Ugo Grappasonni: Profile of Italian Golf 'Musketeer'

Ugo Grappasonni was one of the leading Italian golfers in the 1940s and 1950s, and a prominent player in the post-war European professional circuit. He won multiple national opens in those decades prior to the existence of today's European Tour, including his home Italian Open twice, plus the French, Dutch and Swiss opens.

Date of birth: May 8, 1922

Place of birth: Rome, Italy

Date of death: February 19, 1999

Also known as: Grappasonni was known as one of the "Three Musketeers" of Italian golf, along with Alfonso Angelini and Aldo Casera. Together, they founded the Italian PGA in 1963.

His Biggest Wins

  • 1941 Italian National Omnium
  • 1948 Swiss Open
  • 1949 French Open
  • 1950 Italian Open
  • 1952 Swiss Open
  • 1953 Moroccan Open
  • 1953 Open del Ticino
  • 1954 Dutch Open
  • 1954 Italian Open
  • 1954 Italian National Omnium
  • 1955 Italian National Omnium
  • 1957 Italian National Omnium

In the Majors

Grappasonni played only in the British Open, never in any of the other three pro majors, and he played in The Open only six times. But he did place in the Top 20 twice: tied 19th in 1951 and tied 17th in 1954. He also finished 28th in 1949 and tied 27th in 1953, plus tied 41st in his final Open, 1941. Grappasonni missed the cut in his Open debut in 1948.

More About Ugo Grappasonni

Called by Peter Alliss "one of the best Continental golfers during the years shortly after World War II," Ugo Grappasonni won the Italian Open twice and the Italian Closed (also called the Italian National Omnium or Italian Native Professional) four times.

"He was a classical swinger whose slightly excitable temperament occasionally let him down," the editors of the 1975 The Encyclopedia of Golf stated.

Grappasonni's first big win was the 1948 Swiss Open. He then took the 1949 French Open by four strokes over runner-up and French favorite Marcel Dallemagne.

Both his wins in the Italian Open were in playoffs. In 1950 Grappasonni beat countryman (and fellow Musketeer) Alfonso Angelini in a playoff; in 1954 he defeated John Jacobs in a playoff. The win over Jacobs required 36 holes to settle by a single stroke, 137 to 138. Grappasonni also finished second in the Italian Open in 1948.

Grappasonni was the first Italian golfer to win the Italian Open twice. No other Italian golfer did so until 2016, when Francesco Molinari added his second home title.

His 1954 victory in the Dutch Open was also the result of playoff, in which Grappasonni defeated the home country's Gerard de Wit. They played a 36-hole playoff but were still tied at the end of it. Grappasonni won it on the first sudden-death hole — the 109th hole overall.

Grappasonni played in a Continental Europe vs. USA match in 1953. Immediately after the 1953 Ryder Cup (vs. Great Britain), most of Team USA traveled to Paris to face a team of Continental golfers. The Americans won that competition, 12-3, but Grappasonni was the only Continental not to lose a match. In fourballs, he teamed with Angelini to defeat Jim Turnesa and PGA of America official Warren Orlick (who was playing because Ed Oliver, part of the Ryder Cup squad, had gone home). In singles, Grappasonni forged a tie against Lloyd Mangrum.

He also represented Italy in the Canada Cup (later known as the World Cup) five times, in 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1959.

In 1962, Grappasonni played Ken Venturi in an episode of the television series, Shell's Wonderful World of Golf (commissions earned).

As a club and teaching professional, Grappasonni worked for many years at Villa d'Este Golf Club in Como, Italy. In 1966 he became pro at Olgiata Golf Club in Rome.

His son, Silvio Grappasonni, played on various tours in the 1970s into the 1990s and had wins on the European Challenge Tour and Aps Tour. Silvio later became a golf commentator on the Italian Sky Sport network.

Ugo Grappasonni was 76 years old when he died in 1999. In an obituary, a Milan newspaper called Grappasonni "one of the fathers of Italian golf."

(Book titles are affiliate links; commissions earned)
Alliss, Peter. The Who's Who of Golf, 1983, Orbis Publishing.
Brenner, Morgan. The Majors of Golf, Volume 2, 2009, McFarland and Company.
Launceston (Tasmania) Examiner. "Two ties in Dutch C'ship," July 29, 1954. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from
"Morto Grappasonni". Corriere della Sera. 16 February 1999.
Open Italia. "History of the Open,"
PGA of Italy. "La nostra storia," via Internet Archive.
Steel, Donald, and Ryde, Peter. The Encyclopedia of Golf, 1975, The Viking Press.

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