A golf course to balance the hustle and bustle

Forget Heathrow. Come on down to Sicily, where golf is played at more than a dozen courses in the southern city of Salerno.

With a rough target to make, the course at Esquilino Golf Club is 110 yards off the coast of Ragusa. It is an old links course, the first to be constructed in that area, built after WWII and now rusted shells and rusting scoreboard still poke through the sand.

Open to both men and women, the €54 ($70) golf lesson is offered for free by the ESQUILINO Golf Club and Friends in Matera, which the club leases in return for use of its course.

How is it possible that a lot of polo ponies live so close to golfers? Essentially, golf courses are just flat land in front of a gate. Turf of one kind or another is planted on either side, the tree canopy either covers the land or looks as if it does, giving it the look of woodland cover, or Tuscan greenery. The oddly shaped holes are long – most over six, seven or eight (unless played on specific days) – but not huge. And a pretty two-shot average is topped only by the three-shot average at seven par-34s, or 18, grades. The courses here are generally calm and peaceful.

Brenan Sancho writes regularly for Golf Digest. He has also played golf on both sides of the Atlantic, writing about it in Travel + Leisure Spain and a magazine devoted to Europe, travel and style. He teaches for the New York and international Elite Golf Clubs and lives in New Jersey.

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