Golf in Turkey
Golf in Turkey is very highly regarded now in the golf world. It would be rude not to give it a sample whilst on my hols right…despite deciding I would have a ‘golf break’.
We’re staying near Altinkum, which is on the South West coast, several hours away from Belek, where most of the golf in Turkey is played. However, this area is now catching on!
My father in law and I took a trip to Kusadasi Golf Resort, about an hour up the coast. I’d not read any course reviews, as it’s quite a new course, so we had no real expectations as to what we were going to get. As we drove up to the clubhouse, first impressions were good. Impressive clubhouse and what we could see of the course, it looked pretty decent. When we got to the clubhouse, the views over the first few holes were pretty impressive…
As we hadn’t really planned to play, we hadn’t brought our clubs…so a hire set was the order of the day. I got a set of Wilson irons, a Cleveland Driver (9 loft / Stiff) and 3 wood and a Cleveland putter. It’s never good playing with another set of clubs. Don’t get me wrong, these were not a bad set compared to ones I’ve hired before, but they weren’t mine! I’d told myself I wouldn’t like them before I’d even hit them!
We took our buggy to the first, a par 4, 373m with water right. Looked pretty open so figured I’d give the driver a whack…especially given my confidence after my last round. It was the only time I used it! I hooked it left. Thankfully it wasn’t lost. I managed to start with a bogey 5… not bad considering the tee shot.
For the rest of the round, I opted for the 3 wood off the tee stating with the 2nd, another nice straight par 4. Thankfully, I struck it beautifully. As we walked down the 2nd fairway, it was the first real opportunity we’d had to take in the course, and it was stunning. It was very much a links style course, with views over the Aegean Sea, surrounded by olive & carob trees. It’s built on two plateaus so you can imagine how stunning the views were.
After a lovely second, I two putted for a par. I was pretty pleased with how I’d played the first two holes; my ball striking was good and consistent, despite the hire clubs. My swing felt good too. Maybe these days, my golf travels well…?
Carried on with bogey golf until the 5th, a downhill par 3, 146m. All the holes on the course have some pretty original and unique names…and this one was no different. It was simply called… ‘Windy’ as it’s the windiest corner of the course.
I opted for an 8 iron, but it was way too much club. Ended up plugged in the back bunker and could only make a 5.
The 6th was a stunning hole too. A short par 4, 326m but the green was on one of the highest points on the course, giving the most amazing 360° views from the top. Unfortunately, after a poor tee shot I could only manage a double bogey 6.
More bogeys followed on 7 and 8, and as I tee’d up on the 9th I was +1 for my handicap. The 9th was a 485m par 5…called ‘Long’! So called because it was…long, the longest on the course in fact. Played it ok, but hit my 3rd too long and my ball ended up way off the back. Scraped a bogey.
I scored a 46 on the front, 10 over gross and 1 over my handicap. Not really where I hoped I’d be, however, this course was proving to be a real challenge.
The back 9 was as beautiful as the front. Unfortunately, my golf was no more than distinctly average. Started with a bogey on the 10th. Annoyingly, I was actually playing ok and was giving myself plenty of opportunities. I just wasn’t making anything count. I was also really struggling with the distances.
The par 4 11th was called ‘Amen’, so called, as golfers will be ‘smiling once this hole is over’. It was a downhill dogleg right, across two plateaus with a big ravine about 300m from the tee.
Hit a great tee shot, but was faced with a pretty risky second over the ravine into the cornered green. Misjudged the distance again and left it short. After a chip and a two putt I ended up with another bogey.
After the 11th, the weather started to take a turn. Not what you would expect when playing golf in turkey. The wind really got up, and the sky became dark and menacing. Not what we’d bargained for. Sadly, my golf got a little scrappy too.
The rest of the back 9 was a mixture of bogeys and two more doubles, and a couple of lost balls for good measure! On the 15th, we got hit by a serious downpour too I doubt this helped…but I’m in no way using this as blame.
I finished with a 49 on the back, +4 for my handicap and a total score of 95, +5.
Overall, I played ok. I had clubs I had never used before that were very different to mine back home. I was playing a course that was very unfamiliar and very challenging. So, actually it wasn’t too bad and I had to think myself lucky that I’d played such a beautiful course. If you ever head anywhere near Kusadasi, I would heartily recommend you come and play it.
Still, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed after my game feeling so good before I came away. By the time I’m back (aside from this round), it will have been almost 3 weeks since I swung my own clubs.
Hopefully this break will have had a positive effect on my game. I may not have played a lot, but I’ve listened to my mental game audiobooks pretty much every day, especially the audio series from golfstateofmind.com.
It’s also given me chance to assess where I’m at, and what I need to do to push on to keep progressing.
So, a golf break may not be such a bad thing after all? I guess we’ll know for sure on Saturday.
One thing I am sure of, is that golf in Turkey is as good as they say. In fact, it may even be better!