The sea, the sea, the sea ...and still more sea! Surrounded by the Mediterranean that is second to none, in every shade from deep blue to turquoise and emerald green, Sicily and Sardinia also have much to offer in their inlands. Golf could possibly not be the main reason for choosing these multifaceted and fascinating islands. But after a match on one of the more modern courses at Verdura or Donnafugata, or rather on the more traditional ones such as the Pevero or the Is Molas, you will change your mind, no doubt about it. And you will want to return.
Of the two large Italian islands in the Mediterranean, Sardinia was the first to believe in golf. This is also due to a fundamental figure, the Prince Karim Aga Khan who, while never having been a golfer, set into motion the birth of the Costa Smeralda in Sardinia in the 1960s knowing that his project would not be complete without a golf course to attract an elite tourism from all over the world, and not just in the summer. The Pevero Golf Club, inaugurated in 1972, was always a reality unto itself compared to the other clubs in Italy: the most cosmopolitan with the most vips, the most expensive, and cinematically speaking, undoubtedly the most spectacular. Here, you could easily run into Sidney Poitier and John McEnroe, Gianni Versace and Cindy Crawford on the course or in the clubhouse. Today, the celebrities frequenting the club are different, but its beauty and appeal remain intact.
On the tortuous road from Olbia to Porto Cervo you can observe, even kilometers away, the bright green splash of its fairways contrasting with the famous sea which on sunny days ranges from turquoise to emerald green tones. Once you reach the clubhouse made of granite and terracotta, the view never fails to amaze. To the right, the bay of Cala di Volpe, to the left the Pevero golf club and in the middle, one of the masterpieces of Robert Trent Jones, possibly the greatest golf architect of the 20th century. A course that is spectacular yet equally difficult if the northwesterly wind is blowing, not a rare phenomenon on the island. Its beaches are amongst the most beautiful in the Mediterranean, and are to be chosen according to the direction of the wind. The Pevero with its baby powder sand, Petra Manna (known also as Celvia) with its reddish pebbles, and then Capriccioli, Romazzino, Liscia Ruja (known as Long Beach) and the inlets that precede it. They are a sight to behold, just minutes away from the golf club. Otherwise, you can indulge in a visit to the enigmatic Tomb of the Giants in Arzachena, ruins from the Nuragic period which are said to have thaumaturgical properties. Located on the Capichera estate, they offer the perfect opportunity for stopping by the renowned homonymous wine-cellar and tasting its wines.
Traveling south on the eastern coast we find the Golf Club Puntaldia, a 9-hole course in the Due Lune resort where you will be swept away by the scenery - the rocks and sea are right there within reach of your golf club - as well as the inebriating fragrances of salt, myrtle and Mediterranean brush.
Almost on the southernmost tip of the island, 40 kilometers from the splendid city of Cagliari and just steps from the Nora archeological area, the Circolo Golf Is Molas has been a landmark since 1975, when the first 18 holes were inaugurated. With its hotel and residences, it was such an immediate success that in the 2000s, nine more holes were added making it the perfect property for a holiday. Don't miss the rugged coastline running from Santa Margherita di Pula to Chia and beyond. The imposing dunes on the Su Giudeu Beach are simply unforgettable, as are the colonies of pink flamingos which winter in this unspoiled natural oasis between October and May in the pond behind the beach.
Now we come to Sicily, which is brilliantly making up for lost time - in golf terms, that is - thanks to the arrival of truly wonderful courses and resorts. Until 2009, the only course was the Il Pìcciolo Golf Club, 18 holes in the highlands, 65 kilometers from the Catania airport and nestled in the area between the Etna, Nebrodi and the Alcantara River Parks: a fascinating perspective on nature dominated by the imposing volcano. An exceptional setting for a destination that has been further enhanced by a four-star resort with every possible amenity. Other tour operators have recently perceived the potential of the extraordinary land of Sicily, namely the Monasteri Golf Resort, a luxury residence rich in history, 18 kilometers from Siracusa. The golf course is nestled in 86 hectares of greenery amidst cultivations of oranges, lemons, prickly pears, olive and carob trees. Another exquisite destination is the Golf Club Donnafugata, 36 holes - the Parkland, a Gary Player signature course and the Links, designed by Franco Piras - which are a part of a five-star luxury resort. If you seeking a true golfer's paradise not far from Sicily's most beautiful Baroque cities and the Val di Noto, a Unesco World Heritage site: Ragusa Ibla is 27 kilometers away, while Modica is around forty with its special chocolate prepared according to an Aztec recipe. It takes little more than an hour to reach Noto with its noble palaces and churches reconstructed in the 18th century after a devastating earthquake.
45 other holes can be played at Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte luxury hotel. The two championship courses and a 9-hole executive course are perfectly set into the landscape with almost 2 kilometers of coastline belonging to the resort, drenched in Mediterranean sunlight and cooled by the sea breeze. All around you, nothing but nature.