Two people, at least, are to be thanked for the existence and the beauty of Le Pavoniere Golf & Country Club - together with the promoters who sponsored the course. The first one is no less than Lorenzo the Magnificent, who, in the second half of the fifteenth century, ordered the creation of the Cascine Medicee Park, in the countryside between Florence and Prato; much more recently, indeed, the merit goes to Arnold Palmer, the champion who designed the 18 holes, opened to the public in 1995, and who was able to see in those plots of land the perfect combination of the technical linearity of the course and the surrounding rural landscape. The golf course started with few trees and a compelling succession of bumps and ponds and was later enhanced by 1.800 new plant species belonging to the autochthonous flora and embellished with flowerbeds around the water hazards, the greens and the tees, to increase the feeling of being in a real natural oasis. The clubhouse is the result of wise restoration work on the nineteenth century farmhouse of San Leopoldo, that once belonged to Leopoldo dei Medici. The most spectacular hole is the 6th, a 348m par 4, where the fairway is an island connected to the mainland by little bridges: after an accurate driver shot, it still is extremely hard to approach the green, well guarded by the water and by a big bunker.
Point of view of PGA Pro Giorgio Merletti:
Le Pavoniere is a typical American golf course designed in the context of the Tuscany countryside. It offers wonderful variety. Water hazards, large bunkers and extensive greens are not missing, as in the best american tradition. In addition to the previously mentioned Hole 6, I would add Hole 18. It is a wonderful Par 4, very long (416 meters from the furthest tees), with a lake there in front of you. If you are not very powerful, play it in 3 shots. A little caution in this case will be helpful. If you are in nearby Prato or even Florence, don't miss the opportunity to play on this course which surely deserves a visit.