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.
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.
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.
When I went to the Bahamas years ago, I wasn’t after golf or lush green fairways. I wanted to sit by the pool, on the beach, have some tropical drinks and enjoy the sun. And I did exactly that.
There are however many more activities you can go for in the Bahamas and all of them excel even in combination with each other. The facilities are there, the weather is mostly picture perfect and what could be better than outdoor sports in this environment?!… Exactly, nothing.
While there is an abundance of water sports activities possible here on the islands, there is golf, too. And as you are most likely interested in golf, let me break down some must do’s when it comes to golfing in the Bahamas.
Point taken, the clubs are private to a certain degree and there might be some restrictions to get on and play a round, but sometimes this is no problem depending on the day of the week, the time of the day or the hotel you are staying at. So there’s still the chance to play some exquisite golf, you won’t be disappointed at all.
One great golf trip almost guaranteed, if you happen to start it right. And that includes deciding for the best accommodation that caters all your needs as traveler, golfer and hedonist human being.
While the Castillo Hotel Son Vida could be described as the Grande Dame of the up-market community of Son Vida, 10 minutes outside of Palma, the Sheraton Mallorca Arabella, just a stone’s throw away from the Castillo on the other hand is the young, dynamic little sister.
It boasts a modern vibe, fresh design and contemporary facilities – together with a direct access to one of the most attractive golf courses of the island. So it’s arguably a good package, one that seems to tick all boxes. Is it true though?
Traveling to Mallorca is always a good decision. It’s even more advisable if you are not only interested in sun bathing and the general primrose path the island is offering but even more when you want to include some sports and wellness activities into your daily diary.
As the Castillo Hotel Son Vida is known for the sheer luxury of a golf hotel, the Sheraton is known to be a 5-star hotel complex, designed around the needs and requests from golfers, just in a younger package.
That starts with direct access to the Son Vida club but it luckily doesn’t end there. Depending on the package you book (there are now non-golfer packages as well for those who are after a holiday retreat but are not (yet) golfers) you have included full access to the different courses, to the training facilities, to the frequent shuttle bus and of course to all hotel amenities which there are plentiful.
This is the beginning of a new category of articles and posts which will, quite irregular to start with, surface here on Golficiency.
Over the years of golf travel and golf travel preparation, I was a keen collector of travel ideas and hence created quite a substantial golf bucket list. It grew longer and longer. So long that it’s easy to snip here and there and build a neat little golf trip around it.
As my list consists of international courses of all sorts, it should be relevant and interesting for a broad spectrum of golf enthusiasts, just like you!
I traveled for golf and I traveled with golf — and I’m sure you appreciate as well some well investigated golf course, travel and suitable accomodation information to have you all prepared for a great golf break with your partner, your mates or your family.
Could there be anything better than golf travel; get around the world, see new places, meet new people, play the best golf courses and stay at fantastic hotels and resorts? … See, there you have it! Nothing beats a great golf trip. Well, almost nothing.
Stay tuned for some great articles coming your way. Make sure to follow Golficiency on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to not miss a thing.
As the weather turns colder and more miserable outside here in Central Europe, it fills me with great memories of late 2019, when I played golf during winter, which in Mallorca feels nothing but great with its blue skies and very pleasant and moderate temperatures.
At the same time it gives me a heavy heart as so much happened during the past months which did not turn well for golf in the Balearics or for the lovely islands in general. Of course I’m relating to the COVID-19 lockdown and all the unfortunate consequences that come with it.
This is a travel and course report of the better times when playing golf was an obvious thing to do in good weather and when every chance to play such a course is an absolute must.
Mallorca is a golf mekka, I don’t break this to you I’m sure. On this rather small island there are not less than 24 golf courses and the vast majority of them are publicly available to play.
The oldest, since 1964, and maybe hence the most original course of the island is Golf Son Vida, meandering around the famous Castillo Son Vida Hotel and through the posh and sophisticated Son Vida urbanizacion, just 10 minutes outside of Palma.
Nowadays Mallorca is famous as a golf destination all across Europe, if not the world — and it all started with Son Vida, the grand dame of Mallorcan golf courses.
To be pretty clear upfront, I had a great time in Mallorca, couple of months ago. Playing golf in beautiful sunshine in the middle of the European winter, having great company with like-minded people – what else could you ask for?
Well, you could want to live like a king while you are there? Exaggerated? Yes of course, but understandable at the same time.
Golf in Mallorca is a feast for the senses. People playing golf here are hedonists, longing for joy, fun, elegance and pleasure. And they get exactly that. The golf courses in the region cater for exactly those people, offering great golf and at the same time great amenities, great food and service.
Imagine you could play like a king, eat like a king and sleep like a king! Sounds promising? Then you should maybe consider the Castillo Hotel Son Vida Mallorca as one of your next golf trip destinations. Not only are the courses top-notch, the hotel seriously screams superiority, classiness and luxury. No wonder the hotel is part of the prestigious “Luxury Collection“, a sub brand of hotels that really live up to utmost luxurious requirements.
The Castillo Hotel is run by the Marriott hotel group, sits on top of a mountain in the Urbanización Son Vida, the famous neighborhood of stately mansions, overlooking Palma and the bay.
I’ve been to Dubai couple of times, always enjoyed it very much, did a lot of touristy things, did a lot of expat things, played a lot of golf—but what I didn’t do for some reason is night golf: golfing under floodlights.
See Iona Stephen in this Golfing World video teeing it off at the Faldo Course at the Emirates Golf Club Dubai to get some impression how that looks like. As I haven’t experienced this myself, it’s hard to assess how the actual feeling might be, whether it’s such a different game that it’s not real golf anymore. Watching the video, it does look like proper golf and I’m intrigued to check it out myself soon.
Two rounds of golf at a fantastic Mediterranean venue, in such a beautiful spot in the world. What else could you ask for. Is it worth it though?
The island of Mallorca has always been close to my heart. Not that I spent most of my holidays here, but when I first set foot on this island many years ago, I fell in love with the interesting complexity of it which seems to get forgotten sometimes when you read about Mallorca and its annual struggle to cope with the sheer amount of tourists coming here.
It’s an obvious beautiful island but also looking a bit deeper, it reveals so many great things, so beautiful spots, so tranquil places, so utterly fantastic stuff which stay more or less uncovered if you’d just spend a beach summer break or something alike there.
Cyclists know why Mallorca is special and golfers do, too.