Roberto Van Heugten

Roberto Van Heugten, emerging writer with many publications to his credit, writes of game on the pages of Italy4golf, in the column "Lost balls in Italy".
The narrative is different: in fact, in its pages it speaks of sport, but above all of territories and hospitality.

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Pure pleasure trip to the Argentario Golf Resort & Spa

LOST BALLS IN ITALY – BY ROBERTO VAN HEUGTEN

I know Tuscany. I lived there a long time ago and I traveled there many times for work and leisure, covering high and low the roads of Chianti, Val d’Orcia, Versilia and Apuan Alps, to mention only some of the wonders you can find in this region.

But it is in Maremma that every time my heart forces a return. In this ancient land, characterized by endless chains of hills that slowly descend towards the coasts of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the soul opens.

The inhabitants of this land are hospitable, not easy, but yet generous. Their bond with nature, history and the beauty of ancient traditions gives the visitor countries and landscapes unique in the world. Unique and unforgettable are also the many interpretations of cooking and drinking, recipes and winemaking that come from the dawn of time and represent the best of man friendship with healthy and genuine agriculture, at every change of perspective.

Compared to other interpretations of the territory,  Maremma has a further quality: it donates pearls of excellence even to the most demanding golf tourist.

Therefore it is a unique region and it deserves, even in my opinion, the name of “perfect golf destination“, thanks to a group of accommodations and sports facilities of high value.

Taking advantage of a particularly favorable period, some time ago I dedicated three days to these lands, with my golf bag in the trunk, establishing my “basecamp” at Argentario Golf & Resort.

A few words about the geographical location.

The mountain that hosts the two main towns (Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole) and the resort is an island that has merged with the mainland by two ayres, natural accumulations of debris formed over the centuries.

Argentario Golf is located on the slope of the peninsula, pointed towards the interior region, and it is therefore in a protected position compared to the open sea.

Coming from Aurelia national road, you cross the town of Orbetello and then you venture through the lagoon.

I was tired that night. I was departed early in the morning from my Lake Garda and, along the way, I allowed myself an 18-holes round in an interesting golf course, Terme di Saturnia, but this is a story that I will tell elsewhere.

I reached the destination in the evening. Argentario welcomed me with light effects and fountains, an elegant setting for the entrance.

Before leaving the car and crossing the threshold, I took a look in the half-light, seeing the clubhouse’s shape and the driving range set. It is all so comfortable, and close!

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Guys, since that moment I felt like a five-star tourist. From the first step in the hotel until I arrived in the room, I was welcomed at the top!

The bag with the irons, that I had previously left at the entrance, was vanished into thin air, taken who knows where by a young man who quietly answered: “Don’t worry, it is part of the service. You will find it tomorrow”. Nice, courteous in his being mysterious about my equipment.

I remember thinking that it was finally time to give myself a package of cuddles and vices, because after all I deserved it a bit :-)

I ran down to the dining room, because it was almost the closing time of the kitchens, and consumed an excellent dinner, strictly based on meat and Morellino di Scansano that I like very much. Then came the time for sleep, in a spacious and cozy room, equipped with every possible accessory.

You will notice that I said “go down” at the restaurant. Exactly. And then I “went down” in the room area. I was struck by the building’s design, engineered along the hillside that goes down to the golf course, until you reach the immense floor of the wellness area.

The construction is made with the aim of a low impact compared to the district.

The next morning, after spending a very quiet night, I went out on the terrace to observe the wonderful view. Green everywhere, hills in front and golf on the side, the sun already high and blue in the background. The ideal setting for a painting, what a wonder!

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But it was time to go, an eighteen-holes was waiting for me. And so, after an abundant breakfast buffet, ready and go!

Moved the limbs and the mind towards the clubhouse, I finally found my bag, already placed on a cart ready for the ride (no fear, I had booked it :-), then greetings to the secretary and away we go.

Driving range – little, as usual – and soon on the 1 to teeoff at golf!

Argentario Golf is an 18-holes par 71 of about 6,200 meters.

It combines some points where can be defined a links, thanks to the presence of dunes and the Mediterranean scrub with a view of the lagoon of Orbetello (holes 2 and 3, for example), and sequences of Parkland holes, run along the woods and dotted with tall trees even in the fairway (11 to 15).

The 11, 16 and 17 holes host a rich olive plantation, while the 18 (that just as the 9 ends near the hotel) is made difficult by numerous bunkers, a 90 degrees dogleg on the right through a tall forest and a canal that runs along the right side of the second part. A high-voltage ending, in short.

The slopes are present only at the beginning of the route, later you practice on softer ones, and with mid-season temperatures, the field is perfectly playable.

During the game, there are important meetings.

No, not with people. But with plants and animals, punctually marked by signs distributed along the way. This shows that Argentario golf is populated by various wildlife species and confirms the coexistence of nature and humans in harmony.

The time, unfortunately, flew. Due to an unexpected quality of play, the hours passed fast, with the holes parading fast in their rhythmic sequence. Note by the editor: in my opinion, the most beautiful are 2-3-9-11-16 (play them at the lottery). And if you go to Argentario, let me know if you are feeling the same way.

In the meantime, I went to the sauna to doing a good wellness treatment before jumping to conquer the coast.

Just the time to take the car and I went to visit Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano. The first is a historic village rich in culture; while the second one is a dynamic town with a dock for ferries, fishing boats and large boats. And then the second evening arrived.

Going up and down Monte Argentario reveals glimpses of rare scenic beauty. It is not difficult to understand why these places are often the destination of wealthy tourism looking for beauty and well-being.

The second excellent dinner at the Dama Dama – the hotel restaurant – led to the end of a busy day and the next morning arrived in a hurry, along with greetings and the promise to repeat this unique experience soon.

What the golf tourist can do at Argentario:

As told, I would suggest Argentario as a landing point for a holiday dedicated to golf played on-site and it is convenient to reach the other courses in the area, all of high quality.

In about an hour, it is possible to play quality golf in the courses of Punta Ala, Saturnia and Gavorrano (the Pelagone), remaining in Maremma and alternating different scenarios, marine and hilly, enjoying everywhere a climate always favorable to golf. Recently an eighteen-hole has been added to Follonica, which is here in the surroundings. A great excuse to repeat as soon as possible a trip similar to the one I told you, if possible a little longer!

What the tourist-tourist can do at Argentario:

Well, the combination of sea and Maremma is famous. You can alternate the sea holiday to enjoyable trails in the hinterland. Just as an example, one of the many beautiful places in the intern, Massa Marittima, presents many of those opportunities for stay and food to leave you speechless (and with a belly deliciously full).

If you decide to reach the Maremma, do not forget to leave space in the trunk of your car, to be filled with tasty local products. In the end, you will thank me for the suggestion and you will put a nail on the map to remind you that here you have only to come back!

Have a good trip, and have good golf!

Roberto Van Heugten
Italy4golf Italian Ambassador
buonavita.me

images courtesy of https://www.argentariogolfresortspa.it/

Apuan Alps, Aurelia, Chianti, Follonica, Gavorrano, Maremma, Massa Marittima, Monte Argentario, Morellino di Scansano, Orbetello, Pelagone, Porto Ercole, Porto Santo Stefano, Punta Ala, Terme di Saturnia, Tyrrhenian Sea, Val d’Orcia, Versilia

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