Golfing in Turkey
Turkey is a fantastic destination for golfing holidays with a choice of locations from city to coastal. For luxury golf resorts in Turkey, we’ve a few suggestions in our bag. While golf was not historically popular in Turkey, the government and private investors have been increasing the number of courses across the country.
The most popular golf destination is Belek, in the Antalya region, with 300+ days of sunshine a year, coastal views and the majority of courses. Istanbul hosts 3 courses close to the city, while Kusadasi on the Aegean coast is home to a golf & spa resort.
Once the clubs are back in the clubhouse and the 19th hole has been watered, there are the wonders of this multi-faceted country to explore. From ancient ruins to fragrant bazaars and incredible cuisine, a golf retreat in Turkey is an experience not to be missed.
Belek, Turkey’s Golf Coast
On the Mediterranean coastline and boasting year-round good weather, Belek is vying to become the new Costa del Sol as far as golf is concerned.
There are not the number of courses, but they are designed by some of the top names in golf and have hosted international PGA events. Our top three courses in Belek are:
Carya Golf Club
18 holes, Par 72
Taking inspiration from the heathland layouts of Surrey and Berkshire courses, Carya Golf Club is set on undulating land with free-flowing holes between the trees. More than a million sprigs of heather were imported to create the scenic course!
Carya is also the first fully floodlit course in Europe meaning that the shorter days of the winter and spring won’t end in an unfinished match. The second nine will feel like you’re playing in a whole different environment – fun and testing.
In addition, there’s a TaylorMade Performance Lab for those golfers serious about perfecting their swing.
27 holes, Par 72 (18 holes)
Designed by six-time Major winner, Nick Faldo, the Faldo Championship Course at Cornelia Golf Club is three loops of nine. Shimmering lakes and tricky doglegs contribute to a masterpiece of a course which can be played as three different courses.
The Faldo King Course (01-18 holes) runs to 6,373m, the Faldo Queen Course (10-27 holes) is 6,411m while the Faldo Prince Course (19-27 & 01-09 holes) is 6,324m.
There’s also a Leadbetter Golf Academy onsite for those who would like to benefit from the coaching style that helped Ernie Els and Greg Norman reach the top.
Lykia Links Golf Club
18 holes, Par 72
If you like your golf links-style, then head to Lykia Links Golf Club, the only links course in the area, designed by Perry Dye.
Following a two-mile stretch of sand, you’re offered fabulous views of the Mediterranean. You’ll need to keep your eye on the ball though as sleepered bunkers and lots of contours are ready to catch you out. Battle the sea breeze and small green on the 17th and come to terms with the turtle back green at the 18th – what a stadium finish!
And after the roar of the crowd has died down…
There’s plenty to entertain visitors once the golf is over in the Belek area.
Antalya city is attractive with palm-lined boulevards; the old quarter of Kaleici with its narrow winding streets and wooden houses that nestle next to the city’s ancient walls is wonderfully photogenic while the Turban Kaleici Marina is a wonderful coming-together of ancient and modern with its environmental design of shrubs, trees and exotic flowers.
The city has traditional shops in the old quarter and there’s a plethora of museums and monuments throughout:
Ancient City Walls: The ancient walls flank the city and other sections of the walls are still standing near the marina.
Archaeology Museum: With remains from the Palaeolithic age to Ottoman times, this is one of the most important museums in the Mediterranean region. (Open daily except Mondays)
Ataturk Museum: Displaying objects used by Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic. (Open daily except Mondays)
Clock Tower: Part of the old city fortifications in Kalekapisi Square.
Hadrian’s Gate: The beautifully decorated, three-arched gate was built in honour of Hadrian when he visited the city in 130 A.D.
Hidirlik Tower: This tower was probably first built as a lighthouse in the 2nd century.
Kusadasi, Aegean coast
Stay at CLC Kusadasi Golf & Spa and, you guessed it, you can enjoy both golf, the spa and more besides. Kusadasi is a popular holiday port, within easy reach of some of Turkey’s great sites and the golf course offers fantastic views down to the coast.
