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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








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