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Let’s Talk Turkey: Would You Consider Visiting this Emerging Golf Destination?

by Craig Better

Nov132012

Lykia Links Golf Course in Belek Turkey

Pete Dye's Lykia Links is just one of the worthy golf courses to play in Belek, Turkey.

I’ve been meaning to cover emerging golf destinations, and given Thanksgiving is next week, I figured now is a great time to talk about…Turkey.

Don’t laugh. For years now, the Turkish government has been investing in tourism — including golf tourism, specifically — and it’s paying off.

The latest example was last month’s Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, an event that featured Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and other stars.

The focus is on the Mediterranean-hugging resort region of Belek, which Europeans have long favored for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and four- and five-star hotels.

(For you newshounds, Belek is a 14-hour drive from where that Syria skirmish took place and it’s not on the border.)

The golf course at Belek, Turkey's Gloria Resort

The Gloria Resort has two golf courses: New (pictured) and Old.

Now, there are some pretty impressive Belek, Turkey golf courses to complement the lodging (with all-inclusive packages available), and more are on the way.

In addition to the tournament site (PGA Sultan Course at Antalya Golf Club), these layouts include designs by Pete Dye (Lykia Links), Martin Hawtree (Tat GC), Nick Faldo (Cornelia Golf Club), and Colin Montgomerie (Montgomerie GC).

Belek, Turkey's Tat Golf Course was designed by Martin Hawtree's respected firm.

Belek, Turkey's Tat Golf Course was designed by Martin Hawtree's respected firm.

Another thing I like is that the local airport, Antalya, is only 30 minutes away.

So, have you been to Turkey or would you consider going?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

 

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Russ Supplee November 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Looks fantastic, but I think it’s going to be a struggle to get American golfers to make that trip. There are a number of courses in Europe equal or better and much more accessible. Maybe Turkish Airlines should create some packages and see if a good deal overcomes the tyranny of distance.

Great publication you have — keep up the good work.

Russ

2 Tony November 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm

I’ve been to the Belek area a few times and can confirm the courses are superb. The hotels, beaches, scenery, and food are all excellent too. Long way to go, mind.

3 Chris K November 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm

In a word, NO, I have no interest in playing golf in Turkey.
There are far too many more beautiful, safer and overall more attractive places….

4 steve b November 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I agree with Chris K. I have no interest in going to a country where I am despised because of my religion and my last name. I would rather play golf in Antarctica or Barrow, Alaska.

5 John November 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Lived in England. Wanted to go to Turkey. Wife wanted to go to Cyprus. Stayed at Aphrodite Hills. Good course in excellent condition. Superb Hotel. Cyprus Airlines takes clubs for nothing.

6 Mike Henderson November 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Not no, but HELL NO!

7 Jeff November 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Don’t you know better than to promote a country who has performed genocide? Look it up and move on to more fitting golf destinations…really…

8 Stephen Yandle November 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I have traveled in Turkey and have no idea what is the source of hostility expressed in several comments. In addition to having extraordinary natural beauty and a rich history Turkey is a modern, open country. I have never experienced or observed an unpleasant moment. I have not played golf there, but the addition of top courses make it an even more enticing destination.

9 Siggi November 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I’ve was there a few years ago. It’s far but worth it. You have better service for less price than Spain and just as good restaurants and hotels. The golf courses are exellent.

10 Jim November 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Not in this lifetime

11 KUCH November 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I haven’t been there but I would go.

12 Jim Owens November 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Cannot imagine why I would want to go there golf corse or not.
Sort of wish you guys would put as much energy into courses in the
Unites States of America.

13 Doug Roberts November 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm

I recently played with a Pro from Slovenia. He was talking about the coastal area of Turkey and how reasonable it was to do a trip there. I did some research and found the area probably warranted discovery. But candidly, As I contemplate a trip there I must acknowledge that I have not traveled to Spain or Portugal to play golf. And they will come before Turkey. So many places……..So little time!

14 Steve S November 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm

As Steve B so eloquently stated:

I agree with Chris K. I have no interest in going to a country where I am despised because of my religion and my last name. I would rather play golf in Antarctica or Barrow, Alaska.

It’s a country that can’t make up its mind what it wants to be – Western, freedom loving and egalitarian or and Islamist, Israel-hating state. No thanks!

15 Daryl November 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm

It seems incomprehensible to me that one would elect to travel to that part of the world to play golf. Too many wonderful courses here in California, or in Hawaii or many more within the safety of the USA.

16 Tom H November 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Belek is really fabulous, highly recommended! There is not much else to do in the area than playing golf and dining at the hotel (which is a good thing if you are on a serious golf trip, mind you!) and there are very few places in the world where there are as many very high quality golf courses within a (perhaps <10 mile radius) small area. I have played more than half of the world's 20 finest, and surely claim that within Europe perhaps only Scotland beats the golf quality/concentration ratio in Belek (and I do love golf around Paris!), in the US of course Long Island/NY and San Francisco excel in this regard, but not in as tight an area nor as accessible as in Belek. I haven't played Mission Hills though…

17 Rick November 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Yes, we have considered going to Turkey even though it’s a long way from our western Canadian home. Nevertheless, whether it’s 14 hours away or not, while Syria, and indeed the entire middle-east, is in turmoil we will not be heading that way regardless of its lures. Turkey could easily be drawn into a war with Syria and with the Islamic culture of suicide bombers, the golf resorts could be just where they might strike to teach Turkey a lesson.

