Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sciacca, Sicily
Kyle Phillips, who designed Kingsbarns Golf Links and Dundonald Links in Scotland (both regular visitors to our Platinum List), has worked his magic on the southwest Sicilian coast on 36 holes (plus a nine-hole par-three track). Many wend right to the Mediterranean Sea, which is never out of sight during play. If the clubhouse interior is an appropriately Venetian stucco, the windswept course suggests Scottish links play, with the anomalous sightline of distant olive and orange groves.
The West Course has slightly edged the East in some recent rankings; others say a composite routing of all the seaside holes is best. We say play ’em all, and then indulge yourself at the spa of the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, which includes four Thalasso pools in graduated temperatures, varied densities of salt and minerals, and a plethora of jets and waterfalls.
The 570-acre resort opened in 2009, part of The Rocco Forte Collection but the first built in Italy by the luxury hotel company, all on a splendidly private 1.1 miles of coastline.
by Thomas Bedell