This article first appeared in the October 2012 issue
of the award-winning subscription travel newsletter Dream of Italy
By Walter Sanders
What could be more fun for a 15-year old ragazzo than to play hooky and tee it up for 18 spectacular holes at the newest golf course in Italy? I provided the perfect excuse for Giacomo Donati Clarke, son of one of the owners of Villa Pipistrelli, to experience the Royal Golf Club Bagnaia.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and opened in 2012, the course is a short 8-minute ride from Pipistrelli. It plays to a sporty 6,101 meters (6,672 yards) from the back tees and carries a course rating of 72.1 and a slope rating of 137 from the tips.
Despite the recent success of the Italian Molinari brothers on the PGA and European Tours, young Giacomo, a smooth-swinging lefty, said his favorite player is South African Ernie Els.
We had a blast. I had packed a couple of sleeves of Titleist ProV1 golf balls and shared them with Giacomo. He beamed! But his eyes got even wider when I asked him to pilot the golf cart all day. Italians can’t get a driver’s license until they’re 18, so he jumped at the opportunity to drive.
The course is challenging, the greens are fast. Water hazards feature prominently on five of the holes and it is easy to get distracted by the view of Siena in the hills.
Neither of us threatened the par of 71. I struggled to an 88, and new player Giacomo came in at 109. But I doubt that anyone else on the course that day enjoyed golf as much as we did.
At the end of the round, I gave Giacomo my orange, Titleist-branded golf cap. The last time I saw him, he was still wearing it.
To be continued in our next post:
An Encounter with Prized Cinta Senese Pigs