Not too long ago, government said that a law would be implemented to encourage the construction of golf courses in Greece. “Golf appeals to higher-income groups and should be our goal,” Tourism Development Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia told the First International Golf Tournament in Greece at Hersonissos, on the island of Crete.
Now, that goal looks like it is close to being realized.
There are about 30 investment plans currently under way, nine of which concern the island of Crete. Others are for new golf courses in Halkidiki and Pylos in Messinia, among others.
The existing golf courses in Greece -which are located Halkidiki, Corfu, Rodos, Crete and Glyfada- are more than enough to serve local golfers, but the development of the sport in Greece is also linked to increasing the number of rich tourists who like golfing.
A golf course of 50-150 hectares consumes about a million cubic meters of water annually.
Debate about the environmental effects of golf courses began in the 1980s when specialists said that golf areas consume vast amounts of water that is taken away from other activities. Solutions suggested by the golfing industry, they said, such as desalination and recycling of water are expensive, energy-consuming and do not guarantee results.
Maintenance of the turf on golf courses required an intensive use of pesticides, polluting both surface and underground water. According to the Worldwatch Institute, the amount of weedkillers needed on golf courses is about six times that used on a farm of a similar size.