Spoiled for choice on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast

01 August 2022 Respond to this article

Spoiled for choice on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast

Our last resort article veered a little bit off the beaten track for most golfers, delving as it did into Marrakech in the northwest corner of the African continent, where more than a dozen new golf facilities have appeared since the start of the new millennium.

We now head several thousand kilometres east to the southern shores of Turkey and another government-sponsored golf tourism incentive which has seen the introduction of a similar number of high-end golf courses with associated 5-star accommodation facilities.

Occupying a 20-kilometre coastal stretch between the points where the Aksu and Köprücay rivers enter the Mediterranean, the Belek courses are easily accessible, with many tour operators offering all-inclusive packages flying in and out of nearby Antalya airport.

Antalya

The 36-hole complex at Antalya Golf Club is complemented by the 440-bedroom Sirene Belek Golf Hotel and the Kempinski Hotel The Dome, which has 158 rooms and suites, along with 25 villas. Both the PGA Sultan and Pasha are courses from European Golf Design in consultation with David Jones, with the former layout co-hosting the Eisenhower Trophy when it was played here ten years ago.

A recent reviewer thought the PGA Sultan had “a definite Surrey sand belt feel” due to it being “set out on sandy ground with tall pines lining most holes.” He continued: “there’s no doubting the ambition and where the investment has gone (with) impressive practice facilities and club houses with first class service… the closing stretch of holes from 16 provides a grandstand finish.”

Carya


Host venue for three editions of the Turkish Open from 2016 to 2018, the 18-hole layout at Carya Golf Club is a Tim Lobb design from 2008, when the architect was working with Peter Thomson and Ross Perrett. Holes are routed through huge stands of pine and eucalyptus trees, with play continuing into the evening if required thanks to high-tech flood lighting. The Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort – which staged the G20 summit in 2015 – offers 550 rooms, suites and villas next to the golf course.

Review comments from earlier this year include: “this whole facility is outstanding: the practice facilities are the best I have ever seen and the condition of them is as good as anywhere… everything about it is big and bold: huge, deep bunkers, severe undulations and lightning-quick greens are the order of the day (so) be sensible in choosing the correct tee or it won’t be a fun experience.”

Sueno


Next door to Carya, the 36-hole complex at Sueno Golf Club came from the drawing board of Bob Hunt of IGD, which was previously named PGA Design Consulting. The Pines and Dunes 18-hole layouts first opened for play in 2007 and they’re anchored by the onsite Sueno Hotels Golf Belek and the adjacent Sueno Hotels Deluxe Belek, which boasts more than 400 bedrooms.

A post from a couple of months ago described the higher-ranked Pines course as “a lovely parkland course set behind the resort strip in Belek and part of a stretch of 12 other courses… the fairways and surrounds are heavily mounded… mature pine and eucalyptus trees dominate (with) excellent conditioning, especially the greens.”

Cornelia


The adjacent Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort & Spa extends to over 550 bedrooms, with half a dozen restaurants and the same number of bars. The Cornelia De Luxe Resort is located a 10-minute drive along the coast and it’s something of a water paradise with connected pools, waterslides and waterfalls. There’s also a buffet-style restaurant, 5 other restaurants and 8 bars.

The 27-hole Nick Faldo Championship course at the golf club offers three 18-hole configurations: King (holes 1 to 18), Queen (holes 10 to 27), and Prince (holes 1-9 and 19-27). The club co-hosted the 28th edition of the prestigious World Amateur Team Championship with Antalya Golf Club in 2012, with the competition reduced to 54 holes due to bad weather.

Montgomerie Maxx Royal

The Maxx Royal Belek Golf Resort has the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course (originally known as “Papillon”) as its golfing centrepiece. The accommodation comprises more than 500 rooms, suites and villas, backed up by several swimming pools, an aqua park and extensive children’s amenities. Gary Johnson of European Golf Design collaborated with Colin Montgomery on designing the course (which staged the Turkish Open several times in recent years).

“The course and infrastructure are top quality, giving a first-class all-round experience,” wrote a reviewer a couple of months ago. “The sandy waste areas on a couple of holes stand out as a great feature; very easy to find one, very difficult to escape with any degree of control… conditioning and greens were fantastic; turf conditions were carpet-like and greens were agreeably firm.”

Gloria

The Gloria Golf Resort provides the main accommodation choice at the 45-hole Gloria golf complex (providing more than 500 room, suite and villa options) and it’s complemented by another couple of on-site facilities at the Gloria Serenity Resort and Gloria Verde Resort. All told, there are more than 20 sumptuous á la carte and main restaurants located across the three hotels.

Michel Gayon designed the 18-hole Old and New layouts at Gloria, with the 9-hole Verde course following in more recent years. When you Include the outstanding practice complex, it’s easy to see why Gloria is regarded as one of the best golf setups in the country. The club also hosted the now defunct Turkish Seniors Open between 2000 and 2007, along with four editions of the Turkish Airlines Challenge between 2015 and 2018.

Jim McCann

Editor

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