Carya Golf Club

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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

Excited about 7 days pure golf in Turkey

Today I finalised the booking of my golf trip in May. I’m very excited about 7 days of pure golf in the Turkish sun, staying in a great hotel with all amenities you could imagine. Definitely golf is priority number one here, but I guess I get some leisure time at the pool as well.

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These are the courses that I decided to play:

Remember, there are more than 15 championship courses near the small city of Belek at the Turkish Riviera. Some of them are unknown treasures, some are host to international pro tournaments, like the Sultan for the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final or the Montgomerie Maxx Royal for the Turkish Open, a European Tour event later this year.

This is the hotel I’ll be staying at: Rixos Premium Belek and I booked all that through yourgolftravel, a UK-based golf travel agency with a massive range of offered trips and golf breaks.

Merhaba Belek! Trip to the Turkish golf paradise planned

Happy birthday to ME, happy birthday to ME, …

You may have recognised in some older posts that I’m currently not very happy with my current golf endeavors. The 2012 season was pretty lame due to the fact that it’s surprisingly tough to find an accessible and affordable golf course in and around London for regular play. And regular play is the only thing you need for steady improvement, lowering the handicap and just to feel as a proper and athletic golfer from time to time.

That’s what I missed big time last year!

The 2013 season has just begun and I don’t see any major difference other than the fact that I met some blokes in the office who might be interested in heading to the course a bit more often. But that’s really everything that would give me a slightly better feeling than last year.

Therefore I thought to myself: Mate, you have to take control over your golfing here! Otherwise you’ll end with only 8.5 rounds per year again! Do you want that? NO! You don’t! It’s your birthday on top of this. Go make yourself a present!

So I took the advice (from myself) and planned a golf trip in spring. Checked out some websites, some travel agencies and some golf travel companies. I ended up with my favourite www.yourgolftravel.com, sorted out trips to the US, to Asia and to South Africa (mainly due to price tag reasons), also sorted out Greece (Germans are not welcome currently), Spain, Italy and France… and ended up with a truly golfing paradise in the eastern Mediterranean, in the Turkish Riviera near Antalya: a city’s name which leads to immediate grin on every European golfers’ face: Belek. More than 15 incredible high-quality golf courses in walking distance!

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That’s the plan for May: pack the golf bag, head for Heathrow Airport (somehow, with all that stuff), fly to Antalya, drive to Belek, enjoy the 5-star hotel, play golf in the morning, go swimming in the afternoon, relax in the evening, do this for 7 days in a row and then come back – in total (golf-)happiness!

The plan foresees only 5 rounds of golf during the 7 days of stay, but I reckon that’s really enough. If I do feel bored with only 5 rounds however, I’d book just another tee time in the afternoon to have 36 holes played that day. Will see.

These are the golf courses that I plan to play:

  1. Gloria, New Course
  2. Gloria, Old Course
  3. Carya Golf Club
  4. Antalya Golf Club, PGA Sultan Course
  5. Lykia Links

And these are the corresponding videos of the beautiful courses:

Continue reading Merhaba Belek! Trip to the Turkish golf paradise planned