Traditionally, golf in Istanbul only meant the Kemer Country Club in Eyüp Göktürk and the Marmara Golf Course in Silivri, but with growing interest in the sport, the city is set to open a pair of new courses - the Mustafa V. Koç Golf Course in Riva and the Ataşehir Golf Club.
The Ataşehir Golf Club is a six-hole inner-city golf course spread over a 50,000 square meter area. The sprawling course is being developed after the municipality's urban development project six years ago left almost 110,000 square meters for a city park project.
The club is headed by Selahattin Özdoğan, a longtime golfer and former captain of the Istanbul Golf Club.
The substructure of the course is the same as the other golf courses - that is everywhere is covered with sand.
The longest hole on the course is a 192-meters par-4. The return is 120 meters and par-3. In other words, the course has two returns and 12 holes with the shortest hole at 80 meters. It also features two illuminated driving ranges and two water hazards.
Ataşehir Golf Club is currently awaiting the Turkey Golf Federation's approval so it can become an affiliated club. The clubhouse is an under construction but soon everything will be complete. The maintenance of the course is being handled by Scottish greenkeepers.
Open to all
Ataşehir Golf Club will be open to everyone and those interested can pay an annual fee to become a member. Nonmembers can also pay a nominal green fee for a day of golfing.
The founders are also considering the course partly as an education center for young and upcoming golfers. As a social responsibility project, state schools have been invited to the course and students were offered free golf training. The aim is to introduce golf to youngsters and boost the number of professional players.
Özdoğan and the managers of the club have done a tremendous job and hopefully, such initiatives will spread across the country.
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