A motley crew of 6 lads from Ireland made the trip to Turkey in November of this year, looking forward to 5 nights and 4 rounds of golf at some of Antalya’s finest resorts. All departing on the same flight from Dublin via Istanbul to Antalya the group all had a chance to get to know each other over a few beverages pre, during and post flight!
We were picked up in the luxury Bilyana Golf Coach and from there it was a short drive to the Regnum Carya Resort which is quite simply stunning! To better that we were then informed we were on the all-inclusive package (which is the norm in Turkey), potentially a dangerous thing to tell a group of Irish lads!! A few drinks were had to finish the “travel day” while we looked forward to taking on the challenge of National Golf Club the following morning, designed by Ireland’s David Feherty & David Jones.
A beautiful day welcomed us on Thursday 30th November so shorts and golf shirts were the order of the day. A fantastic course at National Golf Club, meandering amongst tall trees and while the course was not overly long it was a smashing test of golf. Finishing the last couple of holes in the gathering gloom was a beautiful way to complete our first day of golf in Turkey, dinner followed at Regnum’s Asian Restaurant after a few pints of Guinness in their Irish Bar – yes, they have an Irish Bar!!
Next up the following morning for the Regnum Carya course which hosted the recent Turkish Open earlier in November. The courses is magnificent and one of the finest I have ever played, EVER! That is saying a lot as I do play a lot of golf and I’m lucky to have played some of the greatest courses in the World. Carya is very much a tournament course but still very playable, off the tee it is quite open (but not easy at all) and it has the Augusta-esque pine needles amongst the tall trees that again frame the course. There are some superb holes, especially the par-5s. The highlight of the day was our Longest Drive contest on the back Tee on 16 which sits atop of one of Regnum’s suite, very cool indeed! Winner of the Long Drive on the day was Gabriel “Bubba” Cosgrave while Pat Williams took Nearest the Pin. And I forgot the best part, just before we teed off Steve Nicholson & Emre from Bilyana Golf gave us the good news that we were booked in for some floodlit golf on Saturday evening!! This trip was just getting better and better.
A good night in our new home at Gloria Resort followed, that evening we met David Clare (Director of Golf & PGA Professional at Gloria) who accompanied us with Steve and the rest of the gang for a superb steak dinner! David know a certain John Daly well and there were some cracking stories to be told, and listened to! Some which will not be repeated……!!
The following morning (some of us a bit worse for wear!) we made our way to Gloria’s Old Course for our 3rd Round of golf. Another beautiful day was upon us and again a superb golf course presented in amazing condition. Water plays a big part here on most holes along with many tree lined fairway, you need to keep your ball in play at Gloria! An outstanding opening par-5 with water all the way down the left sets the tone for a wonderful and enjoyable round of golf, despite the quality of play from some of us. If coming to Turkey I would wholeheartedly recommend including golf at Gloria on your itinerary. Back to the hotel quickly after the round on the Bilyana Bus as we got some lunch in before heading back to Carya for some floodlit golf.
Putting the golf clubs on our carts at 6pm in the evening in the darkness was quirky to say the least and as we headed to the 10th Tee to head out we were all like giddy school children! As stunning as Carya was in the daylight it really comes alive as a floodlit golf course, there was some good golf played too. Gabriel & myself taking the 9 holes skins match, my big-hitting partner managing 3 birdies to help things along! This course is amazing and if you can manage it make sure to get some floodlit golf in whilst in Turkey, it worked very well for us being there in November as we would tee it up in the early evening but still finish in time for a not-so-late dinner.
The 4th and Final round of our trip came at the PGA National Sultan course, Antalya Golf Club. A quite phenomenal setup with 2 courses here – Sultan & The Pasha. Another stunning morning presented itself as we were all trying to catch Singles leader Pat Williams! Water meanders its way around the course and it is very much in play rather than just being there for aesthetic purposes. The greens are superb and quite undulating in parts, as with all the courses we played they were presented impeccably and were all a joy to play. There are some great holes at Sultan and it was potentially my favourite course on the trip, and that is saying a lot given the undoubted quality of the others we played. The closing stretch is really cool, especially the par-5 16th and par-4 18th with a tricky par-3 on 17 that looks a bit easier from the tee that it turns out to be! A fantastic finish to our trip to Turkey, and we all had the “golfers tan” to prove it!
One more delectable dinner back at the Gloria Resort with David, Steve and rest of the lads capped off a wonderful 5 days. Heading back to the cold in Ireland didn’t really appeal to any of us but hopefully we will back in Turkey again soon. Many thanks to Steve & Emre from Bilyana and David Clare from Gloria for putting together an amazing trip, both on and off the course! If you fancy making Turkey your next golf trip destination call me on +353-87-6453537 or drop me a line – firstname.lastname@example.org.