Former Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie has returned to his signature designed golf course at the Maxx Royal Resort in Belek,Turkey, to discuss the country’s golf development with business leaders and politicians.
Monty, who is a popular figurehead for golf inTurkey, was also in the country to look at potential development opportunities with his golf course design partner European Golf Design (EGD).
His visit follows the recent announcement of a new matchplay event in October, supported by Turkish Airlines, featuring Tiger Woods and other top players, which is to be played at another of EGD’s courses in the region, the Sultan Course at Antalya Golf Club, where the country’s first prospective European Tour Event, the Turkish Open could take place in 2013.
With golf returning to the Olympics in the Rio 2016 Games, it is hoped that a committed approach to the sport’s development from grass roots through to elite level will also pay dividends in Istanbul’s bid to host the Games in 2020.
Colin Montgomerie said: “The opportunity for golf to develop in Turkey is phenomenal. I am hugely impressed with the measures instigated by the Turkish Golf Federation and the government to develop golf for tourism and local play.
“Revisiting The Montgomerie Maxx Royal, which is in outstanding condition, and looking at other opportunities to develop golf courses throughout Turkey, this is a country the golfing world needs to watch closely.”
Colin has worked on several projects previously with EGD in addition to the Maxx Royal including signature courses in Bahrain, Ireland, Morocco and at Celtic Manor, Wales.
Jeremy Slessor, Managing Director of EGD, said: “Golf in Turke yis growing quickly and thanks to destinations such as the Maxx Royal Resort in Belek, golf tourists who visit here depart with an appetite for more.
“European Golf Design is already expanding its presence in this blossoming golf market and we look forward to strengthening that involvement in collaboration with Colin on future projects.”
The Turkish government has already proven its dedication to developing golf at a grass roots level and in KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice Golf Participation in Europe 2011 survey it was reported that the country boasts an overwhelming majority share of junior golfers (52 per cent), which stems from its national ‘Golf Junior League’ initiative.
In addition to growing domestic interest in the game, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism outlined in its Tourism Strategy of Turkey – 2023 report that new golf courses should be developed throughout the country with the intention of attracting an increasing volume of golf tourists.
Significantly this intention is further highlighted with the proposal that areas large enough to accommodate a minimum of four courses should be identified and nominated for golf development.
Boasting 14 golf courses,Turkey’s Mediterranean coast has already established itself as an award-winning international golf tourism hotspot, hosting the International Golf Travel Market in 2011, and has ambitious plans for more golf resorts.
Ahmet Agaoglu, President of the Turkish Golf Federation, who met with Montgomerie at the Maxx Royal Resort said: “The European golfing community has begun to recognise Turkey as a popular resort for golf tourism and in October, when the Turkish Airways World Golf Finals featuring Tiger Woods take place, the whole world will take a view of golf in Turkey.
“Belek is unlike any other golfing region with 14 courses and plentiful five-star hotels making this a very appealing destination to golf tourists. I expect to see continued golf development with new courses opening in the next two to five years.”
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (2010-12) and Member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, highlighted the success of golf tourism already in Turkey, stating: “More than 85 per cent of course owners and operators in Turkey indicated that they have not been affected by the recent economic downturn and 90 per cent of them have positive expectations for 2013.
“In order to maintain its popularity as a golf destination it is crucial that Turkey continues to develop high quality facilities, as the global golf market is very competitive. Customers expect world-class resorts, so we must match their expectations.”
Mehmet Ersoy, CEO of the ETS Group, which owns the Maxx Royal Resort, said: “As a golfer, Colin Montgomerie is respected all over the world, now as a golf course designer with EGD he brings quality and luxury, which is synonymous with the Maxx Royal brand.”
European Golf Design www.egd.com