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The Elea Golf Course - A hole-by-hole description

Set on a gentle coastal slope, the Elea Golf Course presented Sir Nick Faldo with a chance to create a tactical Links in an accessible, urban-fringe location close to Paphos and its airport.

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With space at a premium on the southern outskirts of Paphos, Sir Nick was challenged to design a first-class signature golf course within a comparatively small area.

In this task he has succeeded more than admirably, as Elea provides a thoughtful, technical playing experience right from the very start. You can find a more detailed description of the course below.

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The Front-Nine at Elea Golf Course

The First "Bonelli's Eagle"

Length: 420 yards
PAR: 4

With a gentle sweep to the left, the first Green is somewhat obscured from the Tee by a series of mounds. The easiest route to the pin leads down the right-hand side of the Fairway, just so long as one is able to clear the sizable bunker awaiting stray balls about two hundred and fifty yards out.

Care should also be taken with the approach shot, as the Green-surrounds shed the ball into the adjacent rough.


The Second "Mediterranean"

Length: 554 yards
PAR: 5

The second is trickier than may first appear, as the Fairway is split after about three hundred and fifty yards by a brook.

From there the approach calls for a draw to achieve a natural lay and avoid the bunkers linking both sides of the Fairway. The Green itself runs towards the back, and is lined by a number of trees, ready to make life difficult for the careless golfer.

The Third "Tranquility"

Length: 148 yards
PAR: 3

With a Green running diagonal to the Tee-Shot (near-left to far-right), a pair of massive bunkers guarding the approach, and a surface which tends to run into the surrounding trees, the Tee-Shot on the third requires a fade, and more than a little thought and consideration.

As many of those playing their first round at the Elea Golf Course have found, a slight deviation off the Tee results in the second shot requiring a sand or pitching wedge.


The Fourth "Orchard"

Length: 433 yards
PAR: 4

Consisting of as much sand as grass, and facing west into the prevailing coastal breeze, the fourth requires a drive with not only distance, but a fair amount of accuracy. Off the Tee, the right side looks favourite for your approach, but things get very narrow around the three hundred yard mark, with a bunker on either side of the Fairway.

The Green itself is bridged, and falls away at both front and rear; it is also lined at the front with bunkers on both sides, thus making the approach potentially tricky.

The Fifth "Island"

Length: 450 yards
PAR: 4

With a huge bunker lining the Fairway to the right, and the course's lake acting as a major water hazard to the left of both Fairway and Green, you're between the devil and the deep blue sea on the fifth. Keeping to the left, and laying up around the 300 yard mark provides the safest means of avoiding either obstacle.

This leaves a reasonably safe 150 yard approach shot onto a tiered Green which rises towards the back.


The Sixth "Troodos"

Length: 365 yards
PAR: 4

A fade will help to keep the right line of approach on this short PAR 4 with a right-hand dogleg. Caution is advised though, as the 300 yard mark is guarded by a series of approach bunkers right across the Fairway.

Once again, wisdom advises laying up before these, and then picking the approach shot carefully, as the Pin sits atop a slight mound which sends the ball running away on all sides.

The Seventh "Rosemary"

Length: 196 yards
PAR: 3

Superficially straight-forward, the seventh is more than a little deceptive, as the hole runs both downhill and into the prevailing coastal breeze. This combination makes it easy to misjudge the Tee-Shot, which results in either falling well short of the mark, or overshooting the pin and seeing your ball disappear into the small copse of trees towards which the Green slopes.


The Eighth "Venus"

Length: 370 yards
PAR: 4

Like the seventh, the eighth plays downhill and into the prevailing winds. Sticking to the Fairway's left-hand side makes for an easier final approach, though care is bidden, as trees and a bunker wait at around the 280 yard mark, ready to make life difficult in an instant.

The approach shot, too, should be taken with care, as the putting surface is tiered, and slopes up towards the Pin, while the back of the Green begins to fall away towards the surrounding rough.

The Ninth "Barney's Rest"

Length: 509 yards
PAR: 5

Split by a brook around the 340 yard mark, and fringed for the last third by a lake, the ninth runs from west to east along the hillside. A long drive down the Fairway's left, and laid up just short of the brook, offers the best chance for an easier approach. Once across the water, things get a little more complicated, as the Fairway slopes from left to right, and into a couple of mounds at the foot of the Green.

The Green, which is lined on one side by sand traps and on the other by the massive water hazard, is tiered, and rolls away from the Pin on three sides.


On the Fairway

The Back-Nine at Elea Golf Course

`Agia Marinouda Golf Course, looking towards the sea


The Tenth "Akamas"

Length: 314 yards
PAR: 4

The tenth is quite short for a PAR 4, and a good, straight drive is certainly more than able to drop the ball onto the Green. This task is aided further by the fact that there's not a sand trap or water hazard anywhere in sight.

The one minor fly in the ointment is the fact that the putting surface suffers from a pronounced slope from the Pin to the front of the Green, so it's actually better to over-hit things a little if you can.

