Pete Dye's Lykia Links is just one of the worthy golf courses to play in Belek, Turkey.

Let's talk Turkey: Would you consider visiting this emerging destination?

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Pete Dye's Lykia Links is just one of the worthy golf courses to play in Belek, Turkey.

I've been meaning to cover emerging golf destinations, and given Thanksgiving is next week, I figured now is a great time to talk about...Turkey.

Don't laugh. For years now, the Turkish government has been investing in tourism -- including golf tourism, specifically -- and it's paying off.

The latest example was last month's Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, an event that featured Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and other stars.

The focus is on the Mediterranean-hugging resort region of Belek, which Europeans have long favored for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and four- and five-star hotels.

(For you newshounds, Belek is a 14-hour drive from where that Syria skirmish took place and it's not on the border.)

The Gloria Resort has two golf courses: New (pictured) and Old.

Now, there are some pretty impressive Belek, Turkey golf courses to complement the lodging (with all-inclusive packages available), and more are on the way.

In addition to the tournament site (PGA Sultan Course at Antalya Golf Club), these layouts include designs by Pete Dye (Lykia Links), Martin Hawtree (Tat GC), Nick Faldo (Cornelia Golf Club), and Colin Montgomerie (Montgomerie GC).

Belek, Turkey's Tat Golf Course was designed by Martin Hawtree's respected firm.

Another thing I like is that the local airport, Antalya, is only 30 minutes away.

So, have you been to Turkey or would you consider going?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Nov 13, 2012

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Learnedithere's avatar
Learnedithere wrote at 2013-01-02 21:30:30+00:00:

All my fellow statesiders with bigoted viewpoints, please don't go - your spoiled, Ugly-American attitudes just ruins it for those of us who travel the globe to play in the name and spirit of the game of golf, i.e., open-minded sportsmanship and friendship. Politics and biases etc. have no place on the course. If you need to discuss those topics, save it for the 19th hole here in the US. Great tracks there as well as many other "emerging" destinations I've enjoyed. Remember - we are ambassadors of our country and culture whenever and whereever we go, even here in the US.

Jeff M's avatar
Jeff M wrote at 2012-11-24 07:51:59+00:00:

Totally agree with Stephen, I lived near this area for two years. The Turkish Mediterranean is the best kept secret in Europe. Absolutely beautiful, fabulous food, great history with incredible Greek and Roman ruins and wonderful people who are very pro-American. Have not played golf there but courses look solid and would be an added benefit.

jeff's avatar
jeff wrote at 2012-11-21 05:55:19+00:00:

it's golf I'd go anywhere- want to play the 3 holes at inuvik

Richard's avatar
Richard wrote at 2012-11-16 11:33:02+00:00:

Went on a playing and coaching trip with two pro's and 16 others all inclusive, great golf courses good condition ideal winter destination. Plenty of choice on hotels and courses, service was superb, great from Europe but if I was in the states why would I pay to travel to Turkey when there are so many good resorts in the USA.

My choice USA ot Turkey I feel my deal to the States is always more interesting outside of the golf but not perhaps for those from the USA.

Filip Bis's avatar
Filip Bis wrote at 2012-11-14 16:56:00+00:00:

Beautiful, Chris K. or Steve B...very open minded. Did you know that Turkey is actually a member of NATO?

Turkey is a perfect winter getaway for us Europeans who suffer with golfing abstinence during winters. I have been there twice and I am going again this winter. Value for money in Belek is superb, courses are great to play. Spain and Portugal may be more estabilished as golfing destinations but Turkey gives maybe even better value. Then again, you almost don´t notice that you are in a Islamic country - hotels, beaches and courses make a bit of an own and separate world....

But - there is absolutely no point for american golfers to go there - Florida, California or the Caribbean gives you plenty to choose from.

The ultimate golfing experience in Europe - definitely Scotland and Ireland.

