'Every Hole At'

Every Hole at Marco Simone: Why this new Ryder Cup venue should be great for match play

September 05, 2023

Carlos Amoedo

What makes an ideal match-play golf course? High on the list would be holes that force players to make clear decisions on the tee, including what line to take in order to put second shots into advantageous positions, and even what club to hit—driver, or something less? The course would be at least as much a test of controlled thinking as skilled swinging, especially in the face of major tournament pressure and tightly contested matches.

This description fits Marco Simone Golf & Country Club outside of Rome, host of the 2023 Ryder Cup. Though the course opened in the late 1990s (it was designed by American architect Jim Fazio), it underwent a complete remodel between 2018 and 2021 to prepare it for the Ryder Cup matches. European Golf Design, working with Tom Fazio II, Jim’s son, rebuilt and re-routed the holes with match-play competition in mind, creating a consistent theme of risk-reward holes and high-stakes drives.


Carlos Amoedo

A majority of the par 4s and par 5s possess strands of bunkers that eat into the landing areas where the professionals typically hit their drives, causing players to decide if they have the horsepower to carry them, the nerve to try to maneuver one around them, or to lay back into a conservative position. These decisions will be magnified under intense pressure and the necessity by those trailing in their matches to take chances, especially at the closing quartet of holes that include a potentially drivable par 4 and the massive par-5 18th with water left of the green.

A lovely course that shows off views of Roman landmarks and the surrounding countryside, Marco Simone will be a uniquely challenging course for the world’s best players.

See what the Ryder Cup players will be facing in our exclusive flyover video of Marco Simone: