Marco Simone Golf Club, situated in the picturesque region of Guidonia, on the outskirts of the eternal city of Rome, Italy, stands as a true jewel among European golf courses. Renowned worldwide for its unique history and exciting course layout, Marco Simone is the perfect setting for the Ryder Cup’s first visit to Italy. But what makes the course so special? And why is it perfect for match play? And just who is Marco Simone? Let’s dive in.
Marco Simone Golf & Country Club
From the ancient Roman landmarks to the sprawling Italian countryside, Marco Simone Golf & Country Club is a visual feast. Although the course originally opened in the late 1980s and was designed by Jim Fazio, it underwent an extensive renovation between 2018 and 2021 in preparation for the Ryder Cup. Collaborating with Tom Fazio II, Jim Fazio’s son, European Golf Design reconfigured and redesigned holes with match-play competition at the forefront. The result is a course distinguished by a consistent theme of risk-reward scenarios and pivotal tee shots.
Throughout this year’s playing of the Ryder Cup, you’ll find that Marco Simone requires some serious decision-making – like club choice, determining what line will lead to an optimal second shot, and so on. That said, a course like this not only tests a player’s skill but also their ability to make well-calculated decisions, especially under the pressure of an entire country riding on their backs!
Carefully positioned bunkers, strategic water hazards, and greens that are nothing short of putting perfection ensure that golfers on both teams are thrilled and tested at every turn.
Now, you may be wondering where Marco Simone Golf & Country Club received its name. And to find that answer, we have to travel back to the mid-1400s. Back before golf even existed, which would follow a couple centuries later.
Records indicate a stone tower had been erected around the year 1000 in the Roman countryside. This tower eventually fell into the possession of Simone dei Tebraldo. Together with his son, Marco di Simone, they expanded the property that transformed into a magnificent palace. It remains one of the most impeccably preserved structures of its kind within the region.
In the centuries that followed, the property witnessed a succession of Cardinals and Dukes as its residents – even the eminent astronomer Galileo Galilei called the castle home during the 1600s. However, the 17th century ushered in a challenging period, as a malaria outbreak caused the affluent to flee the countryside, leading to a decline in the estate’s fortunes.
The castle remained in a state of disrepair throughout most of the 20th century. It wasn’t until 1978, when Laura Biagiotti, a notable Italian fashion designer, acquired the estate. Biagiotti embarked on an ambitious restoration project, breathing new life into the Marco Simone castle.
Fast forward to December 2015, when Italy’s bid to host the Ryder Cup was granted. Now, Marco Simone Golf & Country Club is poised to shine on the global stage, as it hosts one of golf’s most prestigious events – an occasion when the world gathers to witness the sport’s finest players compete for glory.
Intrigued? Discover where and when to watch this year’s Ryder Cup and witness history unfold at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.