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If you’re searching for the ultimate winter
golf getaway without straying from the confines of Europe, Cyprus is pretty
much the perfect destination.

In the months of December, January and February, the
Mediterranean island boasts an average temperature of 17.5˚C – hotter than
Glasgow in July and August. It has one of the mildest climates in Europe and,
with 180 hours of sunshine per month in the winter in coastal locations, you’re
guaranteed some much-needed sun.

But while most tourists travel to Cyprus to escape the
brutal British weather, more are starting to visit to experience its burgeoning
reputation as a golfing paradise.

Four of the best facilities – Minthis Hills, Eléa, Aphrodite
Hills Golf – PGA National Cyprus and Secret Valley – are all within a 20-minute
drive of the popular resort city of Paphos, making the game incredibly
accessible to avid golfers in search of differing challenges.


The first course built in Cyprus was Minthis Hills (main image) in 1994.
Set in a picturesque valley overlooking an unspoilt panorama of rolling hills
and encircling a 12th century monastery, the championship course lies 550
metres above sea level and is a course for all seasons, enjoying cool breezes
and mesmerising mountain views.

Now is an exciting time at Minthis with the development of
two new holes by architects Mackenzie & Ebert, who were behind the redesign
of both courses at Trump Turnberry. There will be a new par-5 hole boasting
dramatic views of the Troodos Mountains, which is set to open in 2019, and a
par-3 that requires great skill with pines to the left and a deep bunker to the
right in 2018.

Eléa (above), meanwhile, is
widely acknowledged as Sir Nick Faldo’s ‘Mediterranean Masterpiece’. The
six-time major winner’s course forms part of the prestigious Eléa Estate, which
commands a breathtaking location just 8km from Paphos International Airport.

Aphrodite Hills

Since opening seven
years ago, the 6,900-yard course has established itself as one of the Med’s
true gems, meandering through groves of mature carob and olive trees, while
dramatic outcrops of weathered limestone contrast with the dark green fairways.

Another one of the
delights in the Paphos area is Aphrodite Hills Golf – PGA National Cyprus (above),
which spreads out over 6,877 meters. The course, which opened in 2002, was
designed by architect Cabell Robinson, whose vision was for it to be the
perfect mix of challenging pot bunkers, manicured fairways of lush Bermuda
grass and generous tiered greens.

Visually spectacular,
the course is built on two plateaux, separated by a dramatic ravine with
outstanding views over the Mediterranean. The staggering 130-metre gorge
dividing tees at the seventh hole is an enticing challenge for all players.

Like Minthis Hills,
Aphrodite Hills Golf – PGA National Cyprus is also in the midst of some
renovation work in order to enhance its golf offering to visitors, with a €2.5m
investment involving the complete reconstruction greens and bunkers.

Secret Valley

The full unveiling is
scheduled for February 2018 with the upgrades promising to maintain the
resort’s position among the top, if not one of the very best experiences in

Last, but by no means
least, is Secret Valley (above). The golf course celebrated its 20th anniversary last
year and is nestled in a scenic valley with brightly-coloured rock formations
where legend says Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was born.

Designed by architects
from Golf and Land Design with input from two-time major winner Tony Jacklin,
the 5,307-yard layout utilises the steep hillside terrain for spectacular tee
locations and long views towards valley and ocean.

And, to add even more
golfing excitement, a floodlit three-hole loop for evening play has been
conveniently located at the lowest end of the golf course where the beach
development links with the golf course.

With its diverse golf
offering, great gastronomy, culture – Paphos being the European Capital of
Culture 2017 – quality hotels and hospitality, it isn’t too difficult to see
why Cyprus’ popularity as a golf destination is sky-rocketing – and all this
only 20 years after the country’s first course was built.

The Mediterranean isle
is lying in wait and it couldn’t be easier to get there, with flights direct
from Glasgow to Paphos through various airlines including easyJet, Jet2 and


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