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Just 10 miles outside Rome, Italy’s first Ryder Cup venue lies in wait for the next European playing of the event. This will be the third course to host the biennial event out-with the UK & Ireland and it has some tough predecessors to live up to in Real Club Valderrama and Le Golf National.
The course makes the most of its Roman heritage and was designed by Jim Fazio and David Mezzacane. In 1994, The European Tour stopped by the course for the Italian Open which was won by the Argentinian, Eduardo Romero. Whilst this isn’t the course that will hold the Ryder Cup, it shows the heritage of the course and the quality of the property.
The course that held that event will be completely rebuilt to host one of the most watched events in all of golf. This is a huge infrastructural project that will see new roads, lakes and irrigation being put in to create a wonderful arena for the tournament.
There is no doubt that Paris will be a tough act to follow, however, the Tom Fazio II course will undoubtedly be a great venue. The course is due to open in 2020 so now is the time to start planning your trip to this new European golfing masterpiece.
The tower of the castle of Marco Simone creates a visual centre-point of the course and, of course, gives the place its name. This tower dates back to the year 1000. In the 1970s, an entrepreneurial Italian couple decided to use this former Roman fortified farmland to create a wonderful country club as a tribute to the former glory of the land.
The idea behind the resort was to create something typically Italian. A course loaded with style, with character and with a luxurious level of detail that would create an unbeatable golfing experience. The softly undulating hills of the Italian countryside provide the course with wonderful terrain making this a sumptuous and almost luxurious golfing experience, native flora and fauna also add to the charm of the course.
The ancient land is decorated with woodland and natural elevation changes that make for a great piece of land for a course. Marco Simone Golf and Country Club will make a wonderful Ryder Cup venue, especially given that the course will be completely revamped for the event. The new course is tight with the use of signature Fazio bunkering to keep you honest. Multiple dog-legging holes call for accurate and tactical play from the tee to set-up the attacking approaches that are key to matchplay victory.
This is a technical course and one that low-handicap players will really enjoy. The course isn’t long which will make it a challenging course for the visiting Americans who enjoy the space to rip drives during the event. We saw in Paris that the tight set-up can give the Europeans a distinct advantage. There tends to be a huge difference in the way American and European courses are set-up for the Ryder Cup.
This will make for a great European course and, unless something changes, this is one that the PGA TOUR stars of Team USA will struggle with. This is a great course for friends to go and test their skills before the world’s best get out there. Whilst this is a technically challenging course, the shorter length and many teeing options mean that golfers of all levels can have a great time playing it.
The plan is set to unveil and test the new venue before the world of golf turns its attention to the course for that special week in October 2023. After opening in Spring 2020, The Italian Open will be played here in 2021. This Rolex Series event on the European Tour is sure to attract some extra big names as Team USA hopefuls try to get some competitive experience on the new course.
The course is slightly over 30 minutes from Rome airport. That makes it much easier to get to than Le Golf National by air. Bear in mind that, as Italy’s capital, Rome has good rail links too so you can easily take in a few Italian cities on your way to or from the Ryder Cup too. You will want to plan for extra time so you can take in some culture around the Ryder Cup week.
Both Naples and Florence are within 3 hours of both Rome and Marco Simone Country Club so you can really see some of the finest sites in the nation during your Ryder Cup odyssey. Being one of the world capitals of history and culture, there is a lot to explore in Rome. This is a city that you will want to drink in fully, literally because Italian wine is tremendous, around the time of the Ryder Cup. Visit ancient Roman ruins like the Colosseum or make it a gastronomic adventure taking in the famous Italian cuisine.
If you’re there during Ryder Cup week, you will obviously be unable to play on Marco Simone, well that is unless you qualified for the event. There are some great courses nearby that you can go play to help quench your thirst for a game. Castelgandolfo Resort is an incredible Robert Trent Jones Sr. course set in an inactive volcano. The course works its way through woodland and around large water hazards to create a wonderful 6,862 yard golf course.
Acquasanta Golf Club is another great offering in the Lazio region when you’re on your Ryder Cup tour. This tree-lined and pristine golf course is thought to be the oldest course in Italy having been opened in 1903. Olgiata Golf Club makes up another place to play when you’re in town. This is another Fazio course and is one of the best in Italy. Many top players have won here during the numerous elite amateur and professional events that have been held here.
The sport most synonymous with Italy is football. Having won many world cups and being home to some of Europe’s best teams this makes sense. In recent years, we have also witnessed rugby union become really popular in Italy thanks to the success of the national team in international events. It may not be the first country you think of in terms of golfing powerhouses but it certainly punches above its weight on this front.
Golf in Italy is going through a purple patch, having one of the best players in the world will do that kind of thing for a country. With Francesco Molinari’s victory at the 2018 Open Championship, he became the first Italian to win a major championship. Italian golf had been lacking a hero after the glory days of Constantino Rocca who won 5 European Tour titles and finished 2nd in the 1995 Open Championship.
With Francesco and his brother Edoardo, Italian golf started to get exciting again. Then Matteo Manassero came along and the young phenomenon added a whole new level of buzz to the nation. Since this talismanic trio came along, a steady stream of Italian talent has emerged on the men’s and ladies European Tours.
The timing for all of this couldn’t be better as it is drawing the attention of sport-loving Italians to golf in perfect preparation for their first Ryder Cup experience.
Every two years we see golfing fanatics come out in huge numbers to help their team to victory by creating that home advantage. There really is nothing in golf like the first tee on the first day of the Ryder Cup. Italy is going to be no different and imagine the extra passion from the locals who haven’t had this chance before. Surely the famous blue and yellow-clad European fans will have their usual spot above the first tee.
If Francesco Molinari can make it into the team and, given his recent form, it is likely he will be there, then the 2023 Ryder Cup will have an even more passionate crowd. There is also the chance that his brother Edoardo can get clear of his injury issues and claim his place on Team Europe again.
Finally, given that this is still three years away, there is a good chance that one of the rising Italian stars could become a strong member of the home team.
Whatever happens, European Ryder Cup events are incredible spectacles and this will undoubtedly be of great benefit to Italian golf. Watching the best players in the world battle it out over Marco Simone Golf and Country Club wearing their team colours will inspire many to pick up the clubs and try golf.
There is no denying that the Ryder Cup is one of the most important events on the golfing calendar and this will be another wonderful venue. You must get yourself out to Italy and try this course before the Ryder Cup.
Please note the times given are a guide, they are likely to change prior / during the event
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