Business seems to be booming once again in Belek with hotels and golf courses running near to full capacity. It's not difficult to see why, as we experienced high quality golf, all-inclusive 5-star accommodation and superb value for money throughout our trip. Our group stayed at the excellent Sirene Hotel, which is situated a few hundred yards from the clubhouse and belongs to the same group which owns the Sultan and Pasha courses.
There are so many great layouts to choose from locally but it's the Sultan course at PGA National Antalya that offers the toughest test. Even a few big name tour players found it to be a brute from the back tees but with some careful tee selection, this is quite possibly the most exciting course in the region. With two very different courses to play, literally acres of water to negotiate and some pretty intimidating bunkers to avoid, this is resort golf at its very best. As many as eleven holes have water in play but a combination of wonderful conditioning and fast undulating greens will hopefully distract you from the inevitable lost ball or three.
The front nine is solid throughout and culminates with two particularly strong holes. The par-3 eighth requires a courageous shot of around 190 yards to reach a green protected by three separate water hazards and the tricky ninth is a real beauty with water running the full length of the hole before jutting in front of the green to significantly toughen up the approach.
As good as the front half is, the back nine is even better. A fine run of par-4's get us away, the twelfth with a beautiful downhill approach to an angled green sat between lakes probably being the pick. Attractively designed and well-positioned bunkers are a constant threat throughout these holes. We leave two of the best till last with water interfering on all three (or more)shots approaching the tricky sixteenth and more water left and right on the memorable eighteenth to make this a very tough finale indeed. It's a destination that I would happily return to again and again. Brian W
Date: April 27, 2018