Looking back over the first 20 years of Golfaround we found that it was maybe time to recapture the last four years. Remembering where we went and what we did will give us something to look forward to in the seasons to come. This will be the first of three articles.
The 2016 season certainly had it’s challenges, the weather Gods were not too kind to us. The big, black cloud came in at about 4pm every week day and sometimes on the weekends as well. We couldn’t remember when we had such violent storms. We were lucky though to have an early Spring start and instead of hitting ball inside the Dome in April we actually played outside on the course at Fox Hollow. We had fun at the Mystery Bus trip which saw us in Golden with a great theme of “Golf is like a box of chocolates you never know what you are going to get”. If you saw Forrest Gump you will remember that line but it was about life. However it does adequately describe the challenge of the average amateur golfer every time he or she tees it up. What game is going to show up today? Our spin was the mystery of what you got on every hole. Also the Play & Stay in Fernie and Edmonton’s wind-up at Broadmoor enjoyed some favorable weather.
2016 was also when The Elks Golf Club changes their structure and with it their name, it changed to The Winston the golf course didn’t change and we continued to have great golf at a reasonable price.
For 28 of us and that does include 6 spouses the highlight of 2016 had to be Italy. A beautiful country offering magnificent architecture, beautiful landscapes, ancient ruins, and brilliant art. Some entire cities that we visited are works of art in themselves, Venice, Florence and Rome. In Venice we were surrounded by magnificent sights and sounds as we cruised along the Giudecca canal to St. Mark’s Square We admired the Bridge of Sighs and the beauty of St Mark’s Basilica was amazing, as was the ornate Doge’s Palace. We enjoyed some stuning architecture; saw mysterious passageways; explored the canals by gondola in the rain, it was fun. A trip to the beautiful island of Burano, known for its lace production, gave us the opportunity to visit local shops and a museum to admire high-end lace on display, and also to admire the island’s brightly colored fishermen’s houses.
On the way to Lake Garda we stopped for a while in Verona, the setting for Shakespeare’s most famous play, and saw the Roman Arena and Juliet’s balcony. It was here that we experienced our first excellent meal at a little out of the way restaurant accompanied by some delicious Amarone wine which comes from this area, very good. We loved the Lake Garda area and had fun exploring the jewels of the area Brescia and Sirmione. We could only approach the town by foot crossing the draw bridge but once inside we felt immersed in the Middle Ages, since there is a profusion of historic buildings at every turn. Cars are not allowed inside the city, which is ideal for pleasant strolls through the narrow cobblestone streets where an air of nostalgia fills the entire town.
On our way to the UNA Poggio dei Medici Golf Resort we stopped in Milan to see the La Scala Opera House, the Duomo di Milan with it’s amazing architecture and the high end Galleria Vittonio Emauelle II where we gasped at the prices. Our rooms at the Poggio were great as were the other amenities The course itself was great and quite a challenge, we were all happy we got to play it twice thinking it would be easier the second time around, but no, we still got lost. One of the great things about here was that we were all in the same area so happy hours on the patio were great and we all got to know one another a little bit better.
One day in Florence is not enough time to absorb all the wonders. Masterpieces are everywhere and the magnificent Duomo and Baptistery are wonderful. We visited the Uffizi in the afternoon the art was outstanding. The day ended with sunset over the Arno high above Florence, what more could you ask for.
Onward to the South and Pistoia by way of Pisa where we admired the famous Leaning Tower. In Pistoia we golfed again which was great, went to the local market which was fun and the majority of the group attended the cooking school where we made delicious pasta, pesto, biscotti and more. Other places we enjoyed in the area were San Gimignano and Lucca. The wine and olive oil tasting we did at the Fattoria il Poggio was excellent. Our last experience was Rome, everything is gigantic with the exception of Joan’s beer at the hotel, it was pretty small for the price but we’re in Rome. Everywhere you look there seems to be remnants of the Roman Empire. Both Vatican Ciy and Rome has to be seen to be believed. Within the Vatican are 11 Vatican Museums which hold some of the best art in the world. We saw the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s ceiling fresco and St. Peter’s Basilica, a huge and beautiful church holding priceless works of art. St. Peter’s Square is a huge circular piazza where people gather to see and hear the Pope. Again we only saw a small portion of what is Rome but what we saw, the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain were a sight to see. Our last golf game unfortunately had to end after nine due to rain, but other than a sprinkle when we arrived in Venice and the last day in Rome we had sunny warm weather. Our farewell dinner was excellent and the opera singers gave us an entertaining show enjoyed by all.
Stay tuned for the next episode in the March newsfeed.