Costa Navarino was created by Vassilis Constantakapoulos, whose working life began as a deck hand and ended with him owning a shipping company as well as extensive property development interests.
Known simply as ‘The Captain’, Constantakapoulos resolved to build a high-calibre dream resort above the golden sands of Navarino Bay, yet without ruining the breathtaking beauty of the Messinia area.
Dream became multi-million pound reality in 2010, with the two golf courses but one attraction of a resort that has two hotels of spectacular luxury – the Westin and Romanos – a myriad restaurants, a water park, several pools, its own section of gorgeous beach, a superb spa, and extensive leisure activities.
The characterful village of Gialova and the aforementioned historic port of Pylos are also on your doorstep waiting to be explored, but most will feel there is enough within the resort to never leave it until it is time to fly home.
While the Dunes course, by Bernhard Langer and European Golf Design’s Ross McMurray, is located 100 yards from the Westin hotel, the Bay course is 15 minutes’ drive along the coast.
The development of the course involved the movement of hundreds of tonnes of earth and the import of some 16,000 mature olive trees – some over 1,000 years old.
While nowhere near as scenic as its sister the Bay, there are views of the Ionian sea and islands – not least on the majestic 2nd, which swings left to the coast.
So, as you move along the undulating fairways between clumps of coarse sea grasses, orange groves and gnarled olives on a gently sloping hillside, the Dunes looks as if it has been here for years.
It is the playable at 6,619 yards off the tips and generously wide fairways but penal via deep, well-placed bunkers and raised greens with plenty of movement in them.
While nowhere near as scenic as its sister the Bay, there are views of the Ionian sea and islands – not least on the majestic 2nd, which swings left to the coast, offering an uninterrupted view of the bay and mountains.
You will enjoy the short 10th hole and there is further aesthetic delight from the 12th through to the 15th before turning back inland for home.
The long, uphill par-5 18th with the vast clubhouse to the right of the green is a solid finish to a course that ticks boxes in every respect. Chris Bertram