The Eleventh "Thistle"

Length: 162 yards
PAR: 3

Unless your game benefits from a monster draw, your Tee-Shot will have to cross a sizable bunker if you are hoping to land on the Green in one. It also pays to stay on the right side of this one, as the left half of the Green features a rather treacherous slope running to the back and left.

At the eleventh hole, accuracy is quite literally the name of the game.


The Twelfth "Socrates"

Length: 614 yards
PAR: 5

As a 614 yard PAR 5 hole with a right-hand dogleg, crossed by a stream, and boasting a sloping Green guarded by an assortment of approach bunkers, the twelfth certainly deserves its name. A decent drive down the Fairway's centre lays you up just short of the water. From there, another good hit down the middle might just leave you in range of a workable approach shot.

Care must be taken though, because the front of the Green rolls back out into a bunker and the adjacent rough, while the back also slopes into the rough.

The Thirteenth "Lavandula"

Length: 389 yards
PAR: 4

If you thought the twelfth needed to be thought about, wait until you're confronted with the thirteenth, as Sir Nick Faldo has gleefully placed bunkers in all the places your ball is likely to land. This is especially true as the hole runs south-west to north-east, and is therefore subject to crosswinds from the left. The sensible golfer will probably lay up around the 250 yard mark, while more adventurous souls will fire a drive to a patch of Fairway around the 300 yard line.

Either way, the approach shot is likely to be something of a nightmare, as the Green is fringed by a series of bunkers on the right, and a goodly number of mounds and hollows on the left. Once safely on the Green, life becomes decidedly easier.


The Fourteenth "Wild Thyme"

Length: 150 yards
PAR: 3

The fourteenth is a short PAR 3 with a massive Green. In fact, looking at it from the Tee, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever why your Tee-Shot shouldn't drop the ball right into the middle of the Green. And that's exactly what they want you to think, since the hole runs west to east across the slope, and consequently suffers from an overall left to right roll.

Unless your game boasts eagle eyed accuracy, the safest place to aim for is probably down the centre towards the top of the Green, though this may well leave you with an awkward putt.

The Fifteenth "Perfect"

Length: 378 yards
PAR: 4

While it is by no means a long PAR 4 hole, the fifteenth Fairway is full of lumps and bumps which can send your ball rolling every which way. There's also a pair of bunkers about 250 yards out on the left hand side, and though these pose no particular threat at first glance, it must be remembered that this hole plays into a prevailing crosswind from the right.

The approach shot should also be taken with care, as the Green is lined on the front with bunkers, and features a pronounced slope towards the back across its top half


The Sixteenth "Curium"

Length: 378 yards
PAR: 4

With a Fairway interrupted by a wide swathe of rough around the 290 yard mark, the sixteenth throws down the gauntlet to golfers with a long drive. If you can reach the small stretch of Fairway before the Green, chances are you'll be able to chip from there to the elevated Pin. The safer option, however, is to lay up before the rough, and then aim your approach shot for the centre of the Green.

This does leave you with a trickier Pin position, but you're less likely to get stuck out in the middle of the rough.

The Seventeenth "Bobby Jones"

Length: 481 yards
PAR: 4

Named after the most famous amateur golfer of all time, and running from east to west across the slope, the majority of the seventeenth rolls to the left. Once again, the Fairway is interrupted by a wide stretch of rough, calling for a well considered and executed Tee-Shot.

Sticking to the left will avoid a profusion of bunkers along the Fairway's right, though this is not without risk, as the natural slope has a tendency to guide your ball into the rough. If you manage to stay on the Fairway, the carry shot to the Green is not that difficult, though you should be aware of severely uneven ground at the Green's foot.


The Eighteenth "Prodigal Son"

Length: 464 yards
PAR: 4

By rights, the eighteenth should actually be called "A whole World of Hurt", as Sir Nick has once again demonstrated his tactical course design ability with great vim. Lined with bunkers on the right to the 320 yard mark, the Fairway is dotted to this point with strategically placed mounds, capable of sending your ball rolling into the rough, or one of the waiting sand traps.

From here things do get a little smoother, though the top of the Fairway features a pronounced slope to the right. Here, a bunker guards the approach to a Green which slopes in a number of awkward directions (mainly to the right, and into the aforementioned bunker), so a well considered, accurate approach shot is crucial.

All in all, it has to be said that Sir Nick Faldo was perfectly on the mark when he called the Elea Golf Course a "thoughtful, rather than big-hitting" playing experience. The course does certainly make for an excellent round of golf; it's also the sort of course that keeps players coming back for more.

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Limni's Two Signature Links

While Sir Nick Faldo's Elea Golf Course is the first signature Links in Cyprus, a number of other venues are soon to follow. Arguably the most prestigious and eagerly awaited of these is the Limni Golf Resort, where a pair of scenically spectacular world-class signature golf courses are set to be constructed by legendary golfers and designers Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
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