I knew I was in trouble when Britt saw the glossy photos of sun-drenched beaches, fragrant orchards, and Sicilian villas.
“Sicily?” she asked, suddenly interested in the pictures on my writing desk. It was the new 45-hole Kyle Phillips-designed Verdura Golf and Spa Resort. She opened the brochure to a two page spread of cliff-side green sites and an ultra-modern Sir Rocco Forte-owned luxury hotel overlooking a promontory on the Mediterranean. “This looks fantastic. But how are you reviewing a golf course you’ve never played in a country you’ve never visited?”
That’s a good question. I’m not actually reviewing the golf course. I can’t, I haven’t played it. But I can report that Kyle Phillips – still rightfully in highest demand after his brilliant work at Kingsbarns – was recruited by Sir Rocco to build a Kingsbarns for him, this time in a much more hospitable climate, and that – should you find yourself in Sicily – you will be able to get to play great seaside golf at quite a fair price a la carte and, apparently, there’s a hell of a hotel there if you have cash to bleed.
More importantly, while chatting with Phillips about Verdura, I got him to open up about his ideas about golf design, golf travel, and the future of the golf industry in general. By creating a natural looking landscape and incorporating the crucial ground game elements of links golf, Phillips accomplished the impossible at Kingsbarns: he built an indisputable modern masterpiece in the shadow of hallowed St. Andrews. Now he’s continuing to build a solid portfolio of high-end, but rock-solid strategic designs across the globe using the same principles. We can only hope we get to see him bring the same old-school golf design concepts to affordable public designs here in America soon and often.