The year 1895 saw the first Turkey golf club established in the city of Istanbul. Others followed for the next two decades, and golf in Turkey became popular among the sizable ex patriot community as well as with the well-to-do, wealthy, and educated Turks. In spite of this long history, it was not until the 1990s that the sport began to spread significantly to the rest of the country when Turkey golf courses were built near Antalya and Izmir.
This was a result largely of the tourism industry, since golf holidays in Turkey were a repeated request of the people spending their vacations on the beautiful Turquoise Coast. Today, it is possible to get in a round of golf in Turkey at several of the cities and regions where tourists and business travelers gather. Even the United States military (some of the country’s most frequent tourists) can golf at the Incirlik Ai Force Base in Adana. Here is the Hodja Lakes Golf Course open only to military personnel and their families.
The undisputed center of Turkey golf courses is the province of Antalya—specifically the town of Belek, about 20 miles east of the city of Antalya and about 40 miles west of Alanya. Because of the numerous Turkey golf courses that grew up around this town (there are about 15 of them), it has become one of the country’s newest beach resorts. There are a couple dozen four- and five-star luxury hotels here, many vacation rentals, beautiful beaches, and other attractions such as the dramatic Kursunlu Waterfall with its 100 species of birds. Also near here are the ancient ruins of Perge, second in the country after Ephesus in size, extent, and state of preservation. This area is only about a 30-minute drive from the Antalya airport.
The magnificent city of Istanbul is another of the primary Turkey golf centers. Many visitors, both business travelers and tourists, stay in the city for several days. Taking a morning or afternoon off from hours of sightseeing tours or business meetings for a sport that many find relaxing, can be a welcome break. There are about a dozen golf courses in and around the city. Located right in the city is the Istanbul Golf Club, the first in the country, and fourth oldest golf club in all of Europe. It is in the northern part of the city, near one of the major highway bridges to the Asia side. One of the furthest from the city is the beautiful Klassis Golf and Country Club. It is about 55 miles west of Istanbul on the shores of the Sea of Marmara, almost directly opposite Bursa on the opposite shore. It is the only golf club in the area with its own four-star hotel, boasting 116 rooms and suites.
You can also get in some Turkey golf while enjoying the Turquoise Coast in Bodrum. There is a year-round 18-hole course here. It is located only about five miles from the city in a lovely hilly area surrounded by picturesque fishing villages and lovely countryside. The Bodrum Golf Club even boasts one of the area’s day spas. Other places where you can get in some golf in Turkey include Ankara, the capital city, and Mugla, about 30 miles north of Marmaris.