Nicolas Stukes: Playing Tour Golf While on the Island of Sicily

I like Sicily. There are more beautiful golf courses here than on any other continent. I usually take the high seas, but I would pick some place off the coast of southern Italy, where…

Nicolas Stukes: Playing Tour Golf While on the Island of Sicily

I like Sicily. There are more beautiful golf courses here than on any other continent.

I usually take the high seas, but I would pick some place off the coast of southern Italy, where the waves are right on your belly, so it isn’t brutal. A nice place to finish the round would be some of the peninsula’s fabulous courses, like Parselos Golf Club or Serra Madre Villa.

Visit the island at a good time and it might be wallowing in severe winter weather, such as in the spring and fall. Then fall is the perfect time to tee it up.

Some courses open during the summer, and the rest stay quiet in September, October and November. In the fall, good rain can turn even the most picturesque landscape into a perfect green. When I played in Sicily earlier this year, it rained in October.

The perfect conditions for golf are in late spring and summer, with some of the short courses in particular being especially lovely.

Early next year I’m planning to play in another European Tour event on the Italian coast, which should work great for a few rounds in sunny places like Dalmacia and Malplaill.

Away from the seas, Sicilian golfers travel to Switzerland and Germany in their off-season, and the list of courses is ever-changing as each country develops a reputation as a top-flight course in Europe. Some of my favorites there are the Arezzo Regna and Carcassone Veneta Golf Club. The best-kept secret in Switzerland is the beautiful Furstenfeldbruck Club.

The crown jewel of Italian golf is undoubtedly Augusta National, but you’ll have to see it for yourself before you decide where to spend some time while in Sicily. I’ve only been to a dozen golf courses in my life, but I’ve played at four in Sicily.

For an interesting game, visitors can tune into the links at Mountain Hill Country Club. The course is located a little more than halfway down one of the world’s most beautiful sloping hills, rolling to the sea in between a mountainside and a drizzle of sun. And it’s right off the coast of Bay Sienna.

The two mountain courses in Sicily are a little more extreme. One is in a neighborhood on the cusp of the island’s Dinaric Alps, and the other is a private island named Cappadocia in the middle of the ocean off the coast of Savona.

There are many more well-rounded courses within the limits of Sicily’s tiny and separated cities, such as Sabatino, Palermo and Grimaldi. Those are all features a good golfer must experience.

For a longer exposure to Sicily’s golfing life, watch a couple of Italian imports, Michael Jordan and Hulk Hogan.

Hogan’s Awesome Coast (video above) is a great museum of all things Hogan-related and it offers interviews with all those who’ve worked with the most famous athlete in the world, some of whom played their way to fame and fortune on the golf course. The Hampton-Miller museum in Marina di Montelimar is another one worth a visit, as is the book of Hogan’s Holy Grail.

Don’t forget the frozen nights of Cremona, the summer months at the mountain resort of Londinium and the odd Sunday PGA tour event that plays the island.

Nicolas Stukes plays the European Tour for the first time this week in South Africa, and the trip will be in full swing come November, when the Tour announces its year-end award winners. I’m sure we’ll see an invite from Old Tom Morris.

Nicolas Stukes, formerly on the Web.com Tour, is a golf correspondent for The Golf Channel, and a SiriusXM radio analyst. Follow him on Twitter @Nicostukes

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