Kyle Phillips was given a huge plot of land on which to lay out two courses for Sir Rocco Forte as the centrepiece of a swish new resort in Sicily.
It was, predictably, coastal given that a beach is required for such a high-end resort blessed with year-round glorious weather.
The normal architect would surely have created a very definite No.1 and No.2 – using the seaside stretches to create several all-world holes for one course – but not Phillips.
He split the clifftop land across the two courses and it is, as a result, very hard to split them. The East you will find more highly rated than the West elsewhere and it is a very close call; in all honesty, the East was course 101 in our Continental European Top 100 of 2019.
And there is much merit in the argument that if one of Verdure’s courses is in then they both should be.
The triangle of holes around the turn that play to, alongside and then away from the coast are all both aesthetically delightful and strategically impressive.
I just happen to believe the West is a little better. And before I explain why, it is a fun game to think where the ‘championship’ course would appear in a Top 100 i.e. the composite course the pros play when they visit on European Tour duty. My prediction is top 30 at the very least.
Both courses are equally well conditioned but I enjoyed the slightly more movement in the greens and of slightly more variation in the holes on the West.
The triangle of holes around the turn that play to, alongside and then away from the coast are all both aesthetically beautiful and just as appealing in a strategic sense.
They might, though, be overshadowed by the closing pair that will raise the pulse of all who visit here.
The short 17th belongs on a postcard. Played right on the edge of the beach – with the brightly-coloured boats and canoes for hire a yard away adding a myriad colours to the scene – it is followed by a classic dog-leg that follows the edge of the bluffs.
A fabulous conclusion to one of the finest modern courses on the Continent.
I’d love to hear feedback on others who have played both courses here, at what is our No.2-ranked resort in Continental Europe. Chris Bertram
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