The East Course
The course can be played from the black tees at 6,686 metres or from the red tees at 4,894. For maximum pleasure we suggest that you should select the appropriate tees for your game and enjoy the round to the full.
The East Course opens with a message of welcome with a shortish par four to an elevated green which gathers the faded shot to the right. After a par three second to a green protected by a carry bunker the layout turns towards the Mediterranean for two fine driving holes which give a foretaste of the pleasures to come.
The fifth hole is a wonderfully pure Scottish-style hole with more than a suggestion of the links. Two fine strikes are required against the prevailing sea breeze to reach the putting surface the distance of which is disguised with a “Valley of Sin” or hidden ground short of the green.
The short sixth will become one of the most photographed holes in Europe. No green could be closer to the sea than this! Club selection will vary greatly depending on the strength and direction of the wind. This is Verdura’s “Postage Stamp” and could make or mar one’s card.
The player heads inland on the seventh with a wind-assisted drive which if the ball avoids the traps on the right could present a birdie opportunity.
The ninth hole returns to the clubhouse and will prove one of the tougher holes to par due to prevailing breezes and the elevation of the green.
The tenth hole presents a double fairway and strategic choice; the right hand option gives a better approach to the green whereas the shorter left side leaves the more difficult angle to the semi-blind diagonal putting surface.
Hole eleven offers the strong driver of a ball the magic moment of playing from an elevated tee over the lake to a vast fairway. This double dogleg is rich in strategy and par would indeed be an achievement.
The par 3 twelfth green is worthy of a moment’s pause to oversee the magnificent estate and its 360 degree viewpoint.
Hole thirteen provides another elevated teeshot and enticing approach to the welcoming bowl-like green.
From the fourteenth tee the East Course builds up for a momentous conclusion to the round akin to a symphony reaching its crescendo. The sea on the horizon grows ever closer as one descends the handsome par five and the golf routing veers to the right on the par four fifteenth.
Nowhere is the Scottish links inspiration more present than on the teasing par three sixteenth with its shallow green and protecting bunkers.
The seventeenth is played against a backdrop of the cliffs and an ancient ruin.
The final hole is truly unforgettable, a suitable climax to a superb course. The coastline of Sicily lies to the right with the waves breaking on the shoreline. This is Europe’s counterpart of Pebble Beach!
The beauty of the scenery might lure the player into playing the tight line down the right but the safer play would be to remain on terra firma before seeking the haven of the putting surface cleverly disguised over a hidden valley.
Richard Wax, Golf Course Rater