Written by Staff Writer
(CNN) — It’s the weekend of the start of the 2018 Mediterranean Pro-Am tournament in Famagusta, Northern Cyprus, and it’s clear the area is ready to welcome the first batch of visitors to the small Mediterranean island for the summer months.
The gardens of the Alibi Hotel are lush with flowers, and the streets are decorated with banners advertising local businesses, as the procession of golfers makes its way to the first of the two courses being used.
While the island has long been a popular tourist destination, it’s less well known as a competitive golfing location and this year’s tournament (which runs throughout October) aims to change that.
In fact, Alibi Hotel is the first hotel in the country to be dedicated solely to the sport.
Located on the east coast of the island, it is home to a professional and a female-only team: two professional men’s and two women’s teams are competing to claim the 2018 title in the long-standing competition.
“Guests are faced with a choice of hiking and golfing in conjunction with the Mediterranean Pro-Am as well as walking through the labyrinth of beaches of the Famagusta Coast. Or they can stay at the Alibi Hotel for a luxurious seaside experience,” explains Alibi Hotel owner James Middleton.
“The 18-hole or 18-hole Pro-Am course at the Alibi provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy a private, local course experience while enjoying superb sea views with breathtaking Turkish setting that is only possible in the Mediterranean region. It is also an ideal location for golfers looking to remain in Negril during the tournament as we also host a luxury suite and the marquee event events in the region.”
2 days of golf, 3 holes in the sea, lagoons, piazzas, bars and beachfront restaurants… with some beautiful wildlife along the way! https://t.co/4wxfDwuPgr pic.twitter.com/WuSbMNb2ax — The Mediterranean Pro-Am (@MediterraneanProA) August 24, 2018
The tournament, which was set up in 1994, is inspired by European Tour tournaments and comprises two, separate qualifying rounds.
Each of the two courses — named the Mediterranean and the Kokomo — are set in natural and coastal settings, respectively. The top 20 players out of 48 qualify for the final round, which features the top 20 players from each course.
The country is a favorite haunt for discerning golfers. Cyprus has over 80,000 golfers (as of May 2016), with more than 20,000 registered golfers and tourists playing annually. A recent study found that Cyprus was the second best country for teeing it up behind the United States.
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Furthermore, the Mediterranean course was designed in 2009 and given a facelift for the tournament, having previously only been used for local tournaments. Its traditional layout includes holes 12, 13, 15, and 16, and after being repaved and redesigned after the final round, it will also include a fourth hole.
Each of the players on both teams will play the first round at the Mediterranean course, before switching to the Kokomo course for the second. When it’s time to leave Famagusta, they’ll head across the bridge to the Colosseum in Rome, the finest amphitheater in the world, in order to help fire them up for the final day.
The Mediterranean Course – May 2017
After the first round, one player will be competing in the third round of the event at the Kokomo course, while the other will be the top player at the mid-table at the Mediterranean course, where they’ll play a 36-hole final round.
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Each course will be very different.
The Nicosia Golf Club is a traditional design that includes a pristine stretch of undulating terrain — ideal for those who want a long stretch of flat greens.
The Kokomo Course – October 2018
The Latroumaros course, which was developed in 1994 and never changed, is a much more challenging and challenging one, particularly for beginners.
The focus on the wild beast is a stark contrast, as the island is a prime destination for animal photography and tourism. It’s home to some of the world’s richest animal populations, particularly the Iberian lynx, the vulture and the orange-bellied parrot.
Though its habitat has changed in recent years, Cyprus remains a popular stop on the migratory route of the Caribbean as well as on trips to the Mediterranean.