October 4 is International Golf Day, and Israel has plans to become a major player in the international golf tourism circuit.
Currently Israel has two golf clubs. The Caesarea Golf Club was established in January 1961 by the Rothschild family, and the Ga’ash Golf Club opened in 1999 at Kibbutz Ga’ash. The Israeli Tourism Ministry has plans to build 16 further golf courses across Israel over the next 15 years, in order to encourage golf tourism and foreign investment.
Officials from the Tourism Ministry and the Israel Land Administration are apparently examining potential sites for new golf courses in Eilat and near the Dead Sea, in Tiberias and Hatzor HaGlilit, and in Savyon and Rishon Lezion.
Building golf courses in the Middle East presents major challenges and requires intensive irrigation. When the first golf course was designed, it was difficult to find a suitable type of grass that could withstand the hot climate, and its construction included an entire underground irrigation system.
The Caesarea Golf Club course was redesigned in 2009 by Pete Dye, one of the world’s top golf course architects, as an environmentally-friendly golf course in tune with the surrounding landscape. It covers 6750 square miles and has two golf courses: a professional international-standard 18-hole course, and a second 9-hole course used mainly for training and practice. Both courses have stunning views of the Mediterranean coastline. The Israel Golf Federation is based at the Caesarea Golf Club, and every four years, the international golf tournament of the Maccabiah Games is played here.
The Ga’ash Golf Club is located near the Gaash Nature Reserve and the Hof Hasharon National Park, as a green oasis not far from Tel Aviv. Its golf course was designed by Peter Matkovich of South Africa and Elias Gitlin of Israel as a challenging course with nine holes and 18 tees. Professionals and members of the PGA teach at the Gaash golf academy and there is a pro shop selling golfing equipment.
If you are a keen golfer and would like to include a few rounds of golf during your next trip to Israel, talk to Shatour Israel about making the necessary arrangements.