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Take a trip to the Italian region of Puglia and play at golf courses set in beautiful countryside dotted with historic whitewashed towns, and stay at deluxe hotels while enjoying wonderful food and wine. Here’s our quick tour.
Situated on the south-easterly heel of Italy’s ‘boot’, Puglia boasts hundreds of miles of Mediterranean coastline and a gorgeous year-round climate. The capital Bari is a vibrant port and university town with a buzzing restaurant and bar scene, while the city of Lecce is a true taste of Italy and known as the ‘Florence of the South’ for its baroque architecture.
The small town of Alberobello is a must-visit on your trip, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the famous ‘trulli’ stone huts with their distinctive conical roofs. Other top attractions include Castel del Monte, an octagonal castle built in the 1240s and the stunning Basilica San Nicola. The main international airports are Bari Airport and Brindisi Airport.
The two most well known golf courses in the region are San Domenico Golf and Acaya Golf Club, both offering wonderful options for a golf break with superb 18-hole layouts and great off-course facilities.
Nestled between the slopes of the Itria valley and the tourist port of Savelletri, San Domenico Golf is a superb championship 18-hole layout with great practice facilities including a practice range, several putting greens and a short game area. Olive trees adorn the landscape here as well as views of the Adriatic Sea from every green, tee and fairway which brings in pleasant breezes. It’s links-like in nature and winds through gentle slopes with glimpses of the ancient city of Egnathia.
Borgo Egnazia is a fantastic base for your golf trip, overlooking San Domenico golf course in the scenic town of Savelletri. Set in 40 acres, this five-star retreat has been built to resemble a traditional Italian village, with a wonderful spa, two private beaches, four pools and a superb array of restaurants including the Michelin-starred Due Camini. Composed of three interconnecting enclaves called, La Corte, Il Borgo and Le Ville, the resort provides accommodation in rooms, apartments and villas.
Masseria San Domenico, also close to the golf course, is a stunning boutique-style five-star luxury hotel set in a converted 15th century fortified farmhouse. White stone buildings housing wonderful rooms are interconnected by a series of arched passageways and spacious, open piazzas. There’s a private beach, an outdoor pool and a fully equipped spa, wellness and thalassotherapy centre.
Acaya Golf Club & Resort is a great 4-star option for those looking to stay and play on-site, close to the Cesine Nature Reserve and just five minutes from the Salento seaside. Set in Acaya in the heart of Salento, there’s 97 modern, light and spacious rooms and suites and extensive on-site facilities including the 18-hole golf course, two outdoor swimming pools, a range of restaurants and bars serving wonderful local food and wine, and a state-of-the-art spa.
The heathland-like golf course here combines the gorgeous landscape with varied and challenging holes, with smart bunkering and an array of water hazards on the back nine. The slick Bermuda fairways and greens are superbly maintained, and there’s a spectacular waterfall running along the left hand side of the 11th as well as plenty of panoramic views over the local countryside and Adriatic.
Golf Club Riva Dei Tessali is a charming and cosy four-star resort set peacefully among pine trees and offers an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, a private beach and three restaurants, just 8 km from Castellaneta Marina. It’s got a very relaxed, home-style and familial ambience rather than a typical hotel style resort feel. The golf course is close to the Ionian sea in a beautiful pine wood and is full of Mediterranean charm.
Barialto Golf Club is close to the region’s capital city of Bari and is a feast for the eyes. The natural surroundings of this 18-hole course are beautiful, and there’s a huge lily covered lake, an ancient olive grove and an abundance of umbrella pines and palm trees.