Golf in Turkey: Belek project unveiled

Olazabal to design latest resort course

Bob Warters's picture
Thu, 10 Jun 2010

Coincidentally, a group of us were discussing, ahead of a round at our local course yesterday, the  burgeoning reputation of Turkey as a golf destination. Some had already experienced it and spoke highly of the 17 courses and the quality hotels that served the Belek region.  One even remembered playing The National course when it was the only one in the area.

Though having never visited the area, I remember David Jones telling me back in the early 1990s how proud he was of his joint design creation with fellow Ulsterman David Feherty, now the most popular broadcaster in US golf coverage. The National has now been joined by over dozen more, designed by the likes of Tony Jacklin, Charles Hawtree and Dave Thomas within a tight radius alongside Turkey's Mediterranean coastline.

The latest name designer is Jose Maria Olazabal, whom this autumn starts work on Belek Golf Club, set to become a destination on the European Tour in 2012.

Just 25 kilometres east of Antalya International Airport, the Belek region was voted European Golf Destination of the Year by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators in 2008 and the Belek GC will offer golfers the opportunity to own a home within the resort community. England footballers Michael Owen and David Platt and Austrian ski racer Marc Girardelli are among those who will own homes here. 

The Belek GC residential development, which is fed by an abundance of water flowing from the Taurus Mountains, will feature a fully navigable 7-kilometre long canal system, connecting lakes and streams on the golf course. Other amenities include a town centre with shops, restaurant and live entertainment.

Olazabal, twice a US Masters winner, with 23 European Tour titles says: “The Castle Course at Belek is my first design work in Turkey and I'm honoured to be part of a development of such high international standard. I look forward to the challenge of creating a course that will not only become a spectacular venue for The European Tour but an enjoyable and memorable experience for residents and visitors.”?