Talking Turkey: A Golf Destination at the Crossroads of Europe and Asia

Traveling Twins In Istanbul                          © Golf Girl Media
Almost two decades ago, I spent spent six fascinating days in Turkey.

It was a spontaneous trip. I was living in Paris at the time, and my twin sister was based in Tokyo... when we unexpectedly found ourselves with the same week off it seemed Turkey might be a perfect mid-way meeting point.

Turns out it was.  From the stunning Byzantine architecture of its bustling capital, to an expansive countryside rich in antiquities... not to mention an absolutely sublime seacoast... our week in Turkey was stellar.

There was no golf on that trip. It was before we'd ever played the game, and in Turkey the sport was then still in its infancy.  However, the return trip we've been planning... for almost twenty years... will almost certainly revolve around golf.

These days golf holidays in Turkey are ultra-easy to plan, and dozens of courses offer a huge variety of playing experiences to golfers of all levels.  The epicenter of the sport is the town of Belek, in Antalya province, on the alluring Adriatic coast. The area now welcomes recreational golfers form around the globe.  Another sign of golf's growth in Turkey... and a testament to the standard of some of its courses... are the professional tournaments that now take place in the country; Lee-Anne Pace picked up her sixth LET title at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open place earlier this year, and in a couple of weeks The Turkish Airlines Open will welcome the world's top players, including Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose.

In addition to the on-course action, Turkey golf holidays offer travelers the opportunity to experience a country steeped in history, with a stunning coastline and a cosmopolitan capital city full of breathtaking Byzantine monuments.  Oh, and the food! Turkish cuisine, with its melding of Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Balkan flavors, is as good as it gets.

I'm hoping to make my long-awaited return trip to Turkey next Spring and I've no doubt it'll be worth the wait.

This post is brought to you by our partner, Golf Escapes , however as always, the story & opinions are 100% my own.


Memorabilia Mystery Solved - A Most Remarkable Little Golf Pencil

That no one came up with the right answer is not at all surprising.  The proportions weren't obvious in the original post, and besides, who would ever think a pencil could look anything like that?

But it IS in fact, a pencil... a golf pencil in the form of a watch fob; the tiny charm that would hang from the chain of a Victorian golfer's pocket watch.

The graphite writing point is described as "a very hard, never ending lead implant" and it certainly looks like it's holding up well... considering that it's been around for over a century.


Rare & Wonderful, But What is It? Another Golf Memorabilia Mystery.

First of all, it's tiny; no bigger than an acorn really, and as you can see, it's made of metal.

It's a Victorian piece, probably from the late 1800's, and though it's meant to be worn, it's also utilitarian.  It serves a purpose... in fact, a couple of purposes... that golfers and non-golfers alike might appreciate, but this was clearly created with a golfer in mind.

That's about all I can tell you about this particular item. Any idea what it is?


Hermès Does Golf: Scarves, Bags & An Impressive Place For Putting

Hermès is known across the globe for its colorful carrés de soie. 

Coveted by fashionistas of all ages, the sumptuous silk squares are an enduring symbol of French fashion finesse, and when you consider that, A. they're still individually hand crafted, and B. the silk of 250 mulberry moth cocoons is required for each scarf, the several hundred dollar price tag seems... if not affordable... understandable.

Since 1937, Hermès has produced over 25,000 unique designs, a number of them featuring golf. In 1968 there was "The Royal and Ancient Game of Golf" a charming traditional design. A few years later came "Les Balles de Golf", which, despite its assertive golf theme, is probably my least favorite Hermès design ever.  It's basically just a couple of hundred hyper-realistic white golf balls on a colored background.  Sure, the golf balls are artfully rendered... and the background colors are ultra-pure, but it has none of the frothy detail I've come to expect from la maison Hermès.  My absolute favorite Hermès design is Swing Pictured above, it was  introduced in 1979 in several color palettes.  It's geometrically modern, but with a definite nod to the regal designs of the past... and of course it's all about golf.


Critters on the Course - Animal Encounters Add Excitement to Golf

Salem Golf Club, N. Salem, NY                                                                                                                   © Golf Girl Media

A golf course, by its very nature, can be an ideal place to observe wildlife. Whether you play on a traditional seaside links course, a lush parkland spread or an unlikely desert oasis, sooner or later you'll probably have a close encounter with a critter or two.

Autumn with its ripened berries, falling chestnuts and burnished golden foliage, is prime time for nature watchers in the northeastern US; last week, just off a pristine fairway at Salem Golf Club, our foursome observed a white tail deer casually rubbing his antlers on the bark of an ancient oak tree.  It was all very picturesque until he began pounding his hoof on the ground in a blatantly aggressive manner. We collectively conceded that this eight point buck might be the most effective deterrent to slow play... ever.

This past weekend, along with a US victory, The Presidents Cup celebrated... with giddy enthusiasm... a squirrel.  Sammy, as the affable rodent was known, quickly became the team mascot and provided multiple moments of brightness in a competition that took place under consistently somber skies.

Less famous than Sammy, but far more imposing was the female grizzly bear who'd been haunting the golf courses at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in British Columbia for most of the summer.  It seems the ursine interloper was attracted to the area by a berry patch and salmon stream.  She was finally trapped and moved to higher ground ... and wildlife officials made sure to outfit the golf course grizzly with a tracking collar to assure an advanced warning should she again be tempted to try her paws at the Creekside Par 3.

Finally, there's the now famous fairway fox at Verbier Golf Club in Verbier, Switzerland.  Local residents and golfers playing the alpine course have been entertained... and frustrated... by the playful omnivore since early September. You see, this sly canid isn't content to sit on the sidelines. According to observers, he appears on course each afternoon and proceeds to steal golf balls.  The impressive action is documented in the video below, and has garnered Foxy a share of celebrity; BBC News, CNN and the Huffington Post have all covered his antics.  It's interesting to note that Foxy's course of choice is also a par-3.  Perhaps critters prefer the playability of a shorter course.

With more and more courses focused on sustainability and conservation golfers can expect more frequent meetings with wildlife. Fortunately, for most who love the sport animal encounters only add to its awesomeness.


The Symposium on Affordable Golf: Taking On Golf's Biggest Challenges

For the past three years a diverse group comprised of teaching professionals, golf business people and recreational golfers have met at Southern Pines Golf Club for the Symposium on Affordable Golf, a two day event focused on preserving the health and sustainability of the game.

The 2013 gathering will take place on October 28th - 29th and will feature outstanding speakers from all walks of golf. As in past years, the Symposium is open to anyone with a connection to golf and/or a concern for its future ...and it's free.

I've written about the Symposium on Affordable Golf... and its exceptional founder, Richard Mandell...  in the past, and though I haven't yet been able to attend the event, I hope to eventually change that.  In the meantime the Symposium website has videos of each year's talks. The topics are timely and the exchange of ideas allows one to look at golf's challenges from a variety of different perspectives, which make them well worth watching.

Information about attending the Symposium on Affordable Golf is on their website.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...