Calabria - A new golfing frontier

Arne Van Amerongen reports from his latest port of call, Calabria in Italy:

I did not know this region of Italy when I arrived to oversee the construction of the nine hole course in Southern Calabria so it was a real challenge and a very gratifying experience for me. The population of Calabria is approximately two million and the project is being built in a region with a precarious economy. The city of Reggio Calabria boasts a national airport with daily flights from Rome and Milan and a population of 180,000.

The Montechiarello golf course which brought me to the area is being built in a small village called Ortia, in the hinterland of Reggio and mainly due to the initiative of nine local investors.

The project is at an altitude of 750 metres with a magnificent view over Sicily. Furthermore the Straits of Messina, the Etna and the Eolie islands can all be seen from the clubhouse from where you can also see the magnificent view which embraces the 1st hole with its artificial lake, the Calabrian coastline and the Straits of Messina (photo no.1). One of the first problems I encountered was the recruitment of experienced personnel and related machinery. Some of the work was executed manually, as big stones were transported with wheelbarrows to the shores of one of the three artificial lakes (photo no. 2). One of the three artificial lakes was completed after 2 weeks work and has a total surface of 5000 m2 with a total volume of 25,000 m3.