Six-time Major Champion Nick Faldo was on-site on 19th May to officially open one of his greatest course designs to date, the 27-hole Cornelia Golf Club near Belek, in Southern Turkey.
Destined to be regarded amongst the best courses in Europe, Cornelia Golf Club is Faldo’s first design project in the eastern Mediterranean. Consisting of three separate nine-hole loops, Cornelia is built on a vast ridge of sand dunes and threads its way through the surrounding umbrella pines. The course bears all the hallmarks of the class and attention to detail that has characterised Faldo’s golf game, and clearly reinforces the Englishman’s growing reputation for creating strategically interesting and strong golf courses.
Faldo fell in love with the site as soon as he saw it and he set about designing a memorable golfing experience.
“This is an exceptional piece of land,” Faldo commented after the opening. “My company, Faldo Design, is fortunate to have created courses in some truly exceptional places around the world, and this wonderfully natural, pine-clad, sandy site is among the finest we have seen.”
Faldo was adamant that he wanted to create a golf course that demanded a thoughtful approach and the end result of his endeavours are three distinct nine holes which are superior to anything else that can be found in this burgeoning area of Turkey where 11 courses will be open for play by the end of 2007.
The first nine holes is named after Tiberius, who was renowned as one of Rome’s greatest generals and who ran successful military campaigns in Pannonia, Illricum, Rhaetia and Germania.
The Tiberius nine has two excellent par fives and a couple of undulating par threes where the emphasis is on accuracy rather than length. However, the most memorable holes are probably the 306-metre par four seventh and the 369-metre par four eighth which reward accuracy but need to be played with care.
The second nine is named Sempronia in memory of Sempronia Gracchae, the eldest daughter of Tiberius. It might well be marginally easier than the Tiberius nine but has several holes which rank right up there with the best of Faldo’s previous designs.
The newest nine is called Gaius in honour of Gaius Julius Caesar, and in reflecting the character of the legendary Roman emperor, it has a litany of extraordinary challenges.
“In time we feel Cornelia will feature near the top of any list of Europe’s top courses and we also want it to be known as a club where the amenities and service are second to none.” said Ali Sahin, the club’s director of golf.
Those amenities include a stunning clubhouse where visitors can enjoy a drink or a wide choice of meals in sumptuous surroundings.
Cornelia also features Turkey’s first David Leadbetter Academy, run by amiable New Zealander, David Louys-Moroney, and within ten minutes drive of the 5-star Cornelia De Luxe Hotel that offers a wide choice of standard rooms, deluxe suites and junior villas and boasts a superb 2,700 square metre indoor and outdoor aqua- park where golfers can relax after an enjoyable round.