Golf in Greece has been a slow burner. I can recall visiting only the second course to be built on the mainland at Porto Carras, a couple of hours south of second city Thessalonika back in 1995 when plans to take full advantage of the hot dry climate were in full swing to construct at least 25 courses by early in the 21st century.
Sadly the golf explosion never materialised as the global economy struggled and apart from a couple more courses on the islands of Rhodes and Crete the game tended to pass the Greeks by.
Now, however, despite the Greek economy being in sharp decline, investors have spotted opportunities to at least take advantage of the climate and tourism potential to open the first signature course in Greece - The Dunes Course in stunning Navarino Dunes, the first integrated resort at Costa Navarino with its breathtaking beachfront landscape. It has been designed by double US Masters Champion and Ryder Cup-winning captain Bernhard Langer in partnership with European Golf Design.
Troon Golf will manage the course development which Langer describes as 'something really very special'.
“I know that many people from Germany have already discovered this hidden but beautiful corner of mainland Greece," says Langer "and I’m sure that, with the opening of the Navarino Dunes Resort, many more from all over the world will be drawn to this area and our new golf course.”
Located in Messinia, southwest Peloponnese, The Dunes Course opened this week alongside The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort a second five–star hotel at Navarino Dunes, The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino is to open shortly and a Robert Trent Jones Jr Bay course is planned nearby for 2011.
The par-72 Dunes course features stunning views of the Ionian Sea on its links-inspired holes, meandering through sand dunes and olive and citrus groves.
Design consultant Ross McMurray commented: “The inspiration for The Dunes course was its spectacular location. It is one of the most beautiful places to have a golf course. With so many dramatic golf holes, the strategic bunkering and large, undulating greens, I’m convinced that The Dunes will be exciting, fun and challenging in equal measure.”