18 James November 14, 2012 at 2:43 am

I am an American that has been living here in Antalya Turkey for the past 10 years. I work for an agency that sells these golf holidays (deturgolf.com) and am looking forward to bringing more Americans over here! Most of you sound like my family members, friends back in the states, but I am here to tell you that it is nothing like you are picturing in your mind. Especially Antalya! Also the value for money cannot be compared. 15km coastline with 14 world class courses, maximum travel time of 10 minutes! Where else can you find that? Some of the best hospitality on Earth. It isn’t a bunch of covered woman and people staring at you (unless you go to a village), but a very modern, friendly place.

We also had the World Amateur Championships (USA Mens won :D ) just before the World Final (which will be for the next 3 years).

Take off those horse blinders and experience something unbelievable, also if you are a huge history buff like myself, can’t get any better than this!

Oh and that last comment about Syria and suicide bombers, funny how I feel safer here in Antalya than being back home in North Carolina?

19 Owen Barnes November 14, 2012 at 7:54 am

Re the remarks by Steve S and Steve B I assume that they are both Jewish. So what? So am I and have been to Belek twice and have encountered no problems.
Fantastic Golf Courses and Hotels, the food and evening entertainment were superb and we found that nothing was too much trouble for the staff. Organisation of the Golf was excellent, transport to the courses was efficient and “T” times spot on. I have been twice now and look forward to the next time. I would agree that it is quite a long flight from the States and after all the UK is about half way, but it is well worth while. One other thing, price-wise it was much less costly than France and they all try to speak English which is more than the French do.

20 Matthew Moore November 14, 2012 at 9:19 am

Hi GVI,
You are dead on, Turkey is fast becoming one of Europe’s most visited golf destinations giving Portugal a run for its money. Belek is where it’s at, both Faldo and Monty have designed courses there – but for me the real treat is Carya Golf Club – an English style heathland course designed by Peter Thomson’s design firm which has actual heather growing on the course, just like those classic English courses.

21 Matthew Moore November 14, 2012 at 9:24 am

Have to say also, Turkey is as safe as it gets when it comes to Islamic countries, (and worth noting that there are significant numbers of Orthodox Christians in Turkey) and if you notice was entirely unaffected by the Arab Spring. Yes, there are some problems on the border with Syria – Belek is miles from there – but you’d be as safe there as anywhere in the USA or Europe. They depend on tourism, they are hardly going to do something that then deters other tourists from coming and spending. Really, not everyone who is Arab or Middle Eastern is interested in blowing up the West. They probably feel quite safe and happy about themselves as they have no oil for wealthier powers to covet. Sad to see such blinkered views of world travel

22 JLaddo November 14, 2012 at 10:26 am

Not for me. Too many other great destinations on my list.

23 Alan Clark - Back Tees Wine Tours November 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Turkey has been a destination for the Europeans for decades. The people there are wonderful and outstanding hosts. Plus there’s enough to do to take up several lifetimes. Now with first class golf resorts there’s little excuse not to go. Like we stress in our tours, it’s the total experience of something great that makes makes for an unforgettable vacation. A visit to Turkey should be on your bucket list

24 Filip Bis November 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Beautiful, Chris K. or Steve B…very open minded. Did you know that Turkey is actually a member of NATO?

Turkey is a perfect winter getaway for us Europeans who suffer with golfing abstinence during winters. I have been there twice and I am going again this winter. Value for money in Belek is superb, courses are great to play. Spain and Portugal may be more estabilished as golfing destinations but Turkey gives maybe even better value. Then again, you almost don´t notice that you are in a Islamic country – hotels, beaches and courses make a bit of an own and separate world….

But – there is absolutely no point for american golfers to go there – Florida, California or the Caribbean gives you plenty to choose from.

The ultimate golfing experience in Europe – definitely Scotland and Ireland.

25 Richard November 16, 2012 at 7:33 am

Went on a playing and coaching trip with two pro’s and 16 others all inclusive, great golf courses good condition ideal winter destination. Plenty of choice on hotels and courses, service was superb, great from Europe but if I was in the states why would I pay to travel to Turkey when there are so many good resorts in the USA.
My choice USA ot Turkey I feel my deal to the States is always more interesting outside of the golf but not perhaps for those from the USA.

26 jeff November 21, 2012 at 1:55 am

it’s golf I’d go anywhere- want to play the 3 holes at inuvik

27 Jeff M November 24, 2012 at 3:51 am

Totally agree with Stephen, I lived near this area for two years. The Turkish Mediterranean is the best kept secret in Europe. Absolutely beautiful, fabulous food, great history with incredible Greek and Roman ruins and wonderful people who are very pro-American. Have not played golf there but courses look solid and would be an added benefit.

28 Learnedithere January 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm

All my fellow statesiders with bigoted viewpoints, please don’t go – your spoiled, Ugly-American attitudes just ruins it for those of us who travel the globe to play in the name and spirit of the game of golf, i.e., open-minded sportsmanship and friendship. Politics and biases etc. have no place on the course. If you need to discuss those topics, save it for the 19th hole here in the US. Great tracks there as well as many other “emerging” destinations I’ve enjoyed. Remember – we are ambassadors of our country and culture whenever and whereever we go, even here in the US.

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