The Club -  

History

by Marco Mascardi
Honorary Member of Club

La Clubhouse

There is a place where winter can be mild and sunny, with light fragrant breezes blowing in from the sea , bordered by the mediterranean sea and the "cote d'azur": it is called "Riviera dei Fiori" frequented since the end of the 19th century by the international wealthy classes.

In the 1920's the italian riviera was revelling in the latter year of the "belle epoque", not only Sanremo, but also Queen Margherita's favourite resort Bordighera, and Ospedaletti. Even Arma di Taggia had a nine hole golf course. Sanremo had to compete culturally not only with other italians towns in the vicinity, but also with the already famous Montecarlo and the French resorts of, Cannes and Antibes. The municipality of Sanremo organized classical concerts, comedies and plays performed in the sumptuous ballrooms of the newly opened casino.

 

Aldo Ferraresi

From the 1930's a new treasure was realized in Sanremo : an 18 hole golf course built on the hills overlooking the town among the val Gogna olive groves.

On 1st december 1931 four players teed off for the first game ever played in Sanremo golf course: two of whom were the famous professionals Luigi Prette and Francesco Pasquali ( winner of the first italian open in 1925) the other two were Peter Gannon – the planner and architect of the course – and Major Blandford.

1° dicembre 1931: la partita inaugurale

It proved a great success, as shown by the number of avid golfers playing on the newly opened course. From 1december 1931 to 20 february 1932 golfing enthusiasts played 1295 matches consisting mostly italian (142), 73 british, 11 american, 18 german, 2 swedish, 3 dutch, 3 spaniard, 2 french and 2 swiss. Considering they played at least 5 times each, and paying a green fee of 20 lire, this represented a total value of 130.000 lire, equivalent at that time to the value of a high ranking house in Milan.

This success was not surprising, as in 1926 the italian tourist office – ENIT – published a pamphlet titled " golf attracts tourists", and stating : many british do not consider coming to Italy as they imagine that golf courses are scarce and unchallenging preferring instead destinations already possessing well established golf course.

31 dicembre 1972: riapertura del campo con il Presidente Federale ing. G. Albertini

During WWII the club was closed, reopening by 1947 but with the subsequent costruction in the 1960's of the motorway a10, connecting genoa to france, the original course suffered considerably. The holes where reduced to just 9 from the original 18. Many problems arose when deciding to revert back to an 18 hole course, reshaping the course and more importantly find the necessary financial support needed for these works. Eventually new society was established in the form of a sporting association, obtaining the loan necessary to cover the costs of bringing the course back to its 18 hole status. Of course, the Sanremo course was considerably different from the original one: finally on 31st december 1972 the new venture could be reopened as a par 69, 5203 mt course.

Sanremo golf course is certainly beautiful. As a member of the association myself s tend to be overly enthusiastic, but even negative opinions expressed by some players are negligible. The course, wich can be difficult and intriguing, does not always reward those players risking daring shots; i refer particularly to hole 2 – a long and narrow par 3 – where it is easy to shoot out – of – bounds.

Leopoldo del Belgio sul tee della 1

There are holes that demand strenght as well as ability. Such as holes 6, 8 and particularly 15 with requires a very steep climb to the raised green. You will find yourself breathless once you arrive at the green! But, finally, if you want to end with a good score and have fun i suggest to arrange a round with your friends and to play light heartedly. As for professionals a different matter : there is always the putt which stops on the rim of the hole or the putt that falls in by chance. The course certainly doesn't provide any playing advantages, and the view from the clubhouse can be daunting. But once you tee–up, your impression will change. The key is to play cautiously, with maximum skill and attention.

Many excellent players have never been lacking at Sanremo, and since the club first opened in the thirties, many high ranking visitors came to play, among them King Leopold of Belgium with the princess de rethy, an avid golfer and a champion in her day, Douglas Fairbanks with Mary Pickford, Bernard of Netherland and many, others especially registering to play in the winter competions that soon became a tradition.

I maestri Luigi Prette e Aldo Casera

In the earlier years and also later on professional championships were held at Sanremo: in the seventies the master championship of the circolo golf degli ulivi such famous players included famous players such as Severiano Ballesteros, Bernard Langer and their contemporaries.
Good players are a local tradition. The forerunner beeing the professional Luigi Prette follow by disciples. Among them in the period soon after W WII– Aldo Casera who was wellknow not only in italy, but also in europe. Subsequently sanremo golf has produced many excellent professionalls, providing extensive tuition to ghose visitors enjoying lenghty stays throughout the winters. 

 

A notable feature of the Sanremo golf crest is the Ducal Crown, bestowed by Adalberto of Savoia, Duke of Bergamo, who graciously accepted at that time the nomination as honorary President of the club."

 

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