Construction is under way at Verdura, architect Kyle Phillips's new design in Sicily.
The 36-hole complex, which will be attached to a new five star hotel currently under development by Sir Rocco Forte, is situated around an hour's drive from the Sicilian capital Palermo and is slated to open in 2007. As well as the golf courses and hotel, around 50 houses will be built on the perimeter of the development.
"I'm struggling to find a comparison," says Phillips. "The site isn't sandy, but it does have a great location on the seashore, and an open, linksy feel. It was formerly an orange grove."
Phillips has been involved with the project since its inception, and assisted Forte with the selection of the site. "In Sicily, there aren't too many sites that actually have soil – much of the coastline is rocky," he says. "So although we don't have sandy soil here, we are better off than most of the island.We want to create big, grand, rolling landforms. I'm thinking along the lines of Muirfield in the way that it works its way down to the sea."
The routings of the two courses are intertwined, each including seaside and inland elements. "This means that, if it were needed, perhaps for a tournament, there is the opportunity to create a composite course of all seaside holes," says Phillips. Both courses are expected to measure between 6,550-6,600 metres (7,160-7,220 yards) from the back tees.
This article first appeared in issue 3 of Golf Course Architecture, published in January 2006.