Kusadasi International Golf Club
18 holes, Par 72
Designed by MAS GOLF UNO, Kusadasi International Golf is a unique and challenging course. Undulating over two plateaux, the views over the Aegean, the Greek island of Samos and the National Park are breath-taking, but you’ll need to keep your wits about you.
The tenth hole is named “Heaven or Hell” and sets the tone for the final nine, it’s beautiful but how will it treat you?
The Clubhouse sits by the 9th green with a golfers’ lounge, meeting room, well-stocked Pro-shop and restaurant offering authentic Aegean cuisine.
A buggy is mandatory.
For those non-golfing days…
Samos You’ve seen it from the course, why not get up close and personal? Known for more than 2,000 years for its pottery and wine, you’ll feel you’ve discovered Paradise when you reach its shores. Secluded beaches, historical ruins and old harbour towns will evoke times past when ancient philosophers trod its paths.
Ephesus This wonderfully preserved classical city dates back to 10th century BC. It was an important centre for trade and commerce and St. Paul lived and preached here for 3 years. The impressive ruins will leave you in awe.
Kusadasi Recognisable by its 14th century castle on Pigeon Island (Güvercinada), Kusadasi has a smart marina, a cruise port and a vibrant centre with restaurants, bars, museums and shops. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to cuisine with delicious Turkish dishes taking centre stage.
City Limits Golf
For a city golfing experience, head to the wonderfully cosmopolitan Istanbul. There are three golf courses – 1 on the European side of the Bosporus and 2 on the Asian side. Once you’ve finished your rounds, head for the city centre and experience the meeting point of east and west.
Kemer Golf & Country Club
18 holes, Par 73
Only 30 minutes from the city centre close to Belgrade Forest, the Kemer course was designed to USA PGA standards. Each hole was designed with its own character to test the pros and give a little impetus to beginners.
There are PGA-certified instructors and caddy services. You need to be either a hotel guest or member of the Club in order play there.
Klassis Golf & Country Club (Silivri)
18 (9) holes Par (27)73
Just over an hour from the city centre, Klassis was the first PGA standard 18-hole course in Turkey. Designed by Tony Jacklin, it is considered a challenging course. International tournaments have been held there in the past.
A Pro-shop, putting green, driving range, spa and country club give you the authentic golf experience.
Atasehir Golf Club
A city centre course open to all, you can take advantage of the two illuminated driving ranges for some after-museum practice. The longest hole on the course is a 192-meters par-4. The return is 120 meters and par-3. So, the course has two returns and 12 holes with the shortest hole at 80 meters. It also features two water hazards.
Explore Exciting Istanbul
Basilica Cistern Go underground to the enormous Roman water cistern and its amazing architecture made famous in the Bond film, From Russia With Love. The bases of two columns in the northwest corner have reused Medusa heads. One of the columns that supports the vaulted and arched roof of the cistern is engraved with raised pictures of a Hen’s Eye.
Blue Mosque The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, is the iconic element of the Istanbul skyline with its tiered domes and six minarets. Still functioning as a mosque, tourists can visit between prayer times. Built in 1616, it gets the blue epithet from the tiles and lights within.
Hagia Sophia Next to the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia is the former Greek Orthodox cathedral, later becoming a mosque and now a museum. It was constructed at the beginning of the Middle Ages and is famous for its large dome and glittering mosaics of Biblical scenes.
Grand & Spice Bazaars For a sensational experience head for the Grand and Spice Bazaars. The Grand Bazaar is a veritable labyrinth of 61 streets where you can watch artisans at work and discover hans behind doorways. In the spice bazaar, the aroma and sight of colourful spices beside piles of dates, tea and delicious sweets.
Whether you choose city or coastal, or take a long holiday and experience both, there are plenty of fabulous golf retreats in Turkey to satisfy your drive for the perfect scorecard.