Cyprus as an island offers an ideal climate for golfers. With over 340 days of sunshine per year with long, dry summers and much warmer winters than in the rest of Europe, tens of thousands of golf tourists flock to Cyprus each year solely to pursue the quest for the ultimate golf experience in the sun. The low tourist season of November onwards is ideal for golfers and with more and more low cost airlines offering cheap flights to either Larnaca or Ercan airports in the winter months, as well as hotels offering out of season discounts, it is easy to see why Cyprus is so popular for golfers.
Although the best-known Cyprus golf course is certainly the famous Aphrodite Hills in South Cyprus, a growing number of golfers now choose lower-cost, non-eurozone, Northern Cyprus (TRNC) for their golfing holidays – or at least make sure they visit the courses on both sides of the island. The north side of Cyprus now has two golf courses of which one, the championship-standard 18 hole Korineum Golf Course on the north coast, offers possibly a more challenging course even than Aphrodite Hills and certainly equals it in terms of the breathtaking views players enjoy during their game.
The Korineum Golf & Country Club was opened in April 2007. This 18 hole championship golf course occupies 6,232 m and is described on their website as a “72 par gem designed for golfers of all standards and ages”. Set against a backdrop of the fabulous Bes Parkmark (Five Finger) mountain range, the course, which was designed by David Hemstock, has preserved the lovely olive and carob trees and scrub land with spectacular mountain and Mediterranean views from every hole.
For those who prefer “après golf” the five star clubhouse offers a wonderful selection of dining and wellness opportunities – with restaurants and coffee lounge, as well as fabulously equipped spa, open to non-members as well as members. The Korineum now also offers a hotel as well as a Beach Club, with the beach a short drive from the clubhouse. The handicap is listed as: 36 for women and 28 for men and green fees start at 35 euro for a high season 9 hole visit, up to 85 euro for 18 holes in low season. The playing surface is maintained in great condition all the year around and there are two lakes, with bunkers and water hazards placed strategically to offer a real challenge for players. One hole is particularly challenging, with one visitor describing it as the “Amen corner” of Cyprus. Five tees are offered per hole and buggy hire (44 are available) is recommended as some of the holes are designed around hilltops. Golf Pro Shop with rental clubs is housed within the clubhouse.
If you are a golf beginning, The Korineum Golf & Tennis Academy offers tuition from fully qualified PGA professionals in a relaxing learning and practice environment with 34 bays available. There are three full-length practice holes (one par 5 and one par 4 holes as well as a challenging par 3 which allows beginners to warm up, regardless of your handicap). It is just under 300m long with a variety of short game practice areas and a café/bar to relax after your practice. There is also a large grass tee area for “touch and feel” shots.
However, it is a little known fact the oldest and original golf course of Cyprus, the CMC Golf Course in Yesilyurt, close to Lefke on the West Coast of North Cyprus, is actually the original ex-pat golf course of Cyprus. Originally created for the ex pat employees of the Cyprus Mining Corporation who were living there to extract the valuable copper and gold deposits in the nearby mountains, it is now a charming 9 hole course with the lovely green stretching down to the waterfront and with fabulous views of the Troodos Mountains to the south.
This Club, which is also named after the heroic acts of Gengiz Topel (Turkish Air force Pilot who was shot down at the site during the Turkish intervention of 1974) is perfect for beginners or as a daily practice course at very low green fees (currently 40TL or around £12 per round at today’s exchange rates). A core of around 30 dedicated ex pat residents of the Kyrenia region as well as a few local Turkish Cypriot golf lovers, maintain the course and run the quaint original 1940s club house with its original golf cartoons – which houses regular social events. Green fees are paid by “honesty box” and the club house is generally open and certainly worth a visit if only for older visitors to revisit memory lane.
The Lefke region is certainly worth exploring if you fancy a day trip to the West Coast, with nearby ancient Soli Basilica and Vouni Palace two little-known but extremely archaeologically important visitor sites just nearby, as well as lots of lovely swimming bays and fish restaurants to visit as well as new West Coast Bay apartments springing up close to this course.
In fact, many North Cyprus golf lovers decided to purchase golf properties, and a range of excellent quality golf villas and apartments have now also been built within a short drive of the Korineum course with the local areas of Esentepe (and nearby Bahceli) as well as Catalkoy (closer to Kyrenia) being locations of choice for golf property seekers. There is a strong rental demand for properties close to the Korineum Course and therefore a golf property purchase can be a great property investment as well as providing years of paid for accommodation for those who love the local courses. For those who are concerned about limiting themselves to only one 18 hole course in the North, it must be remembered that Cyprus is a small island and with many easy to use 24 hour border crossings open to the South the other courses of Aphrodite Hills close to Paphos, Minthis Hills at Tsada as well as new courses in the Larnaca region, can all be driven to within a couple of hours and easily visited from the North.