tourist attractions but there are some lovely surprises and great-value golf to be found further afield.
With a mild climate ideal for golf all-year round, the regions of Puglia, Basilicata, Campania and Calabria have a variety of courses on offer to quench the thirst of every golf enthusiast while the areas of Abruzzo and Molise, to the west of Rome, lends a lovely contrast to the hustle and bustle of the Italian capital.
“We realise that many UK golfers aren’t aware of the golf product we have to offer them in Italy and we are determined to spread the word because, if you combine a golfing trip with our food, wine and culture, you have the perfect break,” said Valerio Scoyni, director of ENIT, Italy’s national tourist board.
Puglia – stretching from the spur of the Gargano peninsula to the heel of Italy’s boot – offers a delightful mixture of beautiful golden beaches, pine forests and undulating countryside with olive and almond groves, and some first-class golf courses can be added to that.
Bari Alto, San Domenico and Acaya in Lecce – known as the Florence of the South – are all immensely enjoyable 18-hole layouts while Riva dei Tessali has hosted European Challenge Tour events and will test all facets of your game as you weave through pine trees not dissimilar to Augusta.
The area of Basilicata is often referred to as the region of unspoilt opportunity and it’s easy to see why.
Refreshingly under-explored and built on an agricultural economy, it is a great contrast to Italy’s more traditional tourist hubs and a visit to Metaponto Golf Club should be included on the agenda of any golfer visiting the area.
The course may only have opened in 2004 but the par-72 lay-out belies its young age as it weaves in and around citrus and olive groves.
Campania boasts one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world as the Amalfi Coast runs south from Sorrento and golfers can take time out from their holidays to enjoy the nine-hole courses at Circolo Golf Napoli and Volturno.
And, while the areas of Abruzzo and Molise might be considered a novice in golfing terms, they are also two of the most beautiful, unspoiled parts of Italy and include Pescara Golf & Country Club, the first 18-hole course in Abruzzo.
Scoyni added: “Our golfing market is growing rapidly with many courses getting more actively involved in welcoming the UK golfers and it is good to see them working so well together. As we say in Italy “The Italians have Arrived!”
To enquire about a golf break or for further information on golf in Italy, please phone 020 7399 3550/7 or go to www.italiantouristboard.co.uk