Costa Navarino Talks To José María Olazábal at Navarino Hills

International Olympic Academy Golf Course at Costa Navarino

Costa Navarino has become one of Europe’s best golf destinations; offering a world-class golf experience on its now four signature golf courses, exquisite accommodation and dining options around the resort, leisure activities and more it’s easy to see why this resort is high on many peoples travel lists.

Costa Navarino recently talked to José María Olazábal about golf, designing Navarino Hills and his advice for junior golfers getting into the game of golf.

Original article By Giorgos Tsiros

jose maria olazabal at Navarino Hills

So how does Messinia measure up as a destination for golf vacations?

The first time I was here, I was truly amazed by the beauty of the place. The vegetation is very rich and the weather, obviously, could not be any better. To be in Europe and be able to play in short sleeves in November or February is a huge advantage. Add to that the hospitable character of the local people and the fact that the food is also excellent, and I think we have all the elements to achieve something really special.

The other advantages, of course, are the other existing courses – The Dunes Course by the sea, and The Bay Course with its new clubhouse befitting a luxury golf club, and the resorts; the addition of Navarino Hills, The Hills Course and the International Olypmic Academy Golf Course will make Messinia one of a handful of golf destinations in the world to boast four signature courses.

Yes, you can go from one course to the other within just 15 to 20 minutes by car. The facilities are great and the hotels are world class. What TEMES has created in Costa Navarino is extraordinary, and for us to have a chance to play our part in the destination’s legacy fills us with immense pride. If you’re a player in northern or central Europe, you can have a home here. The quality of the courses is very high and any golfer, or even a non-golfer, I think, is going to have a ball around here.

Tell us about these 18-hole par-72 courses at Navarino Hills.

They’ll be located on a site with elevations of up to 300 meters. The property is spectacular and the views are simply breathtaking, particularly on the northern edge where you’ll find it almost impossible to take your eyes off beautiful Navarino Bay. The rest of the site, with extended views over rolling hills, will also quickly win the hearts of golfers. It’s a privilege to have the chance to design both courses, and we’ll do everything to do justice to this incredible land.

And what about the differences between them? I understand that the International Olympic Academy Golf Course, with a length of 6,466 meters, will be more challenging, and ideal for international tournaments, but is there anything else you’d like prospective players to know about that course?

The holes most likely to wow professional golfers will be 10, 12, 15, 16 and 17. I think these holes will be really special!

The 6,280-meter Hills Course, a little shorter at 6,280 meters, will be somewhat easier, but will it be different in other ways as well?

The holes are more isolated so that, if you’re playing a particular hole, that’s pretty much all you’re going to see.

One of the dreams of Costa Navarino’s founder, Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos, was to introduce golf to Greek children through the Costa Navarino Golf Academy. You began playing at the age of five. What advice would you give to kids who are just learning the game?

Well, I’d tell them that there are a lot of sacrifices to be made – most of these, however, will be worth it. Golf is a wonderful game that you can play your whole life. You can learn a lot, and it helps you to mature. Of course, you need to keep practicing, because there are no shortcuts, but the hours you put in will also allow you to meet a lot of people, to create and build relationships. And to travel the world, if you’re actually good enough.

Read the full interview here.