The 2011 Sicilian Open - one of the European Tour's three new events - will be staged from March 17 to 21 at the NH Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, a newly opened luxury five-star destination in the heart of baroque Sicily.
Situated close to the beautiful beaches of Camarina, Punta Secca and Marina di Ragusa it offers a dream setting within a nature reserve on the large Donnafugata Estate with all of the charm, culture and nature typical of the beautiful island of Sicily.
The resort features two superb 18-hole championship golf courses designed by Gary Player and Franco Piras. The Parkland (north) course designed by Player winds through olive and carob trees typical of the area and even features a sixth-century BC Greek necropolis.
Every effort has been made to make use of the existing terrain, creating a wonderfully picturesque round that can be appreciated by golfers of every level.
In contrast, Piras’ Links (south) course follows two broad, open valleys with stunning views in every direction including over the Mediterranean towards Malta while creating a challenge that asks questions of the most skilled professionals.
North Course - Parkland
Par 72 and 6,666 metres long, this course was designed by Gary Player, the legendary, world-famous player and award-winning designer of over two hundred courses situated throughout all five continents of the world.
The course runs along the countryside of Ragusa which can be seen all around it, offering players amazing views. There are few sand traps along the tree-bordered fairways, and the greens are tricky and well-defended by deep bunkers close to the putting surface.
This is a dream course, where players can admire a 6th century BC Greek necropolis between one stroke and the next at the 6th hole, see the animals and birds of the wetland between the 2nd and 3rd holes, and the two lakes that form the backdrop to the closing holes.
In contrast, the 9th and 18th holes are situated on the greens adjacent to the resort, forming a natural amphitheatre that overlooks the suites and the Club House with the wonderful open-air swimming pool and the spa.
South Course - Links
Par 72 and 6,650 metres in length, the Links course was designed by Franco Piras, an Italian designer who is also well-known on the international scene. This also is a championship course, but with very different characteristics from the north course.
The holes stretch over two large valleys, each of which includes a lake. The fairways have been carved out of the newly naturalised areas that skirt them, so that their forms stand out with plays on colour which change according to the seasons of the year.
A high cluster pine and a palm tree are the only trees on the course, where large bunkers define the fairways. The well-sheltered greens stand out from the Mediterranean maquis.