Secret Valley Golf Club makes it onto our ranking list courtesy of Golf Digest, who voted it the best course in Cyprus for two consecutive years. We do need to remember, though, that golf is still a relatively new sport in Cyprus and at the time, the island only had two courses to choose from (the Cyprus Golf Federation was only founded in 2000). Nevertheless, this delightful holiday course opened for play in 1996 and it was designed by local Cypriot Iacovos Iacovou.
Secret Valley is the home course of Nicosia Golf Club and is situated not far from Paphos and even closer to Petra tou Romiou, where according to folklore, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, stepped ashore. Not surprisingly, Secret Valley plays through a valley, but this is no ordinary valley. It really is quite spectacular, with brightly-coloured rock formations, which change colour in different lights.
After a gentle start, the course begins to toughen up, but if you can keep the ball in play and avoid the numerous water hazards, you'll play close to handicap. The course measures 6,120 metres from the back tees, so it's no pushover in terms of length, but there are a number of forward tees to choose from to suit the higher handicappers.
The setting really is a delight and it's definitely worth playing Secret Valley early in the morning or late in the evening when the shadows are lengthening. It's also cooler at either end of the day - in the middle of summer, Secret Valley can get rather hot and sticky.
Secret Valley is invariably kept in good condition and they have an ongoing development programme, which continues to improve the overall experience. All in all, it's a very pleasant place for golf... but don't keep it a secret.