The Minthis Resort in Cyprus has unveiled a £5m upgrade to its 18-hole championship golf course which has been carried out by renowned golf course architects Mackenzie & Ebert.
Tom Mackenzie and his team have been working with the Minthis’s management for over 15 years, with major upgrades being undertaken to the Donald Steel-designed golf course from 2017 to 2020.
The most recent improvements have focused on the quality of the greens and bunkers, with the original clay push-up greens updated to conform to the sand-based USGA specification standard. This will provide true, consistent and quality putting surfaces all year round, whilst benefitting the long-term sustainability of the golf course.
The average size of each green has notably increased by 25%, which is further complemented by Mackenzie & Ebert’s distinctive and interesting green designs. The reshaped greens offer golfers more fun, variety and challenges both on and around the greens. The greens have been seeded with 007 Creeping Bent Grass, known for its heat-tolerance and disease resistance, which has proved to be the modern grass seed of choice among many of the world’s top golf courses.
The bunker upgrade includes the replacement of sand with new USGA-specification material quarried from the Sahara, with the reshaping of greenside bunkers not only enhancing the aesthetic appeal, but also to allow for rain water to be diverted and harvested by storm drains, where it can be stored in the main reservoir.
In addition, Minthis continues to follow a detailed plan set by Mackenzie & Ebert to build on the beautiful natural character of the golf course. This incorporates additional planting of vineyards, local shrubs, native grasses and wildflower meadows. Moreover, further native, out-of-play grass areas have been identified and will be left to grow naturally in order to protect the existing nature at the resort and to create new habitats for local wildlife.
The opening nine holes is the more forgiving half of the 6,000-metre course, encircling the historic 12th century monastery, vineyards, orchards and olive groves. These holes have been cleverly designed to give players a fair start to the round, keeping in mind the sloping tree-lined par-5 third hole and the long 6th with a blind approach shot played towards the monastery. At the turn, the 9th hole is played alongside the beautifully remodelled lake and finishes in front of the impressive contemporary clubhouse.
Mackenzie describes the back nine holes as being ‘all about precision with a wonderful variety of adventures’. The newly redesigned par-5 10th is a perfect example of the challenges golfers will face. A well struck tee shot over the ravine is essential to find the generous fairway. Once on the fairway the second shot is played through a valley, this time to a cunningly angled green.
The new par-3 13th then offers a realistic birdie opportunity in the middle of a run of challenging holes with a great chance of getting a hole-in-one. In addition, the short par-4 13th offers the best risk and reward tee shot on the course. The green can be reached with a well struck drive, although danger lurks with the steep valley cascading away on the left-hand side. The ultimate test is the par-3 15th with its impressive island green.