Le Betulle was founded by British architect John Morrison in 1958, and is an "English style" layout with the course set in a forest of silver birches, chestnut trees, and ancient oaks.
The golf club is located in the north west of Italy less than an hour from Turin.
The course has been rated over the years by many as the best course in Italy, and has hosted many tournaments.
"Le Betulle" means "The Birches" in English, and it is an apt name for a beautiful course in a beautiful setting.
Whilst the gorgeous vegetation dominates the course, the site itself has plenty to offer with ponds, creeks, and burns to play alongside, around, over, and dare say - in!
And there is plenty of gentle variation in the elevation of the routing, although it is always a pleasant walk....
Morrison did a good job with the routing, with two nines returning to the clubhouse, and good variety in the type and direction of the holes.
It is clear however that the trees have grown substantially over the years - I would hesitate a guess that the course as designed by Morrison was not dominated quite so much by the trees - and just perhaps the course could benefit from a review of and possibly a pruning of some of the more intrusive woodwork.
Nevertheless Le Betulle is a very good course in a wonderful setting, and a pleasure to play.
There are a number of holes that stand out to me:
The successive dog legs at holes 3 and 4 require accurate driving, and then reward success with teasing approaches to firm greens with plenty of slope, and which are not easy to hold...
I loved the altar green on hole 7 , set in an alcove of lush vegetation.
And the par 5 ninth hole demands 2 accurate woods, and then a flip to a green sitting in the hillside over a dip that I daresay could get a little damp at times....
In the back nine holes 12 & 13 are up and back par 4's with a creek running down the middle, and thus in play on the left side on both holes.
Both are very tight with strong right to left sloped fairways pushing everything to the creek
And both have appealing green complexes to finish..
The 'piece de resistance' at "Le Betulle" however is definitely the snaking par 5 16th hole.
It is a hole like no other I have seen!
I'd like to play this hole over a few times to work out how best to play what is an intriguing design.
The tee shot is slightly uphill toward a gap in the tree line, and must avoid some bunkering on the right.
A well struck shot will be rewarded with a view between the trees, and down a narrow tree lined valley to a quite lovely green setting below.
However the journey is not quite over yet - with a significant carry over rocks, and rough terrain to be negotiated by the 2nd shot,
The long hitter can take on more rough to get close to the green, while the more conservative approach would be just to hit the lower fairway
It really is a good hole, and one I want to play again one day!
The experience at 'Le Betulle" is enhanced by the fact that Travelling Golfers can stay on course. The clubhouse and accommodation has a refined 'old world' feel, and is very comfortable without being 5 star.
I loved it, and am actively planning to return with a group at the earliest!
Other Courses in the Area
Golf Club Biella is one hour from Turin, and golfers would consider playing at Circolo Golf Torino - site of the recent Italian Open
And Lake Como is also 2 hours away, and courses like Villa D'Este, and Menaggio & Cadenabbia should not be missed.
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to Italy to suit your group. For itinerary suggestions please see Destinations
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