Varese Golf Club.
The Golf Year Book 1905 indicates that Mr Hetley and Lady Margaret Hamilton Russell, winner of the first three British Ladies Amateur Championships in 1893, 1894 and 1895, are holding the amateur course records with 70 respectively 92 strokes.
It also confirms that the club was instituted in 1898 and also well before 1908: “The course, of nine holes, varying from 90 to 270 yards (par 30), is laid out on some fields adjoining the Hotel Excelsior. The hazards are hedges, hurdles, ditches, furze bushes, and trees. The course is kept in excellent order.” (from Golfing Annual 1901-02)
The course was situated one mile from central Varese. It remains unclear whether this course was set up in the park of Grand Hotel Excelsior (Villa Recalcati) as some sources are indicating. This building and the adjacent park are today used as the prefecture of Varese province.
On January 30, 1908 the following article was published in The Prealpina: “For several months, the tireless Eugenio Brunelli, owner of the Hotel Excelsior in Casbeno (Varese), is building in Valganna - precisely between the delle Miniera bridge and the Inverso bridge - a “Golf Links”, which will become yet another great attraction for foreigners.”
Another article published by the "Journal of the hotels" states that "A new Golf Links, owned by the Hotel Excelsior, was prepared in Valganna near Varese (30 minutes with electric tram from the hotel) and will be in perfect condition for the game on May 5th, 1908. It will be inaugurated by a tournament. The course extends over 40 acres, for the most part heath with undulations and hills, offering a variety to the game. The meadows form the most unique characters of the course. There is a large and comfortable Club House with a beautiful garden all around. Valganna, also called the "Switzerland of Italy", is advantageously situated for golf: the surrounding hills give shelter from the heat and therefore will also find the game enjoyable during summer.”
“A new course of nine holes, varying from 92 to 528 yards (par 33), has been laid out by the Hotel Excelsior on 40 acres of moorland at Valganna, thirty minutes by electric car from the hotel. The greens are excellent, and the hazards are thickets, mounds, heather, walls, and streams. There is a large clubhouse, with putting course around it. A professional is engaged for the season, March 15th to November 30th. Visitors, 2francs a day, 10 francs a week, or 20 francs a month; ladies 2 francs, 8 francs, or 15 francs. Sunday play. The hotel caters for golfers at 12s a day, including lunch at the clubhouse.” (GA 1907-08)
Since 1934 the medieval monastery of Luvinate has been used as the Varese Golf Clubs clubhouse. Peter Gannon designed the original nine-hole course that was later extended to 18-holes.