Famous as the birthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte, the French island of Corsica is a playground for wealthy holidaymakers but strangely home to just one golf course, Sperone, which is built on rocky headlands and overlooks the pristine coves and azure waters of the Mediterranean. The course was designed by Cabell B. Robinson, for Robert Trent Jones, who saves most of the excitement for a six-hole seaside stretch late in the round, which is among the most scenic anywhere.
The solid front nine winds mostly through rugged Corsican undergrowth with only the odd glimpse of the distant waters and a number of small raised greens to complicate play. The back nine on the other hand packs quite a punch and includes a superb run of holes from the 11th, which plays down toward the ocean and a slender ledge green sandwiched between large boulders. The next is a brutal one-shotter across a rocky canyon to an elevated cliff-top while the 13th is a short bumpy par four played along the edge of the sea to a tiny target framed by the sandy Sperone beach. Both the 15th and 16th would be all-world holes with a little tree clearing, the 16th in particular is hurt by growth along the cliff edge which separates the fairway from a tee that rests on a rocky peninsula jutting into the sea. The hole then bends left around the cliffs, and were the trees removed it would become one of the most exhilarating driving holes on earth.
Situated at the southernmost tip of the island, Sperone is only minutes from the medieval cliff-top town of Bonifacio, which towers above the Lavezzi islands and the Strait of Bonifacio. This fortified town is a particularly striking sight for those coming by ferry from the nearby Italian island of Sardinia and is itself a must-see European destination, with or without your golf clubs.
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