Played by NCG: Il Picciolo

Courses and Travel

Located at the foot of Mount Etna, the first course to be built on the island of Sicily requires real accuracy

Reason for a Il Picciolo Golf Club review

I was invited to play Il Picciolo as part of a press tour of Sicily.

Where is Il Picciolo?

Il Picciolo Etna Golf Resort and Spa is located at the foot of Mount Etna on the east coast of Sicily.

It is an hours drive from Catania Fontanarossa Airport.

What to expect

This was the first course to be built on Sicily, being founded in 1989 when it was laid out by Italian architect Luigi Rota Caremoli.

It has hosted the Sicilian Ladies Italian Open, the European Senior Open and the Ladies Italian Open. Il Picciolo is threaded between thousands of mature trees on undulating ground.

Favourite hole

The 13th is just 280 yards and plays downhill, so on the scorecard looks like a great chance for a solid par.

That’s until you’ve stood on the tee and get the impression there is little more than six feet between the trees on either side of the slither of fairway. The good news is you only need to steer a mid-iron down there.

The approach is similarly claustrophobic, played between the trees and over a gully to a small green. It is simultaneously terrifying and great fun, and is far from the only hole like this at Il Picciolo. The 11th might be even tighter, with water in play too.

What to look out for

Mount Etna. Il Picciolo is located between the Park of Mount Etna, Nebrodi Park and the River Park of Alcantara, so is a terrific option for a long weekend of golf and sightseeing.

My best bit

I liked the 15th hole. As a par 3 with a three-tierd green and a backdrop of Mount Etna, it was short and interesting.

When I go back

I will leave my driver in my room… I am nowhere near accurate enough with it to use it round here.

And I’ll work on hitting my hybrid on the range before I go out, because that is the key to playing well at Il Picciolo.

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