Teeing off in Türkiye: What makes Belek a golfer's paradise?

Every month of the year in Belek, on courses that offer sweeping views of the Taurus mountains.
Every month of the year in Belek, on courses that offer sweeping views of the Taurus mountains.   -  Copyright  GoTürkiye
By Euronews

Belek on Türkiye’s southern Mediterranean coast is a top golf destination, known for its ideal weather and world-class facilities.

In 1994, Türkiye's National Golf Club opened in Belek on the southern Mediterranean coast, the first course in the region although the sport was first introduced to the country in the days of the Ottoman Empire.

Designed by former PGA and European tour professionals David Feherty and David Jones, it became the first course ever to host an international professional tournament in Türkiye.

Less than 30 years later, Belek is firmly established as one of the world's best golfing destinations, surrounded by eucalyptus and pine forests and dotted with lakes, over a terrain of 100 hectares.

It plays host to more than 50 tournaments a year, including the Turkish Airlines Challenge and the Turkish Airlines Open.

It is now home to several world-class, PGA tour-standard facilities, including ones designed by legends of the sport Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie, offering a choice of 17 different 18-hole championship courses, two links courses and 16 forest courses.

What makes Belek a golfer's paradise?

The climate certainly helps – it allows golfers to play every month of the year, in average temperatures of 24°C and with more than 300 days of guaranteed sunshine.

It's also just a 35-minute drive from Antalya airport and chock full of luxury hotels, meaning there's no valuable time on the course lost travelling from your accommodation, and you can play the same day you arrive or fly home. Then there’s the setting, with Belek's courses sitting between the mountains and the sea, and home to an abundant variety of wildlife, particularly birds.

The facilities are world-class, with state-of-the-art practice facilities and lessons with PGA-certified instructors on offer, making it an ideal location for beginners and experts alike. The choice of clubs also reflects its wide appeal, with a different course for every day of your holiday – at the seaside links, you could be on the legendary Aspendos Course at Cullinan Links in Belek, while the floodlights at Montgomerie Maxx Royal and Carya Golf Club both offer the chance to play on past sundown.

AP/AP
Golf legends who have played in Belek include Tiger Woods, seen here in 2012 at the World Golf Final.AP/AP

Belek is also home to the only TrackMan range in Europe based at Gloria Golf club, with technology which allows golfers to track the distance, height, and speed of their ball.

Golfers in Belek are in esteemed company too. Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Rory Mcllroy and Tiger Woods have all played there.

At the Turkish Airlines Open 2013, Woods became the first person to hit a golf ball from Asia to Europe, teeing off from the Bosphorus Bridge, before flying down to Belek to headline Türkiye’s first-ever European Tour event.

Top resorts

One of the oldest golf resorts in Belek, the Kempinski Hotel The Dome, remains one of the most popular. Its PGA Sultan Course has 18 holes over 6,411 metres (par 71), while the Pasha Course is 18 holes over 5,731 metres (par 72).

The Old Course offers 18 holes over 6,411 metres (par 72), and the New Course 18 holes over 6,523 metres (par 72), while the Verde Course is 9 holes over 2,923 metres (par 35).

The Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Club & Resort was designed by legendary Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie, and the 18-hole course – over 6,486 metres (par 72) – is one of the toughest in the region, as well as one of those to offer a night golf experience.

GoTürkiye
The floodlights at Montgomerie Maxx Royal and Carya Golf Club offer the chance to play nightgolf..GoTürkiye

Similarly, the Robinson Nobilis Golf Club & Resort's 18-hole course (over 6,257 metres, par 72) was designed by Dave Thomas, back in 1998 when Türkiye was first making a name for itself in the world of golf, while the Lykia Links Golf Club & Resort was one of the first links courses to be built in the southern Mediterranean, designed by renowned American golf architect Perry Dye and offering 18 holes over 6,950 metres (par 73).

Fun for the whole family

But the deciding factor might just be what you can do in Belek besides play golf... as anyone with a golf widow (AKA a spouse who doesn’t play golf) and a family to consider will probably attest.

Besides the beaches, luxury resorts and the area's famed thermal spas and hamams, there are water sports and kids' clubs on offer.

The nearby Antalya Archaeology Museum has on display artefacts from the ancient cities of Side, Aspendos and Perge, while archaeological sites in the area include the Roman ancient theatre at Aspendos, the ancient city of Perge and the Temple of Apollo, while the ancient theatre of Aspendos plays host to the annual Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival in August and September.

For something a little less sedate, you can take a jeep safari, go river rafting in the Köprülü Canyon national park, visit the Kurşunlu waterfall or trek along the trails connecting the ancient cities of Lycia and Pisidia, or take a botanic tour in Tahtalı Mountain, Kemer, Çıralı and Kaş.

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