A picturesque course located just a few minutes from one of the jewels of Italy, Gardagolf Country Club will leave a lasting impression on the Italian Open field this week. Lake Garda’s exquisitely clear waters lie just east of the course in the Province of Brescia, rivalling some of the most diverse locations on Tour for incredible landscapes.
This week’s course will be a composite of the 27 holes on site, weaved in amongst the Cypress and olive trees. A man who knows this part of the world better than most in the 156-man field is Matteo Manassero. Born on the other side of Lake Garda in Negrar, the 25 year old started playing at Gardagolf as a toddler and practices at the course when he’s not out on Tour.
Ahead of this week’s event, europeantour.com spoke to Manassero about what we can expect from the site of the second Rolex Series event of the season.
Manassero on…his relationship to Gardagolf
“I’ve been playing at Gardagolf since I was about five years old. I started to take lessons from the professional, who is still there. Every weekend I went to Gardagolf with my parents and my dad would play a little. I’ve always been here, apart from three years when I lived close to Milan and was at a different course, but a year ago I came back and started practising here again.
“I live really close, so every time I’m back from a tournament I’m here at Gardagolf. The area is really nice and attracts plenty of tourists, with May to October particularly busy. Gardagolf is only two kilometres from the lake and there are two bigger towns nearby where there is also plenty going on, with little towns by the lake. For me, it’s one of the best areas in the world. I travel all over, but every time I come back I’m really happy.”
Manassero on…the course“It’s a tricky course with quite a bit of undulation and a few slopes. They’re not easy to see on television, but there are plenty of tee shots that require you to take the slope into account. The greens are tiny and a few are steep, so the greens will be the main issue.
“The par fives are the easiest part of the course, so if you score well there you’ll gain an advantage over the course. The wind doesn’t usually blow hard, but when it does it gets tough. It’s a mix of tricky holes, with three or four long par fours and then reachable par fives.”
“Tee to green it’s hard to compare it to any other course. Around the greens it can play a little like Valderrama, but not as tough or tricky at times. It has constant slopes and you can find yourselves three yards from the pin with a tough chip just off the green. You have to calculate spin, too.
“From the tee there are a few dog-legs, but it’s similar in some holes to a course in Turin, La Mandria, with a few dog-legs where you can cut the corner.”
Manassero on…his favourite thing
“My favourite thing is that you have to be very accurate with your approach play. Players that are more accurate, and not necessarily bombers, will be near the top of the leaderboard I think.
“From a non-technical point of view, the views are amazing. You can see the lake and a few holes go up into the hill, left of the clubhouse, and you can see the town from certain areas. It’s pretty incredible.”
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