IN ASSOCIATION WITH REGIONE PIEMONTE

A guide to Piedmont's golf courses

Piedmont is one of Europe's top golf destinations: five of the highest-rated courses in Italy lie within the region, which boasts 40 clubs.

The Turin Golf Club (00 39 011 923 5440; www.circologolftorino.it) is one of Italy's top courses, the setting for the Italian Open in 1999. It is located within the La Mandria park and lays an emphasis squarely on historic character, with two 18-hole courses - one a par 72, the other a par 71.

In a forested valley south of Lake Maggiore nestles the Bogogno club (00 39 0322 863 794; www.golfbogogno.com), designed by golf-course architect Robert von Hagge with two 18-hole courses, both par 72. Its American-style Conte course has big lakes and wide-open fairways, while the hillier Bonora is set amidst wilder countryside of woodland and flowing streams. Close by, on a plateau high above Stresa - and offering a spectacular view over Lake Maggiore - is the Iles Borromees club (00 39 0323 929 285; www.golfdesilesborromees.it), set amidst woods of pine, larch, fir and oak.

Within pitching distance of Bogogno, the Castelconturbia club (00 39 0322 832 093; www.castelconturbia.it) occupies what was formerly the only golf course in Piedmont. The club was refounded in 1984 to comprise 27 holes, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr, with the Monte Rosa massif on the horizon. The course features three 9-hole sections: blue (the Chestnuts course), yellow (Pines) and red (Oaks); blue and yellow are often combined to form an 18-hole tournament course. Castelconturbia has twice hosted the Italian Open, in 1991 and 1998, and in 2003 was named Best Golf Course in Italy.

Another 27-hole course is the Margara club (00 39 0131 778 555; www.golfmargara.it), between Asti and Alessandria. The landscape is gently undulating, but Margara demands technical skill. Near Biella, the 18-hole Le Betulle club (00 39 015 679 151; www.lebetulle.com), designed by John Morrison, is similarly demanding - a scenically varied par 73.

At higher altitudes, Italy's only 18-hole course above 2,000m is Sestrieres (00 39 0122 799 411; www.vialattea.it), a beautifully panoramic par 66 set in a magical location at the base of Piedmont's famous ski slopes.

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