Golf Club Biella, '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!
There is a gentle elevation change throughout, although it is always a pleasant walk....
Morrison did a good job with the routing, with two nines returning to the clubhouse, and variation 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..
- I loved the altar green on hole 7, set in an alcove of lush vegetation.
- And the par 5 ninth hole demands two accurate woods, and then a flip to a green sitting in the hillside over a dip..
In the back nine holes 12 & 13 are up and back par 4's with a creek running down the middle, and in play left on both holes.
Both are tight tee shots with 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 sixteenth hole.
It is a hole like no other!
I'd like to play this hole over a few times to work out how best to play it.
It is an intriguing design.
The tee shot is slightly uphill toward a gap in the tree line and needs to avoid some bunkering right.
A well struck shot will be rewarded with a view between the trees and down a narrow tree lined valley to a lovely green setting below.
However the journey is not quite over yet- with a significant carry over rocks, and rough terrain needing to be negotiated by the second 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!
The experience at 'Le Betulle" is enhanced by the fact that Travelling Golfers can stay on course.
The clubhouse and accommodation have a refined 'old world' feel, and are very comfortable without being 5 star.
I loved it!
Other Courses in the Area
Golf Club Biella is one hour from Turin, and golfers would consider playing at Circolo Golf Torino - host to numerous Italian Opens
And Lake Como is also just two 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: Italy
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