The Booming Business Of Golf In Turkey

Is Turkey the rising star of the golf industry? It is a question that deserves attention as the 2015 Turkish Airlines Open is underway at the beautiful Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek, Turkey. Dozens of golf courses are currently under construction in the region, players appear thrilled with existing courses’ condition and amenities and there is talk about Turkey having real potential to host the 2026 Ryder Cup.

The business of golf is booming in Turkey, but challenges remain in order for the country’s lofty goals to be achieved.

A Focus on Course Development and Dream Destinations

“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.”

Maclaren joined Turkish Golf Federation President Ahmet Agaoglu, Lagardere Senior Vice President Golf Roddy Carr and Financial Times Associate Director Ian Edwards for a panel discussion hosted by KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice during the second round of the Turkish Airlines Open.  Carr joined Maclaren in his praise for the golf courses of Belek.

“This is the dream of every destination,” said Carr. “ 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.”

Edwards added, “It’s one of the best golfing experiences I’ve had as a player.”

There are currently only 18 golf clubs in Turkey, which makes up a small portion of the roughly 1,480 golf facilities in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea per European Golf Association (EGA) and International Golf Federation statistics. The leading countries are France, Spain and Italy with 597, 348 and 275 golf clubs respectively. However,  Turkey has shown a commitment to improving on its ranking through the addition of 35 courses throughout the country with more than half of them to be situated in the Belek region. A total of 7 golf facilities were built in Turkey over the past 18 years.

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