Lake Como Golf Club, Dervio.
Various editions of Nisbet’s Golfing Guide indicate that the Lake Como Golf Club at Dervio was founded 1905. The golf course is also mentioned in the Golfing Annual 1907-08.
The course itself was improved and lengthened shortly after its construction and local sources from the village indicate that in February 1908 permission was granted to the local golf club “of Englishmen” to divert the local river Varrone in order to extend the golf course, work that was finished in March 1909. Another local source from 1914 mentions that the land the golf course was laid out on was allocated to Frederick Hamilton Russell, the husband of Lady Margaret. The family was certainly one of the leading forces developing early golf in Italy.
Nisbet’s 1912 describe the course as follows “This course is fortunate in possessing light sandy soil and excellent greens. Though comparatively short, 2,320 yards, each hole is made interesting by sand bunkers. There are also natural hazards, chief among the latter being the river Varone, which lies obliquely across the course, particularly in front of the ninth tee, and adds to the interest of one or two other holes. The course has recently been lengthened and improved”. The joint secretaries at this time were Dr F M Bishop, Royal Hotel, Varenna, and Lady Margaret Hamilton-Russell, 3 Cambridge Gate, London NW. The professional was J Olgiati. The course record was held by H L Gaw, 73. There were 37 members and the station at Dervio was five minutes from the course.
Michele Casanova has researched the history of the club and has kindly provided, and allowed us to use, the following images and information:-
It was reported in 1905 that the opening of the nine-hole course designed by J H Taylor at Lake Como was opened in the first week of May. A large number of English visitors were in attendance.
The following report is from The Times Monday October 29th 1906 – “A "golf week" has just been held by the Lake of Como Golf Club at Dervio. The Hon. F.G. Hamilton-Russell and his wife, Lady Margaret Hamilton-Russell, who won the British ladies' championship in 1893, 1894, and 1895, were largely responsible for the formation last year of the club at Dervio, and they were present on the occasion under notice. Mr. and Mrs. Henderson won the mixed foursome tournament for Lord Eldon's cup and prizes. In the final round they beat the Hon. Osmund Scott and Mrs. Scott. Miss Helen McKeever beat Mrs. Holland by 1 hole in the final round for Lady Margaret Hamilton-Russell's prize. In the gentlemen's handicap competition the Hon. Denys Scott won the prize presented by himself, but he retired in favour of Mr. F. Blundell. The latter, with a score of 91-12 = 79, also won the competition for Colonel Woodward's prize, the Hon. Denys Scott being second with a return of 78+3=81. Lady Margaret Hamilton-Russell recorded 88-4=84. She won the putting competition, the Hon. D. Scott being second.”
The club disappeared in 1920 but the impressive clubhouse is still there and is now a private residence.