It is said that a Scotsman, Ernest Thompson, is the person who brought golf into the borders of Turkey for the first time… Thompson taught golf to a handful of people around him, and it is said that they were playing on the grasslands at the hills close to Beyoglu. After all at that time, which was around mid 1800’s, there was nothing in Istanbul that would be considered as a golf course. There were only some grasslands adequate to play golf and some “field attendants” who maintained this grass.
Today, Turkey’s first golf club, Istanbul Golf Club is in the service of its members and Turkish golf, inside the borders of Maslak Military Academies with its 9-hole course and renewed driving range. Other two golf clubs in Istanbul are: Klasis Golf Club with its 18-hole championship golf course that was founded at Silivri, and Kemer Country Golf Club with its 18-hole championship golf course that was established in 1994 at Kemerburgaz. It is an extraordinary experience to get onto the fields during the magnificent freshness of springtime of Istanbul and to plunge into mind games in-between the cleverly positioned holes of these three club’s courses.
However, if there is an even more astonishing experience for golf lovers, it surely is at the Belek region. Thanks to the temperate climate of its coasts Antalya is suitable to play golf all through the year, and with the investments made, the city has become one of the significant golf tourism centers of the world. Situated 30km east of Antalya, Belek’s golf facilities are generally positioned near accommodation facilities with high capacities that offer rich wining and dining, shopping and entertainment options. In 2007, IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) selected Belek as the “Destination of the Year”, and owing to this motivation the clubs in Belek have entered into a big competition with each other to keep their guests content. Cornelia Golf Club, LykiaLinks, National Golf Club, Gloria Golf Club and Papillon Golf Club are among the high quality golf clubs that have made Belek a region that can compete with Portugal and Spain.
A part of Cornelia De Luxe Resort Hotel, Cornelia Golf Club holds one of the most renowned golf courses of Turkey. The field bears the signature of world famous British golfer Nick Faldo and this is surely among the reasons behind its reputation. Covering a field of 360acres (1,45km2), Cornelia Golf Club opened in 2006 with a Pro-Am tournament in which local and international golfers participated, and since then golf lovers are enjoying the pleasures of playing at a course designed by Faldo himself. In addition to the 27-hole Nick Faldo Championship Golf Course, there are also 3 different 18-hole par 72 combinations.
Lately, LykiaLinks which is a brand new project is the most popular topic in Belek. Its design belongs to the Dye family who has been designing golf courses for some generations. The Dye Family designed numerous projects, which are considered among the best golf courses in the world. Furthermore, they reflect their design philosophy on every golf course they create: the course must be a playing field where a wide variety of golfers with varying levels of ability will enjoy. However, this does not mean that the courses are easy; fairway’s are as tough as the Scottish courses that accommodate British Open tournaments. LykiaLinks, Turkey’s first “links” course at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea brings a fresh color and quality to the courses of Belek.
National Golf Club, also situated in Belek, proved itself to the world by hosting Ladies European Tour last year on May 5–11 2008. Given that it is designed as a championship course, it is particularly a gorgeous place for good golfers to test themselves. Moreover, in addition to its toughness it is also an extremely pleasant field with narrow fairways, woody regions and pristine nature. German Golf Journal magazine published a commentary on this field saying, “Even though you play here 1.000 times, you won’t get bored!”. A golfer who visits the Turkish Riviera can easily get used to the magnificent opportunities, pleasures and atmosphere this place offer and may frequently prefer this region.
Cornelia Golf Club
Iskele Mevkii Belek, Antalya
+90 242 710 16 00
Vita Park Golf Resort
BoÄŸaziçi Köyü, Tuzla Ova Mevkii 23 Milas, MuÄŸla
+90 252 524 53 33
Photography by Erbil Balta
Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
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