Looking for a unique destination to plan your next big golfing adventure? Well, you might want to consider Turkey – yes, Turkey!
I have been fortunate enough to holiday in Turkey a number of years back. I have such splendid memories of Turkey – carousing around Istanbul, visiting the “Cotton Castles” of Pamukkale, traveling to Marmaris on the Mediterranean, taking a boat to the island of Rhodes in Greece – but that was years ago.
It’s such a unique location. It’s often referred to as “where the West meets the East” so you get this interesting clashing and merging of cultures. While there you must try the tasty kebabs, the intense Turkish Coffee, see the wondrous, hand-made carpets and now play some serious golf.
I never did get a chance to golf in Turkey but back then it was quite underdeveloped then in terms of golf. My, how things have changed! Starting in 1994, development began (in the Belek district) to transform Turkey’s Mediterranean coast with clean, white sandy beaches, luxury hotels and, of course, some lush golf courses designed by some of the biggest names in the business. It’s now called the “Turkish Riviera.”
Turkey scored a huge score recently when it recently held the “Turkish Airlines World Golf Final” (sponsored by Turkish Airlines) in 2012 held at the PGA Sultan Course at the Antalya Golf Club and attracted the marquee player that everybody wants – Tiger Woods! It has also been reported that Tiger has a “relationship” for 3 years with Turkish Airlines.
The purse for this tournament was 5.2 million dollars (not quite chump change) and attracted these other marquee player on the PGA Tour including, Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuschar, Hunter Mahan, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy. Not a bad lineup to get some exposure from!
It has been conjectured that one of the goals in staging a golf event of this significance in Turkey was to bolster the country’s hopes of landing the 2020 Olympic Games. Golf returns as an Olympic sport in the 2016 Games in Brazil and will also be part of the 2020 Olympics. Maybe now’s the time to start thinking about golf holidays in Turkey! I know I am.
Besides the Antalya GC here are a few others you might want to look into. One of them is the Gloria Serenity Resort (see top image). This resort has 3 courses – the Old Course, New Course and the Verde Course (a 9-holer).
The Old Course, designed by French Architect Michal Gayon, is surrounded by 7 lakes and is a true test of golf. The course is used for many notable tournaments, including recently hosting the Qualifying School for the European Seniors Tour.
Here’s what one person recently said on the rating site TripAdvisor about their Gloria Serenity Resort experience:
This was a golfing trip for 4 couples all golfers from the North East of England. We played 4 times taking in the he excellent Gloria courses and the long established National which a week after the European Ladies tour event had the fastest greens I have played on. This is the fourth hotel I have stayed in in Belek (previous were Gloria Golf, Sirene, Cornelia Diamond) and it is far in away the best. The service, the food, the speciality restaurants and spa are all 5* plus and there was plenty of space in all aspects of the facilities, All the staff were friendly and attentive and the quality of the wine and spirits on the all inclusive deal were fine.
Another course to look into is Lykia Links designed by Perry Dye, son of famed architect Pete Dye. What’s unique about Lykia is that it’s one of the only try links style courses in the country. Situated right on the Mediterranean Sea, you’ll deal wit hall the typical links challenges – the wind, the pot bunkers, the undulating fairways – it’s all there!
All of the holes will have wonderful views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding mountain ranges. Dye’s style can be seen in US courses like Harbour Town or Kiawah Island. Don’t think this course is a walk in the park because it isn’t but just remind yourself this is one of the best Turkey golf holidays you’ve ever taken and just take a deep breath and let the cool Mediterranean breezes waft over you and remember a cold her is waiting for you after the round!
History buffs and non-golfers should plan day trips to the Roman ruins at Perge and the Aspendos amphitheater (see image above). I actually remember visiting that amphitheater and it’s just stunning so please take some time and enjoy some of the other fun cultural stuff. It will make your golf holiday that much more memorable.