Alan Clark - Back Tees Wine Tours's avatar
Alan Clark - Back Tees Wine Tours wrote at 2012-11-14 16:43:58+00:00:

Turkey has been a destination for the Europeans for decades. The people there are wonderful and outstanding hosts. Plus there's enough to do to take up several lifetimes. Now with first class golf resorts there's little excuse not to go. Like we stress in our tours, it's the total experience of something great that makes makes for an unforgettable vacation. A visit to Turkey should be on your bucket list

JLaddo's avatar
JLaddo wrote at 2012-11-14 14:26:01+00:00:

Not for me. Too many other great destinations on my list.

Matthew Moore's avatar
Matthew Moore wrote at 2012-11-14 13:24:21+00:00:

Have to say also, Turkey is as safe as it gets when it comes to Islamic countries, (and worth noting that there are significant numbers of Orthodox Christians in Turkey) and if you notice was entirely unaffected by the Arab Spring. Yes, there are some problems on the border with Syria - Belek is miles from there - but you'd be as safe there as anywhere in the USA or Europe. They depend on tourism, they are hardly going to do something that then deters other tourists from coming and spending. Really, not everyone who is Arab or Middle Eastern is interested in blowing up the West. They probably feel quite safe and happy about themselves as they have no oil for wealthier powers to covet. Sad to see such blinkered views of world travel

Matthew Moore's avatar
Matthew Moore wrote at 2012-11-14 13:19:01+00:00:


You are dead on, Turkey is fast becoming one of Europe's most visited golf destinations giving Portugal a run for its money. Belek is where it's at, both Faldo and Monty have designed courses there - but for me the real treat is Carya Golf Club - an English style heathland course designed by Peter Thomson's design firm which has actual heather growing on the course, just like those classic English courses.

Owen Barnes's avatar
Owen Barnes wrote at 2012-11-14 11:54:03+00:00:

Re the remarks by Steve S and Steve B I assume that they are both Jewish. So what? So am I and have been to Belek twice and have encountered no problems.

Fantastic Golf Courses and Hotels, the food and evening entertainment were superb and we found that nothing was too much trouble for the staff. Organisation of the Golf was excellent, transport to the courses was efficient and "T" times spot on. I have been twice now and look forward to the next time. I would agree that it is quite a long flight from the States and after all the UK is about half way, but it is well worth while. One other thing, price-wise it was much less costly than France and they all try to speak English which is more than the French do.

James's avatar
James wrote at 2012-11-14 06:43:45+00:00:

I am an American that has been living here in Antalya Turkey for the past 10 years. I work for an agency that sells these golf holidays ( and am looking forward to bringing more Americans over here! Most of you sound like my family members, friends back in the states, but I am here to tell you that it is nothing like you are picturing in your mind. Especially Antalya! Also the value for money cannot be compared. 15km coastline with 14 world class courses, maximum travel time of 10 minutes! Where else can you find that? Some of the best hospitality on Earth. It isn't a bunch of covered woman and people staring at you (unless you go to a village), but a very modern, friendly place.

We also had the World Amateur Championships (USA Mens won :D) just before the World Final (which will be for the next 3 years).

Take off those horse blinders and experience something unbelievable, also if you are a huge history buff like myself, can't get any better than this!

Oh and that last comment about Syria and suicide bombers, funny how I feel safer here in Antalya than being back home in North Carolina?

Rick's avatar
Rick wrote at 2012-11-14 01:25:48+00:00:

Yes, we have considered going to Turkey even though it's a long way from our western Canadian home. Nevertheless, whether it's 14 hours away or not, while Syria, and indeed the entire middle-east, is in turmoil we will not be heading that way regardless of its lures. Turkey could easily be drawn into a war with Syria and with the Islamic culture of suicide bombers, the golf resorts could be just where they might strike to teach Turkey a lesson.

Tom H's avatar
Tom H wrote at 2012-11-14 00:14:58+00:00:

Belek is really fabulous, highly recommended! There is not much else to do in the area than playing golf and dining at the hotel (which is a good thing if you are on a serious golf trip, mind you!) and there are very few places in the world where there are as many very high quality golf courses within a (perhaps <10 mile radius) small area. I have played more than half of the world's 20 finest, and surely claim that within Europe perhaps only Scotland beats the golf quality/concentration ratio in Belek (and I do love golf around Paris!), in the US of course Long Island/NY and San Francisco excel in this regard, but not in as tight an area nor as accessible as in Belek. I haven't played Mission Hills though...

