All you have to do is fly into Milan then drive north to Lake Como to see one of the most romantic and majestic places for a vacation. Sample the food and wine (you'll want much more than a sample), experience the beauty of Lake Como and the snow covered mountains in the background, and shop the tantalizing stores in Bellagio.
When you've had enough of all that decadence and decide that golf is beckoning you, take a water taxi to Menaggio or Cadenabbia and ask directions to the golf club (there's only one). You will wind up the hill to the top. There you will find a classy and refined old golf club complete with a cozy little restaurant and bar, serving good Italian food with fine wines and beer on tap.
The pro shop is not anything remotely like the high-end clothing boutiques one might find in Scottsdale or Palm Springs. On the contrary, it's a place to pay your greens fees and rent your clubs, with clothing being a total after-thought.
Speaking of greens fees, the cost of 18 holes with a cart is between 100,000 and 120,000 lire, or $50 to $60. The atmosphere is very casual, with no starters or announcements to the tee box. When you are ready, you just tee off. There is a local membership, but vacationers are certainly welcome.
The course itself is not easy, as there are many sidehill lies, big trees and difficult rough. Many people walk and push carts up and down the hills on this course, and they are obviously in good physical shape. The ninth hole would be a killer as it is the number one handicap for men and women, and is a par 4 straight uphill to an elevated green. There are no level lies here and the rough is a jungle once you leave the fairway.
Of course, the scorecard is in meters, which can be a bit confusing. The locals told us to add 10% to this 5,277 meter, par 69 course. Although the track itself is not in the pristine shape we have grown to expect, it's a very fun, challenging course with gorgeous views of the mountains in the background and Lake Como below.
Historically speaking, a Brit by the name of Wyatt came as a tourist to the area in 1907 and couldn't live without a place to play golf. He came up with a 9 hole lay-out which pleased the local golf lovers in the area. It wasn't until the fifties that it was turned over to the Italians. Mr. Antonio Roncoroni made the improvements to the club, including another 9 holes, conserving the British tradition of the golf course.
Interestingly, the golf library at Menaggio & Cadenabbia Golf Club is second only to the one at St. Andrews in Scotland.
After a very challenging l8 holes, especially trying to conquer the putting of the greens, it is absolutely necessary to retire to the stone clubhouse which is very old-style traditional. Looking out over Lake Como, there is a wonderful little restaurant which is obviously a meeting place not only for golfers, but local business people in their classy Italian duds and gorgeous leather shoes. The menu is very complete-not your basic burgers and dogs on the 19th hole. Or, you can just order some good Italian beer on tap and sit on the outdoor patio and watch the people botch the 18th hole.
Whatever your pleasure, it's worth an afternoon if you're in the Lake Como region and need a golf fix. Don't worry, you can rent clubs, but don't expect them to be state-of-the-art. Just remember the British tradition and enjoy the sport!
Menaggio & Cadenabbia Golf Club
22010 GRANDOLA ED UNITI (Como)
Italy-Via Golf 12
Fax: +39.344 30780
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!