City break: Turin, Italy
Golf in Turin: Six courses to play
Royal Park (Trent Jones): This prestigious club is just 15 minutes from Turin-Caselle airport and provides two courses on this long weekend.
Known locally as ‘I Roveri’ and located on the north-western outskirts of the city centre, it is owned by the Agnelli of Fiat and Juventus fame.
The premier course at this opulent and serene venue – until recently a members’ only club – is the Robert Trent Jones.
It hosted the 74th Italian Open two years ago and also staged four editions from 2009 to 2012.
The Trent Jones was built in 1971, when RTJ Snr assimilated the design into an ancient hunting estate. Routed over gently undulating terrain, it is a classic tree-lined parkland – i roveri means ‘the oaks’ – that also enjoys open phases with water ditches and small lakes to add menace.
Royal Park (Pramerica): The conclusion to the Trent Jones at Royal Park enjoys views of the Alps, but those scenes are experienced in greater number on the club’s Pramerica course.
Designed by the creators of US Open venue Erin Hills – Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry – in 2013, it was built to the same exacting speculation as its sister.
A stream cuts across the opening hole and is a frequent presence along with a pond that affects a handful holes especially on the notable closing stretch that concludes on a well-bunkered tiered green.
Torino (Yellow): Torino adjoins Royal Park and was founded in 1920, albeit not on its current site but instead near San Maurizio, before finally settling in its current location in 1956.
Formerly the Royal House of Savoy’s game reserve, it hosted the 1999 Italian Open as well as the Open d’Italia in 2013.
Edoardo and Francesco Molinari learnt the game here and it was Harry Colt associate, Englishman John Morrison, who designed the distinctive holes across the two courses here.
On the Yellow, expect clever green complexes and astute routing through ancient trees and around or over natural streams and ponds.
Torino (Blue): Morrison’s original work at Torino was so popular that the club built nine more holes – by the Harris firm – and then a further nine through Marco Croze and Graham Cooke, so that it now has the championship-calibre Blue as well as the more quaint Yellow.
Biella: Just getting here is a thrill, twisting your way up a mountain like a corkscrew and savouring the increasingly breathtaking views.
Biella – known as ‘Le Betulle’, which translates as The Birches – is one of Italy’s oldest courses and is another Morrison classic from 1956. Both the course and clubhouse ooze history.
As its moniker suggests, it is dominated by trees, and these pines, silver birch and beech vary in how much they affect the play; at times well set back, they occasionally – such as on the 9th – encroach significantly.
Golf in Turin: What to do off the course
Visit the Lingotto building – the former Fiat factory with a rooftop test track – or head into the city centre to for the museums, stylish boulevards.
Lose an afternoon over several speciality chocolate drinks in an art nouveau cafe, or continue your unwinding process with a trip to a local winemaker.
Play at Royal Park and you can also enjoy the sauna, Turkish bath or swimming pool. Or simply savour the best Piedmontese food and wine from the clubhouse patio. Do not leave Turin without sampling the ice cream.
Football fans will lap up a visit to Juventus’ stadium and the museum of one of Europe’s most glamorous clubs.
Golf in Turin: Where to stay
Quality Hotel Atlantic: The good news is there is not far to travel from key venue, Royal Park, to your hotel, because the four-star Quality Hotel Atlantic, in Borgaro, is just seven miles from the golf club and features a spa with indoor pool, Turkish bath and sauna, plus a restaurant rated locally.
Biella: You can actually stay on site in neat accommodation at Biella – and what a wonderfully serene two or three days that is if you aren’t desperate for a taste of life in the city.
Turin Palace: The renovated, four-star Turin Palace hotel enjoys a fabulous setting in a 19th-century building, close to the main railway station and thus uber-central. It’s elegant without being over-fussy and city lovers might well prefer to base yourself here for the whole trip.