Thomas Pieters: What’s In The Bag?
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We’ve picked out the best golf resorts in the Italian region of Tuscany, where glorious countryside and fabulous food and wine combine with world-class golf courses and some of the most historic and luxurious hotels you’ll ever stay in.
Each resort is within easy reach of Florence, one of the world’s most visited cities and an historic centre of art and culture.
Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco is a working wine estate and offers wine tasting tours. There are 42 good-sized suites, ranging from junior to garden, which are part of a restored farm hamlet at the centre of the estate. There’s also 11 large villas, each one a restored farmhouse, dotted around the grounds with heated pools, terraces, pergolas and gardens. All options are stylishly modern Tuscan.
This historic, luxurious resort features two outstanding restaurants, an organic kitchen garden and a cooking school. Ristorante Campo Del Drago serves authentic Tuscan cuisine, Osteria La Canonica offers a relaxing trattoria-style experience, the CDBar serves cocktails, and the Pool Bar offers alfresco dining. The resident spa has a sauna, steam bath, relaxation area and lush private gardens, and there’s a large outdoor heated pool with incredible views.
The Club Castiglion del Bosco
The golf course at Club Castiglion del Bosco was designed by 1973 Open champion Tom Weiskopf. The layout reflects the surrounding region known as Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of rolling hills, cypress trees, vineyards and olive groves.
Part of one of the oldest and best preserved estates in Italy, it’s a challenging parkland-style course that’s highly manicured with natural water features, generous fairways and glorious views. The rustic clubhouse has a bar, restaurant and pro shop. Though private, it’s accessible to guests staying at the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco as a one-time-only membership discovery experience.
This is a stunning five-star retreat with excellent onsite facilities and world-class service for the perfect golf break. It’s all about well-being, with natural 37°C spring water from Mount Saturnia rising up in a thermal pool in the middle of the resort. There’s an impressive Roman bath, sauna and steam bath, while the hot spring water also feeds into swimming pools, waterfalls, Jacuzzi and waterways.
There’s over 100 tastefully decorated rooms from junior to grand suites, and the award winning spa includes private cabins, massages and treatments with the natural sulphurous spring water at its heart. There’s two fabulous restaurants serving Tuscan cuisine using local ingredients, a bar and a bistro set by the thermal pool at the resort’s centre. For a luxury golf break, this is hard to beat.
Terme di Saturnia Golf
Terme di Saturnia Golf is nestled in the beautiful Tuscan area known as Maremma. The golf course is an ecologically friendly design laid respectfully across the undulating countryside with natural water features and the local wildlife left undisturbed. Even the constructed lakes have attracted new species of birds to the area.
Despite large bunkering, lakes and mounds surrounding several greens, the generous fairways make it extremely playable and fun for golfers of all levels. Aesthetically it’s a beautiful golf course.
This five-star luxury resort includes 73 rooms and five villas with views over the golf course, Monte Argentario’s landscape, the Meditteranean and Orbetello Lagoon. Each accommodation option features a panoramic terrace and all modern amenities.
The organic wellness centre specialises in nutrition and naturopathy and will pamper you to the fullest, while the spa includes a heated indoor pool, a saline water whirlpool, a gym and offers treatments and massages. There’s also an outdoor pool and two tennis courts. The superb Dama Dama Restaurant serves Tuscan staples, and it has a terrace overlooking the local hills.
Argentario Golf Resort
Argentario Golf Resort & Spa boasts a golf course which in 2019 became the PGA National Golf Course Italy, the only PGA licensed golf facility in Italy. It’s located in a protected natural area close to two nature reserves, while the nearby hills and Orbetello Lagoon create an all-year microclimate perfect for playing golf.
This is a challenging course with tight greens and water hazards, but the fairways surrounded by Mediterranean forests are forgiving. It’s an extremely varied test and is one of the most beautiful courses you can play, even for this part of the world. The clubhouse serves drinks, breakfast and light lunches.
Part of a former medieval village, this 1,100-hectare resort is spread across two hamlets, Borgo Bagnaia and Borgo Filetta, set 1km apart and connected by a shuttle. Split between the two, the resort’s 101 rooms and suites, ranging from standard guests to superior queens, feature hand-picked authentic antiques and are decorated in an authentic Tuscan style, complemented with modern amenities.
You can enjoy traditional dining at Osteria Antica Posta Filetta and more formal dining at La Voliera Restaurant, dedicated to authentic Tuscan recipes. The Pool Bar & Grill serves poolside, and you can sup cocktails at Bar La Voliera. The resort’s Buddha Spa has an outdoor thermal pool with waterfalls and an indoor pool with whirlpool, as well as a gym, sauna, steam room and a range of treatment rooms.
Royal Golf La Bagnaia
Royal Golf La Bagnaia is home to a fantastic 18-hole golf course designed by legendary architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. It’s only about 20 minutes from the historic ancient city of Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is well worth a visit, too. The course is part of La Bagnaia Golf & Spa Resort Siena, Curio Collection by Hilton, (see below).
The course itself plays like an inland links course and has plenty of water hazards and bunkers. The views of the rolling landscape will last long in the memory, particularly from the clubhouse. There’s also a putting green, driving range, pro shop, bar, restaurant and massage tables.
Il Castelfalfi offers two luxurious accommodation options, the five-star Il Castelfalfi and the four-star La Tabaccaia Hotel. Either one will provide you with a fantastic golf break. Il Castelfalfi is made up of 120 rooms, classic, deluxe, executive and suite, all which have a classic Tuscan feel, but with modern amenities. On the estate, there are also villas to rent in the form of traditional Tuscan stone farmhouse-style buildings.
Guests get the choice of three restaurants and two bars, serving local wines, cocktails, Tuscan cuisine and handmade pasta dishes using the finest ingredients, with al fresco terraces and amazing views. The spa has four massage rooms, relaxation and tea area, a bio sauna, indoor swimming pool and two cabins for a deluxe range of treatments.
La Tabaccaia has 31 rooms, from standard to large suites, which are smartly decorated and full of Tuscan charm. Guests can enjoy a continental breakfast in the morning, seasonal outdoor swimming pools, and a relaxing cafe with breathtaking views. The property is 1.9 miles from the Castelfalfi Golf Club.
Castelfalfi Golf Club
This brilliant club comprises 27 holes of superb golf set in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. The 18-hole Mountain Course is a championship-level course. It’s challenging due to its steep slopes and generous water hazards with the fairways bordered by groves and olive trees. Appealing to more experienced players, its layout requires accuracy and strategy, all set in a stunning landscape with panoramic views over the Castle of Castelfalfi.
The 9-hole Lake Course is shorter and more open, without such an emphasis on accuracy. It’s full of charm, fun to play and appeals to golfers of all levels. The layout follows the gentle undulations of the Tuscan hills and like its bigger sibling, it’s an absolute feast for the eyes.
Around 40km north-east from Castelfalfi Golf Club, Poggio Dei Medici Golf Club is an 18-hole, par-72 parkland layout set in stunning rolling countryside. The greens here are smooth enough for Tour professionals and the fairways are in immaculate condition. It has hosted the Italian Ladies Open and Challenge Tour events, but it’s a test that will appeal to golfers of all levels with five tee boxes.
If you want to play this golf course, Il Castelfalfi and La Tabaccaia hotels are within easy reach, but there’s also an excellent four-star hotel here, the Unahotels Poggio dei Medici Toscana.