By Margaret Sheard …..
It is not very often we manage to travel to the west side of North Cyprus and so were pleased to have the opportunity of meeting up with Malcolm Lees who is Chairman of the CMC Golf Club in Yeşilyurt to learn about the present day Club and also its past history.
While we were there we also had the pleasure of meeting Dr Hasan Garabli and his wife Gulay. Dr Hasan is a Paediatrician at the local Cengiz Topel Hospital, he has a great interest in the Club and had a wealth of knowledge about its history. Gulay is also a keen golfer and is also very artistic in her hobby of ceramics and sculpture. We saw an example of this with the golfing figures on the outside wall of the Club House.
The area of the present day Golf Club is in Yeşilyurt and situated just off the main road (Ecevit Caddesi) on the right as you approach Lefke travelling westwards. The area, although much smaller then, was established in 1926 by the Cyprus Mining Corporation (CMC) for its employees. Up until 1974, CMC personnel managed the club and hosted the first open golf tournament in Cyprus. After 1974, the course was run privately by Ian Cooper, a former CMC employee. Thanks to his efforts, the golf course remained open and started to attract local golfers. In 1985, these players, together with Ian Cooper and Steve Brady, began to improve the site with grants for sporting activities being awarded by the Turkish Cypriot authorities. Following an initiative in 1995, the course was renamed Cyprus Mediterranean Coast Golf Club and established as a public golf course managed by the members. In effect it still retains the name CMC Golf Club.
When CMC left the area in 1974, there was very little activity and it was not until 1995 that it officially received Club status, as a result of Ian Cooper and Steve Brady approaching the Government for permission to include foreign members in the Club Rules and Regulations.
It is now a 9 hole 18 tee course and a very popular venue for relaxation for golf lovers. In the 1950’s the first Cyprus Open was held at the CMC Golf Club. The second Cyprus Open was held in Nicosia at a golf course which was near to the current day Metehan Crossing.
The CMC Hospital was built in 1929 by the CMC company for its workers. In 1975 it was re-named Cengiz Topel Hastanesi to commemorate the Turkish pilot who lost his life life after being shot down in 1964 during the Cyprus troubles. Dr Rose at the CMC hospital encouraged his colleagues to play golf and so it became an established part of the area and was gradually extended over the years
Dr Rose had a house at the rear of the CMC Club House and this is now a school for children with special needs. The Club has adopted this as their chosen charity and once a year they do something special for the children as well as other events to help the school.
Chris ventured out to walk around the golf course with Malcolm and said although having never been a golfer he had caddied a few times for his older brother so had some understanding of the ethics of golf and said the course was very interesting with raised tees covered in astro-turf from which the members could drive their balls down the fairway.
There are some very interesting features on the course with a number of gun emplacements screened by shrubs which date back many years and along the seashore there is what appears to have been some form of defensive emplacement which has been re-modelled to be part of the course layout. One of the interesting innovations that the club has introduced is foot golf which is just what it means. Walking around the course you find rather large holes with a pin and Foot Golfers kick a football from one green to another instead of the conventional golf ball and clubs and this apparently is a very popular feature on golf courses around the world.
Chris said just walking round the course was so refreshing during the month of March when the grass was lush with spring flowers and the sounds of birds calling. Despite the heat that we enjoy in Cyprus during the summer, the course is irrigated from a waste water treatment and recycling plant which was installed with funding from the European Union and support from the TRNC Ministry of Health. This installation provides around 60 tons of recycled water a week through the course irrigation system which helps keep the golf course in good condition even during the peak summer months and also supports the hospital and the municipality efforts in good water management.
In 2005 the Government funded a new Club House, a very nice building but this was only used for less than a year as the members preferred the original building and although it was by that time fairly derelict it was decided to renovate it and use it as the Club House again. Since that time many additions and enhancements have been made with changing rooms, showers, storage etc. An addition of an outside covered terrace area was made in honour of a visit by a group from the South of Cyprus, and it is now a very nice meeting place for the members to just sit in the shade with a cool drink and just chat .
The building which the Club used for a short time is now a cafeteria/restaurant and people from the nearby hospital use it regularly as do golfers and visitors. Arpej is run by Nil Cebeci and her son Arif, who is a very artistic young man and you can see his work around the restaurant and garden area. He is also studying to be a violin maker, a very unusual profession.
The Club now has 97 members of different nationalities, there were quite a few golfers playing the course that day which was nice to see and there are tournaments held on a regular basis. The course is kept well maintained by one gardener and he has recently been given additional help with the recruitment of an assistant.
Inside the Club House there are photographs of past captains and a huge amount of memorabilia which had been accumulated over the years. A lot to take in on a first visit.
We are showing below information written by Dr Hasan Garabli.
“CMC the Cyprus Mediterranean Coast Golf Club
The oldest golf course in Cyprus
Cyprus Mediterranean Coast Golf Club is located n Yesilyurt, in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. It has been managed by different boards with varying views; between 1926 and 1974 by Hospital Doctors and Cyprus Mining Company personnel. During this time it was known as the Cyprus Mining Corporation Golf Club, and it hosted the first open golf tournament on the island of Cyprus.
It was only after 1985 that Turkish members began to play golf at CMC. It was with these members that former Cyprus Mining Company employees Ian Cooper and Steve Brady began to improve the site, with grants for sporting activities being awarded by the Turkish authorities. Following an initiative in 1995 by the first President, Dr Hasan Oztroprak, together with Hospital personnel. the Cyprus Mediterranean Coast Golf Club was founded.
The North Cyprus Golf Federation was founded in 2002. Since its inception the Federation has made major contributions to improve the course at CMC golf club, with new fairways, tee boxes, a cafeteria, with an irrigation system being established.
Our aim in the coming years is to continue to improve the level CMC Golf Club up to International Standards.
We want to give the sport of golf in our country the importance it deserves. This will provide numerous benefits, not only in the presentation of our country but also to the economy. Golf is gaining in popularity all over the world and is also being felt in our country. It will be in our hands to convey this continuous popularity to our future generations. CMC Golf Club and all of the members are ready to do our duty in this regard.
We would like to invite all golfers who visit the TRNC to play Golf at CMC and discover a golf course with a very special ambiance.
Dr. Hasan Garabli “
To read more and see many pictures click here
During our conversation with Malcolm he gave us some very interesting information about the origin of the word “caddy”. Mary Queen of Scots was exiled to France and she was the first golfer, the golf balls were made of feathers and as a member of royalty she needed someone to carry her bag of clubs. This would have been a young soldier who, in France, would have been called a “cadet”, the pronunciation sounding like caddy and this name has remained to the present day.