In harmony with the course’s traditional Roman countryside setting, olive groves line the undulating fairways at Castelgandolfo Golf Club near Rome.
Built in 1987, Castelgandolfo is considered to be one of Robert Trent Jones’ finest designs in Europe. The 18-hole course is technically challenging for golfers of all levels, including championship players such as those competing in the 2014 Italian International Ladies Strokeplay Championship.
Oak trees, pines, cypress, rose gardens and vineyards enhance the course’s natural beauty, and a series of ponds make several holes a little tricky to negotiate.
Any golfers with an interest in engineering will marvel that the ducts and trenches used by hydraulic engineers in imperial Roman times to drain the ancient lake are still in use today. The exposed land, once covered by an ancient volcanic crater lake, is now a rich, fertile area dense with market gardens supplying metropolitan Rome’s 4.3 million inhabitants.
One of the delightful aspects of this course is the 17th century mansion converted for use as a clubhouse. It perches on the crater lip and provides the club’s 500 members, and visitors, with a panoramic view of the course.
The house was built for Flavio Chigi, Cardinal in Sassia, the nephew of Pope Alexander VII. The nearby town of Castel Gandolfi still has links to the Vatican, being where the traditional papal summer residence is situated.
The nearby Circolo del Golf di Roma Acquasanta, or