Darren Clarke’s win at the 2011 Open Championship was one of the most memorable Major victories in recent years and the European Tour star is set to inspire a new generation of golfers by opening a new golf coaching centre at Sicily’s five-star Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa.
The Darren Clarke Centre of Excellence at Donnafugata will be the first facility of its kind in continental Europe when it opens early this month.
Available to golfers of all ages and abilities, the new centre will offer expert teaching under the guidance of the resort’s head professional Davide Terrinoni through individual and group lessons, and specially created two, three and seven-night tuition packages.
Clarke, winner of 22 tournaments worldwide, said: “Italy is one of Europe’s up-and-coming countries when it comes to golf after the success of Matteo Manassero and the Molinari brothers in recent years, so I’m particularly delighted to be opening this new coaching centre at Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa.
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“The resort has some of the best facilities in Europe and, combined with the great climate that Sicily enjoys, is the ideal venue for players from all over Europe to learn from our expert team of coaches.”
The Darren Clarke Golf brand has gone from strength to strength since opening its first full-time school in Antrim, Northern Ireland, and has achieved great success developing players such as Allan Dunbar and Paul Cutler, who have now progressed onto the European Tour.
Gavin Hamlyn, general manager of Darren Clarke Golf, said: “We’re very excited about the new partnership with Donnafugata.
“Following the success we’ve enjoyed in Ireland, we were looking for a base to expand into Europe and the resort fits our requirements perfectly. The golf and hotel facilities are excellent; it is a great location for golfers to experience our varied range of tuition programmes and is an ideal fit for our brand.”
Featuring two 18-hole championship courses and extensive practice facilities – the Player and the Links – Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa has won widespread acclaim across the golf industry since opening in 2010 and was the venue for the 2011 Sicilian Open, won by Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin.
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Guy Roberts, the resort’s director of golf, added: “Darren Clarke has been one of the world’s top players for the last two decades and it’s fantastic news for us to have the chance to team up with him on this new project.
“To be working with an Open champion is an illustration of just how far Donnafugata has come in such a short space of time, and it’s a great honour to have been chosen to open the first Darren Clarke Centre of Excellence in continental Europe.”
Located just 20 minutes away from Comiso airport and set in the beautiful area of Donnafugata, a natural reserve and famous tourist destination known for the imposing castle which bears the same name, the resort also boasts a number of fantastic historical cities nearby. Among them, Val di Noto – the heart of Sicilian baroque; Ragusa Ibla, Modica, Noto and Scicli. All of them are deemed fitting of UNESCO World Heritage status.
As well its outstanding golf facilities, Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa has 202 rooms, an award-winning spa and health club, swimming pools and three restaurants offering a broad selection of gastronomic delights, well accompanied by perfect Sicilian wines to enhance flavour.