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81 years of golf in Florence

The British community brought golf to Florence in 1889, when they built an 18 hole course on the land that belonged to the Demidoff princes, just north of the city. In 1934 a new course was designed at the edge of the beautiful Chianti region and the Ugolino golf club came into existence, taking over the mantle of the Florence golf club.

Englishman Cecil Blandford and Irishman Peter Gannon designed this beautiful 18 hole course which blends perfectly into the soothing hills of the Chiantigiana road, covered in vineyards and olive yards and redolent of pinastres and broom bushes. The course is technically challenging but immerses players in the Tuscan hillside, with its woods, olive trees and fruit trees all adding to the experience.

The greens are small and well defended by bunkers. The sloping fairways also present a great challenge. To play Ugolino is not just to indulge in a game of golf, but to wander through a landscape of great natural beauty, enthusing players with a sweet and engrossing feeling of ecstatic pleasure. The Ugolino club house is a magnificent example by architect Ghirardo Bosio of the rationalist school of architecture of the 1930s. The building sits strategically on top of a hillock with the 18 holes laid out in a circle around the club house, surrounded by meadows, cypresses and pine trees. The three-story building with large interior space boasts a large and agreeable terrace with a spectacular view on the surrounding hills. The second floor houses drawing rooms with a pool table and card games, as well as an evocative terrace that overlooks hole 18.

The swimming pool too is in “rationalist” style, a fine architectural piece with a trampoline and diving platform designed by celebrated engineer Pier Luigi Nervi. Located in the middle of the woods, not far from the club house, the pool shines like a turquoise gem set in a mantle of green grass and trees, while the white changing rooms and arched loggia adorn the green like a laced ribbon.

The Ugolino Golf Club is listed by American writer Chris Santella among the 50 most beautiful natural courses in the world to play before you die, and is considered as one of most important landscape and historical venues across the entire Tuscan territory.