By Antonio Malara
After my first and positive experience at the Verdura Resort for "The Rocco Forte Open” in May, I accepted my friend’s idea to attend to another golf tournament scheduled for October 2017. This time we flew with my friend Fabio to Milan for a weekend full of events. The 74 Italian Open was one of them. The tournament was part of the “Rolex Series”, it has a 7 million dollars prize fund and was full of big golf players. As usual the tournaments rounds start on Thursday and ends on Sunday but this time we couldn’t be there for the final day so we went on Saturday.
Let me talk about the location first. The tournament took place inside the “Parco Reale” in Monza (25 km north to Milan). This park is the biggest “fenced park” in Europe according to the taxi driver who brought us there. Inside, beside the golf court there’s also the F1 circuit, the one who host the Italian GP.
What disappointed me was the transportation from Milan to the golf court in Monza, in fact there wasn’t one dedicated for the tournament but just the regular connections. Despite we lived in the northern part of Milan, here is what we had to do to get to the “Parco Reale”. First: around six metro stops till the last one; second: from the last metro station we went to the railway station (that fortunately was just on top of the metro); third: from this station we took the train to Monza (just one stop); fourth: at the Monza railway station we had to take a taxi to the Golf Court. As you can see we needed to take three different transportation to cover a 25km distance (and the worse was yet to come, in fact after the tournament it was impossible to get a taxi, so we had to get to the closer railway station by walking for three km and then take the train. We weren’t the only ones who did this, also some foreign people who were at the tournament did the same).
Once there we saw some charter buses but I think they were private, maybe some golf associations planned this charter for themselves. As long as we get the entrance we forgot about the hard trip and we merged with the people.
The entrance was essentially a large and long road which divided the 18 holes in two sections. Beside the road for around 200 meters there were stands for food, for informations about the tournament and for promotions. We noticed also a structure built like a “villa” that was the clubhouse and all around many “green” for training. Here was another level compared to the Rocco Forte Open, the place was full of people and press. After we took a little confidence with the place we eat some rice and we moved to the first hole. This time we followed from the beginning the Italian player Francesco Molinari. After the first two holes I immediately understood two things, one good and one bad. The good one was that Molinari and his contender were top players and the second that all those people had the intention to follow the players till the end so we couldn’t watch the games from a good point of view. This people weren’t just fans, I noticed that those who follow golf are really experts. They knew all the holes in every details, they knew how to move between one hole and another, even the kids were impressive. I was shocked how some kids were able to follow the ball with the eyes, make calculations about the results like adults. Looking at some little kids I realized that golf tournaments are good places to make kids understand the respect. In fact the silence is the first thing to learn there, it is essential in some part of the game. They knew that before the shoot no one can make noises, well the kids were able to pass from noises to silent in one second, it was enough a signal from the parents or from the stewards.
Fabio and I tried our personal challenge to be in the first position on the green, we did only once and we don’t even remember how we did it. We failed in all attempts, we accepted the fact that we were amateurs there.
Molinari and Pepperell did the showtime, the Italian player collected 5 “birdie” and par all the rest, while Pepperell closed two “bogey” but he did four “birdie”. To be honest I couldn’t enjoy the game as I did at the Verdura, the game was fast, I never had the best view during the holes, even for that I couldn’t take nice pictures. We had the opportunity to give the high five to Molinari a couple of time but we couldn’t “follow” him in a close way. We have to consider that for the Italian Open there were many stewards so actually no one could really be beside the players during the shoots.
The park was really huge, it was like a forest, except for the green you didn’t realize it was a Golf Court. We walked up and down on small hills, we went between trees, all in a rush from one hole to another and quite during the shoots. I think we walked for around eight kilometers during the 18 holes, this is a thing that I really love. Golf is a healthy sport even for those who watch it live, you feel the adrenaline, you run to get the holes before the other people. What you do when you watch other sport games like tennis, basketball or soccer? You practically sitting all the time, there’s no motion, it’s for lazy people.
For the record Molinari closed the round 3 at -5, he beat his contender Pepperell and he was at the sixth position at the the end of the day. The tournament was won by Tyrrell Hatton, Francesco Molinari confirmed his sixth position with the same score of other three players. Those players are “monsters” Hatton closed at -21 to par while Molinari at -17, just 4 shoots more, it’s really impressive the high level of those men.
At the end my second time on a Golf Court has been positive again. A new experience in a prestigious tournament with the pros and cons but still a good one. We also enjoyed the day in t-shirt thanks to a perfect sunny weather, what else? The more I’m in a Golf Court the more I like it, now I need to question my friend about the next affordable tournament.
Photo: Antonio Malara
Camera: Fujifilm XT-20