Tourists, leaders flock to Turkey's sprawling golf facilities

BEGÜM ÇELİK
ISTANBUL
Published 21.09.2017 00:43
Updated 21.09.2017 11:43

Whether you want to become a professional or you're just looking to enjoy yourself, there are numerous sports disciplines you can pursue from team games like football to more individual sports such as tennis or horseback riding.

However, there is only one sport where you are your only rival and you constantly try to exceed your own limits and that sport is golf. Regardless of your age, whether you are nine or 90, you are the only player on a golf course. There, you are measured by your own standards for failure and achievement and each game is a personal challenge of trying to outdo yourself, not a rival.

Golf is a sport that requires planning, strategy and a certain level of physical fitness. Perhaps that is one reason why we see famous business people and diplomats playing golf more often.

If we look at it from an economic standpoint, golf can also make significant contributions to a city or a country's tourism. Golf attracts tourists all year around and Turkey has made significant headway in marketing golf tourism.

For instance, Antalya's Belek was named one of the best golf destinations in Europe last year. And it is not just Antalya that boasts premium golf courses; there are equally good golf courses in Bodrum, Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Samsun.

Did you know that Silimi al-Soleiman, an 8-year-old Saudi heir to the throne, is currently taking private golf lessons at a club in Bodrum? And what's more, his coach is a female Turkish golf professional. We tend to think of Bodrum as a sunny holiday destination, right? But it is way more to it than that. Over the last three years, Bodrum has made a name for itself with its golf courses that have attracted important local and international figures.

Turkey rolled out the red carpet for Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov and a number of other Tatar and Kazakh politicians along with their families joined a recent tournament.

Fikret Öztürk, president of the Carya Golf Club, the National Golf Club and Bodrum Golf Club, has hosted numerous guests from Tatarstan and Kazakhstan, who thoroughly enjoyed playing golf there.

Hosting top officials from different countries and their families, who look for a quiet holiday while enjoying their favorite sport, does not only contribute to the economy but also brings prestige to Turkey.

The Bodrum Golf Club has an international standard nine-hole golf course laid out on some 29.65 acres of land. Unlike most golf clubs that follow a membership system, the Bodrum Golf Club is operated through a partnership program.

So, if you wish to play golf at the club, you first have to become a partner of the club. The life-long partnership system allows your entire family to become partners at the club for TL 50,000 ($14,411) and allows them to use the facilities and take part in tournaments. Club President Öztürk introduced the system and has played an important role in promoting golf in Turkey.

This will be the first installment of my writings on golf. If you are interested in golf in Turkey and the sport in general, keep your eyes on Daily Sabah. Until next time...

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