A petit clin d'œil to Golf Club Biella le Betulle
last update: 1 May 2022
Over the years we have spent a lot of time in Val d'Aosta, and occasionally we would drive down to a golf club called "Le Betulle" (The Birches) in what are called the Serra moraine, near Biella. I think the first time must have been when we learned that the golf course was considered the best in Italy, and it was only 1 hours drive away. We had always known that most Italians migrate to the beaches in the summer leaving the hills and mountains almost uninhabited in August (this has changed somewhat over the last 20 years). And in late July and all of August we found the course in perfect condition, and easy to find a tee time. In those days we could walk the course, which in reality is quite compact. Or if the day was a bit warmer we would take a buggy. We never stayed in the club, but I understood the rooms were comfortable.
A moraine refers to what are called natural morainic 'amphitheatres', in this case a wide flat internal depression of about 200 square kilometres encircled by a high moraine complex with a relief difference reaching 700 meter, and about 120 km from the present margins of the Monte Bianco glaciers.
Biella is a surprisingly large town hidden away in the foothills of the Alps. It has a tradition of wool workers and weavers' guilds, in part because of the mountain pastures and in part because of the abundant spring water needed to wash fleece and power the mills. It is (or was) home to Cerruti 1881, Zenga, and Fila. One of the most characteristic feature of the town is a funicular that connects the towns two different railway stations.
Above we can see the golf club terrace overlooking the tee of hole 1 (see below) and the greens of the 9th and 18th.
Above we can see the course layout. The course is 6,112 meters long for men and 5,378 meters long for women, and unusually its a par-73. The 'slope' from the yellow tees is 142, and from the red tees, 131. This makes it quite a difficult course, principally because 11 of the holes are dog-legs, and most of the greens are slightly raised and not overly big. I am writing from memory because we haven't been back to the club in the last 15 years, so things might have changed.
Perhaps the most important feature for us was the sense of peace and tranquility, and in the club house a touch of the past, e.g. wooden floors marked by players spikes, etc., and a nice restaurant serving simple, well prepared Italian traditional food.