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L'Albenza Golf Club Almenno S. Bartolomeo Bergamo

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Since 1986 the renowned publication Il Mondo del Golf has listed L’Albenza of the best Italian golf courses. How did the Bergamo "L'Albenza" Golf Club begin? Who were the people behind the idea and who were the promoters of what has since become one of the most well-known and highly valued Clubs both nationally and internationally? Let us leaf back through the great history book of the Club, right back to the end of the fifties to re-live a really captivating story that deserves to be told.

In fact, construction work started in 1959; and continued for another 2 years, ending in Spring 1961, with the Club's opening on Easter Sunday of the same year.

Cesare Magnetti, a prominent, local industrialist, was the lifeblood of the Club. It was Cesare who identified an area of 85 hectares of dense vegetation, with natural bumps and dips, ideal for a Golf course, in the middle of the countryside between Barzana and Almenno San Bartolomeo, facing the Lecco Pre-alpine mountains, close to the Imagna and Brembo vallies.

Magnetti and his engineer friend Ernesto Maggi were only able to play golf at Villa d'Este and so he gradually felt he needed to build a course nearer to his own town. He was backed by other friends: cavaliere Vincenzo Polli (later President of Albenza Real Estate Company), Carlo Coltri (engineer), commendatore Martino Marzoli, the Legler family and especially Carlo Pesenti (engineer) who acted as guarantor to finance the project. Other high profile and eminent professionals from Bergamo’s business community very quickly joined the group. Magnetti became enthusiastically involved in the project and managed it for over 28 years (taking over from his friend Carlo Pesenti).

The first 18 holes were contracted out to the prestigious firm of Architects Cotton & Sutton: two London-based architects whose design respectful of the natural environmental added a quintessentially English stamp to the course. It is a highly technical course, with an elevated teeing ground and a good distribution of water hazards (using the naturally occurring springs on the property) and bunkers, as well as a rich array of natural inclines that make some of the landing shots quite difficult on some of the greens.

The last and most important work he was involved in was a third 9-hole design, that was launched in June 1988, and aptly named the "Magnetti Course". Such course was developed under the auspices of architects Marco Croze and Tom Linskey, the latter the Director of the National Federgolf School (Italian Golf Federation) from 1981 to 1984, and who was also a great supporter of the emerging talents of Costantino Rocca.

From that point in time, L'Albenza can vaunt three 9-hole courses, which are highly prized in terms of their outstanding technical difficulty, and where over 100 competitions are played in rotation on an annual basis.

The Club House, designed by architect Sandro Angelini, is an exceptional building, distinctively different from the rustic-elegant style often seen in other Clubs where an existing structure is adapted to a new function. Here there are large glass walls, illuminating the spacious lounges overlooking the greens, a modern lobby (quite futuristic for the era in which it was built), games rooms, offices, and very functional bars and restaurants. It is also worth highlighting the typical use of stone walls and wrought iron, closely linked to the traditions and culture of the Bergamo valleys. All of this makes L'Albenza one of the most elegant and welcoming Golf Clubs in Italy.

Until a few years ago (February 2008 to be exact, when an extensive fire irreparably damaged the restaurant area) a large fresco dated between 1500-1600 adorned the inside of the restaurant. Once part of the ancient buildings originally located on the course, it had been salvaged by the strappo restoration technique and displayed in the best light on the end wall of the dining room, adding a touch of elegance to the Club.

In 1995, just before the Italian Open, a new structure to the front of the Club House was completed, housing a well-stocked Pro-Shop with a particularly extensive and well-equipped storage area for bags and trolleys, a jewel in the Club's crown. This facility was previously located at the base of the structure beside the beautiful swimming-pool (built at the end of the 90's) which has now been converted into the "Clubino" (Little Club), a structure exclusively for the younger members of our Club, also offering an efficient and friendly babysitting service.

In the Spring of 2011 the Bergamo Club was delighted and honoured to celebrate its first fifty years of existence; a prestigious achievement, made possible by our great passion and love of this wonderful game, the most practised sport in the world. Indeed, a lot of time has gone by since the unforgettable Cesare Magnetti, with a twinkle in his eye, first studied this green area at the bottom of the Orobie mountains and imagined creating one of the most beautiful and prized golf courses in all of Italy...

Since 1986 the renowned publication Il Mondo del Golf compiles a list of the best Italian golf courses: within this list, obviously those ranked as the "Top Ten" are recognised as the 10 most prestigious and highly valued Clubs. The rankings are based on the opinions, submitted throughout the previous year, of a selected panel of journalists, professionals, leading experts, chaired by golf expert Alberto Croze.

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