The Sicilian Job…

A partnership between Sir Rocco Forte and leading golf course architect Kyle Phillips has created a stunning new destination in Sicily called Verdura Golf and Spa.

Sicily’s southwest coast now promises much for the traveling golfer who samples the new Verdura Golf & Spa Resort. The resort’s excellent three courses, designed by world-renowned architect Kyle Phillips, will open for its first full year in March 2010, and it is expected that Verdura will quickly become a ‘must-play’ destination for golf aficionados.

According to Sir Rocco Forte, chairman and CEO of the luxury hotel company The Rocco Forte Collection, no other golf resort on the continent can compare to Verdura. “There wasn’t anywhere in Europe that offered the kind of golfing holiday I was after,” claims Sir Rocco, who spent eight years nurturing Verdura as the company’s first resort venture.

Verdura’s majestic 570-acre site enjoys some 1.2 miles of private coastline. Kyle Phillips, who created the universally acclaimed Kingsbarns Links near St Andrews and The Grove near London, enjoyed a pristine canvas on which to design his vision for the two 18-hole championship courses, the East and the West, as well as the engaging 9-hole par-3 course.

“Sir Rocco Forte found a beautiful piece of seafront ground where we have combined our respective skills to develop a 5-star hotel and spa, 36 holes of championship golf, plus a 9-hole par-3 course and full practice facility,” says Phillips.

“It’s a unique low-density concept for a coastline property, with only electric vehicles allowed inside the resort. Golf purists will absolutely love it. Near the seashore, I tried to give the golf a linksland feel with a rougher seaside look, transitioning to large rolling Muirfield-like landforms as it moves back away from the sea.”

Verdura’s East Course is 7,221 yards and the West Course measures 7,474 yards from the championship tees. Phillips has routed holes from both the East and West layouts intelligently so that a Composite Championship Course is formed to present a challenging venue for a future professional tournament. This novel yet strategic design would play at 7,458 yards and all of Verdura’s ocean holes are featured, which will provide stimulating and dramatic visuals for a television audience.

Verdura’s director of golf, Niall Cameron, has a rich pedigree of golf operations experience at such notable clubs as Turnberry, Royal St George’s and the ultra-exclusive Lyford Cay in the Bahamas.

He also spent a number of years competing on the European Tour. According to Cameron, “the sheer size of the resort gives a wonderful feeling of being totally isolated and at one with nature. The peace and quiet of the courses, punctuated only by birdsong and the gentle rustle of the wind through the native Sicilian grasses, makes the stroll through the rolling fairways a genuine delight.

“The fairways are well-separated and with the deep pot bunkering you can easily imagine that you are playing on one of the historic Scottish links courses. On top of all this, we have strategically rich and enjoyable golf in a spectacular setting. Kyle Phillips has designed yet another masterpiece which is surely destined to become a must-play venue.”

In order to attract a good customer base, Richard Wax of Golf Surveys Ltd is heading up the positioning of the resort to the golf connoisseur market. Richard can be contacted at

Golf Business Development
January/February 2010


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