Whilst golf is still not a popular sport among the Greeks, some of the islands have some fantastic 18 hole courses, with four international standard courses based on the islands of Crete, Rhodes and Corfu and there are more in the pipeline. So if golf is your bag and you are looking for a challenging course amidst a scenic backdrop, read on to find out more about the golfing greens the Islands can offer.
This 18 hole course is located in the picturesque Rapa Valley. It was designed by Donald Harradine, the Swiss based architect and it has been described by many as being one of the best maintained courses in Europe with the perfect greens of Penncross Bent being the best in the Med. Harradine has succeeded in blending man-made elements of the course with the natural landscape, yet still providing a challenging yet aesthetic course, which does not exclude the budding novice; there are three sets of tees catering for players of all levels. The course is set against the hilly backdrop and combines some wonderful tree-lined fairways, bunkers and lakes, which flow into nearby streams. The best times to play are between March and November when the skies are blue and the weather warm. Even in the height of summer, there is a gentle sea breeze to cool you down. The course is kept watered with a state of the art irrigation system, which makes the turf of outstanding quality and pleasant underfoot. Golfers from around the world play this course and unwind in its magnificent stone clubhouse. The clubhouse offers all of the entertainment facilities and amenities of any modern club including a restaurant, lounge and games room. The on-site pro shop sells a wide selection of golfing equipment. There is a putting green in front of the club house practice ground is particularly large and buckets of balls can be supplied to those wishing to indulge in serious practice. In front of the clubhouse there is a putting green and you can get a bucket of balls to practice with from the shop.
Afandou Golf, Rhodes
This is the oldest course on the islands, built in 1972 and another international standard 18 hole course designed by Donald Harradine. It lies 18 km from Rhodes town at Afandou Beach. The complex also houses a large hotel with scenic views. Despite the shortages of water on the island, this course has been maintained to high standards, which is testimony to the skills of the club management. Reports are mixed on the challenges this course offers, with some claiming it is great to play whilst others describe it as somewhat lacking; pros describe it as challenging but fair. The scenery for the first three holes is beautiful as they are located close to the sea overlooking Afandou Beach. Whilst the course is open all year round, the best times to play here are during the spring and autumn, when the sun is not too hot. The club organises an International Championship Cup twice a year in spring and autumn and you can play here all year round. The Club House offers all of the usual facilities but is simple in its style and layout.
Crete Golf Club, Chersonissos Crete
Colin Callander, former Editor of Golf Monthly said of this course as, "it is a marvellous new addition to Europe's rich reservoir of courses and I have no doubt that it will soon be regarded as one of the finest tests in the whole of the southern Mediterranean." It was opened in 2003, designed by Bob Hunt and is one of the newest courses on the islands, open all year round. This 18 hole hosts some of the country's most prominent golf competitions including the Aegean Airlines Pro-Am. The course is situated to the east of Heraklion's Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport. The scenery is wonderful here with the Aegean as a backdrop, the vast olive groves and the rugged hills so typical of Crete. It caters for both experienced and novice golfers and offers all the usual clubhouse facilities including a bar and restaurant. There are several hotels close to the course including the Porto Elounda complex in Agios Nikolaos, which has a 9 hole course at guests disposal.
Crete Golf Club in Hersonissos, Crete
The first ever 18 hole course on Crete, was designed by Bob Hunt and has been described as ‘a desert golf course hewn out of rolling landscape.' It is located half an hour away from the airport at Heraklion and boasts some of the best golf on the islands. It is a challenging course designed to test even the most skilled golfers, although novices are also encouraged to play here. You can bring your own clubs or hire them from the clubhouse and transportation is also available. The course has alliances with around 60 Partner Hotels on the island, each of which offer discounted green fees.