TURKEY offers something that few countries can offer the travelling British golfer; a true links course.
While this region has built its ever-growing popularity on a mix of immaculate parkland-style courses that meander through the immense forest of umbrella pines and eucalyptus trees indigenous to the area, two new creations offer an entirely different challenge.
Belek is now home to the eastern Mediterranean’s only heathland and links layouts in the shape of Carya and Lykia Links, that have been dreamt up by world-renowned architects Peter Thomson and Perry Dye respectively.
Carya’s 18 holes are set on a dramatic sand ridge and framed by naturally cultivated heather as it cuts through the mature pine and eucalyptus forest.
Having been designed by Thomson, Perrett & Lobb, the company founded by Thompson, the five-time Open champion said: “This is an exceptional piece of land on which to build a golf course.
“It is reminiscent of the famous Surrey heathland courses near London that I rate among the world’s best and at which I was fortunate to enjoy much success on in my playing days.”
Lykia Links is also a dramatic layout that incorporates all the classic features of a links-land course such as pot bunkers and the ability to adapt to the prevailing winds.
Lykia Links is also a dramatic layout that incorporates all the classic features of a links-land course such as pot bunkers and the ability to adapt to the prevailing winds. Four of its holes (13th to 16th) run alongside the Mediterranean and build to a climatic finish that is set up by the par-three 17th, which features a small green and is at the mercy of the prevailing winds.
That is before you encounter a big finish on 18 that has a huge waste area on the right, mounds on the left and a turtle-back green.
Another new addition to Belek is the the Papillon Montgomerie that opened as recently as last month and features all the usual hallmarks of a Monty design, including challenging hazards and fairways that demand accuracy, while the facilities also include a nine-hole short course and academy.
All of these groundbreaking courses will expand the already broad choice of venues that include the Antalya Golf Club’s PGA Sultan course and the Cornelia Faldo among others.
The latter, however, has just welcomed the opening of a new five-star deluxe hotel – The Cornelia Diamond – that sits between the 5th fairway and the Mediterranean Sea. As such it enjoys stunning views of both the course and the coastline.
Do the Ryder Cup captains actually matter?