Our Greek Mainland region is defined as the main peninsula of Central Greece and the Peloponnese peninsula, which is separated from the mainland by the Corinth Canal. More than three quarters of the area within these two regions is mountainous, so the inhospitable terrain is as good a geographical reason as any when trying to explain why golf has never really caught on in the cradle of western civilisation.
There are only four courses located in this large area, the oldest of which is Donald Harradine’s Glyfada – host to the World Cup of Golf tournament in 1979 – and this sits 13 kilometres to the south of Athens city centre. Further to the northeast, not too far from Thessalonica, lies the Olive Grove course at the Porto Carras Resort and the original 9-hole layout was extended to a full 18-hole track in 2003.
On the southwest flank of the Peloponnese peninsula, the two courses at the new Costa Navarino resort are easily the best in the Hellenic Republic, to give Greece its official title. The Bernhard Langer-designed Dunes course was the first layout to open in 2010 followed a year later by the Bay course, which Robert Trent Jones Jnr fashioned on a property six miles further along the coast.
Construction work began at the end of 2020 on a new Jack Nicklaus Signature course at Kilada Country Club Golf & Residences, located around 175 kilometres southwest of Athens in Porto Heli. The 18-hole layout is part of a development that will include a hotel and other accommodation options. Dirk Bouts, one of Jack’s senior design associates, is overseeing the project, with completion due in 2022.