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The European Tour Heads to Dubai via the Turkish Airlines Open

The European Tour’s path to Dubai will make a stop at the Turkish Airlines Open in November at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Course in Belek, Turkey. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because the course was designed by Scottish golf legend Colin Montgomerie and his team.

The Maxx Royal hotel is nothing but suites overlooking the Belek coast, featuring a host of food and spirits options. Fourteen bars, eight restaurants (two of which cater specifically to children) and a patisserie mean attendees can eat whatever they wish. Each restaurant is unique, so if you are attending, be sure to give yourself an extra day or two at the tournament to be able to sample each one. Entertainment at the resort includes activities for the grown-ups, as well as fun areas for the kids.

The Turkish Airlines Open, to be held 13-16 November, 2014, is put on by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and features such heavy hitting sponsors as Titleist, BMW, Rolex, and Club Car. Luxurious accommodations, fine dining, and world-class golf on one of the loveliest courses anywhere – it’s no wonder this event is so widely anticipated.

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Jason Day wins the World Match Play Championship

Jason Day won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship after managing to keep a calm head during an incredible fight back from Frenchman Victor Dubuisson. Day was ahead by three shots after 12 holes but Dubuisson pulled off two excellent birdies and then capitalized on a Day error on the 18th.

The tournament was Day’s to lose and it seemed like he might just lose it when a combination of skill and luck helped Dubuisson pull off some truly unbelievable shots. Dubuisson twice saved par by hitting the ball through a series of native cacti and some non-native television cables. The path may as well have been clear though as the shots were as perfect as you could hope for. Jason Day merely laughed and took it in his stride. It was this calm and collected attitude that saw him win after 23 grueling holes.

Jason Day has moved into the No.4 position on the PGA table after this his first World Match Play win and his second PGA Tour title.

The tournament is a knockout five day, six match tournament that begins on a Wednesday. Prize money is official on the PGA Tour and this year totaled more than $8 million; Day taking home $1.53 million and Dubuisson earning $906,000.

In the semi finals, Day took out Rickie Fowler and Dubuisson beat Ernie Els. Third place was taken by Fowler in 19 holes.

The second place victory will see Dubuisson rise considerably in the rankings and should see him with a spot on the Ryder Cup team in September.

Golf and the Olympic Games

As the XXII Winter Olympic Games are scheduled to take place in Sochi, Russia from 7 to 23 February 2014, it is an ideal time to consider the involvement of the game of golf in past and future Olympic history.

Golf was featured in the Summer Olympic Games program in 1900 and 1904 and has not been featured since. The only countries to medal in golf are the United States of America, Canada and Great Britain. That is all set to change though with the 2009 decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reinstate the event for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The tournament will be open to professional golfers and the International Golf Federation has proposed a 72-hole stroke play tournament format. The top 15 players based on IGF ranking would automatically be eligible and then the next 45 players representing countries that do not already have two representatives would fill the remaining spots.

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The Less Obvious Benefits of Playing a Round of Golf

Humana Challenge Tournament Executive Director, Bob Marra, recently said “We want to make this clearly the healthiest sports event in the world.” Inspired by the “well-being” ethos of the modern Humana Challenge, this week I thought I would examine some of the less obvious ways golf can benefit players, as well as having a look at the tournament itself.

Kapalua winner, Zach Johnson will be the highest ranked player at the tournament this year. Traditionally known for celebrity involvement, the tournament has largely done away with this feature. The tournament now consists of a traditional four round tournament, but played over three different courses.

The relaxing nature of the game of golf when compared to other sporting pursuits is undeniable. A lot of this can be attributed to two main factors, namely: the course environment and the relatively low strain of the activity.

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Tiger Woods

The Year That Was for Tiger Woods

2013 will be remembered as the year that saw Tiger Woods finally return to form after news of his infidelity broke in late 2009. His first win on the PGA Tour came in January 2013 at the Farmers Insurance Open. This was the seventh time Woods has taken the honors at the Open and the first since 2008.

After winning the Arnold Palmer invitational for an eighth time, Woods continued to quickly amass wins in the early part of the year. He moved back to the top of the world rankings. His season stalled somewhat when an elbow injury required that Woods take a break from the game. Though wins dried up in this period, it is worth noting that for the first time in a while, a physical problem rather than an issue with his mindset caused the interruption in his game.

