FLORENCE

The Cut - - ITALY GOLF TRAVELLER -

Florence lies in the Tus­cany re­gion, famed for its history, art, food and Chi­anti wine.

The city pro­duced the poet Dante (1265-1321) as well as many his­tor­i­cally im­por­tant fig­ures dur­ing the Re­nais­sance pe­riod such as the pain­ter Bot­ti­celli, artist and in­ven­tor Leonardo da Vinci, artist and sculp­tor Michelan­gelo, philoso­pher and po­lit­i­cal the­o­rist Machi­avelli, and as­tronomer and physi­cist Galileo. Florence’s Medici fam­ily spon­sored artists’ projects and many artists rose to promi­nence.

To­day Florence is a mod­ern, vi­brant eco­nomic cen­tre with a charm­ing heart. Its his­toric city cen­tre was de­clared a World Her­itage Site in 1982.

The city also has a claim to fame when it comes to sport. Cir­colo Golf Ugolino, or Ugolino Golf Club, at Via Chi­anti­giana in the Florence dis­trict, evolved from the first golf as­so­ci­a­tion founded in Italy. It was orig­i­nally known as the Florence Golf Club when it opened for play in 1889 on a site in the Cascine area and when it first hosted the na­tional cham­pi­onships in 1905.

The change of site in 1933, how­ever, also led to its name be­ing changed to Ugolino. The Ital­ian Open was last held there in 1983 when Ger­many’s Bern­hard Langer edged out the late Seve Balles­teros in a play­off for the ti­tle.

The Ugolino club has a pres­ti­gious 18-hole course de­signed by English ar­chi­tects Ce­cil Bland­ford and Peter Gan­non. Though short by mod­ern cham­pi­onship stan­dards, it is widely con­sid­ered one of the world’s most sug­ges­tive nat­u­ral golf cour­ses, and one of the most beau­ti­ful. Cy­press and olive trees that are char­ac­ter­is­tic of this re­gion line the course fair­ways, and the well-de­fended small greens are a fea­ture of the com­pact lay­out.

The beau­ti­ful cul­ti­vated Chi­anti hills sur­round the course, mo­ti­vat­ing golfers to ex­plore the nearby cas­tles, vil­lages, farms and vine­yards.

Just north of Florence, in the Mugello re­gion, the Pog­gio dei Medici Golf Club and course is named for one of the most wealthy and pow­er­ful fam­i­lies in Euro­pean history.

Opened in 1992, it was soon recog­nised as the best new golf course in the coun­try by Italy’s Mondo del Golf mag­a­zine, and Conde Nast Trav­eller also rated the club highly.

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