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Antalya, Turkey
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Kevin Murray
Antalya, Turkey
  • Address07525, Kadriye, Taşlıburun Mevkii, 07525 Serik/Antalya, Turkey

Thomson Perrett & Lobb, the golf course architecture company founded by five-time Open Champion and Australian golf legend Peter Thomson, designed the course at Carya Golf Club. Thomson was enthused by the new creation located in Turkey’s Belek golf belt and prior to the course opening in 2008 he commented:

“This is an exceptional piece of land on which to build a golf course, reminiscent of the famous heathland courses near London that I rate among the world's best and which I was fortunate to enjoy much success on in my playing days. I am very excited about the prospect of creating a classic, traditional-style course in Turkey.”

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Some might call it a tall order to create such a layout in a location totally alien to the originals found at the likes of Sunningdale and Swinley Forest but somehow – thanks mainly to a nursery where almost a million heather plants were grown – Thomson Perrett & Lobb have actually managed to pull off a Berkshire golf experience with a Mediterranean twist here at Carya.

Fairways run across a sand ridge through stands of pine and eucalyptus trees on a 260-acre property that’s unlike any of the other new golf facilities in the area. Playing to a par of 72, the course features the longest hole in Turkey – the 621-yard 6th, appropriately named “Long” – and it may just be that Carya will, in the future, be seen as the golf development that saw the golfing area of Belek come of age.

Perhaps not so in keeping with Berkshire is the floodlighting that illuminates the last nine holes at Carya, but it does mean that golfers can enjoy playing golf under the Mediterranean stars until late at night.

In 2009, the European Challenge Tour signed a three-year agreement with the club, sanctioned by the Turkish Golf Federation, to hold an annual event called the Turkish Challenge, which helped to further promote the region as a prime golfing destination.

The tournament ante was upped when Carya hosted the fourth staging of the Turkish Airlines Open in November 2016 – the event was previously held at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal. Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen claimed the title, winning the tournament by three shots from his nearest rivals. The Dane commented as follows on the extraordinary 16th tee location which was brought into play for the event:

“The tee on 16, sitting on top of a villa above a swimming pool, is quite spectacular and provides a good view! You have the par five 15th before it, which provides a good eagle chance, then you can see the villa from the green and where you’re going to tee off next. It’s pretty cool – and if it all goes wrong then you can throw your club in the pool!”

Justin Rose then won the 2017 event (his tenth European Tour title) by one stoke from South African Dylan Frittelli and Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts. Rose birdied the 72nd hole to secure back-to-back wins on the European Tour, having shot a final round score of 67 to claim first prize at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai the week before. For the first time in his career, Rose successfully defended a title at the 2018 Turkish Airlines Open.


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Course Architect

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Peter Thomson

Peter Thomson worked for Spalding in Melbourne designing golf balls, which he tested himself, before going on to become the only golfer in the 20th century to lift the Claret Jug three times in succession.

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