Costa Navarino heads our new 2018 rankings for Greece

11 December 2017 Respond to this article

Costa Navarino at the double as the resort heads our new rankings for Greece

Costa Navarino, the prime sustainable destination in the Mediterranean – and the award-winning IAGTO European Golf Resort of the Year for 2017 – was the spectacular venue for the recent PGAs of Europe Annual Congress and International Team Championship in Greece.

Having participated in last year’s corresponding event in Turkey, Top 100 Golf Courses was again invited to attend this prestigious gathering of professional golfers as a delegate from The European Golf and Travel Media Association, which is a media partner of the PGAs of Europe.

Costa Navarino resort Voidokilia Beach

The Costa Navarino destination is situated within the largely undiscovered Messinia district in the Peloponnese region of southwest Greece, harbouring a long and important history of vaulted tombs from the Mycenaean era, classical temples, Byzantine churches and medieval castles.

World Heritage List sites that lie a short driving distance of the resort include the famous Olympia, Mystras and the Temple of Apollo Epicurius, as well as Ancient Messene , the Palace of Nestor and the wonderfully preserved medieval town of Monemvasia.

The late Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos, owner of the world’s largest independent container shipping company, founded Costa Navarino, the first integrated, eco-responsible tourist destination in Greece and now one of the most progressive golfing venues in the Mediterranean.

Costa Navarino resort Westin exterior

Anchored by two 5-star deluxe hotels (the 32-bedroomed Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, and the 444-bedroomed family-oriented Westin Resort), Navarino Dunes comprises a massive conference centre, an authentic Anazoe Spa, a Sports & Entertainment Centre, an interactive environmental exhibition centre called Navarino Natura Hall, a selection of shopping establishments and a choice of 24 restaurants and bars – not forgetting two 18-hole championship-standard golf courses.

Costa Navarino resort Dunes clubhouseMore than €500m has been spent so far on these amenities and a similar level of investment is expected to follow when the Navarino Bay clubhouse and hotel are built, a new golf course is constructed at Navarino Hills and the Navarino Waterfront lifestyle resort is developed. With great plans for the future, Costa Navarino is destined for even greater things in the years that lie ahead.

The PGAs of Europe Annual Congress and ITC are key events in the professional golfing calendar and this yearly get together allows members from across the continent to discuss and share different ideas, listen to a wide range of speakers and take part in various breakout sessions and workshops.

With congress sessions on personal and member development, speakers focused on the relationships between national PGAs and Federations, initiatives to grow the game and provision of mentoring and consulting services through the PGAs of Europe Golf Development Team. Read our report here: PGAs of Europe Annual Congress and ITC at Costa Navarino, November 2017.

And so, our revised Top 5 ranking chart for Greece contains the same five courses that were listed when we last reviewed the country two years ago, though the pecking order has changed slightly.

Dunes course at Costa Navarino Retaining the number 1 position, The Dunes course at Costa Navarino is an epic design by headline architect Bernhard Langer, working alongside Ross McMurray of European Golf Design, and it opened for play in 2010. The two nines each have their own character; the outward half plays out on higher ground to the north of the property and is links-like in nature, whilst the inward half feels a bit tighter, with fairways routed through a landscape of olive trees and citrus groves.

Bay course at Costa Navarino

Still at number 2 in our standings, The Bay course at Costa Navarino sits fifteen minutes south of the resort, overlooking the crystal-clear waters of Navarino Bay, where the Battle of Navarino was fought in 1827 during the Greek War of Independence. A wonderful Robert Trent Jones Jnr design, unveiled a year after the Dunes course debuted, the course is the first of two 18-hole layouts planned for this location. A permanent clubhouse is due to be built shortly and we’re keeping an eye out for when work starts on the new Hills course.

Crete Golf Club

Rising one place to number 3, the course at Crete Golf Club is a terrific 18-layout from Bob Hunt of PGA Design Consulting which has been operating for more than a decade now, part owned by Aegean Airlines. Set out over rugged mountain terrain, it’s a resort-style layout that has hosted a number of tournaments in recent years, including the PGAs of Europe-sanctioned Aegean Airlines Pro-Am and several Ladies European Tour Access Series events.

Corfu Golf Club

Also rising one position to the number 4 slot, the course at Corfu Golf Club dates back to the early 1970s, when Donald Harradine fashioned the fairways within the Ropa Valley, 15 kilometres west of Corfu town. It’s a magical spot that has the River Navsica flowing through the property into Ermones Beach where, according to legend, the beautiful Princess Nafiska rescued Odysseus when he became shipwrecked. The layout has been stretched in length over the years so it now measures 6,183 metres from the back markers, which is more than enough to test most golfers.

Olive Grove course at Porto Carras

Falling two spots to number 5, the Olive Grove course at Porto Carras is situated on the western coast of Sithonia, Halhidiki’s central peninsula and it’s flanked on one side by the slopes of Mount Meliton and the clear blue waters of the Gulf of Toroneos on the other side. Originally designed as a 9-hole layout by Geoff Cornish and Bill Robinson in the early 1970s, the course was doubled in size and extensively renovated during a new millennium makeover that was designed to revive its flagging fortunes.

We look forward to hearing your comments when we publish a new national ranking chart so please let us know what you think of our new Top 5 for Greece. If there’s anything you don’t agree with then by all means click the “Respond to this article” link at the bottom of the page to share your opinion with us.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Costa Navarino (Dunes) No change
2 Costa Navarino (Bay) No change
3 Crete Up 1
4 Corfu Up 1
5 Porto Carras (Olive Grove) Down 2

To view the complete detailed list of the Top 5 Golf Courses in Greece click the link.

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses