Agrigento, SicilyAgrigento, Sicily 

'Greece is the Word' Tour 2023

Sicily & Greece

Saturday 26 August

We flew in from Zurich early evening and caught a taxi to our hotel in old town, Catania. 

The Panorama hotel was our home for 2 nights

Sunday 27 August


The group all gathered for breakfast and at 9am we on the bus to explore..

We visited Taormina’s old town and the impressive Greek ampitheatre

We then dropped in to have lunch and play 9 holes at Picciolo Mt Etna GC.


The group at Picciolo Mt Etna GCThe group at Picciolo Mt Etna GC


Picciolo is not overly long but is one of the tightest courses I have come across.

Mature trees frame the fairways  and produce some unique holes with sharp doglegs and significant elevation movement adding to the interest of each hole. 

Often you hit without confidence on the line or target- making it very much a course where course knowledge is paramount.

It would take quite a few plays before I would have any confidence in my lines off the tee.


Picciolo Mt Etna GC- hole 4: how narrow is this?Picciolo Mt Etna GC- hole 4: how narrow is this?

After golf we headed back to our hotel and hand welcoming drinks on the roof, followed by a group dinner at a nice restaurant in the heartof the old town..

Monday 28 August


Monday morning we boarded the big bus for the trip to Verdura Resort.

Along the way we stopped at the ancient ruins at Agrimento, the site of the best preserved roman architecture anywhere in the world.


Agrigento2Agrigento 2

Agrigento 3Agrigento 3 


We arrived into Verdura mid afternoon and explored the resort. A number of us played the par 3 course.


Dinner was huge!


Tuesday 29 August


Today we played the famous East Course at Verdura, designed by Kyle Phillips.

In strong winds it proved to be a challenging course.

It is nicely designed providing a resort course suitable for holiday makers, as well as a challenging test of golf for the purists.


Verdura Resort- East Course, hole 12 approachVerdura Resort- East Course, hole 12 approach





The strategic bunkering is a highlight forcing the golfer to plot his way around.

Although by the sea, it did not really play like a links course.

The group enjoyed it, nevertheless.


Verdura Resort after golfVerdura Resort after golf

Dinner tonight was pizza!


Wednesday 30 August


verdura west course 

Today we played the West Course. 

 I rose early and with the sun shining I headed off with the drone to get some footage of the coastal holes before golf.

-I covered hole 13 on the East Course, and hole 17 & 18 on the West Course.


Verdura Resort- West Course, hole 17Verdura Resort- West Course, hole 17

Verdura Resort- West Course, hole 18Verdura Resort- West Course, hole 18



It was a long walk, but worth the effort..

Then I joined the group to play the West Course, which seemed to me to be the championship course of the two.

It played longer, and with more raised greens it definitely challenged our group for length and carry.

Fortunately I played very well, and had 43 pts after wiping the last..

Generally the group enjoyed both courses, but all felt a combination course, picking the best of each would be something special!


The Battle of the SexesThe Battle of the Sexes

We departed Verdura mid afternoon and headed into our accommodation in Palermo for the night. 

Dinner in town was lovely and we celebrated Barbara’s birthday.

But it was early to bed as we had to be up very early for the flight to Santorini..


 sicily group photo


Thursday 31 August


Up at 5.15am and on the bus to the airport at 5.45.

We had three vans turn up to transport the 14 of us to the airport (and cases and golf clubs).

But it all went like clockwork and it was an easy flight to Santorini.

By late morning we had checked in to the hotel and found time to explore.

You may well realise that Santorini has a bit of a reputation as the place to stay for the beautiful people.

I can now confirm that it is indeed pretty special- a tad crowded perhaps, but the town and the views exceeded my expectations.

Our hotel sits in prime time position on top of the cliffs with views over the cruise ships and the glorious island backdrop.


Santorini- the view from our roomSantorini- the view from our room

Santorini- the view from our room2Santorini- the view from our room2



Santorini the view of the blueSantorini- the view of the blue

After a leisurely lunch we explored the town in the afternoon, and then tucked into a very nice meal at The Vine overlooking the bay.


Sometimes its tough to be a Travelling GolferSometimes its tough to be a Travelling Golfer!


Good company, amazing location, great weather, nice wine, lovely meal..

Sometimes it is tough to be a Travelling Golfer!

Friday 1 September 


After a bit of a sleep in we  were collected by a bus and taken out of town to board a big catamaran.

The skies were blue, the ocean a deeper blue, and with a light breeze it was perfect sailing conditions.

The group were relaxed and in a good mood as we took it all in- taking snaps of the impressive cliffs that define Santorini as we sailed by.


Cruising the Santorini coastCruising the Santorini coast

Cruising the Santorini coast2Cruising the Santorini coast2



We dropped anchor a few times and the group enjoyed some swimming and snorkelling in the shallower, more protected waters.


A dip in the AegeanA dip in the Aegean


Relaxing on deckRelaxing on deck

It was just a lovely relaxing day in paradise

Saturday 2 September 


We were all up early again, packed and ready to go before 6.30am.

