Golf Course Architecture - Issue 66, October 2021

62 ON S I TE Designed for drama MARCO S IMONE GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB, ROME , I TALY Richard Humphreys visits Marco Simone, which has been completely redesigned by European Golf Design in preparation for the 2023 Ryder Cup F or Europe’s Ryder Cup team, 2023 probably can’t come quickly enough. And the opportunity to lay to rest its record-breaking defeat at Whistling Straits will take place on what is effectively a brand new course. Marco Simone, located on the eastern outskirts of Rome, will be the first Italian club, and the third in continental Europe, to host the event. When it was chosen in 2015 as the venue for the third most- watched sporting event in the world – after the Olympics and football’s World Cup – it was seen as a surprise choice; most observers expected either PGA Catalunya in Spain or Sporting Club Berlin in Germany to be selected. The original design, created by Jim Fazio and David Mezzacane, first opened for play in 1991 and hosted the Italian Open three years later, but the tournament never returned. In December 2015, when the club’s owner, fashion designer Laura Biagiotti, submitted – with support from the Italian government, the Federazione Italiana Golf (FIG), the Italian National Olympic Committee and other stakeholders – a bid for the Ryder Cup, it was on the basis that the course would be completely rebuilt. European Golf Design (EGD), having been involved in the redesign at both Le Golf National in Paris and Celtic Manor in Wales for the 2018 and 2010 events respectively, was a natural choice for the work.