Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, Sicily and PGA Catalunya, Spain.
Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa
By Melloney Roffe
I had always promised myself I was going to learn to play golf – so when the opportunity came for me to visit a golf course in a warm climate with a Spa too, I had no choice but to go!
As I stepped off the aircraft, it was uplifting to feel the warm air of Sicily upon my face after the cold, temperate climate of London. The time had come to treat myself to a short break: relax, rejuvenate and learn to play golf without getting windswept and wet!
I arrived at the five-star Donnafugata Golf Resort and Spa and was greeted by friendly and efficient staff. Then my luggage and I were driven to my room on a golf buggy – which felt vaguely like an episode of The Prisoner!
My room was spacious and decorated in a simple but modern Italian style with a luxurious bathroom and plenty of space to hang the far too many clothes I had brought with me for my short break.
The next day, I was treated to my first golf lesson with one of the hotel’s golf pros. The teacher was very patient and eventually I managed to hit the small white ball as I began to put his calm teaching into action.
I thoroughly enjoyed the ambience of the beautiful course and being driven around again in the golf buggy!
The Donnafugata is a golf enthusiast’s dream, offering two championship courses (the Parkland Signature Course designed by Gary Player and an 18 Hole Championship Course designed by Franco Piras) and a golf academy complete with 70 driving tees and putting/pitching greens.
Located on the sprawling Donnafugata Manor – it is a model of historic preservation, with many of the original details remaining intact, set amid pristine beaches and natural and historic conservation areas. Although I didn’t venture down to the beach, as I was far too busy enjoying the resort itself.
There are three restaurants and two bars that provide extremely good gastronomic delights, after which it was off to the state-of-the-art fitness centre to burn off those calories and relax in the Jacuzzi and steam rooms. The spa offers the most wonderful massage with a truly extensive treatment menu to compliment and support golf pros and novices alike.
PGA Catalunya, Spain
By Cara Dattani
Girona, a delightful province situated in north-eastern Spain, is best known for its cobbled streets, stunning scenery, and a turbulent history including twenty-five sieges. Since the golf courses opened in 1999, it has become increasingly popular among discerning golfers as word spreads of PGA Catalunya.
Owned by Irish entrepreneur Dennis O’Brien (also of Quinta do Lago), PGA Catalunya hosts two magnificent golf courses, one of which, The Stadium Course, is ranked second in Spain and third globally. The course is situated only fifteen minutes from Girona Airport against a spectacular backdrop, provided by the Spanish Pyrenees, and less than an hour from Barcelona and the Costa Brava’s beach shores.
There is something very welcoming about PGA Catalunya’s golf club; whether it is the atmosphere at the clubhouse created by the wonderfully friendly staff or the aura of contentment exuding from the Clubhouse’s members is hard to say. What is absolutely apparent is that despite the luxurious facilities to hand, one is not subjected to any arrogance or pretence.
Seamlessly integrated into the 300 hectare site are two distinct areas designated for property development, the first launched in September 2010. La Selva and La Vinya have been specifically designed to allow exclusive and low-density development. As with the clubhouse, the plans here have been wonderfully conceived. Several teams of globally acclaimed architects have been brought into the project to lay out designs for each unique property. Particular emphasis has been given not only to the clean, modern aesthetic but also to ensure that the project is as environmentally friendly as possible. Sales and Marketing Director, Kurt Fraser, explains, ‘it is important to us that no two properties here are the same as this reflects the unique characteristics of our clientele. This is not a cookie-cutter holiday resort. We want there to be a real sense of identity and community throughout PGA.’
Girona’s Old Town, famed for its cobbled streets and beautiful bridges, is home to a plethora of terrific eateries. Travellers are presented with local, continental and even Michelin Star rated restaurants. El Bulli and Massana are prime examples of the wonderful cuisine offered just minutes away from PGA.
www.lifeatpga.com is a dedicated site that has been built to compliment the resort’s own website and provides extremely useful tips on how to make the most of life in and around Girona.
Another of the reasons PGA is proving so popular within the international golfing community is that the climate is ideal for golfing twelve months of the year. For those whose interests lie away from the course, there will also be hiking trails, cycle paths and a luxurious hotel complete with spa and a 20m swimming pool. With property ranging from 385,000 Euros for a 1049 square metre villa plot to 2685,000 Euros for 200 square metre 3 bedroom townhouse, it is clear to see exactly why there is so much interest in the Gironan Gem.
Golf Style Facts
What gear do the glamorous golfers need when out on the course?
- Fabulous footwear is a must. Albartross create some of the best golf shoes for men available. Ranging from £345 -£1000 per pair available at www.albartross.com
- Stick with tradition and choose a classic, Pringle, argyle sweater.
- Why not give yourself an advantageous edge with a set of Lee Porter custom made golf clubs? www.hylandscustomclubs.co.uk
- If you cannot live without your gadgets and gizmos then do not forget to pack your Garmin G3 Golf GPS unit. The G3 comes loaded with 5000 of Europe’s finest courses in its memory, measures individual shot distances and provides advice on how to best avoid the hazards about the course.
- Finally, something to guarantee you sparkle when out on the green (and a personal favourite) are the Swarovski studded golf gloves, by Sassy Swings.