Golf was once seen as 'elitist sport' in Italy
This week's Italian Open brought back fond memories of me trying to qualify at Monticello Golf Club for the tournament back in the 1970s.
In those days, if you turned up on Monday and managed a decent round, you found yourself playing in the main field on Thursday.
Golf started to be played in Italy by foreigners, above all native speakers of English, who settled on a more or less permanent basis, in areas between Tuscany, Umbria, Liguria and Lombardy, both for the beauty of their culture and landscapes and their food and wine specialties.
Although it is considered an elitist sport in Italy, it was with the advent of the booming economy that many people suddenly had the opportunity to try their hand at golf, perhaps also to imitate a society that they admired, obviously ending up developing a passion for the sport.
Ugo Grappasonni and Alfonso Angelini were the first Italian players to win not only several international competitions but also the Italian Open.
Then there was Baldovino Dassu, Matteo Manassero, Costantino Rocca and the Molinari brothers who have carried the Italian flag worldwide.
Next year's Ryder Cup will be played at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club where the Italian Open is being played this week.
It's a stadium golf course with rolling fairways and undulating greens situated just half an hour's drive from Rome.
The course lies within 350 acres of stunning Roman countryside, complete with a restored 11th Century castle.
Out of Bounds: "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito." -- The Dalai Lama