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Thrills and spills at the Turkish Airlines Open

The Turkish Airlines Open has once again drawn to a thrilling close, with the final taking place on the 1st November 2015. This year’s event took place at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Antalya, Turkey. As usually, the conditions were perfect for the players to be able to show off their skills, and many brilliant golfers stepped up to the challenge.

Going into the final day, the top three positions were made up of Frenchman Victor Dubuisson and South African Jaco Van Zyl (tied on 16 under par), Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat (tied on 15 under par) and Korean Byeong-hun An and Britain’s Chris Wood (both on 13-under par). Van Zyl had maintained his strong position after shooting a sensational 61 on the first day, but Dubuisson had managed to hunt him down in the latter half of day 3, holing 4 birdies in the last 6 holes.

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You win some, you lose some: Spieth loses No.1 ranking

Following an exciting climax to this year’s Major’s series, Jordan Spieth managed to oust his rival, Rory McIlroy from the top spot in the men’s PGA world rankings. However, his stay at the top has been relatively short lived. When the world rankings are officially recalculated on Monday (31st August), Spieth is expected to lose out on his top spot allowing McIlroy back into first place, despite the fact that McIlroy didn’t even pick up a club competitively this weekend.

The Barclays, which is taking place at Plainfield Country Club in Edison New Jersey, is the first tournament that Spieth has taken part in since becoming number one in the world following his second place finish at the US PGA Championship. Whilst most observers were expecting Speith to dominate The Barclay’s tournament, he completely failed to make the cut for the final day’s play. This earned him the unfortunate accolade of being the only player to ever fail to make the final cut in his first tournament after becoming number 1 in the World Rankings.

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Jason Day back on form to take US PGA title

Once again, Majors season has come to a close with a thrilling finale. This year’s US PGA Championship, which was played at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, was won by a man who many had previously thought incapable of succeeding in big game golf. Australia's Jason Day was able to prove his doubters wrong and bag the $1.8 million dollar prize with 4 spectacular rounds of golf that proved that he could bring his A-game when it mattered.

Jason Day's troubles began on the final fairway of the US Open at Chambers Bay, during the second round. Crowds were shocked when the player collapsed on the course and was seemingly unable to stand back up again without assistance. Doctors were quick to point out that his fall was due to non-threatening vertigo, which the player had been experiencing, on-and-off, since 2010. Although he was back on course the following day to play his final round of the tournament, some critics said that his concentration had been broken by the incident, and that the issue could end up hanging over him for the rest of his career. Whilst he played well enough for the remainder of the tournament at Chambers Bay and at St Andrew’s, he looked as though he was lacking a vital component which was required to perform in high pressure scenarios.

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Enjoy a golfing holiday with Sueno Hotels in Belek

The 2015 opening of the Sueno Hotels Deluxe resort in Belek provided visitors to the area with a fantastic opportunity to enjoy 5-star luxury and total relaxation. The hotel is already proving popular with visitors who come to visit the region for its favourable climate, its interesting history and the delicious food and drink. As well as general holidaymakers, the region is also popular with amateur golfers who want to play some of Turkey’s best golf courses. Along with the Sueno Hotels Golf resort, the new Deluxe resort is an excellent base from which to explore these courses.

There are two challenging courses on site between the Deluxe resort and the Golf resort, each starting just a short walk or shuttle ride away from the accomodaton. The Pines course is the longer and more difficult course, but the Dunes course offers a series of unique challenges. The Dunes course has been designed to make use of many of the natural sand features of the area, such as sweeping dunes and waste bunkers. The course is also well-known for its spectacular views. Many golfers have even stated that the island green of the 18th is one of the best finishes on any course in the Belek region.

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A turbulent British Open

The British Open got underway at St Andrews last week, as some of golf’s leading stars (and home grown hopefuls) descended on the quiet Scottish town. The town, which is widely known as the Home of Golf, is a favourite amongst many players and fans, because it always promises to offer up some exciting golf. Unfortunately, the town is also known for its temperamental weather, and despite it being the height of summer, rain stopped play on Friday as the course was deluged by torrential rain showers. Play was postponed for 3 hours 14 minutes as officials waited for the rain to stop and then subsequently attempt to clear the course of standing water.

