European Challenge Tour players and representatives have lavished praise on Carya Golf Club, designed by Thomson Perrett & Lobb, the golf course design practice founded by five-times Open Champion Peter Thomson, after it staged the Turkish Airlines Challenge.
The European Challenge Tour event, the first to be held in Turkey for 11 years, was won by England’s Charlie Ford, who described Carya Golf Club as ‘fantastic.’
He said: “The course is only 18 months old – I couldn’t believe it when someone told me that. It’s in great condition, and it’s a course that makes you think your way round, instead of just getting on the tee and trying to bomb it.”
Englishman Ally Mellor agreed, adding: “It’s a great test – probably one of the best courses we’ll play on all year.”
Carya, a unique heathland inspired course on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is built on undulating sand hills with holes cutting through pine and eucalyptus woodland, has only been open for play for 18 months.
But the course in the Belek region of Turkey proved to be a hit with all involved in the tournament and looks set to become a permanent fixture on the Challenge Tour calendar.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the European Challenge Tour, said: “The first edition of the Turkish Airlines Challenge was a resounding success, thanks in no small part to the quality of Carya Golf Club. All of our Members were very complimentary about the course, which looked superb and played even better.
“The first edition of a tournament is always the hardest, but the week went so smoothly because the course was so warmly received. It is less than 18 months old and has great potential to mature and improve even more over the coming years, so we are already looking forward to returning to Carya for the second edition of the Turkish Airlines Challenge next year.”
Prior to opening in late 2008, nearly one million heather sprigs were planted around the course, to give it its heathland feel, inspired by the classic courses in the UK, such as Sunningdale and The Berkshire.
In a first-of-its-kind project, TPL propagated the heather in specially constructed glasshouses on site.
TPL principal Tim Lobb, said: “We are overjoyed with the response from the Tour players who competed on the course and with the feedback we have received from those organising the event. Considering the course is not even two years old it is a great testament to the team who designed and built the course to have it looking and playing so well in such a short period of time.”
Thomson Perrett & Lobb www.tpl.eu.com
Carya Golf Club www.caryagolf.com