The shuttle buses took us back to the airport .

We spent the morning flying from Santorini to Athens connecting to Kalamata.

From the airport we were back in a big bus for the journey to Costa Navarino.

We headed straight to W hotel as Costa Navarino had a space and wanted to offer us the chance of accommodation there to show off the newest addition to their elite offering.

We checked out the lay of the land, heading down to the Dunes course pro shop.

Dinner at W was delicious.. 


Sunday 3 September


After a few days without golf we were all primed for our first game at Costa Navarino- on the Dunes Course

The course is the first of four at Costa Navarino and was designed by Bernard Langer.

It opened for play in 2010.


The first thing that struck was the beauty of the site. 

The occasional sea views were magic, but the entire property was comparable to a botanical garden.

The majestic old olive trees add real character to the course which is absolutely surrounded by all manner of trees, shrubs and native grasses.

The course itself was challenging, but fair.


 Olive Trees C Navarino



Strategic bunkering will attract the attention of the serious golfer, but the green complexes are in my mind the key to scoring on the Dunes Course. 

The large greens have a number of sections with movement between them making it important to hit the right section to secure a stress free par.

Our competition today was boys v girls (Adonis v Aphrodite), and the boys took the early points..

After golf Heather and I went out with the drone and took some footage of the second and sixth holes.


Costa Navarino- Dunes Course, hole 2Costa Navarino- Dunes Course, hole 2


The group went their separate ways for dinner tonight- with Heather and I joining Geoff & Rita at an Italian restaurant on the water in the nearby Agora section of the W resort.


A Greecy dinnerA Greecy dinner


Beetroot RisottoBeetroot Risotto



My beetroot risotto was sensational!

Monday 3 September


After an another yummy breakfast at the W hotel, we headed off to golf at The Olympic course.

The Olympic Course  was well received by the group, who found it a little less demanding than the Dunes Course.

Like the Dunes Course, Olympic was beautifully manicured and challenging without beingoverly difficult.

With some spectacular ocean views, Olympic wends its way through another garden like setting with native vegetation framing each hole.

There are some lovely holes, but the standout was the par 3 twelfth hole- a gorgeous shortish par 3 with sea views.

It’s only a short iron, but it’s all carry to a green exposed to the elements..


Costa Navarino- Olympic Course, hole 12 droneCosta Navarino- Olympic Course, hole 12 drone

The course was not overly long but required a considered approach to each hole rather just length.


 The Bay Course C Navarino

Some of the keener travelling golfers then went straight back out and played the Hills course.

Meanwhile others journeyed by bus to visit Methoni Castle. 

It is huge!

We really enjoyed exploring the castle ruins and reading the history


Methoni Castle, GreeceMethoni Castle, Greece

To finish the day off in style we journeyed by bus to Elia restaurant on the Gialova beachfront.

We had arranged to have dinner on the beach, but with rain coming in we ate inside by the beach- it was a lovely meal and a good time was had by all..


Tuesday 4 September


Today we played The Bay Course, designed by Robert Tent Jones Jnr.

It was the final day of the golf competitions.



Whos Right & who's Wong?Who's Right & who's Wong?


The Adonis team (boys) had a handy lead going into the round but elected to play off back tees given the relative lack of length on the ’normal’ mens tees.

In theory this brought the Aphrodite team right back into calculations, but the boys skipped away to win in a canter.

Winner of the overall tour tournament was Geoff Steer who played consistently well all week.

We have played many RTJ Jnr. Courses around the world with the Old Course at The National a personal favourite- so we were looking forward to seeing the Bay Course.

After heavy rain overnight the course was wet and heavy and playing long.

The Bay Course is routed through some heavily undulating territory, with a number of uphill holes providing a stern test with the wet turf eliminating run.

There was a reason the normal daily course was set up as a shorter course!

The course opens with a couple of delightful holes abutting the beach, and with the sun shining and blue skies it made for a pretty setting.


Costa Navarino- Bay Course, hole 1Costa Navarino- Bay Course, hole 1


Costa Navarino- The Bay Course, hole 2Costa Navarino- The Bay Course, hole 2 


Trent Jones used the land well and included six par 3’s in the hills as there was not much land suitable for fairways..

The par 3’s included holes that went from hill to hill across valleys, drop shots down and others through the valleys. 

It was all good fun!

After golf and drinks we had presentations and retired to the clubhouse restaurant for a farewell dinner.

Wednesday 5 September


Today we woke to torrential rain, as we all departed for our next destinations.

Heather and I checked out the accommodation at The Romanos next to the Dunes course as a possible venue for future tours.

Our departure at Midday via small bus was to Athens city for some and the airport for us.

But with the heavy rain and traffic the trip took over 6 hours rather than the scheduled 3 hrs 20 mins.

It was a good time to move on after a wonderful tour.

Thanks to the all participants for being such a lovely group to work with.


Heather & Peter