Golf Travel: Head to Sicily for some European winter sunNovember, 2013
Sicily’s location (further south than Tunisia) means it enjoys year-round warm weather – and the Donnafugata Resort offers two superb courses.
If there is a resort in continental Europe with more of an emphasis on golf than Donnafugata, they must really be trying hard.
Because while this well-appointed complex in the south west of Sicily has beautiful bedrooms, a fabulous spa and myriad stylish restaurants, it is the golf side which really stands out.
As much is obvious at breakfast. Donnafugata may be categorically five star, but if you turn out in the morning in anything other than a polo shirt, tailored shorts and spikeless shoes, you’ll look out of place.
It’s clear the guests – the majority are currently Italian – have come to Sicily to play golf, and that means after their cappucinos and pastries (a bewildering array to choose from) they want to head for the 1st tee rather than the swimming pool.
There are two courses, the Parkland and the Links. The former was laid out by Gary Player and is a lovely stroll on rolling land among the olive groves in the Ragusan hills.
And best of all, Sicily sits further south than Tunisia so benefits from year-round warmth. But for our money, it is the Links which is the main atraction, designed by the lower-profile Franco Piraeus. It’s not a links as we understand it, but it is true to say that the scorched, tightly-mown turf requires the same precise ball-striking as our seaside classics. And the late-afternoon sunshine beautifully highlights the rippling fairways. A splendid practice facility enhances the commitment to golf.
That’s not to say it lacks in other departments. The stylish and spacious bedrooms are set among landscaped gardens in a series of low-rise, villa-style buildings yet are only a minute’s walk from the hotel’s hub (as well as both 1st tees). The restaurants are opulent and airy while the spa offers every treatment you can think of (and lots that you’ve never heard of before).
And best of all, Sicily sits further south than Tunisia so benefits from year-round warmth.