Belek, Turkey 2013 day 2/5 of my trip to Belek and my iPhone already told me, it was getting even warmer here! 32 degrees at a max, in the shadow! Day 1 with 30 degrees was almost unbearable walking and I lost strength and concentration through two thirds of the course.
First impression of Carya; poshest driveway to a clubhouse so far. The Carya clubhouse is much bigger than the one at Gloria and it is much nicer actually. It offers even more amenities, a bigger pro shop and a nice sun terrace facing the 18th green. Carya has ‘only’ one 18 hole course, opened in 2007 and was designed by the 5 time Open Champion Peter Thompson. The course is an interesting combination between parkland and heathland course, which is not typical for this region. Pine trees all over the place and the most beautiful bunkers I’ve ever seen! Well you normally avoid bunkers but these are really different, bright white sand and interestingly manicured. Fantastic looking!
The hole setup and the design is comparable to the one of Gloria New the day before. Nevertheless everything looks much nicer, greener, more pleasant, more perfect. I was astonished that I would beat the impression I had of Gloria New just the next day, really haven’t expected that!
I was grouped together with three Nowegian IT-experts who did their second trip to Belek, this one for 10 days! They were not very chatty but a nice goup walking with, having in mind that I actually wanted to take a cart since it got 32 degrees. But anyhow, I managed to finish the round, totally exhausted, 5 blisters on the feet and ready for a long cold shower in the hotel. We had to wait quite often and long as the course was totally jam-packed. In the end we played I guess over 5 hours and my hotel shuttle arrived the second I had my final putt on the 18th green.
Please have a look at the pictures, it’s really tough to explain a course’s beauty without referring to some examples. The combination pine trees, heather and white sand bunkers speaks for itself and creates great memories I will never forget! The 3rd hole for instance, ‘Dire Straits’, with a group of huge pine trees in the middle of the fairway: the perfect hole for advanced course management! Assess your abilities and decide to go easy right and the long way to the green or try the dangerous narrow left part of the fairway with a better angle to the pin… I wasn’ very brave by the way and scored a bogey.
Another remarkable example is hole 6, Turkey’s longest golf hole, 573m from the champions tee!! These black boxes are really far off I can tell you. The name of that hole: ‘Long’… Or the next one ‘The Siren’: one of the most beautiful holes of the course; a spectacular uphill par-3 with tons of bunkers, nestled in a bunch of… guess what… pine trees. Awesome hole and a real signature to this course!
Water comes into play a bit too, but again, more on the back 9 surprisingly. If you can shape your ball, you really love the doglegs on this course. I tried to shape from time to time but ended up in the… you say it… yes, pine trees! The good thing about them though is that in the bottom part they are usually pretty free of branches and bushes which eases finding a ball a bit. Just a bit…
Parts of the course in the beginning unfotunately run along a street, some residential areas and a mosque. So by the time the muezzin called for prayer we had to pray for our next ball not to go into water, bunkers or yes, pine trees.
One last remark on this beautiful course: even though holes 17 and 18 are fairly easy looking, just straight, they gave me the feeling of Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, CA. I can’t really say why and it’s not particular holes I had in mind but the finish direction clubhouse strongly reminded me of that.
It was a long and tiring day I can tell you, more exhausted, more blisters but totally happy having played the best course in the world in my opinion (at that time). It definitely is prettier than the Gloria New. I realised I have to create my own little Belek ranking in the end, seems a good idea, for the sake of others who want to play here. I’ll definitely come back some day, I’m still impressed with these courses.
Use the tag Belek 2013 to read all course reviews of that trip.
Follow this link to receive more information: www.caryagolf.com