With its pleasant Mediterranean climate and diverse natural scenery, Israel would easily make an ideal golfing destination. But you may have known the reality, right?
Israel has never been exactly known as a golfing hub, most likely because the sport is relatively new in the country. At the moment, Israel has the Caesarea Golf Club, its first and only full-size golf course.
But that is about to change because the Israel Tourism Ministry has laid plans to build sixteen more golf courses to position Israel further on the golf map. For the moment, let’s go to talking about Caesarea Golf Club.
About the town, Caesarea
Caesarea is a town in north-central Israel whose name is derived from an ancient city, Caesarea Maritima, where it used to stand in this present-day town. Caesarea Maritima was built by Herod built Caesarea Maritima in the 1st century BCE as a magnificent Roman-style city complete with a palace, amphitheater, hippodrome, a Roman temple, and extensive aqueducts. The existing ruins of the Caesarea Maritima, including the impressive aqueduct, are now tourist attractions in this modern-day town.
History of Caesarea Golf Club
Being a coastal town facing the Mediterranean Sea as well as a national park, Caesarea is breathtakingly beautiful and endlessly fascinating. It boasts magnificent ruins, beautiful beaches, and impressive modern buildings sitting side by side. It was no wonder that the town was chosen as a location of Israel’s only premier golf club, the Caesarea Golf Club.
It was a member of the prominent Rothschild banking family, James Armand de Rothschild, who was inspired by the golf courses back in Scotland when he visited the Caesarea’s Roman ruins one time. He was an avid golfer himself, so he decided to build a golf course there. However, in 1957, Rothschild passed away before he could realize his vision.
With the help of Rothschild’s own foundation and several key figures, including Jerusalem’s then-mayor Teddy Kollek, the Caesarea Golf Club was inaugurated in 1961.
Since its inception, the Caesarea Golf Club has undergone several improvements and upgrades in terms of its landscape and modernization of its systems. But it was the American architect and golf course designer Pete Dye who made the Caesarea Golf Club into what it is today – a world-class golfing destination.
An ardent supporter of environmentally-friendly golf courses, Dye used environmental and landscape preservation values as the basis for his redesigning plan. After a major renovation, the golf course opened in 2009. A year later, the Caesarea Golf Club was named one of the Rolex World’s top 1000 golf courses.
The Caesarea Golf Club now spans 6,750 square miles and features two golf courses: the 18-hole (the only one of its kind in Israel, so far), and the 9-hole (used primarily for practice and pleasure).
Many famous celebrities and politicians, Israeli and foreign, have swung their clubs at the Caesarea Golf Club during their visits there. Since its inauguration, the Caesarea Golf Club has hosted the Maccabiah Games (the “Jewish Olympics”) once every four years.
Israel – the next golfer’s paradise
For now, the Caesarea Golf Club is Israel’s only internationally recognized golf club. But this is going to change. Again, the tourism ministry has announced its plans to build 16 more golf courses across the country in their bid to make Israel the next golfing destination in the near future. Ministry officials have been scouting potential sites, which include Eilat and the Dead Sea in the south, Savyon and Rishon Lezion in central Israel, and Tiberias and Hatzor HaGlilit in the north.
With such developments, we are pretty sure that things are looking quite exciting for golf lovers in Israel and elsewhere in the world.