Located near the spa town of Abano Terme and Padova in the Veneto region of Italy, the Golf Club della Montecchia is a tour quality course that can only be described in the best possible terms. From the reception in the clubhouse, the practice area through to the final green, this is a course of the highest quality and condition.
12, Feriole Padova,
Golf Club della Montecchia was the first couse I played in Italy and as such it set a very high benchmark. This is a golf club of outstanding quality in every aspect. World class facilities and stunning surroundings contribute to what is a truly memorable golf experience.
The club house and Ancient Castle date back to the Renaissance, the residence of Count Emo Capodilista a peerage that continues to this day. The course forms part of the family estate that incorporates the World famous vinyards where wine grapes have been grown since the middle ages.
Golf Club della Montecchia was used as part of the European Challenge Tour as recently 2013, the course was recently replanted with Bermuda grass adds to the difficulty and makes it more playable in poor weather conditions; the course was originally constructed in 1988. Despite it’s relative youthfulness, the course designer Tom Macaulay, former president of the British association of golf course designers, has incorporated some ancient woodland into the layout giving the course a more established appearance. The course is made up of three 9 hole courses, the white, red and yellow tees.
The clubhouse overlooks a substantial putting green and excellent driving range, the putting green is slick and gives a fairly good idea of the speed of the greens on the course. You can buy a token for the driving range for the clubhouse, 2 euro 50 cents will buy you 36 balls. Driving range is a mix of uncovered areas and covered bays for inclement weather or to get out of the summer sun.
The first tee is located near the driving range, hidden from view by a long hedge it is a long straight 480 metres off the yellow tees. In fact the first 4 holes are relatively straightforward, the bunkers are quite shallow for those of us used to dealing with deep rolling pitted bunkers of Britain, however, water comes into play from the 5th and adds to the difficulty of the course.
As you move from the white to the red course you notice a distinct increase in the level of difficulty level. The red course is certainly more challenging, with some awkwardly placed greens protected by plenty of water. The 13th is a perfect example, a hole that gets inside your head, choose to lay up and you are faced with a lot of water to traverse that demands an accurately placed shot or decide to go for it and risk landing your ball in the H2o.
For those not used to playing on Bermuda grass your ball merely has to roll into the second cut to be engulfed by this sticky stuff. There is some rough but nothing like the sort of thing we are used to on most British courses; the Bermuda takes care of any wayward shot. You will need to power your way out of this rough, it tugs at your club and turns a recovery shot into a slice within milliseconds. In among the flora you’ll encounter the fauna, native bird species and terrapins sunning themselves by the water hazards.
The greens were superb, incredibly slick and easy to misread. There isn’t as much movement in the greens as you think there is going to be and as my playing partner said on the day, it’s possible to over read them and think the ball will move more than it will.
Golf Club della Montecchia is a long course. We hired buggies on the day and it still took us 5 hours to play the 18 as a four ball; perhaps it was the combination of the warm sunshine and a few too many beers the evening before but we were exhausted by the time we reached the clubhouse. We had the opportunity to play the yellow course, a shorter easier 9 holes, but decided to relax and enjoy the facilities instead.
As an introduction to golf in Italy Montecchia is a superb course. long hard driving tees, tricky water and fast greens are more than anyone could hope for. Golf club della Montecchia is a wonderful experience, it is quite simply a beautiful and brilliant course.