Aphrodite Hills Golf Resort, Cyprus

The Aphrodite Hills Golf Resort
The Aphrodite Hills Golf Resort
Aphrodite Hills is an integrated 5-star luxury sports, leisure and real estate resort near Paphos, south west of Cyprus.  It is the first resort of its kind on this very friendly Mediterranean island.

Last month, the Aphrodite Hills Golf Resort hosted the first ever PGA tournament to be staged in Cyprus.  It was a showcase event that was very professionally organised by the Director of Golf, Nuno Bastos and all his team.  The PGA had signed a two-year deal with Aphrodite Hills to stage the EuroPro Tour Championship Finale in 2010 and 2011, and if this years’ spectacle is anything to go by, I can see further PGA tournaments being held at Aphrodite Hills in the near future.

The Aphrodite Hills Golf Course
The stunning 18-hole championship course at the Aphrodite Hills Resort is the best kept golf course I have ever played.  The resort is built on two plateaux 300 metres high and is complete with beautiful panoramic views overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  With its exceptional quality fairways and green, it is worthy of PGA accreditation. The well designed course is a par 70/71 6,299 metres long. Littered with bunkers and challenging holes, it is a test for amateurs and pros alike.

Carob and olive trees line many of the fairways, a lovely Mediterranean touch, while the seventh hole is a chest-beating par 3 challenge that has the golfer teeing off across a ravine with only the green to aim for.  Over hit your shot or pull it to the right and you could end up in one of three bunkers.  Under hit your tee shot and your ball will drop into the ravine, itself.  I was relieved to see my ball bounce on and just roll off the left-side of the green beneath an olive tree, allowing me to hit my second shot within three feet and par the hole.

7th Green at the Aphrodite Hills Golf Resort
7th Green at the Aphrodite Hills Golf Resort

Being a perfectionist, there is only one thing wrong with the 7th hole and that is – one you’ve played it once you want to play it again and again.  The whole course is a dream to play and finishes with a long par 5 with the 18th green situated behind a precariously placed pond.

The clubhouse overlooking the 18th Green at Aphrodite Hills
The clubhouse overlooking the 18th Green

The warm and inviting clubhouse includes bars and a restaurant, with terraces and a function lawn overlooking the 18th green.  Below the clubhouse is a large well-stocked Pro Shop.  To the rear of the Pro Shop is where you collect buggies and hired equipment.  I hired shoes and a full set of clubs.  The shoes were as new, soft and very comfortable.  As a left-hander I am used to seeing my right-handed colleagues being offered a selection of hire clubs while the one set of left-handed clubs are over in one corner.  Not at Aphrodite Hills.  I hired a brand new set of R9 Taylor Made irons, driver, 3 & 5 fairway woods and putter. Now I couldn’t blame my clubs for any wayward shots!

There is also a Golf Academy with resident PGA qualified golf porfessionals where golfers of all levels as well as children of all ages are welcome.  It includes a three academy holes academy and plenty of space to practise.  There are short game practise target greens complete with bunkers and a 350 metres double-ended driving range with target flags and bunkers.

The three-hole academy consists of two Par 4 holes and 1 Par 3. This is not only used as part of the academy but can be booked and is ideal for a quick game with friends or family.
I thought the academy would be a great way to introduce my younger son to golf, while my older son would love the challenge of the 18-hole golf course.

Visiting Aphrodite Hills any time of the year will offer a perfect golfing holiday but there is plenty more to do than simply play golf.  The resort also includes a tennis academy and a renowned spa retreat.  It has several restaurants and bars and the choice of a 5 star luxury hotel or self-catering villas to rent or buy. Everyone working in the resort was very friendly, not just willing, but pleased to serve you. Of the golf resort holidays I have been fortunate enough to take, Aphrodite Hills is up there with the very best.  It’s true, ‘if the gods played golf…this would be their temple!’

James Heath wins the EuroPro PGA Tour Championship Finale in Cyprus

Buzzin Golf with James Heath
Buzzin Golf with James Heath photo:Rachel Roach

The EuroPro PGA Tour Championship Finale at Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus was an amazing spectacle that ended with a two-hole play-off between James Heath, Kevin Harper & Lawrence Dodd.  All three finished on 7 under.

Being the first PGA golf tournament in Cyprus it was very much a showcase for future possibilities for this Mediterranean island.  Representatives from the Cyprus Tourism Organisation were present and promoting future plans to build more golf courses on the island.

Lawrence Dodd dropped a shot on the first pay-off played on the beautiful Par 4 18th. Heath and Harper tied with birdies. James Heath (27) went on to win the second play-off hole with another birdie. But an exciting finish to a great tournament saw Kevin Harper over-hitting his second shot which bounced off the roof of a precariously placed golf buggy, parked on the grass verge where a sizeable crowd had gathered. The golf ball took an unfortunate bounce off the roof of the buggy and Harper’s ball bounced out of bounds.  It was a hard way to lose but equally, if the ball had not struck the buggy, it would have left Kevin Harper with a difficult shot to play across a bunker onto a green which had caused problems all day long.

