|Following on from the PGA Sultan and Pasha courses at Antalya Golf Club, the Montgomerie Maxx Royal (formerly known as the Papillon Golf Club) is the third European Golf Design project in the Belek area with Colin Montgomerie marketed as the course’s attention-grabbing headline designer.
Monty's 18-hole layout is part of a multi-million euro golf and hotel development that includes a world-class golf academy and a 5-star hotel.
The course opened for play in 2008, quickly establishing itself as one of the best in an area that’s not short of quality new golfing facilities. Many of the fairways play through mature pine forest and with eight lakes on site there are several water hazards to be avoided during a round.
A word from Monty who, at the course opening, spoke of his creation as one of the top tracks to play on the Mediterranean coast: “During my many visits over the last two and half years I have been most impressed with the hard work put in to enhance what is a relatively young resort, and help turn the Belek region into a must-visit golfing destination.”
In November 2013, the Montgomerie Maxx Royal hosted Turkey’s inaugural European Tour event – the Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Frenchman Victor Dubuisson hung on to win the 2013 event, securing his maiden European Tour title by two shots from Jamie Donaldson with Justin Rose and Tiger Woods finishing two strokes further behind. Montgomerie Maxx Royal has since staged three other Turkish Opens, most recently in 2019.
Gary Johnston – Designer from European Golf Design writes:
Along with Colin Montgomerie, EGD was introduced to the project in 2006 by the Papillon Hotel Group who were looking to create their first golf resort. The site, which had previously been used by the Turkish Government’s Forestry Department as a commercial forest, had been earmarked for golf as part of a tourism initiative for the area. Although densely covered by pine trees it was clear that sandy, rolling landscape below the tree canopy was ideal for golf.
Right from the start the environmental impact and sustainability of the development was a major consideration and resulted in a design philosophy which combined the natural features of the site with the strategy of the golf course. The result was a golf course which utilised the natural sandy areas as hazards which come into play on more than half the golf holes and also provide a buffer between the maintained areas and the native vegetation. Since the completion of the golf course the club has followed up with this environmental commitment and has recently become a registered participant of the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) certification programme.
From the moment you pull up at the entrance of the opulent clubhouse, you are treated to the highest level of customer service. Sitting on the terrace pre round overlooking the magnificent 18th closing hole, whilst having breakfast, with the morning sun just rising, is one of good feel moments I have only experienced at a few courses, and set the ambience for what was a good golfing experience.
Host to the Turkish Open a couple of times, the course can be played at championship length at over 7000 yards, but there are 5 sets of tees to choose from so you can enjoy the course in line with your ability and the level of challenge you want. I opted for the tees next to the tips so a good test of golf, particularly when you realise the course plays all carry, with no run out on any shots.
The course is a very pretty looking course, tree lined with very few holes visible apart from the one you are playing, strategically placed well groomed trees in the middle of the fairways, make some tee shots intimidating, but I found their bark far worse than their bite.
The course has a blend of lovely par 3 holes that are framed postcard perfectly, some risk reward par 4s, shots over water, and a few "wow" moments at the landscape ahead.
The 18th is a very strong hole and an ideal way to finish the round, after a long straight drive the player still has the decision to lay up or go for a green heavily guarded and fraught with danger, played out in front of an intimidating audience sat on high watching your every move.
The Montgomerie Max is similar to Carya in that it was built originally to host pro tournaments, both the course and infrastructure are top quality giving a first class all round experience.
However removing the course from that is it quality layout, yes although behind Carya, it doesn’t have as many good holes and variety, too often the challenge is water based which makes the course a little one dimensional at times. That said the sandy waste areas on a couple of holes stands out as a great feature, very easy to find one very difficult to escape with any degree of control. The tough par 5 11th is great example which uses them well. The 18th is cracking finishing hole where you can be a hero or fool in front of players enjoying their refreshments on terrace over looking thee green.
Conditioning and greens were fantastic, turf conditions were carpet like and greens were agreeably firm, didn’t roll as well as they looked but given some the severe slopes that wasn’t an issue.
As with many courses in Belek, the club house and practice facilities at the Montgomeri Maxx Royal are top notch! The service is also great. I had the pleasure of playing the course during the Turkish Airlines Open Pro-Am so I must say that the conditionning was great! The greens roled pure and fast, and the fairways were quite firm and fast, a nice surprise!
The layout is classic target golf. The course will not blow you away, but it is a fair test and makes for a very nice day of golf! Seeing the pros negociate the course was all the more interesting.
If you are planning a trip to Belek, this is a good golf course to look up.