Reason for a Elea Golf Club review
I was invited to play Elea Golf Club as part of a press tour of Cyprus.
Where is Elea Golf Club?
Set across rolling hills and countryside close to the southern Cypriot city of Paphos, Elea overlooks the striking blue seas of the Mediterranean.
Having only opened in 2010, Elea is the new kid on the Cypriot golfing block and has added wonderfully to the island’s growing reputation as an emerging golf destination.
What to expect
A course that demands a lot of strategy and precision golf.
Designed by Sir Nick Faldo, you will find bunkers, bunkers and even more bunkers at Elea but that doesn’t truly reflect its impressive depth and variety.
Set on undulating land overlooking the sea, with trees, rocky scrubland, lakes and streams dotted around the course, it is not just the bunkers that will keep you on your toes.
Elea resembles a Mediterranean parkland course but the proximity of the sea and potential for strong winds can give it a links feel. Similar to Britain’s greatest seaside tracks, you could play Elea on consecutive days and feel like you have played two very different courses if the wind is blowing.
Faldo has helped craft some wonderful holes at Elea but none more so than the beautiful par-5 9th.
It’s the ultimate risk-and-reward hole with a huge lake waiting menacingly close to the green on the right-hand side.
Depending on the pin position, most players will have to carry the water in order to find the green with their second shot. Those who are more cautious (or perhaps more sensible) and choose to lay up will find plenty of fairway to work with down the left.
It’s a dramatic and thought-provoking end to the front nine. The reward for its successful completion is a charming little halfway house, which serves delicious ice-cold lemonade, found on the way to the 10th tee.
My best bit
Apart from the lemonade, it would have to be my hugely satisfying par on the 11th.
With the wind causing havoc on this par 3, I steadied myself and thudded a shot into the heart of the green, avoiding the large bunker on the left.
I rolled my putt in for a rare par and practically skipped to the next tee.
What to look out for
The clubhouse, which is set high up in the hills overlooking the course and Mediterranean in the distance, serves up a delightful Cypriot meze.
Factor in a few hours after your round to gorge on these delicious traditional dishes.
When I go back
I will be slightly more measured and cautious during the front nine, where I was bit too gung-ho.
There is rocky scrubland all down the left-hand side of the 1st hole and I went for it with my driver.
I immediately regretted my decision and ending up losing my ball. It was mistakes like this that cost me several Stableford points early on.