The popularity of Golf in Turkey has risen immeasurably over the past decade. The ambitious plan from the country's golf Tourist Board in 2009 to introduce '100 new golf courses in four years' never took shape, but it did see the development of one or two truly world-class designs.
The Turkish Golf Federation started in 1996 and its main aims are to promote golf tourism and look after the affiliated club members of the 20 or so golf courses in Turkey.
Although it may seem that Turkey can't compete with the likes of Spain and Portugal due to the lack of golf courses, there are some absolute gems which make the numbers irrelevant. This is shown by the fact that the only event in Europe, in the European Tour's inaugural 'Final Series', was chosen to be hosted in Turkey, at Montgomerie Maxx.
The best golf courses and resorts in Turkey are located in the Antalya province, and in particular the Belek township. The region has become known as the golfing centre of Turkey as its the home of more than half of all the Turkish golf courses!
The Antalya Golf Club opened two brilliant courses ( PGA Sultan and the Pasha) at the start of the Millenium which have been described as the catalyst for the increase in popularity of golf in Turkey. Both were designed by David Jones in conjunction with European Tour Design; they are routed through forests with man-made lakes making losing plenty of balls a real possibility!
A bit further away from the Belek strip, but still within a stone's throw, lies one of the most exciting projects to come out of Turkey, and even Europe, over the last few years.
The Perry Dye designed Lykia Links was only opened in 2008 but already has attracted numerous admirers from all over the world! It is a completely different type of course that Turkey is known for, offering a monstrous test for golfers of all abilities, but without doubt it will be a challenge that you'll enjoy. The naturally undulating fairways, littered with bunkers, are a sight to behold and there are also brilliant views of the ocean and beautiful natural surroundings.
The success of Belek as a golfing destination is not only down to its brilliant golf courses, but also the resorts and hotels on offer; the range of quality options in the region is up there with the best in Europe. You can also be sure of a warm welcome and fantastic hospitality throughout your stay as the region was an extremely popular holiday destination long before golf took over!
Away from the resorts and courses, there is a lot to see and do - Turkey has a fascinating history dating back more than 10,000 years meaning there is so much to explore. From Hadrian's Gate to the Duden Waterfalls, there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy. There are some brilliant beaches and canyons within touching distance of many of the resorts if you'd prefer to relax in the sun after a tough round!
With more than 20 international airports connecting Turkey with the rest of Europe and the Middle East, it has never been easy to get to Turkey - Antalya Airport, for example, has flights to and from lots of major European destinations daily. All international airports have car hire facilities on site, but the effectiveness of Turkey's coach system combined with the reasonable prices lean us towards the public transport route to get to your destination and looking around.
Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that the Global Economic Crisis stopped the TGF's plans to try and build 100 golf courses in four years as Turkey can now focus all their attention on maintaining the high standards of the golf courses that are available at the moment. There's no doubt that the brilliant weather, fascinating history and of course, first-class golf courses will see the popularity of golf holidays in Turkey boom over the next few years; take a look at the various quality golf holiday packages we have available and join the bandwagon!