Israel has never exactly been known as a golfing hotbed but that may be about to change with the upgrading of Caesarea, one of only two courses in the country, by none other than the legendary Pete Dye.
Located beside the ancient port of Caesarea on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, the 18-hole course here opened in 1961, with the very first tee shot played by Lord Rothschild, before an exhibition match between Sam Snead and Harry Whitman.
Fast forward forty years to the new millennium and Caesarea Development Corporation reviewed the course, marking it at only 2 or 3 out of 10, when – in all honesty – it needs to rank 9 or 10 out of 10 to pull in tourists who can easily go elsewhere in the Mediterranean to golf with the sun on their back.
So CDC came up with the big idea to redevelop the course with a world famous architect (who rarely works outside his native America) to redesign the layout into one that will be “sophisticated, interesting and far more challenging” and the plan is for the new course to “increase Caesarea’s value as a town and draw tourists near and far to the club, significantly contributing to the development of golf in Israel.”
Construction started in August 2007, ending in December 2008, with the official opening of the new golf course in time for the 18th Maccabi Games in July 2009.