Turkey is lucky to be home to some of the best landscapes and climates in the world. In recent years, they’ve used those advantageous and efforts have been made to turn Turkey into one of the world’s great golf havens, and now the country features some of the most beautiful, most varied, most state-of-the-art courses anywhere in the world, with Turkey’s stunning seascape as a backdrop.
Istanbul and Antalya form the height of Turkish tourism and as a result they “drive” the golf courses as well. But there are courses located all over the country and the sport is booming, with luminaries like Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia coming over to play in international tournaments in recent years.
Each course is different, and a favorite golf course is as much personal preference as it is objective fact. So which of Turkey’s dozens of courses is right for you?
Belek Golf Riviera
Did you know that in 2008 the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) rated Turkey the best golfing destination in Europe? It's true, and it's largely because of the 27 golf courses and facilities located in Belek, Antalya. Since then, courses in Belek have been used for many important golf tournaments, including along the European Tour, the World Corporate Golf Challenge and the now critical Turkish Airlines Golf Open, which is held every year. In 2018 alone there were 108 national and international golf tournaments.
Many of the golf courses in Antalya are associated with particular hotels, allowing for all-inclusive golfing holidays right in front of the seafront, with many other facilities available for family members who either don't enjoy golf or are perhaps a little too young to start.
Each of the courses in Belek have been designed differently to appeal to a different style of golfer. There are some that resemble classic European courses, some that are more avant-garde, and ones that focus on difficulty or aesthetics. All have been designed within the past 20 years using state-of-the-art design technology, which helps take into account wind variations that can make golfing such a hassle on other courses.
All in all, the sheer number and variety of links in Belek means that it's impossible to have a disappointing golf holiday, and the fact that the courses are all located in Antalya, one of the world's most beautiful locations, is simply a bonus!
Turkey's first golf courses were located in Istanbul, one in the popular new development of Göktürk in the district of Eyüpsultan, one in the relatively new developments of Ataşehir, and one in Silivri.
Istanbul has its own golf clubs, and the courses have all been designed to USGA standards.
So if you're visiting Istanbul and want to take a break out on the links, then you've plenty of opportunities to take the day and play in one of the world's greatest cities!
Kuşadası & Bodrum
Kuşadası and Bodrum are located along the Aegean coast about 2 hours apart from one another and represent an incredibly picturesque setting for a golf course. Here you’ll find 3 different courses, all relatively new and internationally designed. The courses tend to be comparatively challenging. Due to the temperate climate, golf can be played almost year-round along the coast.
Samsun features the only USGA-certified courses in the Black Sea Region of Turkey. The courses are designed to be less challenging that those of Antalya so that golfers of all ages and abilities can enjoy them. The weather is a little cooler and the feel is totally different up along the Black Sea, giving more of the feel of, say, the great courses of Scotland compared with the sunny beauty of Antalya.