Daryl's avatar
Daryl wrote at 2012-11-13 23:45:02+00:00:

It seems incomprehensible to me that one would elect to travel to that part of the world to play golf. Too many wonderful courses here in California, or in Hawaii or many more within the safety of the USA.

Steve S's avatar
Steve S wrote at 2012-11-13 23:24:15+00:00:

As Steve B so eloquently stated:

I agree with Chris K. I have no interest in going to a country where I am despised because of my religion and my last name. I would rather play golf in Antarctica or Barrow, Alaska.

It's a country that can't make up its mind what it wants to be - Western, freedom loving and egalitarian or and Islamist, Israel-hating state. No thanks!

Doug Roberts's avatar
Doug Roberts wrote at 2012-11-13 23:03:09+00:00:

I recently played with a Pro from Slovenia. He was talking about the coastal area of Turkey and how reasonable it was to do a trip there. I did some research and found the area probably warranted discovery. But candidly, As I contemplate a trip there I must acknowledge that I have not traveled to Spain or Portugal to play golf. And they will come before Turkey. So many places........So little time!

Jim Owens's avatar
Jim Owens wrote at 2012-11-13 22:53:31+00:00:

Cannot imagine why I would want to go there golf corse or not.

Sort of wish you guys would put as much energy into courses in the

Unites States of America.

KUCH's avatar
KUCH wrote at 2012-11-13 22:46:14+00:00:

I haven't been there but I would go.

Jim's avatar
Jim wrote at 2012-11-13 22:35:51+00:00:

Not in this lifetime

Siggi's avatar
Siggi wrote at 2012-11-13 22:14:47+00:00:

I've was there a few years ago. It's far but worth it. You have better service for less price than Spain and just as good restaurants and hotels. The golf courses are exellent.

Stephen Yandle's avatar
Stephen Yandle wrote at 2012-11-13 21:59:27+00:00:

I have traveled in Turkey and have no idea what is the source of hostility expressed in several comments. In addition to having extraordinary natural beauty and a rich history Turkey is a modern, open country. I have never experienced or observed an unpleasant moment. I have not played golf there, but the addition of top courses make it an even more enticing destination.

Jeff's avatar
Jeff wrote at 2012-11-13 21:52:07+00:00:

Don't you know better than to promote a country who has performed genocide? Look it up and move on to more fitting golf destinations...really...

Mike Henderson's avatar
Mike Henderson wrote at 2012-11-13 21:06:52+00:00:

Not no, but HELL NO!

John's avatar
John wrote at 2012-11-13 21:04:39+00:00:

Lived in England. Wanted to go to Turkey. Wife wanted to go to Cyprus. Stayed at Aphrodite Hills. Good course in excellent condition. Superb Hotel. Cyprus Airlines takes clubs for nothing.

steve b's avatar
steve b wrote at 2012-11-13 20:46:54+00:00:

I agree with Chris K. I have no interest in going to a country where I am despised because of my religion and my last name. I would rather play golf in Antarctica or Barrow, Alaska.

Chris K's avatar
Chris K wrote at 2012-11-13 20:35:20+00:00:

In a word, NO, I have no interest in playing golf in Turkey.

There are far too many more beautiful, safer and overall more attractive places....

Tony's avatar
Tony wrote at 2012-11-13 20:27:46+00:00:

I've been to the Belek area a few times and can confirm the courses are superb. The hotels, beaches, scenery, and food are all excellent too. Long way to go, mind.

Russ Supplee's avatar
Russ Supplee wrote at 2012-11-13 20:26:47+00:00:

Looks fantastic, but I think it's going to be a struggle to get American golfers to make that trip. There are a number of courses in Europe equal or better and much more accessible. Maybe Turkish Airlines should create some packages and see if a good deal overcomes the tyranny of distance.

Great publication you have -- keep up the good work.


Craig Better

Staff Writer

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine,, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.