What long has been mainly the domain of just Spain and Portugal, golfing holidays in the sun is now big business around Europe, and Greece is looking to join the party with Costa Navarino, although they have much loftier ambitions than that.
Nestled alongside the coastline of Messina sits Costa Navarino, a decent drive from Athens but one which takes you past some landmarks of ancient Greece including Ancient Olympia.
Currently there are two courses at Costa Navarino, and not just resort courses, with former Masters champion Bernhard Langer designing the Dunes Course and esteemed architect Robert Trent Jones Jr responsible for the Bay Course.
Both courses use the natural landscape to stunning effect, with the Bay Course using more of the coastline as several holes hug the very edge of the land and are very much in play – especially for those with a fading persuasion off the tee.
Langer’s Dunes Course, built in conjunction with European Golf Design, measures in at 6,018 metres (6581 yards) off the back tees, but at just under 5,000m from the front it can be played be anyone – which is of benefit as a resort course which is walking distance from the main hotels.
A salubrious 3,500 square metre clubhouse welcomes you, supplying the finest in Greek cuisine and a splendid balcony overlooking the 18th green to enjoy the sun after a hard round on the course.
The Bay Course is a short transfer from The Westin Resort we stayed in – a traditional Greek complex with spacious rooms, some even with their own infinity pool and with a central hub based on a Greek town including bar, restaurant and shops.
The Bay course is shorter than the Dunes, and is not yet the finished article with plans to build a spectacular clubhouse with the first tee actually on the roof!
This will take advantage of a stunning hole played down the sea, but there are plenty of holes that have water close by, while there are also holes involving a canyon and olive groves all adding to the spectacle.
It’s no pushover though, with placement off the tee at a premium, but all the while the spectacular views of Navarino Bay will keep you going even if your golf is struggling.
With new infrastructure being put in place, new accommodation being built and plans for a third course coming up, Costa Navarino believe they will soon have what it takes to stage an event on the European Tour.
Tour pros would certainly enjoy the accommodation, or relaxing in the award-winning Anazoe Spa, while even their kids would be well looked after with plenty going on for the little ones around the resort.
Moving with the times, Costa Navarino is focused on sustainability and looking after the natural environment specific reservoirs supply the water for the maintenance of both courses – and technology plays a part with a system using on-course weather monitoring to calculate how much water to deploy onto the course.
Even during construction, natural olive trees were picked up and moved, before being returned to the course, instead of simply being chopped down to make way for the golf – which all adds to the natural look and feel of the place.
True, a long drive from Athens, but flights also go to a nearer airport at Kalamata, but the feeling of remoteness adds to any holiday and especially here, the journey is worth it once you’re tucked away in the lap of luxury.
Aegean Airlines – Aegean Airlines offers daily flights from London Heathrow and London Gatwick to Athens. Aegean Airlines favours air travel for all golfers by offering free of charge carriage of golf bag and equipment for every golfer. For more information please visit www.aegeanair.com.
The Westin Resort Costa Navarino - Prices start from 240EUR (approximately £205) per night on a bed and breakfast basis for an infinity room with private pool. For more information and to book, visit www.costanavarino.com and www.westincostanavarino.com
For more information on Costa Navarino please visit www.costanavarino.com