As it was, James Heath holed out with another birdie and so the buggy ‘incident’ was irrelevant; and credit must be given to Kevin Harper who was magnanimous in defeat.

When asked on Thursday morning who he thought was going to win the event, Barry Hearn, founder and chairman of promotions company Matchroom Sport, had confidently and without hesitation pronounced James Heath.  He also went on to tell a fellow reporter that Audley Harrison is going to beat David Haye!

On receiving trophies for EuroPro Rookie of the Year 2010 and the EuroPro Tour Championship Finale, James Heath picked up a cheque for €20,000, for which he thanked the representative of Marfin Popular Bank.  He also praised the PGA officials for their work and support throughout the year, Matchroom Sport for raising awareness and sponsorship for the event, and the excellent condition of the Aphrodite Hills Golf Course which he added was one of the best courses he has ever played.

James Heath will now receive his card to play in the Challenge Tour next year but will also get the chance to win a place on the PGA Tour if he comes through the European qualifying school. This won’t be his first crack at the European Tour.  He played three tournaments as an amateur in 2004 and previously played the Challenge Tour in 2005.  But this year he has been consistent all season and his win last weekend could be the start of James Heath’s return to the top flight of European golf.

Brendan McCarroll Sets New Course Record at the EuroPro PGA Tour Final

Brendan McCarroll shot a course record breaking 63 to storm into the lead at the EuroPro PGA Tour Final at Aphrodite Hills, Cyprus and will go into today’s final day on 8 under. This followed McCarroll’s first round score of 69 (-1).

Today promises to be a great finale to the EuroPro Tour season with several players still in contention to win the €20,000 first prize and the chance to receive their card to play in next year’s Challenge Tour.

Scott Henry & Lawrence Dodd also had a good second rounds scoring 64 & 65 respectively.

EuroPro Tour Finale Leaderboard after two rounds:

Brendan McCarroll -8
George Woolgar -6
Stuart Archibald -5
Scott Henry – 5
Lawrence Dodd – 4
James Heath -4
Nicky Harris -4
Gareth Davies -1

EuroPro PGA Tour Finale – Round 1

At the end of round 1 of this three-dayEuroPro PGA Tour Finale being staged at Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus there was some good play in the blistering heat with 14 players finishing under par.

There is a three-way tie for first place, with Nicky Harris, Jeremy Kavanagh & James Hepworth all on 4 under, closely followed by Daniel Perrett (3 under) & James Heath, Noel Fox & Kevin Harper all on 2 under.

Other players under par heading into round 2 are Stuart Archibald, Matt Allen, Graeme Clark, George Woolgar, Daniel Belch, Brendan McCarroll & Brian McElhinney.

After a magificent round of 6 under on Wednesday’s Pro Am competition James Heath is looking like a good bet to win the first prize of €20,000 but Zane Scotland, who is currently 10th in the Order of Merit after competing in just four of this year’s EuroPro tournaments is currently 3 over.

Aphrodite Hills Plays Host to the 2010 EuroPro PGA Tour Finale

Ahead of tomorrow’s Ryder Cup, today saw the start of the final tournament on this years’ EuroPro PGA Tour Final Championship. The top 60 players were invited to play the first ever PGA tournament to take place in Cyprus.

The EuroPro PGA Tour has been a stepping stone for many rising stars that have pushed on to become top European players. Graeme Storm, Richard Finch, Marc Warren and James Morrison have all gone on to win main PGA Tour events.

This year when Louis Oosthuizen won the British Open Championship by seven shots at St. Andrews he became the first Major winner to appear on the EuroPro Tour; and Ross Fisher will become the first EuroPro PGA Tour player to play in the Ryder Cup this weekend at Celtic Manor.

Heading the EuroPro Final Championship Order of Merit is Daniel Gaunt.  Along with Craig Lee, Gaunt is already guaranteed his Challenge Tour 2011 card; and with Matthew Evans and James Hepworth already winning over £23,000 they also look likely to be promoted to the Challenge Tour next year. That leaves three places still to be decided over this weekend. With a first place prize of £16,670, the following players will be hoping for a victory this weekend that would also see them playing the Challenge Tour in 2011. Nick McCarthy (4th) and Ian Keenan (6th) are closely followed by James Busby (7th), Paul Maddy (8th), Gary Wolstenholme (9th) and Zane Scotland (10th).

13 qualifying rounds have taken place in the UK’s most prestigious golf clubs leading up to the 2010 EuroPro finale at Aphrodite Hills, the first ever leisure and golf development of its kind in Cyprus.  So it is fitting that the first ever professional golf event in Cyprus will be held at the award winning Aphrodite Hills Golf Resort.

At a Gala Dinner yesterday evening, following a Pro Am Tournament, Barry Hearn and PGA officials praised the Aphrodite Hills team for their excellent hospitality and the exceptional quality of the course, which is in absolute pristine condition.