Argentario Golf Resort
The golden hour is lighting up the Argentario course as shadows dance across the fairways and the bright yellow orb in the bright blue sky belies a chilly start to the day, but after climbing the steps up to the first tee this dogleg left 360-yard hole looks glorious from this elevation, the sound of my driver impacting on the ball echoes through the trees and I have managed to put it in the perfect position to attack the flag.
Unfortunately, my second shot isnít as well executed as my drive and I have to make a chip and putt par. The second tee is a bit of a trek, but once you arrive at the par 3, its well worth the walk. Another elevated tee not only sees you looking down on the green but also the town of Orbetello and its lagoon as a backdrop.
Elevated tees seem to be an occurring theme on this course as next up is the par 5, 3rd hole, again with that stunning backdrop, the fairly narrow fairway is framed by mounding and fairway bunkers Ė depending on your strategy there is also a stream to carry with your drive.
David Mezzanine and Baldovino Dassu have utilised the typography of the land for maximum impact both challenging your golf game and astatically, two more par 3s arrive at the 5th and 8th with the latter played again from an elevated tee and the 8th being a tight tree lined hole. For those playing competitions itís the 7th and 9th holes that can wreak a card, with the placement of your tee shot being all important with the fairway running above a ravine that sits all the way along the left of the 7th fairway and the green sitting on a little peninsula.
The back nine comes to a close with a beautifully designed par 5, which I actually feel should be the finishing hole, as the green sits just below the deck of the clubhouse. The green is only reachable in two for the longest of hitters at 585-yards and you really need to be going into this amphitheatre of a green with a wedge as the narrow green is also protected on the right by water.
While the front nine is quite open the back nine meanders through olive trees and offers an altogether different challenge as this nine is protected by the Monte Argentario. Back-to-back birdies have seen me start this nine well and after crashing my drive down the 13th I am standing in the fairway and realise the lone oak that sits on the right is the inspiration for the golf clubís logo. Its a tough green that is raised and depending on the flag position can be a three-club difference between front and back pin placements.
The two par 3s on the back nine sandwich the 16th, which is a wonderfully designed golf hole. To be honest I didnít realise how tough this hole could play until I reached the green, I hit driver to this dogleg right fairway and went straight for the pin over the bushes and small tree on the left with a 7-iron leaving myself a birdie putt. As I reach the green not only do I realise how wide and narrow the green is, but it also has a severe step between two tiers and I certainly wouldnít want to be putting up or down that tier if I had miss placed my approach shot.
The course comes to a close with my only criticism, donít get me wrong the dogleg right hole where you have to carry a stream with two large bunkers awaiting should you run out of fairway is a fitting finale, but you also have some very tall trees that need to be carried. Yes you can go left or right of them, which is what I have done, but I do feel it would be a much better hole without them.
I donít hit a bad tee shot, but with those trees being 200-yards from the back tee its certainly not at its apex to carry them and yes if you are playing one of the forward tees then its not too much of a problem, but I do feel they take away from what is a fantastic finishing hole.
Sitting on the terrace above the 9th green enjoying a cool beer in the warm sun, I have to say Argentario golf course is a wonderfully designed golf course surrounded by stunning vistas in a beautiful part of the world and I am gutted that I am only getting to tee it up the once.
It has been a long hot summer in Europe Ė at the time of playing Ė like many courses this has taken its toll on the greens here with some disease, but it certainly didnít effect my enjoyment of the design and I am sure by the time you get here the greenkeepers would have been able to sort the problem out and I am know like me this is a track you will want to play again and again.
Top 3rd hole & The Orbetello Lagoon. Above Aerial view, 9th and 13th greens
The stunning view that awaits you on the 2nd tee
Looking across to the 7th green