The basic rule of Golf says: “Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you can't do either, do what is fair. To do what is fair you need to know the rules of Golf.”. Respect and knowledge of the rules are fundamental in this sport; every player is alone on the course, for this reason he/she must learn to control himself/herself by appealing to his/her own sense of honesty and self-control. The judges are little more than observers, in case of a dispute the rule committee only informs the player how he should have reacted to a particular situation, according to the rules. Players are required to prove their knowledge through an exam, details of the rules updates are published every four years and released by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Europe and by the United States Golf Association in America.
There is a dispute about the origin of Golf. The tradition says that it was born in Scotland and spread from there to the British Islands and the rest of the world. However, Steven Van Hengel, a Dutch historian, found proof that there was already a game in the Netherlands which was called “Golf”, since 1297.
But where was it born in Italy?
In Florence of course, because of a big English colony at the end of the Nineteenth century. English people wanted to play their favourite game, so they started to build the first Golf courses, which have been increasing a lot until nowadays. Today you find 16 certified courses and many other golf clubs all over Tuscany. A lot of golf clubs are located in famous tourist resorts, by the sea, on the hills and on the mountains. Each golf club has its own distinctive flair and charm, every structure represents the ideal place for everyone who wants to escape from the stressful go-go-go lifestyle, basically all you have to do is to choose your favourite and the most suitable to your level: there's a golf club for everybody, it doesn’t matter if you are an expert or a beginner. Moreover, the mild climate allows you also to perform your beloved sport during the Winter months.
If you come to Florence for instance, you can pay a visit to the Ugolino Golf Club, which is located approximately 12 km from downtown Florence. This course is one of the most stunning in the world and represents also an interesting challenge because of all its obstacles, height differences and well-defended greens. According to the American author Chris Santella, this is one of the fifty most beautiful golf courses in the world. If you prefer playing your favourite sport in the countryside and spend your holiday in a farmhouse, you can choose Vinci (50 km from Florence and Lucca, 25 km from Pistoia) and stay in the marvellous Bellosguardo Villa, that was built in the Fourteenth century. This prestigious structure provides you with all necessary amenities and has also a golf course, managed by the Bellosguardo Vinci Golf Club: we are talking about the longest 9-hole course in Italy (about 6.300 metres par 72 with double departure, large driving range, 2 putting-greens and a pitching green) right on the hills of the town where Leonardo was born. Finally, if you prefer the coast, the Pelagone Toscana Golf Club is a good option for you. This course, designed by the American architect Keith Preston is located in Gavorrano (39 km from Grosseto, 85 km from Siena) and stretches along the hills of Maremma. The location offers beautiful views over the Gulf of Follonica and the Island of Elba.