by Terry Atkinson
If you have never been to Tuscany, you are missing a real treat. The rolling hills and medieval towns are a joy. The villages are picturesque to the nth degree and some of the old hill towns are to die for. But have you ever thought of all this and golf too?
If not, you surely should. There are some beautiful courses set in gorgeous surroundings and you will be made very welcome indeed. It's easy to fix up accommodation near golf courses these days using one of the many online golf portals and you will often be able to book tee times. It's worth asking your hotel or guest house if they can get you a discount as this is pretty standard across Europe.
Some of the better known courses include Ugolino - a natural course named among the 50 most beautiful golf courses in the world by the American writer Chris Santella. Pavoniere with its immense greens, undulating fairways and clusters of pines and cypresses.
Montecatini - set in the Tuscan hills and offering many natural hazards such as lakes, streams, forests and ditches.
Pelagone - one of the most beautiful courses in Italy set amidst vineyards and olive groves. Poggio dei Medici - a championship course built to USGA standards.
Versilia - situated only a mile from the sea, this course is dominated by water hazards which feature on eleven of the holes. Thick woods and forest surround the course and the greens are well protected and fast running.
Bagnaia - this a Robert Trent Jones Jr designed course situated in the gently rolling hills above Siena.
Florence is the jewel in the crown of Tuscany and Poggio dei Medici Golf Club is easily reached from the city. Florence can be really crowded during the summer months but early spring and late autumn are great times to play golf in this part of the world and also the best times to visit Florence without the queues.
My personal highlight in Florence is the Piazzale Michelangelo from where you get a beautiful view over the city which is difficult to appreciate from the narrow streets. Up here you will also find reproductions of some of the famous statues such as the David. Florence offers lots of excellent restaurants and you might like to try the local speciality which is Bistecca ai ferri - charcoal grilled beef which washes down beautiful with a glass of Chianti.
Terry Atkinson is a former lecturer in modern languages at Bristol University and a graduate in Italian and was once a student at the University of Florence. He is a single figure golfer with extensive knowledge of travel and golf. He is the creator of numerous golf websites including golfholidaystuscany.com.`