It was good to be back in Italy albeit a smaller group than usual. Our first three nights were spent at the Bogogno Resort and what a splendid resort it is. The courses opened 20 years ago and really are top notch, while the accommodation is 3 years old and complimented by a good friendly clubhouse and the usual excellent Italian food.
Our first days golf was on the Championship Bonara course where we played a best two from three team event to loosen up and get the travelling out of the system. Sue, Val and Jane triumphed with 60 pts. which was probably a fair reflection on travel fatigue and the very playable but at times punishing course.
A twenty minute drive took us to Castelconturbia GC the following day. This Robert Trent Jones Snr. 27 hole layout that winds its way through undulating, tree lined territory is a real treat to play. Richard & Val on 38 pts led the way in the first round of our 4bbb round Robin event. We played the second round over Bogogno’s del Conte course where a splendid 40 pts by Neil and Sue led by three. Not as tight as the Championship layout but every bit as enjoyable, the Bogogno Resort has to rate as one of the best 36 hole complexes I have visited. Yet again Italy has exceeded expectations. Following our 3rd round we boarded our coach to travel to Torino for the final 7 days of the tour.
Our hotel Principi Di Piemonte, was in Torino city centre from where we could explore the streets and Piazzas and enjoy excellent cuisine of another beautiful and vibrant Italian city. Three more consecutive days golf followed, and the courses continued to provide top class wooded parkland golf. Great condition, stunning views, especially from Le Fronde, which must have one of the most picturesque practice ranges in Europe.
The final round of our 4bbb event was played over the Italian Open layout, Royal Park I Roveri GC. Unfortunately overnight thunderstorms had left it in a very wet state, albeit the quality of the layout cannot be denied and the greens still putted beautifully. Richard & Sue won with a commendable 38 points and also took the leading Ladies and Gents overall prize.
Circolo del Golf Di Torino GC, the home of the Molinari brothers was our next port of call. I think this took the groups vote as the pick of the bunch and while I couldn’t argue strongly with their choice, mine would be Bogogno’s Bonara course. The Italian Open and one of the new Rolex series with a prize fund of seven million dollars will be held here in October. Richard, Rosemary and Neil won the best two from three competition on 78.
For the final round before a well earned break we moved away from the flatter parkland courses and up into the lower mountain area and Le Fronde GC. Hilly, very picturesque and following the first two or three holes where I had my doubts, turned out to be a wonderfully enjoyable course. Jane, Rosemary, Neil, and myself triumphed here!
Now it was time to take a break from the fairways and explore a little of the Italian way of life. Over the weekend we took a drive to Alba and on to Cordero di Montezemolo Winery where the tasting included the famous and somewhat delicious Barolo. There followed a tasting lunch that included, yes, a drop more wine! So back to Torino to spend a lazy evening and prepare for the following days Walking Tour of Torino. Our guide, Giovanna, met us at 10.00 a.m. and was excellent, explaining the history of the city with great passion, humour and paced the tour just right. She departed at 13.00 leaving us with a very good recommendation for lunch in one of the many beautiful piazzas and a very pleasant afternoon was spent watching the Italian world go by.
Our final days golf took us to 6000 ft and a course voted 18 times by one organisation the best in Italy. Beautifully laid out on undulating terrain and winding its way through Birch trees from which it takes its name, Biella Le Butule. Like all the courses we played it was presented in great condition, but I felt its lofty position in the ratings is slightly undeserved, mainly as all four par threes measured 190 yards, played the same club, apart from one that is elevated and a club longer! However, this proved no obstacle to Neil who topped the final day individual stableford with a commendable 32pts.
Yet another excellent feast awaited us at the hotel for our final night gala dinner and all agreed Northern Italy should appear again in next years programme – over to Iain and Sabrina!
Hope to see you soon.