Because of the inclement weather, 42 players were expected to complete their second round on Saturday morning, rather than Friday. However, Saturday’s weather was also less than ideal conditions for golf. Early morning analysis by the R & A team deemed that the course was playable, however increasing wind speeds soon forced another suspension of play, as the wind began to interfere with balls as they lay. Conclusion of the second round did not restart until 6pm, with officials deciding to postpone all third round golf until Sunday. Despite finishing over 24 hours behind schedule, first round leader Dustin Johnson was able to retain his lead, coming home with a one shot advantage over Englishman Danny Willett.

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The US Open thrills at Chamber’s Bay

Last weekend’s US Open threw up a lot of surprises for golf fans, many of whom were expecting to see holder Rory McIlroy retain the title. However, it was Jordan Spieth, who secured victory in the end, and continued his meteoric rise up the world rankings. Taking his second Major title this year, Spieth managed to secure his position as one of golf’s biggest stars.

The decision to send the Open to relatively new, public course Chamber’s Bay was a very controversial one amongst certain golf writers, who believed that the decision was a political one, rather than one taken for the good of the game. Upon arrival, some players, including England’s Ian Poulter continued to express their dissatisfaction with the course, claiming that the greens were a “disgraceful surface” for golf. However, rival Geoff Ogilvy said that any flaws with the course actually added to the competition, because they gave competitors the chance to show that they had the “ability to adapt”.

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Be amongst the first to enjoy the luxury at Sueno Deluxe Belek

One of the latest luxury resorts to open in Turkey to cater for golfers is the Sueno Deluxe Belek. Despite having only been open to guests for a few weeks, the resort is already starting to win praise for its high-quality accommodation and fantastic customer services. Situated on the gorgeous Belek coastline, and right next to the hotel’s own courses, the hotel is a perfect destination for golfers and non-golfers alike.

When booking, you will be able to choose from a range of deluxe room types, from Sea View doubles or twins, right through to the luxurious Island Villa accommodation. The top-of-the-range Island Villa apartments include a private massage suite, private pool, private sauna, Turkish bath and fully-equipped mini kitchen. If required, you may also access butler services in these rooms. All rooms at the Sueno Deluxe Belek include air conditioning, an LCD TV with a range of channels, a hot drink set, room service options, complimentary toiletries, bathrobe and slippers, a hair dryer, and telephone and wireless internet connections.

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A Hole-in-one Opening of Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort

Operating under the title of “Carya Golf Club” for many years, Öztürk Group of Companies has been a dynamic actor on the stage of golf tourism, and more recently their focus has been directed toward the construction of Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort.

Funded by Öztürk Group and undertaken by Regnum Turkey, this resort aspires to be green and eco-friendly and has accomplished such: the structures of Regnum are environmentally efficient and sustainable in respect to energy and water efficiency, CO2 emission, interior quality, and resource management. Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort prides itself on their LEED Certification; but in its efficiency, the quality and comfort of the resort does not suffer in the slightest.

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A Californian Tale: Rickie Fowler at Riviera

This week, the PGA tour stops off at Riviera for it’s latest installment. The tournament takes place at Riviera Country Club. The Club is located in Pacific Palisades, California, a community within the city limits of Los Angeles and is home to a particularly picturesque course. The club is sandwiched between the bustling city and the beautiful beaches and is a great image of what it means to be Californian.

The tournament, previously sponsored by Nissan is not known as the Northern Trust Open. The tournament has seen some changes in recent years but it dates back in one form or another to 1926. It is played annually and has been sponsored by Northern Trust since 2008. The tournament remains a firm favorite among fans.

Californian Rickie Fowler is taking part in the tournament and is every bit the perfect example of California that the tournament itself is. Fowler was born and raised in Murrieta, California located just outside of Los Angeles in the Riverside County. Fowler is young, stylish, almost entirely self-taught and making waves on the PGA Tour.

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Stallings Takes out the Farmers Insurance Open

The Farmers Insurance Open concluded this week with American Scott Stallings taking the honors. Also known as the “West Coast Swing”, the PGA Tour tournament played in the early part of the PGA season each year is held at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California.

Sitting on coastal cliffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean, the course is one of the most picturesque on the tour and also one of the most challenging.  Torrey Pines has two 18-hole courses: North and South. The tournament makes use of both courses for the first two rounds and the South Course for the final two rounds.

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Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson the Giant Killer

Zach Johnson picked up his 11th win on the PGA Tour on Monday when he scored a 66 to win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on a Plantation Course at Kapalua, Hawaii. Johnson finished the tournament with a one shot lead over Jordan Spieth, who led entering the final round. The win was Johnson’s third from his last six starts.

