Elea Golf: Cyprus's seaside masterpiece
Tallinn Arts has been known seek out interesting golf venues over the years, some very nice ones right at home in Estonia, where the golfing scene is better than one might imagine in a frigid northern country, but also further afield in Spain, England and Austria, among others. It was our distinct pleasure to travel to Cyprus in late 2019 to play Elea Golf and Country Club in Paphos, southwestern Cyprus. With direct flights from Tallinn to Paphos, this trip should be near the top of every Estonian golfer’s wish list, especially in winter.
Golfers at Elea are greeted with hospitality and professionalism. Many of the staff are from the United Kingdom, recalling Cyprus’s role as a member of the British Empire. And indeed the course at Elea was designed by six time major championship winner Sir Nick Faldo so there is a definite air of Englishness about the place. The lads in the pro shop, who are blessed with a tremendous sea view from their perch, had everything in order and we were able to use the excellent practice area and driving range before teeing off.
Ambling down to the first tee, the golfer at Elea will note the splendid surroundings, leafy parkland style layout and seaside locale. And the wonderful sunshine. Cyprus is perhaps the sunniest island in the Mediterranean and the weather was perfect for this round.
Elea is fair for all golf levels and the different tee boxes make sure that higher handicappers have a fighting chance for a decent round of golf. That said, Sir Nick has made a tough layout that rewards the thinking golfer, especially those with local knowledge. The course can also lull the unaware golfer to sleep. The beginning of the track may seem to be not too difficult, but this is deceiving. The course becomes increasingly tricky and there are lots of bunkers throughout.
The finishing holes are noteworthy for blind shots and some challenging stretches where yardages and club selection are confounding. There are some nice Faldoesque touches, including ringing a bell to announce it’s safe to hit on the blind patches.
For those considering a round or two in Cyprus, Elea is noteworthy for a few reasons. Located quite close to the centre of Paphos, Elea is very easy to reach even if you don’t have a rental car. Paphos is one of Cyprus’s main tourist destinations with resorts, beaches, nightlife, fine dining and ancient ruins all on offer. Golf at Elea can easily be woven into any holiday itinerary.
The course is in fantastic condition. Greens roll true and bunkers are top notch, with white sand that is light and playable, not heavy and dense. The sea views on the course are reason enough to make the journey.
Elea’s lovely clubhouse sits on high ground with commanding views of the golf course and the Mediterranean Sea. After a tough round, whether scoring well or poorly, this is the visitor’s reward; a cold drink with views you could look at for hours. The restaurant offers a nice range of Greek, Cypriot, Mediterranean and standard fare. Instead of peanuts or crisps with your beer, why not try a dish of marinated olives? Elea means olive in Greek and olive trees have both pragmatic and symbolic meaning at Elea Estate Golf Club.
We wish to extend our special thanks to Eirini Zinouli who hosted Tallinn Arts for this golf adventure. She was most kind and helpful. For more information on Elea Golf, please check their website at http://www.eleaestate.com/en/golf