This week began with Tiger Woods, the world’s best golfer, driving a golf ball from Europe to Asia on a bridge spanning the Bosphorus River in Turkey’s capital Istanbul.
It was a PR stunt, designed to attract headlines and coverage for this week’s inaugural Turkish Airlines Open, the first-ever European Tour event to be played on Turkish soil.
Regardless of the motivation, Tiger’s tee shot – struck with busy rush hour traffic still moving on the other side of the bridge – was a symbolic moment.
It was a message to the golf world designed to say several things:
- Turkey is the gateway to Europe and Asia
- Turkey is open for business for golf holiday makers
- Turkey deserves to be rated among the world’s best golf destinations
It’s clear that massive investment has gone into Turkey’s golf product and into promoting it. Tiger Woods is an official ambassador for Turkish Airlines and his presence at this week’s event proves that someone paid a sizeable appearance fee for him to come and play, draw in the galleries and deliver worldwide TV exposure.
It’s undeniable that Turkey has quality golf courses.
Bountiful Belek – golf holidays boost
There are now around 20 golf courses on the Belek coastline of Turkey’s Antalya province and most are superior, high quality courses laid out by some of the most famous names in golf, including Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Peter Thomson and the late Dave Thomas.
There are remarkable similarities between Turkey’s Belek region and the Algarve in Portugal, year in year out one of Europe’s most popular golf holiday destinations.
The signature umbrella pines which line the Turkish courses are virtually identical to those on Algarve golf courses, which put simply look like upturned sprigs of broccoli.
You can read Ed Butler’s review of Belek golf holidays and courses here
As well as having the courses, Turkey’s Belek coast has the plush hotels and first class resorts which are so attractive to discerning golf travelers. This week’s landmark event – The Turkish Airlines Open – is played over The Montgomerie Maxx Royal course at the The Maxx Royal Golf & Spa.
A newly modernised clubhouse was unveiled especially for the tournament following an extensive €2 million investment.
Modelled on the world’s greatest golf course
Ben Lovett, golf course superintendent at the Montgomerie Maxx, said: “The course design is based on one of Monty’s favourite courses, Pine Valley.
Players have to strategically plot their way around, and our expansive undulating green complexes play hard and fast to test every aspect of a player’s game.”
Pine Valley is revered as the world’s most difficult golf course. It was built by American hotelier George Crump in a dense pine forest near Clementon, New Jersey, south of Philadelphia and opened in 1919. It quickly established itself as an ultra-exclusive private golf club and is consistently rated, alongside Pebble Beach, as the world’s first or second best golf course.
Montgomerie’s Maxx course measures over 7,093 yards and the par-72 layout bears striking resemblance to Pine Valley in the way the Scotsman has positioned vast swathes of rough and ready bunkering to define holes alongside the pine trees.
The Turkish Airlines Open provides a platform to showcase everything that the five-star plus Maxx Royal Golf & Spa resort has to offer; including luxurious accommodation and a plethora of dining and entertainment options.
The tournament is aiming to further Belek’s reputation as Turkey’s most desired holiday destination and to show the world that this moderate Muslim nation deserves its place among the elite of world golf destinations.
For more information visit: www.montgomeriemaxxroyal.com.