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Villa d’Este Golf Club at Cernobbio. (1910 - WW1) 

According to Nisbet’s Golf Year Book 1912 and Golf Ilustrated dating Jan 26th 1912, but also confirmed by other sources, a third golf club after Menaggio & Cadenabbia and Dervio was founded in 1909 on the shores of Lake Como at Cernobbio.

On September 23rd 1910, Golf Illustrated published an article on the Opening of the Villa d’Este Golf Links at Lake Como, Italy:

“It is significant of the times that on the beautiful Lake of Como a third golf links should have come into existence within a space of about as many years. At Dervio the Hon. F.G. Hamilton-Russell has his private links almost opposite the commanding mountain; at Croce, there is the Menaggio and Cadenabbia club, and now at Como end visitors are supplied with a links opened a few days ago.

On the first day a professional match between Truc, Villa d’Este, and Hill, Menaggio and Cadenabbia, against Ghigo, Axenfels, and Lugier, Lucerne. The representatives of the Italian clubs were a little too strong for the Swiss couple, winning by the margin of three and one, after being dormy two.


Villa d’Este Golf Club at Cernobbio. The President striking the first ball 1910.

Commendatore Amerigo Ponti, president, striking the first ball. Golf Illustrated dating September 23rd 1910.


Villa d’Este Golf Club at Cernobbio. The Club Pavilion 1910.

The Club Pavilion. Golf Illustrated dating September 23rd 1910.


The following day there was a team match between the Cadenabbia and Menaggio G.C. and the Villa d’Este G.C., when Commendatore Amerigo Ponti, the president of the Villa d’Este G.C., offered the “Ponti” Inaugural Challenge Cup to be won outright, and it is interesting to relate that the home team secured the trophy for this match, thereby preserving the cup as a souvenir for the first team match played at Cernobbio. (…)

The site of this new course is that of the former racecourse at Cernobbio, and it is within ten minutes of the Villa d’Este Hotel, the renowned Spring and Autumn resort on the Como Lake. There is a motor service and at the moderate cost of one franc. From Como the electric tram runs to Cernobbio and a branch line has just been laid which runs through the links, and as a matter of fact bisected the eighth and ninth holes in such a manner that other holes have to be taken on the west of the river.

That such a venture could not have existed without the backing of Signor Dombré on behalf of the Villa d’Este goes without saying, and this gentleman has thrown his heart and soul into the scheme. Signor Emile Cramer is the hon. Secretary, and to him for his untiring labours visitors and Italian players are indebted. Dr. Eliot with Mr. S.H. March and the wise advice of Colonel C. C. Woodward, have largely assisted bringing about the advent of this desirable club.

The professional, Truc, served his time at the Cannes Golf Club and he has proved in every way a capable and painstaking green-keeper. The former grand stand of the racecourse has been converted into a convenient clubhouse with full accommodation for ladies and gentlemen. There will be croquet lawns and bowling green. One most important factor in all Continental golf is that caddies abound. Here there are plenty, and it is possible to arrange the caddie fee at a moderate figure. The inaugural festivities terminated with a brilliant banquet.”

There is no additional information available. We believe that the course was closed down after the outbreak of WW I. It was not until the mid-1920s that today’s Villa d’Este golf course designed by Peter Gannon was constructed.

Christoph Meister

November 2017.