In December last year, Johnson also won the World Challenge in California. He finished that tournament ahead of Tiger Woods who, as discussed in a previous blog post, was one of the giants of 2013.

The real giant killing is not in the opposition that Johnson slays but in the way he beats his opponents. Perhaps the most interesting part of Johnson’s recent winning form is that rather than being a big hitter off the tee or in the fairways, it has been his shortest clubs that have been working the hardest for him. This was particularly surprising given the length of the fairways in Kapalua. Johnson was not driving the farthest but his tactics and accuracy when using wedges more than made up for this. The wind at Kapalua did benefit Johnson on a couple of the longer holes but it was his wedge that was in control of adjusting his sails.

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The Royal Trophy and Golf in China

The latest edition of the Royal Trophy wrapped up yesterday with a European team, led by Jose Maria Olazabal, taking the honors. The tournament aims to mimic the success of the Ryder Cup by pitting Asia against Europe in a similar team tournament format.

Europe went into the final day needing a small miracle to claim the Trophy. The persistence of the away team paid off though as Asia struggled to maintain the form that had seen them go ahead on the previous day. Europe walked away with the trophy, winning by the slightest of margins, 8-7. After twice leading a European team to defeat in the tournament, Olazabal was exceptionally pleased (and perhaps relieved) by the performance of his team.

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New Package from the Titanic Deluxe Belek

The Titanic Deluxe group has recently completed a successful takeover of the Tat International Golf Course, so that the Tat course can continue to enjoy its reputation as one of the best golf courses in the Belek-Antalya Golf Region. As part of the takeover, the Tat course is to be renamed as the Titanic Golf Course, so that visitors will know that they will receive the high quality of service and grounds maintenance that is now synonymous with the whole Titanic Group.

The 27 hole international course provides a number of different combinations for those seeking to play an 18 hole round of golf, which helps to make it an excellent course for visitors to play, as there is always the opportunity for variety. The diverse terrain of the course sits between the river and the sea, and therefore the course provides golfers with a variety of different but enjoyable challenges to overcome. 4 different sets of tees on each hole mean that the course is suitable for most men, women and juniors with a suitable handicap.

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Is Links golf having a revival?

Those who are following golf this season will most likely have noticed a trend emerging in Majors golf. This year, three out of the four majors are to be played (or have already been played), on links-style courses. Although links courses are often considered to be a traditionally British style of golf course, the fact that this year’s Majors circuit features two American links legs shows that links courses are making a resurgence.

The US Open which was played at Chambers Bay, Washington in June will be followed by the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits links course in Wisconsin in the middle of August. As always, the British Open Championship will be played on one of ten leading links courses around the country. This year will see the British Open return to St Andrew’s, which is widely known as the home of golf. The Masters is played at Augusta National Golf Club every year, which is not a links course. Given that there are only about 300 links courses worldwide, the fact that 75% of this year’s majors are to be played on courses of this style is very significant.

The Open at Chamber’s Bay threw up plenty of surprises as some of the world’s leading players, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIllroy, failed to deliver, and relative newcomer Jordan Speith was able to justify his position in the top 10 of the official world rankings. Many spectators are hoping that Whistling Straits will be able to offer up more of the same excitement.

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Gearing up for golf at the Olympics

With the 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony less than 1 year away, many sports fans are already beginning to feel the excitement building. 28 different sporting disciplines will be competed in Rio de Janeiro, including golf, which is being played at the Olympics Games for the first time since 1904. After such a long leave of absence, many players are eager to see whether the game will embody the Olympic spirit and if the sport will become a permanent Olympic fixture.

When the men’s competition was last held in 1904 Summer Games in St Louis, USA, 77 competitors took part, although all of them represented either the United States or Canada. Due to difficulties in travelling at the time, and because of various socio-political tensions around the world, many golfers from international destination were unable to make it to America and therefore did not compete. Gold was won by Canadian George Lyon for the individual event, and all three medals were taken by USA in the team discipline. Fortunately, Rio is expecting to play host to a far more diverse field of players, as well as hosting a women’s event. There is not scheduled to be a team competition this time around.

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Amatuers make waves at the British Open

If this year's British Open has taught the golf community anything, it is that the finest amateurs in the world deserve the opportunity to compete with the big boys. An unprecedented number of amateurs made the cut this year, beating out some of the more famous competitors, such as Tiger Woods. Despite the fact that these player are not regular faces on the world circuit, they were still able to give some of golf's greats a run for their money.

