Cyprus, South African golf resorts named best of year

Aphrodite Hills Resort, the first and largest leisure and golf development of its kind in Cyprus, and Fancourt Hotel and Estate in South Africa have been named among the best golf resorts in 2018.

The honors come from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, which recently announced its 2018 awards. Pebble Beach Resorts in California was also recognized as a top golf resort.

Opened in 2002, Aphrodite Hills was named the best golf resort in Europe. It hosts an 18-hole championship golf course and a dedicated 3-hole golf academy. The course, designed by Cabell Robinson, overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, specifically the site where Aphrodite, the goddess of love, is said to have emerged from the sea.

Aphrodite Hills recently invested €2.5 million to upgrade the course, said Golf Director Andrew Darker. The work included a complete modernization and reconstruction of greens and bunkers. Temporary greens have been in play since June, with reduced greens fees.

A full relaunch is planned for Jan. 19.

An additional €2 million investment is planning to extend and refurbish the clubhouse facilities.

Aphrodite Hills recently became associated with the PGA, which it hopes will raise its brand further.

“We are proud to have joined the PGA branded facilities in becoming the PGA National, Cyprus,” Darker said. “Aphrodite Hills Resort is a destination of its own, offering five-star accommodation with the golf course on site.”

Fancourt was recognized as the best golf resort of the year in the category covering the rest of the world, excluding Europe or North America. It is the second time the resort has received the honor. It was the first recipient of the IAGTO Golf Resort of the Year Award in 2004.

“To be awarded the same – 13 years later – echoes our continual strive for excellence,” said Peter Dros, sales and marketing director.

Fancourt is home to three top-ranked golf courses: The Links (a privately owned club), Montagu and Outeniqua. They were designed by a team led by Gary Player and the estate’s owner, Hasso Plattner. Fancourt was transformed from an estate into a hotel and golfing destination in 1989.

“To be recognized by IAGTO cements Fancourt’s position as a global landmark for golfing and leisure travel, where golf takes pride of place,” Dros said.

The IAGTO winners are chosen by votes from members. There are 680 golf tour operator members in 65 countries and they are responsible for nearly 90 percent of all international golf vacation packages that are sold worldwide.

Members were asked to cast their votes on a number of criteria, including customer satisfaction; quality of golf courses and accommodation; value for money; support from suppliers, tourist boards and airlines; professional conduct of suppliers; and accessibility to tee times.

The 2018 IAGTO Awards winners were announced to 1,500 golf tourism delegates during the opening address of the 20th International Golf Travel Market, held in the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France.

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