A golfer in Cyprus

Check-in, Cyprus unlocked

Text: Vangelis Chaniotakis 

“They say golf is like life. It’s not true. Golf is much more complicated,” said Gardner Dickinson Jr, a professional golfer. In Cyprus, the Mediterranean’s rising destination for golfing, this is known all too well.

I began playing golf about fifteen years ago. I was lucky enough to catch “the bug” from two who love the game – the best of their kind. Soon, I realised that my passion for the game comes from its feeling of absolute freedom. Golf is not something simple or easy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It takes technique, precision in movement and strategic planning to conquer the course in front of you. Playing golf, you are constantly confronted with yourself. You are always your biggest opponent. The ups and downs are many. At one hole, you can execute a flawless drive, chip and putt. Immediately after, at the next, you play worse than a novice. Golf is a psychological game of emotions that shift from one stroke to the next. In addition to your physical condition, the game requires tremendous mental balance. Today, after countless battles on many courses, I have achieved a high level of play (a 9-handicap). Cyprus is one of my favourite destinations for golfing. The Mediterranean environment, ideal weather and state-of-the-art facilities make golfing here irresistible. Aphrodite Hills, Eléa Golf Course, Minthis Hills, and Secret Valley are living proof.

The Enchanting Eléa

If the memories we make in our travels have the power to shape our personalities, then the memories I have made while golfing in Cyprus have shaped mine. In Pafos, I had the honour of meeting and playing a full round with Eléa’s designer, Sir Nick Faldo: a golfing legend. In addition to the course’s undeniable beauty and perfect harmony with nature and the horizon, Eléa is designed to confront the golfer with many challenges. The fairway is set among a spread of carob and olive trees which hide many traps that require you to think carefully about each stroke. A course is characterised not only by its degree of difficulty but also by its rhythm. That is, even if you make some errors, you can still continue the game. A good golf course has memorable holes. There is nothing worse than playing holes that look and feel identical. Eléa is defined by two: No4, a par-4 with the course’s largest bunker (sand trap) and No17, a distant par-5 on a hill sloping down to the right, known as Bobby Jones – in honour of the great American golfer. Here, the challenge is to stay left on the fairway. Otherwise, if you hit downhill, things become tricky. When you play Eléa, don’t forget your sand wedge!

The Award-Winning Aphrodite Hills

Lovers of golf frequent their courses like the faithful frequent their monasteries. The golfer’s “monastery” in Cyprus is Aphrodite Hills, the island’s only PGA-certified course. It has also won awards for environmentalism. Two consecutive tournaments in 2020, the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Open and the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown, featured some of the best golfers in the world and put Cyprus at the centre of interest in the sport. This course has a key design feature; it is between two plateaus with stands of olive and carob trees. The fact that there are five different tee boxes for each hole allowing golfers to choose the difficulty of their approach makes it interesting for all handicaps. Aphrodite Hills is a long and spectacular course with fantastic views of the Mediterranean Sea. There are three unforgettable holes. No3 is a technical, 573 metre-long uphill par-5 that requires the ball to clear a ravine to reach the fairway. No7 is a 210 metre-long par-3. There is a feeling of freedom and calm when you play here. It is entirely unique, and you will fall in love with it. Watching your ball arc 200 metres over a gorge to land on the opposite green is truly satisfying. This combined with the uniqueness of the natural landscape is invaluable. Finally, No18 – a deceptively easy, 484 metre-long par-5 with stunning views of Aphrodite’s Rock. A good club for Aphrodite Hills is a 3-wood.

The Demanding Secret Valley

A few kilometres away from Aphrodite Hills, nestled into a picturesque valley that stretches to Aphrodite’s Rock, in Kouklia, is Secret Valley Golf Course. It is downhill in its entirety, except for the last 2 holes. The course may look easy enough, but the narrow and rolling fairways force you to think about your shots and play rather conservatively. In fact, it is probably the most demanding course in Cyprus. The 5-wood is your club in this arena.

The Pioneering Minthis Hills

A thirty-minute drive from Pafos on-route to the Troodos mountains and resting 600 metres above sea level is Tsada. About 3 km from the village is Stavros tis Minthis Monastery. It is one of the region’s most important religious attractions. Unfolding among vineyards and olive groves outside the monastery is Minthis Hills. Constructed in 1994, it was the first golf course in Cyprus. In 2007, the course underwent renovations – today, with its excellent clubhouse and unforgettable views of the surrounding countryside and the Troodos mountains, Minthis Hills is a showstopper. Players will be impressed by hole No10, an uphill par-5 set into a ravine. Bring your 6-iron.

Coming Soon

Limassol Greens Golf Resort

Limassol Greens, a long-awaited residential, golfing and spa-resort project currently under development, is a first for the city. The 18 holes of the course will be located next to the largest salt lake in Cyprus and will cover 6,404 metres amidst exceptional natural scenery, including ponds, olive and carob trees. The resort planned will cover a total of 1.4-million square metres next to Lady’s Mile beach. 

Designed by Cabell Robinson, a renowned golf architect, Limassol Greens will feature rich Bermuda grass, comfortable fairways, greens with excellent acceleration and unique pot bunkers sure to fascinate all golfing enthusiasts. ​​Much of the course will mirror the nearby dunes of Lady’s Mile, while holes 5 and 6, located in natural wetland, will offer scenic views of a neighbouring forest. Designed to create an unforgettable golfing experience year-round, Limassol Greens is destined to be incredible!

Awarded the best course in Europe, Aphrodite Hills holds a place among the world’s premier destinations for golf.

The Aphrodite Hills course most impressive features are a deep gorge separating two plateaus and endless vistas of the blue Mediterranean.

Secret Valley, the most technical course in Cyprus, offers challenging golf within a picturesque setting. 

Minthis Hills, the first GEO Certified golf course in Cyprus, is surrounded by a stunning natural landscape adorned by olive groves, walnut and fig trees.

 

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