Following a period of uncertainty and a couple of quieter years, Turkey is now firmly back on the map as a popular golf destination. With its long and fascinating heritage, cultural diversity and favourable climate, Turkey appeals to a wide range of holidaymakers.
The Mediterranean coastline near Antalya has a number of world-class courses and luxurious hotels, which more than add to the attraction of a trip to Belek, Turkey’s golfing Riviera.
WHEN TO GO
Belek enjoys over 300 days of sunshine per year, but there are various windows to consider. Temperatures often reach highs of 34°C in July and August, before the Mediterranean climate begins to cool in the autumn, with a daily average of 21°C. April enjoys an average temperature of 16°C.
WHERE TO PLAY
Gloria Golf Resort is home to the Old and New, the former of which is one of Turkey’s oldest courses. The pines, bunkers and water hazards combine for an entertaining ride, while the New features its own signature 17th, modelled on the famous island hole at Sawgrass. Alongside, the nine-hole Verde is the perfect option for a quick golf fix before indulging in some of the resort’s other activities.
PGA National Turkey Antalya Golf Club features the PGA Sultan, host of the 2012 Turkish Airlines Golf Final, won by Justin Rose, and the Pasha. Both are sensational layouts, winding their way through woods and sandy banks with water a constant threat, although Pasha is generally more forgiving.
Carya might just get the nod so far as the region’s top course is concerned. Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort will host the Turkish Airlines Open for a third successive year in November. Rose has enjoyed success here too, perhaps because of its Berkshire/ Surrey heathland style. There’s a seamless flow as fairways run across a sand ridge, with camera opportunities on every hole, such is the beauty of this colourful journey through the pines.
The Montgomerie Maxx Royal has also hosted the Turkish Airlines Open and is another highly regarded layout. With Nick Faldo’s Cornelia, the spectacular Lykia Links and two more courses at Sueno Golf Club, there’s certainly plenty of choice.
WHERE TO STAY
Belek’s numerous sumptuous resorts ooze quality. Across Gloria Hotels & Resorts’ three hotels there are 23 à la carte and main restaurants as well as an award-winning spa. Other luxuries can be discovered at PGA National Antalya, the resort of which boasts two lavish hotels - the five-star Kempinski Hotel, The Dome, and Sirene Belek Hotel. Elsewhere, Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort & Spa has won accolades in the World Travel Awards.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT GOLFING
Belek is the place to go for a spot of shopping, where you can also put your bartering skills to the test. You’ll have access to surfing, water skiing, sailing, rafting, mountain climbing, and hunting - and, of courses, white sandy beaches. Not far from Belek, Aspendos is home to one of the largest and best-preserved Roman theatres, and is still used for atmospheric, starlit ballet, opera and classical music concerts.