Turkey has long been viewed by tourists and expats alike as some exotic Middle Eastern location that has been the traditional bridge between east and west. While it truly is an beautiful, exotic land, there is a lot more to Turkey than its rich cultural heritage and history. While Turkey’s culture, kebabs and mosques do draw a lot of tourists to the country, many choose to stay on or return as expats because of the lifestyle and, more importantly for some, for the golf!
Strange as it may seem, Turkey is one of the hottest destinations for golf enthusiasts today. The Turkish Golf Federation has been around for just under two decades, and although its ambitious goal to create 100 golf courses in just four years may have not materialized, because of the past decade’s economic crisis, it has succeeded in making Turkey a top golf destination.There are over 20 golf clubs across the country, with around a thousand affiliated members, but the quality of golf to be played speaks for itself. Standards are very high, especially in the Belek region, which has the highest concentration of world class golf courses. Here are some of the top golf courses in Turkey:
Lykia Links Golf Club
The Lykia Links Golf Club is one of the best golf courses in Turkey, with the Mediterranean to one side and the Taurus Mountains and forested land on the other. The 18-hole championship golf course is set in sand dunes on the Mediterranean coast, with the beach stretching out for 2.5 km. While golfing here, you can be sure of stunning views of the sea, with the mountains forming a surreal backdrop. The course is known to be quite challenging and is a must-visit destination for any golf enthusiast.
Cornelia Faldo Golf Club
This club, which is towards the eastern side of Belek, has absorbed and incorporated the local landscape into its course design. The environment is very natural, with big pines and natural sand. The course has 27 holes, which is a huge plus point, as it means that at any given time at least 18 will be playable. The golf course is well maintained, even during peak season. Cornelia Faldo Golf Club isn’t just regarded as one of the best clubs in Turkey, but in Europe itself.
Sueno Dunes and Pines Golf Courses
The Sueno Golf Club actually comprises of two golf courses that are part of the Sueno Golf Hotel. With its own private beach, spectacular scenery, and two golf courses with 18 holes each, this truly is paradise for most golfers. Sueno Dunes is the less challenging of the two, but it’s certainly no walk in the park. However, Sueno Pines is the more challenging course that is spread out over 6,400 meters. It has been consistently rated as being among the top three golf courses in the country.
Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Club
This club opened less than a decade ago, in 2008, and it is already grabbing headlines. The course, which is set within a sprawling 104 hectares of pine forests, has a natural wild feel that greatly adds to its appeal. This 18-hole golf course has several obstacles, like the eight lakes that you need to avoid, without which it would still be a fairly challenging course. Montgomerie Maxx Royal also has its own 5-star hotel and a golf academy that is run along international standards. The club even played host to the Turkish Airlines Open in 2013, which was Turkey’s inaugural European Tour event.
Kemer Golf & Country Club
From our list of five, this is the only club that is located outside of Belek. The Kemer Golf & Country Club is an elite club that extends its membership to professional golfers, tennis players and other sports personalities. Its location along the hills of the Belgrade forest makes it especially scenic and, more importantly for golfers, extremely challenging. The course, which was designed to meet USGA standards, hosts numerous events at both the national and international level. The club also has training facilities and a practice course, which is even used by the national Turkish team.
Other notable golf courses in Turkey include the likes of Gloria Golf Club and TAT International Golf Club, both of which are also located in Belek.