Ideally located in the rolling Tuscan landscape at Montaione, Toscana Resort Castelfalfi boasts a swish new hotel, and a refurbished golf course that is sure to attract some attention in the years ahead.
The Toscana Resort sits majestically atop the mountain, and the golf course is 5 minutes away by transfer on the slopes below.
Some twenty years after it first opened Castelfalfi Golf Course was completely reworked by architects Rainer Preissmann and Wilfried Moroder.
The result was two courses- the 18 hole Mountain course completed in August 2010, and the 9 hole Lake Course in November 2011.
The site is surprisingly hilly with a mixture of quirky and dramatic holes and some which are a little less memorable.
The main course is the 18 hole Mountain Course.
While we were there it was obvious that the locals like to walk the course, but for the first timer on a hot day, I would definitely recommend a motorised cart!
The course is routed through some steep hilly terrain, and the paths are uneven crushed rock- and there is quite a distance between green and tee- so it is a tough walk.
At 6351 metres off the back tees, and with 6 different sets of tees, The Mountain course is not long.
But it is difficult with course ratings ranging from 141 to 151 off the 5 longer tees..
I am not sure I know of any course as short which is so challenging to play.
You will remember The Mountain Course for the holes with big elevation changes- both down and up- and for the water in play around some holes.
There are some crazy fun holes, and some holes that are just crazy!
I thought the greens were quite good- simple green structures without too much movement.
I think this is a good thing because on most holes the movement and elevation change in the fairways was more than enough- contoured greens would have been too much!
Notable holes include:
- the introduction to the course at hole one with water in play both sides of the fairway, and a steep uphill approach to a green perched half way up a hill. It is a classy start to the round.
- the second hole has a diagonal tee shot out of the trees over a saddle. As you emerge over the saddle to hit your approach the pretty green is revealed . It is protected by a water hazard that must be carried..
- the par 3 ninth hole grabs your attention as it has a very steep descent to a green framed by water and bunkers. Picking the right club is a challenge, but it is one that will get everyone's attention.
- the short par 4 twelfth hole is one that many do not like. It requires a very accurate tee shot- probably laid up with a rescue or similar, and then a short to mid iron up a very steep approach. There are not many options here- either you can flight the ball and carry it or it’s going to be a very testing hole!
- the par 5 fourteenth hole has an almost classical look, and is an almost flat hole that bends through a pine forest to a nicely bunkered green
- The par 3 fifteenth hole is another almost flat hole with a lovely green setting protected by water short and left
- The closing hole is a crazy par 4 where you hit blind over a saddle. Oddly a straight tee shot can run out of fairway, depending on which tee you play off.
The approach is severely downhill to a green again framed with water. It’s certainly a dramatic finish!
The Mountain course is a course where most will need to play twice, or have an experienced playing companiion to have any idea of where to hit.
No matter how well you go there will be some turns that surprise you- and they really do...
In Tuscany, if Costiglion del Bosco was an elegant wine, Castelfalfi might be a crazy cocktail.
It’s a fun course to play and Toscana Resort Castelfalfi is a quality hotel.
It's in Tuscany- what else need I say?
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