During my recent stay in Belek, Turkey, it was no question if I should squeeze some golf rounds into the family break, it was more a question of how often my wife would approve to be alone with the kids… Alone by the pool of a luxury resort that is.
I played in Belek years ago already and I was astonished by the number of golf courses and the quality at the time of my stay. Back then I remember it was May when I played five different courses during a course of a 7-day trip. This time we booked a family retreat for eleven days in July and surely some golf was on the table, too.
From experience it was difficult to differentiate quality aspects from one Belek course to the other. Back then I played Carya, Cornelia, Montgomerie Maxx Royal, Gloria New and the PGA Sultan course at Antalya Golf Club. The latter club is somewhat attached to the Kempinski hotel and as we stayed there, it was pretty obvious which course I wanted to play again. Especially as the AGC, the Antalya Golf Club, is the home to the Turkish PGA and hosted several European Tour events—so quality was pretty much given I figured. I was so wrong unfortunately.
It sounds pretty lame, granted, but what I try to achieve here is not putting on display some boring plastic ball markers but rather showing off with some pretty outstanding pieces of coins from all parts of the world, be it of low or actually high value.
Years ago, when my grand-dad passed away, I inherited his collection of coins. It wasn‘t a huge collection per se, but it showed this man had some serious interest in the hobby and accumulated some nice pieces after all the yeard that went into the collection.
Inspired by my grand-dad I also acquired some nice pieces as well as collected some during the various trips me and my family did in the last years, and I indeed got ahold some really interesting coins.
Instead of putting everything in a dull folder and get it out only occasional, I figured why not combine this with my biggest hobby and use these coins as ball markers during golf rounds. Through that they actually have a new value and maybe create some interest amongst yourselves. It‘s at least something I like doing from now on.
To set the scene in case you are not aware, Belek is a small town in Turkey. It‘s situated on the south coast that they call „Turkish Riviera“ and actually there is one 5-star hotel next to each other right on the Mediterranean coastal strip — and right behind those hotels, there are numerous outstanding golf courses waiting to be tackled.
But you knew all this, didn‘t you. I made a trip to Belek already couple of years ago and managed to play five courses during my 7-day stay at lovely Rixos Premium Belek. To check out these rounds, please read the articles with the Belek 2013 tag on this site.
Now it’s time, we figured as a family with 2 kids that weren’t there in 2013 and as it’s already almost a decade ago and also as Belek has so much to offer in terms of hotel quality, beaches and what makes a great beach family holiday — it was pretty easy to decide to go.
No question will we make the best out of our 10-day trip and I will surely squeeze in some rounds of golf. It will be hot mid-July, granted, but nothing that will worry me to be honest. Golf season is over then, just makes the golf courses less crowded, I hope. 50+ sunscreen, loads of water, two shirts and a cart, and good to go. Can’t be that different from playing in Dubai if you‘d ask me.
In other words, we can‘t wait to board that plane to be honest. We are currently in the planning phase. The missus is having an eye on what‘s important to take for the kids and I‘m looking at the adult amenities and golf prep that‘s equally necessary. First things first, right? ;)
Obviously the flight will go via Antalya which is a short car ride from Belek. Antalya itself has loads to offer for tourists but it‘s more Belek that caters for exquisite hotels and golf. As well as for international soccer teams in the off-season by the way.
Last week I was competing in just another Deutsche Bank tournament that was staged at my local club, just around the corner. It‘s not a hilly course but still my game was up and down.
It‘s one of these days, you head to the course, you have a good feeling, you even practiced a little in advance — which I did indeed. Putts were falling in the practice area and when you head to tee one, you‘re pumped.
I stepped on the dancefloor, had the honor and, no kidding, hooked two balls in the bushes. Two balls gone, score in danger right on the first hole.
The following holes were weird, too. Either I played a par or a triple bogey and had to pick it up. Very frustrating. Especially because a good score was possible. In the end I scored at least 6 pars but numerous pick-ups, all caused by lousy tee shots. So my long game is absolutely out of shape and I‘m risking my handicap to go all the way south.
I know I need professional help but the next tournament is just around the corner. A quick fix is needed. I reckon I don‘t need more pars currently but I need to get rid of the really bad shots off the tee.
Maybe I‘m starting again to use my 2- and 3-iron — who knows, I had some great time with them.
Apart from skiing in Austria earlier in the year, this trip in May was the first summer-holiday-like we scheduled in 2022. And after all the Corona-mess this really felt like a true holiday again, gladly.
It began with some days in Switzerland, then led us to beautiful Lake Como, where we stayed for a week in beautiful Menaggio, a lovely town on the west side of the lake. It marks the northern end of the so-called Como Riviera and indeed is a great place to stay and enjoy the area.
Close by, there is a golf treasure I had on my list. Menaggio & Cadenabbia Golf Club is the second oldest golf course in Italy and together with Villa d‘Este one of the two clubs in the Como area. Staying in Menaggio, no question I had my clubs with me.
I am a person that is sticking to rules, no matter what. This includes golf rules I adhere to.
There is one rule however that I question from time to time. Not really questioning the existence per se, but I struggle with it somehow. I am speaking of rule 4.1b(1): „A player must not start a round with more than 14 clubs, or have more than 14 clubs during the round.“
It sounds easy and easy to follow but there is more to it, at least from my perspective. In case you would like to know the origins of this rule, you should read this Golfdigest article.
Several years I struggled with my woods. As a tendency I excelled with irons, including 3- and 2-iron. The 2-iron was my absolute go-to driving iron which I used in almost every situation. And I had no real pressure, I worked my way down to a 12 handicap with just irons in my bag.
In the meantime I managed to progress with my woods fortunately. And I totally digged the importance of a good, long and straight tee shot with a (hybrid) wood. With that in mind, I bought myself a set of woods: driver, 3-wood, 5-wood — and I even thought about a 7-wood.
On the lower end of the club spectrum I kept it simple with 52- and 56-degree wedges, but as I started to use a chipper, all this obviously adds up.
Every now and then there is something that comes to an end. For good. Then there are the things that pause, for some reason, and later resume, again for a good reason.
The latter is what is supposed to happen here.
Once golf was my focus, next to work. Then there was my wife, my first kid, and quite recently a new baby. This all shifts focus obviously, makes blurry what was clear in the past. And it all falls into a time period which is so unusual and unpredictable in my generation that one thinks twice what really matters in life. A global pandemic can indeed bring people closer together, create some clarity on what‘s important and what‘s just clutter.
Family will always be in focus, work will too and so is the health for the whole bunch. All the rest has to stand in line. And then there are these windows of time, of possibilities, of opportunities. Some are educational, some are cultural, many are leisure and some are sportive.
Long story short, I will try to make more room for golf again. I will deliver for my family, will continue my career and at the same time will strive for excellence in this beautiful sport. I know this demands time, an asset I might not have as much as before, but that only makes me more focussed, really pinpoints me on efficiency.
And it indeed closes a circle. „Golficiency is golf proficiency with German efficiency“, I wrote a decade ago. Now more than ever.
This is a rather old thing I found on the internet but I had to giggle and thought you might like it as well.
Imagine you’re a keen golfer, you get out to the course every time you can, every time your family and business commitments allow for a round or a training session. It didn’t payoff though in the past, you play and play. Then one day you play a tournament and, God knows, everything comes together, everything. Drives go straight, approaches land on the green and your putting is excellent.
How fantastic! Too bad that it’s a weekday and you were supposed to be working. Not imaginable what would happen if your boss would find out you weren’t really sick but very successful on the golf course instead.
This is what the scoring leaderboard looks like then: