Undoubtedly, the resort of Costa Navarino in the Greek Peloponnese is now becoming one of the finest golf destinations in Europe, and the opening of a direct Paris-Kalamata line this month will, for us French, enhance the appeal of this magical place which boasts four world-class golf courses, hotels and holiday residences , around twenty restaurants and entertainment of all kinds.
All with the Ionian Sea and the port of Pylos as a backdrop. Scandinavian, German and British golfers have already set their sights on this extraordinary course in blue, green and gold!
This success has a name: the passionate love for his homeland of Messenia, which a wealthy shipowner, Captain Vassilis Konstantakopoulos, has developed throughout its life and decided to make it a leading golf destination. A revolution considering that Greece only has 7 golf courses and no culture in this area. After lengthy negotiations to buy back their olive groves from local farmers and a total investment estimated at €1.2 billion, the result is impressive. Costa Navarino, managed by Achilles, the eldest son of the captain who died 11 years ago, has catapulted himself into the top 10 most beautiful resorts in Europe.
Let’s start the tour of the property with the golf courses which have the advantage of not being too far apart (maximum 20 minutes by hotel shuttle):
- The oldest, which we discovered when it opened about ten years ago, is this dune race drawn by Bernhard Langer. We have a soft spot for this “fair” course, whose 2nd hole that descends to the sea remains the characteristic hole of Costa Navarino, a par 4 of 300 meters, whose second shot must not be disturbed by the beauty of the place, otherwise Danger exists (photo opposite). Also note the 6 and 16, two more beautiful par 4s. Here we are not in the spectacular but in the truth of golf, its encounter with nature and its game offer to have a good time. No wonder the pros still love this course designed by the German master.
- baythe second route, chronologically, was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. whose Welsh shaper stayed behind after construction and made himself at home in the tranquility and beauty of the site. A par 71 of 5,232 meters of yellow tones that highlights the course’s natural inclination towards the sea, with holes that are always remembered as 1, 3, 6 and 9 and has a bad tendency to swim. The attached pictures speak for themselves to describe the ” Impressive which often come out of the mouth between strokes.
- And now here are the last two, bearing the signature of the great Spanish champion Jose Maria Olazabal, known as Txema or Ollie. Two golf courses opened in March, very different from each other, the more scenic Olympic and the hill sportier and more demanding. Let’s start with the latter: a journey immersed in nature, where real estate (for the moment?) does not disturb the magic of this centuries-old land populated by olive trees. A par 72 of 5,864 yards from the yellows, complicated by roughs so dense that a local rule turns the stray ball into a ball in the hazard… We loved the 6, a long par 5, all downhill, but that too 11 another par 5 with 484 meters uphill and 15, a small masterpiece of par 3. This young course has to find its final place and in the end it will be a big championship course with international tournaments. Small suggestion: the end hole deserves a better finish.
- The other route that Olympic, is a par 72 of 5,747 meters, balanced (2 par 5, 2 par 3, 4 par 4 round trip) where the sea view will delight all golfers. Ah, the 12th, 16th and 17th! Take out the tackle: you’ll be a hit when you get home… I also liked hole number 3, a par 4 of 369 meters where the water in play on the second shot makes any lack of strategy difficult. Everyone gathers in the beautiful clubhouse designed by Lubomir Zeman, renowned architect, and which overlooks the Bay of Navarino. A drink in hand, in the company of friends, life never seems so good…
An academy equipped with the latest technology completes the golf offer.
For Jose Maria Olazabal : “Costa Navarino is one of the most beautiful places I have ever known. Over the last five years we have worked hard to design two courses that respect their unique surroundings and blend into the environment as naturally as possible. The two courses have a different character. Golfers will find the International Olympic Academy Course more sophisticated, with its spectacular views of Navarino Bay, while the Hills Course has a more idyllic charm amidst the rolling hills. With the two new courses and the two existing courses, Costa Navarino has become an incredible golf destination and I invite everyone to come and experience it. »
A 485,000 m water reservoir3 was created to meet the irrigation needs of both courses. To minimize water consumption, all fairways, greens, tees and roughs have been seeded with a mix of hardy grasses adapted to the local climate, while 52,000 species of native trees, shrubs, seasonal flowers and local herbs have been planted.
In terms of accommodation, Costa Navarino will initially offer two 5-star Westin Resort Costa Navarino Hotels, The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort. Luxury apartments and villas are also available on site.
In terms of entertainment, guests here can enjoy countless sports, wellness and leisure activities: exclusive oleotherapy treatments at the award-winning Anazoe Spa, Europe’s first Mouratoglou tennis centre, cycling, hiking and exploring the surrounding countryside with 4,500 years of history, etc.
Nuno Sepulveda, the general manager, sums up the offer of Costa Navarino as follows: “We come here for three main reasons: the quality of the services, the golf offer with 4 exceptional courses and finally the variety of accommodation, always first class. We have 850 rooms today (1,100 in the future), 20 restaurants and plenty of activities, from amazing beaches to historical sites like Olympia or Sparta an hour’s drive away… Our motto is: We deliver! »…
Good news for the French: Chris, the impressive Head Pro, originally from France, can advise you on both golf and excursions around the resort. Don’t hesitate to check it out!
To get there: two flights a week to Kalamata: Transavia and Aegean. Also from GB, Germany or Switzerland… Otherwise via Athens (3 hours drive).
There are packages from 2,500 euros per week in a double room.
To see the accommodation offers at the Westin Resort Costa NavarinoPlease click here.
To view accommodation offers at The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, Please click here.
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