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Top :: Greece Golf Courses :: Corfu Island Golf Courses  

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1. Corfu Golf & Country Club

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For centuries visitors to the island of Corfu have been captivated by the beauty and romance of this enchanting island in the Ionian Sea. In Homer's Odyssee, the shipwrecked Odysseus, King of Ithaca, was cast ashore here and given hospitality by King Alcinoos and his daughter Nausicaa. With their assistance he returned home safely after 20 years of adventure and wandering. Legend says that Odysseus landed in the sheltered bay of Ermones, only two good woods and a long iron from where the clubhouse of the Corfu Golf Club stands today. Here in the lush Ropa Valley lies one of the true gems of European golf, one of the few remaining secrets left relatively unexplored. Donald Harradine took what was once a paddy field and turned it into a golfing oasis of which even Odysseus would have had to travel a long way to find. He planted thousands of trees, made marvellous strategic use of irrigation ditches and lakes, and produced a golf course of such enchantment that few can ever resist the temptation to go back once thay have set foot upon it. In terrain and setting Corfu could not be more dissimilar to the Old Course at St. Andrews than it is. Poles apart they may be geographically and in style, but in many ways they do seem to share a common bond. To play either successfully the player must first 'find' a way round. It is this indefinable quality that sets Corfu apart from so many other newly-designed courses. Towering eucalyptuses, poplar and birch trees line the fairways, richly coloured wild birds patrol the skies above and, in the waters of the lakes, giant frogs cry out their own acclamation of the place. Harradine built his fairways around and through this miniature nature reserve with a cunning delight. He built greens of Pencross bent with subtle burrows, and often with steep slopes, which at times can be Augusta-like in their speed and yet, at others, as docile as the clubhouse cat. He built challenges of carry so tantalizing and seductive of rewards, and yet so penal of failure, as to make one wonder if he was architect or sorcerer. There is not one weak hole here, but there are several great ones. All have their own challenge and each must be tackled with a specific plan and competent execution. The penalties for lack of imagination and judgement are severe indeed. However, the par 4 9th from the championship tee is the exception but proves the rule. From the forward tee a long iron to the corner of the dogleg and a pitch are all that is normally needed, even when the breeze is against you. But the move to the back brings water into play down the left, and further aquatic problems on the right. You have more room there but the green cannot be reached over the trees which then intervene and even a bogey is not a certainty. It is a classic example of the difference 35 metres/38 yards can make. Another hole of the front nine, the 7th, a classic par 5: it can be reached with two very big shots, but the second must carry an irrigation ditch which runs diagonally across the fairway, making the carry progressively longer towards the green. The Corfu finish is a wonderful combination for strategy, shotmaking and finesse. At 205 metres/224 yards, the short 16th is not short at all, especially as it is played into the prevailing breeze and across water most of the way. It is not unlike the 16th at Augusta, but much longer, and with no escape on the opposite side of the water. Only a perfect drive at the 17th will avoid the water on the left and the trees on the right to leave the green in any way accessible. And the 18th has broken more hearts than Joan Collins. The clubhouse, with its restaurant and proshop one floor up and overlooking the large putting green and out on the course beyond, is in an idyllic setting. The lower level bar is usually thinly populated because the appeal of enjoying a post round drink in the warm sunshine on the lawn in front of the clubhouse is quite irresistible. The club has a first-class practice ground beside the first tee.

Date Added: Mar 5, 2006    Rating: 5.00    Votes: 7 Visits: 2444

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Category:  Greece Golf Courses :: Corfu Island Golf Courses

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