The island of North Cyprus has a great environment for golfers. With over 340 days of sunlight per year, long, dry summers, and significantly milder winters than the rest of Europe, North Cyprus Golf attracts tens of thousands of golf tourists each year simply to pursue the ideal golf experience in the sun. With more and more low-cost airlines offering inexpensive flights to either Larnaca or Ercan airports in the winter months, as well as hotels offering out-of-season discounts, it is clear to understand why Cyprus is so popular with golfers.
Golf in North Cyprus
Although the famous Aphrodite Hills in South Cyprus is undoubtedly the most well-known Cyprus golf course, an increasing number of golfers are opting for the lower-cost, non-eurozone North Cyprus for their golfing vacations – or at the very least making sure they visit the golf courses on both sides of the island. The north coast of Cyprus currently includes two golf courses, one of which, the championship-standard 18-hole Korineum Golf Course, can be even tougher than Aphrodite Hills and certainly equals it in terms of the stunning vistas golfers experience while playing.
In April of 2007, the Korineum Golf & Country Club was launched. This 18-hole championship golf course is 6,232 meters long and is characterized as a “72 par gem designed for golfers of all standards and ages”. The course, which was built by David Hemstock and is set against a backdrop of the beautiful Bes Parkmark (Five Finger) mountain range, has kept the wonderful olive and carob trees and scrubland with outstanding mountain and Mediterranean views from every hole.
For those who prefer “après golf,” the five-star clubhouse has a fantastic array of dınıng and wellness options, including restaurants and a coffee lounge, as well as a fantastically equipped spa that is available to both non-members and members. The Korineum currently has a hotel as well as a Beach Club, with the beach only a short distance away. The handicap is 36 for women and 28 for men, with green fees ranging from 35 euros for a 9-hole visit in peak season to 85 euros for 18 holes in low season. The playing surface is kept in excellent shape all year, and there are two lakes with strategically placed bunkers and water hazards to provide a true challenge for golfers. One hole, in particular, is exceptionally challengıng, with one visitor referring to it as Cyprus’ “Amen corner.” Each course has five tees, and buggy rentals (44 are available) are suggested because several of the holes are built around hilltops. Within the clubhouse is a golf pro shop with rental clubs.
If you are new to golf, The Korineum Golf & Tennis Academy provides 34 bays of instruction from fully trained PGA professionals in a pleasant learning and practice setting. Three full-length practice holes are available (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 a little under 300 meters long and features a variety of short game practice spaces as well as a café/bar where you can unwind after your workout. A wide grass tee area is also available for “touch and feel” strokes.
However, it is a little-known truth that the CMC Golf Course in Yesilyurt, near Lefke on the West Coast of North Cyprus, is the country’s oldest and original ex-pat North Cyprus Golf course. Originally built for 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 a lush green that stretches down to the water’s edge and spectacular views of the Troodos Mountains to the south. This club, which is also named after Gengiz Topel (a Turkish Airforce pilot who was shot down at the location during the Turkish intervention of 1974), is ideal for novices or as a daily practice course because of its affordable green fees (currently 40TL or roughly £12 per round at today’s currency rates). The course is maintained by a core of roughly 30 committed ex-pat residents of the Kyrenia district, as well as a few local Turkish Cypriot golf enthusiasts, who also administer the quaint original 1940s clubhouse, which hosts frequent social events. Green fees are paid via “honesty box,” and the clubhouse is usually open and well worth a visit, even if it is just for elderly guests to reminisce.
If you are planning a day trip to the West Coast, the Lefke region is well worth visiting, with the nearby ancient Soli Basilica and Vouni Palace, two little-known but historically significant visitor sites, as well as plenty of lovely swimming bays and fish restaurants to visit, in addition to the new West Coast Bay apartments springing up close to this course.
In fact, many golf enthusiasts in North Cyprus have decided to invest in golf properties, and a variety of high-quality golf villas and apartments have now been built within a short drive of the Korineum course, with the local areas of Esentepe (and nearby Bahceli) and Catalkoy (closer to Kyrenia) being popular choices for golf property buyers. Because there is a high rental demand for houses around the Korineum Course, purchasing a golf property may be a good investment as well as providing years of paid accommodation for individuals who like the local courses. For those concerned about limiting themselves to only one 18-hole course in the north, keep in mind that Cyprus is a small island with many easy-to-use 24 hour border crossings open to the south, which means that the other courses of Aphrodite Hills near Paphos, Minthis Hills at Tsada, and new courses in the Larnaca region can all be reached in a couple of hours and easily visited from the north.
Golfers interested in trying out the course – as well as the properties – and seeing North Cyprus during the peak golfing season may take advantage of the diverse options.