After returning from the FAM trip to Cyprus, I came to the conclusion that I prefer golf destinations where I can do much more than enjoy the services of the selected golf resort. I will tell you more about this aspect later in this article.
I visited 2 golf resorts and 2 golf clubs around Pafos, Cyprus last week. My pampered golfer friends who prefer to stay in resorts with golf courses with 27 or more holes will have to rethink their views. I am pretty sure they will after this review.
The above-mentioned disadvantage is dwarfed by how close the following four golf courses are:
- Aphrodite Hills Golf – PGA National Cyprus (6289 meters, par-72)
- Minthis: Designed by legendary golf architect Donald Steel in 1994 and renovated by renowned course designers Mackenzie & Ebert (Par-72, 5974 m, 18 holes).
- Secret Valley Golf Resort – Hans-Georg Erhardt and Snorri Vilhjalmsson of Golf and Land Design with Tony Jacklin designed the golf course (5714 m, Par-71). It is indeed one of the Cyprus’ most challenging 18-hole golf courses. It also has got a world class Troon Golf Academy and practice facilities.
- Eléa Estate – Par-71 course designed by Sir Nick Faldo. Between 2017-2019 it earned Cyprus’ #1 golf course on Leadingcourses.com & won Cyprus’ Best Golf Course at the 2018 World Golf Awards.
All of them can be reached within 20-30 minutes by car. If you selected to play only in Aphrodite Hills Golf and Secret Valley Golf Resort then it is probably better to stay at The Hotel by Atlantica at Aphrodite Hills Resort.
If you will play only on the other 2 golf courses then pick the Amavi MadeForTwo Hotel in Pafos.
Secret Valley Golf Resort (managed by Troon International) and Eléa Estate (with a Sir Nick Faldo-designed 18-hole golf course) look more like classic golf clubs – at this moment – with ambitions to offer real estate solutions in the future.
Sir Nick Faldo said about the Eléa Estate golf course “Skill, strategy, precision – and maybe a little luck – are needed if you’re to be victorious here.” This was the golf course where I had the best results during this FAM trip. I asked myself if the golf course was too easy or I played better than I usually do.
It’s very interesting to read back my previous thought about Secret Valley Golf Resort. How much my needs and expectations have changed since 2017.
Anyway, you will find a very cozy atmosphere in the clubhouse and out of this world flowers along the golf course. Peter Copping (general manager) is doing his best to give you memorable moments.
Aphrodite Hills Golf vs Minthis
Now comes the harder part of my report. Both Minthis and Aphrodite Hills Golf are offering an amazing experience. It all depends on your personal preferences.
Aphrodite Hills Golf / PGA National Cyprus will be the host venue of the 2022 DP World Tour’s Cyprus Open ( November 3-6, 2022). The first-ever leisure and golf development of its kind in Cyprus, Aphrodite Hills Golf Course was established in 2002.
This is evident in the architectural style of the buildings around the golf course. The Hotel by Atlantica at Aphrodite Hills Resort was a pleasant place for me. I got an excellent room with a view not just to the sea, but to one of the last holes of the back 9 of the PGA National Cyprus.
I was very happy to discover 6 rooms with disabled facilities. If you play here, then get prepared for strong winds and jaw-dropping moments at sunset.
What is true for all of the 4 golf courses is that they are very fast. Probably PGA National Cyprus has got the best turf quality.
Although we cannot see the sea from Minthis, the beauty of the surrounding landscape can make up for it.
The design of the clubhouse, the apartments, and other buildings are demonstrating refined elegance and contemporary design. ATKINS and WATG were in charge of the masterplan. The resort is developed by Cyprus‘ largest private residential development company Pafilia.
If you have ever been to Oaks Prague (managed by Troon Privé; Kyle Phillips designed golf course) then you can easily have a deja vu feeling when you see the buildings. Inside the suites, I found smart home solutions by ABB.
I must admit the silence (!!!), the tranquility, and the view put a spell on me. I felt so close to nature, although I could see the apartments and houses around me.
The building of the golf academy is still under construction, but the driving range is ready. I hope they will add one of the leading driving range solutions: Inrange Golf / Toptracer Range / TrackMan range / etc.
The resort is producing its own wine and olive oil. It was really useful to drink a small glass of grappa before the 10th hole. They will have a mobile application & tee time booking engine to serve better their guests and members soon.
I must highlight that Minthis is the 1st GEO Certified golf resort in Cyprus. Their sustainability efforts can be easily recognized. For instance, their wellness center (?) is covered by grass and flowers. The PGA National Cyprus is also a GEO Certified golf course.
Now, I am in a very difficult situation, how to decide where was the best for me. Probably I will pick Minthis as my favorite place thanks to its proximity to nature, the modern architecture, and the tricky holes like the 10th (see the picture at the beginning of this article).
This is a little bit subjective, of course, because everyone has different expectations. I am very happy that PGA National Cyprus (aka Aphrodite Hills Golf) will be able to host a European Tour event. I was very pleased to find tricky holes here to like the 7th on the picture above where we had to hit the ball over a HUGE ravine.
I don’t know where is the bigger ravine at the 10th hole in Minthis or at the 7th in PGA National Cyprus. What is sure only at Minthis I was able to send my ball to the right place on the fairway…
At the same time, I must highlight that with a little care and dedicated effort you can impress guests. A good example of this is Secret Valley Golf Resort.
If you don’t book a room at any of the above-mentioned golf resorts, then Amavi MadeForTwo Hotel in Paphos is an excellent choice. The hotel is very close to the sea and is at a reasonable distance from all of the above-mentioned golf resorts.