Italian golf is full of stylish surprises and Argentario Golf Resort and Spa is one of the countries best kept secrets.
The legendary painter Caravaggio may
have suffered a lonely death on a beach on the
argentario peninsula, but he would have been
truly inspired by the sweeping lines and sense of
visual drama of the golf resort that now dominates
this stunning piece of coastline in western
italy. even the reception area at the five-star
argentario golf resort and Spa is beautiful
enough to make you want to whip your easel out!
one shouldn’t stereotype, but it’s hard to
believe such a beautiful façade would have been
constructed for a golf resort anywhere but in Italy.
argentario’s owner, augusto orsini, created the
resort “to show the region’s progressive side”, and
he’s certainly achieved that. This may be
Tuscany’s first eco-conscious golf resort, but
argentario is more looks-conscious than just
about anything we’ve seen before. The dragonflyshaped
main building, with its massive, curving
lobby area, sets the theme of ultra-elegance, and
this continues throughout the resort, even to the
driving range where half the bays are shielded
from the sun by a piece of architecture that looks
as if it belongs in the Tate gallery.
With style comes luxury. argentario’s 55 junior
suites are spread over three floors, each with individual
decor. Some come with Tabarca stone baths
as a centrepiece, and feature dark woods, warm
colours and stainless steel fixtures. others are
Scandinavian in style, with dark furnishing to contrast
light oak floors and stone bathrooms. larger
units feature spacious terraces that face straight
into the warm Tuscan sun, overlooking the golf
course and the serene lagoon of orbetello.
The dama dama restaurant, meanwhile, provides
an excellent and eclectic menu with suitably
stylish surroundings. and down the white spiral
staircase, guests will find The Bar, which provides
an alternative wining and dining experience where
you can melt into the wonderful rounded sofas.
if all this style and grandeur was plonked into
the middle of, say, a city suburb it would look
ridiculous. But thankfully, argentario resort & Spa
is only close to the small, picturesque town of port
ercole, and the landscape here provides an
impressive canvas for even the most impressive
works of art. The peninsula, located about 120
miles south of Florence and 20 miles south
of grosseto, is verdant and dramatic, connected
with the mainland by three incredibly slim slivers
of land which form two lagoons, the laguna di
ponente on the west side and the laguna di
levante on the east, where dozens of fish and bird
species have found their natural habitat, including
great colonies of pink flamingos.
Close by are the
slopes of mount argentario and the islands of
giglio and giannutri are just a short boat ride away. It’s an ideal place to practise a whole variety
of watersports, and it’s also perfect walking and
mountain biking terrain, extremely popular with
hikers and runners too.
So the big question is, does the golf course have
the style and, more importantly, the substance, to
live up to these surroundings and the standards
set by the hotel? It’s a matter of opinion, of
course, but in our eyes it does.
This is no course for beginners but it can be
enjoyed by a wide variety of ability levels. The
main challenge is finding the smallish greens,
especially when the sea breeze is up. The undulating
terrain is speckled with olive and cork groves.
There are some spectacular views out to sea and
across the two lagoons separating Argentario
from the mainland. The downhill par-three 2nd
hole and the long, relatively tight par-five 3rd have
wonderfully elevated tees and are the highlights
on the opening nine-hole loop. The course then
flattens out slightly and several holes thread their
way through olive groves on their way to wellbunkered,
greens. The tree-clad mountainous terrain
provides a scenic backdrop and small lakes
and water ditches demand equal measures of care
and precision with outbursts of power, especially
from the back tees. But that’s fine, because when
the picture is this pretty not even a rotten score
card can dampen your mood.
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine