American architect Kyle Phillips, famed for his work at Dundonald and Kingsbarns, is responsible for designing the two courses at the Verdura Resort in Sicily. The game of golf, like every other leisure activity, suffered during the long years of Mafia-related violence that plagued the island, but while some tensions remain, the situation is much improved. English hotelier Rocco Forte built one of his chain of luxury resorts here on a splendid coastal site that has drawn comparisons with Gleneagles and Pebble Beach. Indeed, if you squint you could mistake the setting for Scotland, with the gentler Mediterranean Sea substituting for the windier North Sea. Phillips' approach accordingly was to allow the natural beauty of the surroundings to inform the layout. This tropical development features swimming in an outdoor pool and on a private beach, a spa, and a first-class hotel with more than two hundred rooms.
Kyle Phillips designed both the East and the West courses at the Verdura Resort on the island of Sicily, and they naturally share a great deal in terms of conditions and layout. Nevertheless, the West course has more of the vintage feel of links in England, Ireland and Scotland; thus, for instance, the ninth hole represents the greatest distance out, rather than there being two 9-hole loops, each with its own separate point of departure. Some of the West's early holes run along an abandoned train track, while other stretches of holes follow the beach or are set beside a eucalyptus-lined stream that runs through the middle of the layout. In the hopes of attracting a championship, Phillips situated his two courses at Verdura so that one nine from each can be combined to create a new course that is set entirely along the beach and coastline.