Carya

Carya

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Course Information

“When we first visited the site in 2005 we discovered the heather was growing naturally on the lower part (where holes 15, 16 and 17 are now),” says architect Tim Lobb.

“We wanted to do something different for Belek, and that led us to propagate the heathland-inspired course.”

Doing ‘something different’, assuming it is executed well, is usually well received – especially by us in our eclectic continental ranking – and Carya is exactly that.

It was designed by Thomson Perrett & Lobb, the design firm headed up by the legendary multiple Open champion assisted by two architects from his home country, Lobb and Ross Perrett.

Reigate-based Lobb & Partners now advise the resort on its course following the retirement of Thomson, who died in 2018, and a key part of that engagement was re-routing the closing holes to allow for the development of the sparkling Regnum hotel.

Lobb, who spent six years with European Golf Design and a dozen as principal architect with TPL, believes the key to the success of Carya was in harnessing the natural advantages of the land.

“The site is a bit different to the others in Belek because it has a large central ridge running through the middle, which helped to give a bit of elevation to some of the holes.”

Carya’s great strength, in our eyes, is the variety of the challenge, especially around the greens.

Lobb is absolutely correct; there is nothing in Belek like Carya and not too much like it throughout the continent. It is the old courses designed by architects a century ago in countries such as Belgium, Germany, France and especially the Netherlands that Carya echoes most.

It does not quite play like a sandy heathland such as De Pan or Falkenstein but its look and feel is, and Carya also plays in a similar manner to a traditional course.

Carya’s great strength, in our eyes, is the variety of the challenge, especially around the greens.

It has consistent themes in its towering pine trees, velvet-green fairways, tracts of purple heather and white sand bunkers, but no two greens are shaped, angled and sloped in the same way and their surrounds are as varied as they are penal, requiring creativity and dexterity to master them.

Its pedigree is quickly evident in a classy opening hole that incorporates a cluster of bunkers on the left akin to the ‘lighthouse’ arrangement favoured by Alister McKenzie.

The green is set at an angle and slopes back to front with plenty of subtle borrows within that overall tilt.

The 3rd – a continental version of Woburn Marquess’ 7th – teases you with the best angle of approach being through the most narrow driving line.

It begins a brilliant opening nine that is followed by a par 3 protected by clover-shaped bunkers and a two-tier green and then a trio of holes that a delight for their visual appeal as much as their strategic merit.

The 3rd – a continental version of Woburn Marquess’ 7th – teases you with the best angle of approach being through the most narrow driving line.

The sporty 4th is all about working out and then executing how to avoid the sand and leave your approach to a tricky green in the best spot. And the sweeping risk-reward 5th asks questions of your course management and nerve.

A new short hole over water has been added next in Lobb’s re-routing before the stellar driving hole of the three-shot 7th, which is the meat in a par-3 sandwich because it is followed by a special short hole on funky terrain with a liberal sprinkling of bunkers.

It is a phenomenally strong front nine and while the second half isn’t quite as strong, there is more than enough quality here for Carya’s to be the must-play course for any visitor to Belek. Chris Bertram

 

Information

Thomson, Perrett & Lobb

+90 242 710 34 34

Kadriye Region , Belek Serik Antalya , Antalya , Turkey , 07500