Up until the beginning of the fourth round, it actually looked as though one of the amateurs, Paul Dunne, could end up winning the Claret Jug. At the end of the third round, he was tied for first place after completing three spectacular rounds. Dunne was actually the first amatuer to be in the lead of the British Open after the third round  since the 1920s. Unfortunately, a 78 on his final round ruined any hope he had of taking home the Gold Medal, or even the Silver Medal.

This year's Silver Medal winner was eventually awarded to 21 year old American, Jordan Niebrugge, who finished tied for 6th position in the overall (amateurs and professionals) rankings. He is also honoured to be able to say that he was able to equal the amatuer course record of 67, which was set by Joe Carr in 1960. 67 was one of the lowest scoring rounds of the tournament, even when the professionals were taken into account.

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Fantastic golf packages for September

If you are thinking about going on a golfing holiday this September, then look no further than one of our special multi-course packages in Turkey. These great packages allow you the opportunity to play 4 rounds over 4 different courses in the golfing region, and will give you the chance to test your skills over a range of different golfing terrains.

The packages include Carya, National, Pasha and Sultan courses, which are all within a short distance of each other, so you do not need to worry about travel time. This fantastic package is available from 4 of our different partner hotels, offering a range of different budget options and personal taste. Take advantage of this limited time offer by choosing from the hotels below.

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Melissa Reid triumphs at the Turkish Ladies Open

This week saw the thrilling climax of the Turkish Airline Ladies Open playing out at the Carya Golf Club in Belek. Having led from the start, England’s Melissa Reid started her final round with a narrow 1 shot lead, and therefore there was still everything to play for in the final day of the competition.

Reid gained an early lead in the competition when she played the round of her life, coming home with a round of 8 under par. This round score was only matched by Scot Pamela Pretswell, who was also pleased to achieve the lowest round of her professional career, during the tournament’s second round. Her round 2 score of 65 meant coming into the last round, she stood in second place, as Reid’s closest competitor. Other challengers at the end of 3 rounds included Frenchwoman Gwladys Nocera, who had pulled off a spectacular eagle on the penultimate hole of round 1, and Scot Sally Watson, who also eagled on hole 6.

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2015 Turkish Ladies Open Comes to Carya Golf Club

The excitement of the Ladies’ European Tour will be coming to Turkey for a May 2015 event to be held at the stunningly beautiful par 72 Carya Golf Club, considered to be one of the best golf courses in the world. Located in the beautiful Belek region of Turkey, this is a heathland-inspired course with fast greens and strategy required at every turn. Regnum Hotels will be housing everyone in comfort.

Carya was designed by Australian golfer Peter Thomson through his firm Thomson, Perrett, and Lobb Golf Course Architects. It is one of the very few courses playable at night, because it’s the only course with large floodlights in Europe, so no matter when the mood strikes, you can hit the links for 9 or a full 18.

This tournament, the seventh staging of the Turkish Ladies’ Open, is unique in that it will finish on a Wednesday instead of Sunday. The hope is that by going to a unique day on the calendar, more viewers will be able to tune in and check out the thrill of ladies’ golf. It’s also at a prime time of year, 17 – 20 May.

Broadcasting the event live will be Sky Sport in the UK and the Golf Channel in the US, with the ability for fans in over 50 countries to watch. We are very excited to be hosting this tournament each year

Ivan Khodabahksh, CEO of the Ladies’ European Tour, wanted to make the move to give a chance for more viewers and win more fans. Thanks to reduced TV competition, it benefits busy viewers. Since the tour runs year-round, fans can then watch whenever they wish.

The purse is an astounding €500,000, double the prize for the 2014 tournament. It’s an appropriate prize for the course, a challenging adventure. Then once the day’s activities are done, Regnum will welcome everyone into their relaxing rooms, spa, and fine restaurants.

The European Solheim Cup captains will also be scouting the tournament, looking for players for the team. Think of the Solheim as the ladies’ equivalent to the Ryder Cup in men’s golf. Making this even more important is the return of golf to the 2016 Rio Olympics, so the best players can showcase their skills before the world stage.

The 2016 tournament will head to the National Golf Club, with the tournament alternating between the two clubs in subsequent years. The goal is to keep expanding the fan base thanks to that alternating, and to attract the best players in all the world.

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