“…Salve, o venusta Sirmio, atque ero gaude: gaudete vosque, o Lydiae lacus undae: ridete, quicquid est domi cachinnorum!”
(“… Hello, dear Sirmione, rejoice of your lord; and rejoice you, Lydian waves of the lake: all of you echo and laugh of the house!” – Caio Valerio Catullo)
There is a unique correlation between the existence of some lake basins and the beauty of golf courses built in the Morainic Amphitheatre that enclose them. This connection is particularly valid for the eastern Lombardy which holds the whole Iseo Lake and a big part of Garda Lake, shared with the nearby Veneto and Trentino regions.
After this knowledge, even the random visitor quickly reaches a second consideration: the whole area around these two giants of freshwater is wonderful. And it is rich and neat, giving a sense of relaxing and pleasure, with an approach of calmness and class. So, few of chaos, much of beauty. And what a taste there is around those lakesides!
Genuine marvel, gifted by Mother Nature but wisely cultivated by man, who was not unprepared when golf has arrived in this land. “The most beautiful sport in the world” found between Garda and Iseo the perfect place to depositing some of its jewels. Attractive places for enthusiasts from everywhere.
A person who thought about this beauty was the forward-looking hotelier who decided to build in 1912 in Bogliaco a new incitement for foreign tourists to reach Garda Lake. This third club to be opened in Italy offered nine new holes until the early 2000s; today is an eighteen holes course set in the first slopes of Alto Garda. With ideal weather both in summer and winter, Bogliaco lets you play while breathing the recent history of the lake and imaging the magic of the liberty atmospheres of the early years of the twentieth century. With no less importance, few kilometres from there another forward-thinking man, Baron Edoardo Pizzini, had built-in 1927 a golf course in the middle of Franciacorta, that became well-known and esteemed in the golf environment very quickly and that was brought again to the top in the eighties with the current arrangement and increased notoriety.
While both Garda Lake and Iseo Lake managed to grow a flourishing tourism industry and hospitality arriving to supplant entirely the economic business in some areas, in more recent times the request of green & fairway is exponentially increased. Therefore, the launch of a nourished series of initiatives, that has achieved some of the best Italian golf course in areas of high landscape value. The purpose of these projects is pointed towards golf practice and towards the realization of residential complexes with low environmental impact. The first goal pursued with these solutions has been the preservation of an entire portion of territory from the attack of estate agencies, which instead have invaded other places of these lakes.
And so, in the last three decades of the twentieth century the most famous golf architects have practised their pencil in these lands, fulfilling courses of extraordinary beauty, known and appreciated especially in European countries:
- Gardagolf Country Club (Cotton, Pennik Steel & partners)
- Arzaga Golf Hotel & Spa (Jack Nicklaus II, Gary Player)
- Franciacorta Golf Club (Pete Dye, Marco Croze)
- Chervò Golf San Vigilio hotel & resort (Kurt Rossknecht)
to mention the clubs that are able to offer three or more nine holes courses, as well as a high capacity to satisfy the needs of the guests once completed the course.
In addition to these main clubs there are other three solutions with nine holes courses, which have more than one reason to be appreciated and included in the offer of eastern Lombardy golf paradise:
- Colombaro Golf – Salò (first in Italy with TopTracer™ driving-range)
- Colombera Golf Club – Castrezzato (with adjacent stables and residence)
- Campodoglio Golf Club – Chiari.
Three good level clubs, friendly and beneficial to introduce new players in this practice. However, these should not be underestimated by the expert golfers, whom here will be able to find the pleasure of the familiar sport without giving up the good quality of the courses.
But what can you find outside the clubs?
Well, Garda and Iseo hinterland can satisfy every fantasy. Tourism and ecosystem here are coexisting perfectly. For many years intensive plantations have been abandoned for small, characteristic and eco-sustainable reality. An example: poultry farming, which fifty years ago studded Valtenesi, are disappeared years ago, replaced with tourist residences, vineyards and olive tree groves. The view, therefore, is not any more of bared and big depots, but small villages absorbed in the green with high-quality production.
The wellness request convinced some people to experiment cultivations of lavender and medicinal herbs, which provide specialized laboratories of bio cosmetics. The results and quality are excellent.
Moving again near Iseo, Franciacorta has more reasons to be illustrated and the words that can better summarize this area are wellness and quality. For the wines, but also for the lifestyle. Villas, farmhouses, resorts, combined with hospitality and development are the winner mix for both new tourists and many enthusiasts who have elected these places as areas of relaxing and leisure.
The greatness of this report? Everything is nearby. Courses, resorts, attractions, art, culture, enology and good food are all reachable in a short time and with pleasant and nice itineraries.
The golf tourist, visiting Garda and Iseo Lake, can really discover a new corner of his personal paradise.
Roberto Van Heugten
Italy4golf Italian Ambassador
Arzaga Golf Club, Barone Edoardo Pizzini, Chervò Golf Hotel & SPA Resort San Vigilio, Franciacorta, Franciacorta Golf Club, Gardagolf Country Club, Golf Bogliaco, Lago d'Iseo, Lago di Garda, Roberto Van Heugten, Sebino