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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.


Who follows designers….. and who suffers them. Ca’ Della Nave Golf Club


Around twelve years ago I approached golf whit no agonistic perspectives.
At that time I used to trade on Italian market high quality decorative synthetic lawns – for gardens, roofs and terraces – when the dutch producer informed me that a beautiful products line for domestic golf was ready. He also informed me that the professional assortment was set and that it was specifically designed for golfclubs’ practice areas.

Just a problem: what were we talking about?
Solution: try to play for a while and go to those golf courses to study with the managers the possible arrangements. So, simply I did it.
There’s one collateral effect: in most golf clubs they keep mowing the vegetable lawn because some bunglers didn’t do their job properly and didn’t sell any synthetic lawns, but you know what? I’m done with this job but I keep playing golf.

Anyway, I guess this brief professional autobiography isn’t interesting…we can cut to the chase.

Since I went to many courses and I met a lot of people, I learnt that several players pay close attention to golf courses project designers. Some golf players have developed great interest in this designer or in that one, so that some of them have started to plan their holidays depending on their works.

Great past and present players have cooperated in some new golf projects or in some restructuring programs. One of these professionals is particularly admired for his dedication. His name is Arnold Palmer.

Only three Italian regions can praise the presence of courses that are designed by this famous champion, which are Lombardia, Toscana and Veneto. In this article I’m going to talk about Veneto in detail. We are at Martellago, a few minutes from Venice, from Treviso and from the Venetian lagoon. Here is a club in which I’ve played many times and I’ve got beautiful memories about it: “Ca’ della Nave”.

This golf club praises 18 championship hole and 9 executive hole. It was built in the same park in which the marvelous Villa Priuli Grimani Morosini was built about five centuries ago. Today this elegant Venetian villa hosts classy evenings and parties. This is only an introduction because I think the map speaks better than a thousands speeches.


Experts might have already noticed it: Mr Palmer has filled the course with a lot of water, hasn’t he? That’s why I said in title that some players “follow” the designers and some others “suffer” them.
However, a golf player can start to play in complete relaxation when he comes here for the first time. He stands on the first tee and he notices on the right the tenth tee, and he also notices that it’s a long hole, but not so challenging. It still feels like being on the motorway, on the lanes of the Martellago exit. He thinks that the designer Palmer was only a beginner or that he was too busy winning some competitions. Who knows…
In that moment it gets more complicated. At the second hole he starts to realize that the day is going to be challenging and that he’s lucky he kept ion bag the useful ball retriever. Oh yes, he also will consider the brand new fifteen balls box as the best purchase of that day.

What you learn after the first shots is that you need a lot of strategy to avoid obstacles, bunkers or trees. Those difficulties have a partner in crime: the silent and carefully-kept nature which spreads around the noble Ca’ della Nave, where you can immerge in an incredible variety of green shades. Palmer was inspired by the Venetian lagoon to enrich his project with all those artificial lakes. He stayed true to his main philosophy: to build respecting and enriching the environment in which the golf player will play in the future.

I think I’ve said enough about the course and the game. I quoted the first hole, the second and the tenth, but you can discover the others by yourself. The other holes are one more beautiful and challenging than the other and at the end of the course you’ll have a wonderful memory to bring along.

Let’s move on the hospitality. The recent management was born with the intention to make golf an open and inclusive world, and to do so these managers rolled up their sleeves and worked on the hospitality and reception area.
First thing to say: the food is great.
Second thing to say: the outdoor patio and the pool area is magical.
Third thing to say: even if you are not a golf player you can feel the sporty mood and you can see what happens on the course just by staying in the restaurant. You would notice satisfied and happy people coming and going with their golf bags and trolleys and you might be willing to start playing with them.

Talking about what you could do out of the golf club… well… since you are just 30 minutes from Venetian lagoon and the city centre of Treviso and only 1 hour from Valdobbiadene and the extraordinary land of prosecco, you could easily get some information from the Ca’ della Nave reception. The staff will help you to plan a three/four days tour around this incomparable land.

Speaking about alternative golf courses that you could visit, I suggest a sort of “golf triangle”: Ca’ della Nave, Villa Condulmer, Golf Venezia, this last can be reached only across the sea with an easy ferry trip!

Bon voyage and play lots of golf trips!


Roberto Van Heugten
Italy4golf Italian Ambassador

If you want to feel the same emotions of Roberto we have prepared for you this Experience: Golf & Prosecco, a perfect combination

images courtesy of

Arnold Palmer, Ca’ della Nave, Golf Venezia, Martellago, Prosecco, Treviso, Valdobbiadene, Veneto, Venezia, Villa Condulmer, Villa Priuli Grimani Morosini


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