In 2003, golf course architect, Bob Hunt, head of design at PGA Golf Management Ltd. in United Kingdom, transformed a rugged mountainside into a verdant oasis. Surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe, Crete Golf Club overlooks the Dicti Mountains. There, according to Homer and to Diodorus, Zeus’ mother, Rea, hid him in a cave to prevent his father, Kronos, from eating the young successor to the Olympian Throne. Today visitors marvel at the niche in the cave wall known as Zeus’ cradle and the curtain of stalactites called his mantle. In this mountainous region of Crete, where eagles soar over rivers and ravines, one plays golf with the Gods.
The inherent drama of the landscape defines the essential shape and routing of the holes. Crete Golf Club is a desert-style course with thistles and thorn bushes in the rough. Though some olive and carob trees grace the fairways, the course maintains its natural wildlife habitat as wild birds soar overhead and jack rabbits lope across empty fairways.
New plantings of oleander bushes guarantee year-round flowers of bright pink and red along the cart paths. The course is irrigated with water provided by a reservoir and four wells (two municipal wells and two located on the golf course property).
The 1st hole of a trio of par 4’s begins directly below the clubhouse, gradually climbing to reach the green of the 3rd overlooking the sea, guarded by a garrison of bunkers. A deep ravine cuts through the course on the 6th and 7th holes. The signature 6th, par 3 (180 meters) demands accuracy and careful club selection. All tees require a significant carry over a deep ravine to reach a two-tier green cut into the base of the hillside. Men must cross the ravine on the 7th, par 4 (356 meters), while ladies find relief on a tee-box placed in front of the ravine. Like most par 3’s here, the 8th looks easy, but is full of sandy surprises. Deep hidden bunkers embrace both sides of the green; overshooting the green lands the ball in serious shoulder-high rough.
The breathtaking views on the back nine offset the challenges. The par 4 (307 meters), 10th and 11th (319 meters) holes hit towards the ever-majestic Dicti Mountains. Patience and precision are required on the long uphill par 5 (485 meters), 12th. The driving zone narrows due to a charming stone-laid terrace, trees and bunkers on the left and wild brush on the right. The hole is a challenge that daunts and delights all who play it. The 13th, par 4 (350 meters), requires careful club selection. Most golfers will lay-up to the edge of a cliff-hugging fairway before approaching the green, situated in a rocky amphitheater topped by a carob tree. Fairways roll across the natural contours of the land and elevated tees unveil views of mythical Cretan terrain. The long stretch of ledges, rocks and rough brings the player home on the par 4 (317 meters) 18th hole. The challenge and mystique of Crete Golf Club will bring you back to play it again and again.
Info: The Crete Golf Club, Hersonissos, Crete
Tel : (+30) 28970 26000
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