The Turkish Airlines Open is underway, one of the European Tour Final Series tournaments on the Race To Dubai. The golf course at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek is stunning.Turkey has become the dark horse of the golf industry. Dozens of golf courses are currently under construction in the region. Professionals, including Rory McIlroy playing in Turkey for the first time in three years, are raving about the courses’ condition and facilities. If they carry on this way the Turkish Golf Federation could be in with a real shout of hosting a Ryder Cup in 2026 even if calling Turkey Europe is stretching the geographical boundaries to their limit.
Officials at the European Tour are also enthusiastic about Turkey as a tournament host. “You have something incredibly special in Belek. You must never underestimate the quality of what you’ve got here,” said David Maclaren, Director of Properties & Destinations at European Tour. “All of us who work in golf have been to different resorts and different parts of the world, but you have something here in terms of the quality of golf facilities, presentation of golf facilities, and must always use that as something to promote golf in Turkey.”
“This is the dream of every destination,” said Roddy Carr, Lagardere Senior Vice President “This was a blank sheet of paper designed without question to be the best five star, all inclusive destination in all of the world. Eat as much as you want, play as much as you want. The closest you get to this are the resorts in the Caribbean.”
in addition the Turkish Golf Federation have a fantastic attitude to growing the game at grassroots level, offering free green fees to Turkish citizens.
Chairman of the Turkish Golf Federation Ahmet Agaoglu said: “There is a traditional view that golf is only played by a certain section of society, that equipment and green fees price out normal people.
“We are changing that and fast. Golf is the greatest game on earth. We are showing the people of Turkey that it is accessible and they are trying it, and loving it, in their thousands.
“People flock from around the world to play our wonderful courses but we are proud and excited at the way Turkey is taking this wonderful sport to its heart.”
In the amateur game Turkish Airlines also sponsor the worldwide World Golf Cup, played in different cities round the globe. This year played in Washington DC, Soeul, Toronto, Manchester, Edinburgh and Stockholm.