The delightful Secret Valley holiday course opened for play in 1996 and local Cypriot Iacovos Iacovou originally designed it.
Voted the best course in Cyprus for two consecutive years by Golf Digest back in the late 1990s, Secret Valley Golf Club enjoyed all limelight in those early years when golf was still a fledgling Cypriot sport. At that time, the island only had two courses to choose from and the Cyprus Golf Federation hadn’t yet been founded.
Home course of Nicosia Golf Club (founding member of the Cyprus Golf Federation), Secret Valley 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.
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.
It’s true, Secret Valley was a relatively ordinary members course, but everything changed in 2013 when the layout reopened after a complete redesign by Hans-Georg Erhardt and Snorri Vilhjalmsson of Golf and Land Design, with Tony Jacklin as the headline architect.
The new Secret Valley layout is an integral part of the Venus Rock project, which is mooted to include another golf course, a five-star hotel and luxury private homes. The project aims to become one of Europe’s largest luxury beachfront residential developments.
The Secret Valley layout itself is routed thoughtfully using the natural topography of the valley to great effect. Mature trees and shrubs are a feature within the lower valley while the steep hillside terrain of the upper slopes has allowed dramatic tee locations, which afford lovely views over the valley and to the distant sea beyond.
What was formerly a pleasant golfing experience is now a must play golf course. It’s even quite possible that Secret Valley could once again become the No.1 course in Cyprus. Watch out Elea and Aphrodite Hills.
Secret Valley is a really fun course and it's in excellent condition. We played off the White Tees - about 6000 yards - and it's about 6200 from the back tees. The location is spectacular, laid out in a valley, with a classic Out/In configuration. There are some beautiful drives from elevated tees and some really pretty Par 3s. The greens were in excellent condition - fast and true. Good value at 45 euros for 18 holes, a buggy and use of the practice range. I'll be back - tomorrow!
The redesign of Secret Valley has turned a pleasant holiday track into a must-play. Having visited Cyprus recently (also played Elea and Aphrodite Hills) I must say this was my favorite of the three. It may be short (5700 yds from the backs) but it’s great fun and very engaging.
The course does lack investment for the simple reason that a new development has been on the backburner for the best part of 10 years. However this should hopefully change soon. With two brand new courses.