Several months ago, Dolphin Capital Investors secured permission to build a pair of Tony Jacklin-designed golf courses at its flagship project in Cyprus. The question now is, Will the company actually build them?
The courses will anchor Venus Rock, a 2,375-acre resort community in Paphos that will eventually have a Nikki Beach hotel, more than 3,000 houses (some of them “branded” by Nikki Beach), a marina, a spa, a retail/commercial area, a beach club, recreation centers, and other attractions, including a possible third golf course.
The Venus Rock property is home to the Secret Valley resort, which describes itself as “the most prestigious leisure and golf resort in Cyprus.” Jacklin, who operates out of an office in Bradenton, Florida, has been tapped to redesign Secret Valley’s 6,310-yard course and add a new 18-hole track. His co-designer is Hans-Georg Erhardt, an Austrian designer.
Dolphin was founded in 2004 by two executives from Soros Real Estate Partners, Miltos Kambourides and Pierre Charalambides. The company calls itself “the world’s largest global investor and developer of coastal land in emerging markets,” a phrase that suggests much but means little. It owns a Robert Trent Jones-designed golf course in the Dominican Republic (at the Playa Grande resort in Cabrera) and has a handful of golf irons in the fire, but it hasn’t yet managed to build anything of its own.
And Dolphin is nothing if not ambitious. Here are some of the projects in its pipeline:
-- Eagle Pine Resort in Limassol, Cyprus. A resort community on 800 acres located just a 15-minute drive from Venus Rock. Eagle Pine’s golf course will be co-designed by Graham Marsh and Erhardt.
-- Apollo Heights in Limassol, Cyprus. The 1,175-acre community will have houses, a hotel, polo fields, and an 18-hole, Jacklin-designed course.
-- Lavender Bay Golf Resort in Volos, Greece. A resort community with 700 houses, a beach club, a Kempinski-managed hotel, and an 18-hole, Gary Player-designed golf course.
-- Sitia Bay Golf Resort on Crete, the largest Greek island. A 700-acre resort community with houses, a hotel, a marina, a beach club, and a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.
-- Plaka Bay Resort on Crete. An 1,100-acre community that will include an 18-hole course.
No construction schedules have been set for any of Dolphin’s projects.
The golf complex at Venus Rock will have competition. There are four existing 18-hole courses in and around Paphos (including the new Nick Faldo-designed course at Elea Golf & Spa Resort), and new courses are expected to be built at two other planned resort communities in the area, Larnaca Golf & Country Club and Limni Golf Resort.
It should also be noted that Cyprus (and Greece) has for years faced acute water shortages, an especially touchy subject when it comes to irrigating large expanses of grass. Nonetheless, the local governments on the island support golf development, in an effort to boost tourism. In fact, Cyprus believes it can support 14 golf courses, and it’s appointed a “golf tourism coordinator” to get them built.
This story originally appeared in the World Edition of the Golf Course Report, in a slightly different form. For a sample copy of the World Edition, call 301/680-9460 or write to WorldEdition@aol.com.