Belek, Turkey 2013 day 5/5 and therefore final day of my short little Turkey golf trip, which by the way turned out to be very successful. That’s most likely not the last time I come here. Next time in company though!
The course that I left till the end is the PGA Sultan Course at Antalya Golf Club. the course was created in 2003 and is therefore one of the older courses in this area. The holes follow through old existing forest and have a more open character around the clubhouse. That’s as well the part of the course where huge water hazard come into play, i.e. have magnetic effect on golf balls. If you take the approach shot of the 18th as an example, here you have water to the left, water to the right and the fairway is not wider than 20 paces!!
But I don’t want to scare you off, it’s a wonderful course and without a doubt one of the best ones around here. End of last year Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Charl Schwartzel, Justin Rose and some others came here together for the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final (and the 7m € purse obviously). You see, the course is tested by champions and deserved a vistit and test round of Golficiency! Lee Westwood holds the course record with a stunning 61, and he even scored a double-bogey that day!
I was grouped together with 2 old chaps from England, Rob and Dave, two golf buddies from the Exeter area in England’s south-west. These guys were really in good mood and we had a lot of fun, making jokes, telling stories, making up some golf fairytales, that sort. Dave mentioned the next time he will talk to Lee Westwood he’ll mention my name and my good drives… that was just trash-talk but we did that all day and had lots of fun. Both had the same handicap like me, 16, but some weird swings. Dave was more or less just using his arms and to cope with the resulting slice he was aligning himself in a 45 degree angle to the left. He must have scared off some players on the next fairway I bet.
The course was very busy and we had to wait on many holes. That’s I guess the story of this trip: get a cart to cope with the heat and don’t expect to get a round done in under 5.5 hours! That’s a bit of a shame really but in my opinion that’s because there are some players on the course that play really slow, probably lied with their handicaps because nobody is checking really. So put some 54ers on the course and you create a massive traffic, especially during the golfing season, which slowly but surely comes to an end by the way end of May.
Some other words on the course itself, it was designed by European Golf Design and is a beauty, no doubt about it. The clubhouse has a very clean and cold feel to it but the holes can feel pretty cosy when you like this setup and when your scores keep up with that!
In general the fairways are narrow but not too extreme. You always know where to hit and when you have the yardage book and a GPS watch, nothing can happen to you. You even find most of the balls as the overall setup is quite open, a bit like the Carya or the Gloria New.
Remarkable are some of the par 3s as they are approx 200 meters long! It’s not the case for me, but the other lads in my group were firing their drivers full throttle to reach the par 3.
I had some very nice 250/260m drives, straight and mid-trajectory how I like them. These were especially appreciated for hole number 12, reading in the yardage book “maybe the toughest par 4 in Europe”. Obviously that’s nonsense! It’s 422m long and I reached the green in 2.
One other remarkable hole is the 16; a par 5 dogleg right, water all the way to the right and the green is accross the pond or the stream. Very scary! The width of the fairway is tiny for the most part and one has to be very precise with yardages and direction, otherwise you don’t only lose one ball.
The par 3s are not as spectacular as on the other courses I played this week. The only exeption probably the 8, 180m long, lake in front, lake to the right of the green, stream to the left and not much grass to work with. Very beautiful hole.
Speaking of very beautiful, the whole course is a must play when you are in this area. Due to my intensive preparation for this trip I did cherry-picking and only played absolute top courses that I could recommend to everybody. The brother of the Sultan, the Pasha Course for instance is supposed to be a more laid-back course, not so tricky, wider fairways, probably less water. If you’re interested in both, fairness and challenge, then this golf club is perfect for you, the Sultan for the challenge, the Pasha for the fairness.
Use the tag Belek2013 to read all course reviews of that trip.
Follow this link for more information: www.agc.com.tr