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.”
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.
A very good course with a nice variation of holes. Playing in August is very quiet and you have the course to yourself. The Carya is not really a heathland course however, as the heather is not in play and is also GUR. Some really well designed holes especially the par 5's and par 3's, however not the most picturesque course or clubhouse compared to other Belek courses.
This is rated the best golf Course in Turkey and I can see why. It is excellently laid out and in fantastic condition. The Course flows seamlessly with many excellent holes. I played it 3 times this week (mid May 2018) and loved the challenge. The finish is seriously tough starting with the dog leg 13th, uphill par 3 14th with a green that is crazily difficult to land and stay on, a vintage par 5 15th with a blind tee shot and challenging shot into the green over water, and then 3 marvellous par 4s to finish.
A must play Course if you ever are golfing in Turkey where you will love the strategy, beautiful scenery and friendly helpful staff.
This was the first course I had a look at on a recent visit to Belek. I’d heard a lot about the region beforehand but I wasn’t really prepared for either the scale or the quality of the golf product on offer within this very golf-orientated region and Carya certainly set a very high standard for all the others that followed.
It’s blatantly obvious that no expense has been spared when installing the infrastructure here – from the huge clubhouse (with new players’ lounge added for the Turkish Open competitors who’ll be competing here for at least another two years) to the state of the art floodlighting system that extends the playing day into the late evening.
There’s an enormous hotel next to the 16th and 17th holes, where the G20 summit was hosted in November 2015, so nothing’s done by halves around here. Even the putting green next to the clubhouse (at around 150 metres in length) must easily be the biggest I’ve ever seen. And whoever came up with the idea of placing the Turkish Open 16th tee on top of a neighbouring villa is a marketing genius!
Even though the set up at Carya is unashamedly big, bold and brash, there’s a lot of down to earth good things going on out on the course. The majestic umbrella pine trees that flank the fairways and the acres of heathers fronting many of the tee boxes sets the mood for a round which is played out on a surprisingly undulating site, with water interfering at fewer than half the holes on the card.
The short par four 4th is a real feature hole on the front nine, as is the new par three 6th, where the green sits atop a stone wall, behind a nicely sculpted pond. The uphill par three 14th is another terrific short hole on the way home, with the recently constructed lake between holes 17 and 18 adding aquatic interest over the closing couple of holes.
Superintendent Gary Finnerty heads up a large grounds crew that looks after the course and his attention to detail is evident everywhere you turn here. A former SOL Golf employee, Gary’s previously looked after a few high-profile modern developments (like Lykia Links and Costa Navarino) so he’s well aware of what it takes to keep a high-profile layout looking as good as this all year round.
Carya is a wonderful place! First, the club house facilities are very good. Upon your arrival, you are treated in the finnest of manners. The practice facilities are tremendous! The large putting and chipping area allows you to work on all the facets of your short game. The range is great too!
The course has a very nice layout and is the conditionning is excellent. The front nine is solid, with no real weak holes yet without any memorable ones. The back nine offers the weakest holes as well as the best ones. The 10th and 11th are somewhat disapointing, the 10th giving you the feeling of being squeezed in there to make room for the 11th coming back to the club house. The stretch from the 12th, a nice downhill par 4, until the 16th is the course's highlight. Thhe par 3 13th is a very good uphill par 3 where you need to make the right club choice and trust your swing as you don't see the ball land. The 14th is the best hole on the course, a downhill par 5 where you can go for it in 2 if you've hit a good drive... And if you're willing to take on the lake in front of the green. The 18th used to be a very good hole until they decided to add a lake between it and the 17th... Taking all of the strategy out of the finishing hole, where you could either be agressive and have a tricky wedge shot to the uphill green and lay-up short of the tree and risk having it directly in your face for your second shot.
All in all a good course comparing very favorbly to its neighbors!
After hearing about night golf, it was a no brainer to tee it up under the floodlights at Carya Golf Club. And it certainly didn't disappoint, what an incredible experience and I would recommend it to any golfer to do in their lifetime! After practicing on the quite amazing 2 tiered driving range, we teed off on the 1st and was welcomed by the most brilliant view of the floodlights lighting up the course. You sort of have to let it sink in for a moment. Despite playing bad, probably because I was still a bit in awe of the whole place.. It still didn't spoil what was a fantastic experience. The layout of the course is breathtaking, 1 of a kind around the Belek area. Tall pines flank every hole, similar looking to any of the 3 courses at Woburn, but heather placed in clever positions along with some beautifully designed bunkers. It gives off that Sunningdale feel. I was very surprised at how well the condition of the course was at that time of night. Dew on the ground was expected but the greens were extremely firm and running at a good pace, with some pretty extreme slopes on them. It really is a truly special place, my favourite hole being the Par 5 9th with water running the whole way down the left side of the fairway and cutting infront of the green. An experience I'll never forget and for me the best layout of the courses I played while out there. Will make a great host when it takes over from Maxx Royal as host of the Turkish Airlines Open in 2016