Greece might not be the first country that spring to mind about golf, but that could well change now that a group of local hoteliers has built the first golf course on the island of Crete.
The Crete Golf club is a marvelous 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.
The new Bob Hunt masterpiece is best described as a desert golf course hewn out of rolling landscape little more than half an hour from the international airport of Heraklion. It boasts a series of memorable holes that will test every aspect of a golfer’s repertoire and offers stunning views over mountainous landscape that has hardly changed since the Minoan era back in 2600 to 1100 BC.
The views on the back nine are incomparable and so is the service offered to visitors by Golf Director Harry Zervos and his well trained staff.
Zervos and his team are well aware that a large percentage of visitors will arrive on Crete oblivious to the fact that the island now boasts an excellent golf course and so cater for that market accordingly. Staff can supply a fine selection of quality hire clubs. They will go out of their way to fix up games for single golfers and can even arrange transportation as when required.\\the standard of service at Crete Golf Club is exemplary and adds a great deal to what is already a special experience. I made my first visit some six months after the course opened in the summer of 2003. I can assure fellow travelers that it will require little persuasion for me to return.
Golf Monthly Editor 1990-2000.
The Crete Golf Club is home to the first 18-hole course on the island and it is a lay-out that few visitors will ever forget.
Course architect, Bob Hunt, head of design at the PGA Golf Management Ltd of Great Britain, has taken what was once an unkempt piece of rugged mountainside and transformed it into a verdant oasis surrounded by some of the most beautiful views in the whole of Europe.
The course itself is best described as a desert-style lay-out, featuring expansive fairways hewn through rocks and ravines. Visitors soon realize that the emphasis is on accuracy, although the landing areas are generous enough to accommodate all but the most errant shots.
Hunt, who also designed the links course at Tobago Plantations, home of the annual Tobago Plantations Seniors Classic on the European Seniors Tour, has created a host of memorable holes, none more so than the 198-yard par-3 6th and the short 330-yard par-4 11th where the view behind the green simply takes the breath away.
The 6th, which is destined to become the course’s signature hole, requires both accuracy and careful club selection. The tee shot has to cross a deep ravine to reach a two-tier green cut into the foot of a hillside. A three will always be welcome, particularly as the 7th, a demanding, uphill 407-yard par-4, requires what is probably the hardest drive of the day.
All around the course, the golfer can enjoy stunning views, both of the mountains and the coastline some ten minutes drive away. It is a stunning backdrop to what will be a memorable day.