Belek has seen a fantastic explosion of golf projects over the last decades. A large number of great courses have been developed, but they are all traditional parkland courses, all except one, Lykia Links. Being different doesn’t always lead to greatness, but in the case of Lykia Links it has – it is a truly great course.
Lykia Links is located at the “far” end of Belek, on the other side of the river that flows from the mountains to the Med, so if you are playing more than one round at Lykia (and you should – more later) it is best to stay near the course. We chose to stay at the hotel associated with the course, Club Med.
Club Med Belek is a LARGE hotel. It even warns you, airport-style (“you are 9 minutes from D gates”) how long it will take you to reach the center of the hotel, up to 7 minutes from the far wings. But with size come many advantages.
For instance, while Club Med is a family-friendly hotel with lots of activities for kids, the kid areas have been secluded from the main sections of the hotel. Kids have their own pool and play area, so if you want some peace and quiet after your golf round, kids won’t disturb you. The hotel is also laid out with a main building and two wings in a way that almost every room has a sea view, so it doesn’t feel quite as big.
Speaking of activities, as is customary at Club Med, there are lots of activities for adults, too. You will find pretty much any resort style activity you can imagine, everything from tennis and fitness to windsurfing and sailing. You can even enroll in a circus school, or learn archery. Not to mention golf; group lessons are available for free.
Later in the afternoon, you can enjoy the main pool bar, where refreshments are coming in a steady flow. The hotel, as are all Club Med hotels, is all-inclusive, so food and drinks are free. Usually, there is also some show or live music in the late afternoon. Non-stop activities if you so choose.
After having previously played many of the courses in Belek it was with great anticipation that we stepped up on the first tee at Lykia. We were not disappointed.
Lykia is a long course, almost 7 kilometers from the black tees, and 6321 meters from gold. There are five different tees to choose from, black, gold, blue, red, and green. Already at check-in, you are met by a sign that recommends what tee you should choose; blue is the recommended tee for hcp 8 – 28, and even if you are used to playing from yellow/gold, we recommend that you swallow your pride and play from blue if your handicap is in that range. My handicap is 9, and I played from yellow. I should have chosen blue.
Already on the first tee, we are presented with some difficulties. In front and to the right of the fairway is a large sand trap, and it is hard to judge the distance since we have the rising sun directly against us. This is something to consider if you play in October-November or February; you may not want a very early start time. On the other hand, playing at sunrise really accentuates the natural beauty of the course. You can really see and appreciate the rolling, grass covered sand dunes that make up this links course. It must have been a true joy for designer Perry Dye (son of the legendary Pete Dye) to lay out the course in this inviting landscape; links land in a Mediterranean climate.
The first four holes are played into the sun before you turn around and head back towards the clubhouse. Lykia is in this respect not a typical links course, where you would expect to be furthest away from the clubhouse after nine holes. Here, you make the turn back at the clubhouse, maybe after a short stop for breakfast if you had an early start and have kept up the tempo. Breakfast is included with your green fee, so it is definitely tempting to stop.
The back nine are played closest to the water, with holes 14, 15, and 16 running right next to the beach, with sand traps along the entire right side. If you survive that test, another challenge awaits you at hole 17, a 214 meter (gold tee) par 3 playing into a small green with a prevailing crosswind. See what I mean when I say you should consider the blue tees? The finishing hole is not much easier, with large sand traps protecting the “shortcut” path on the right, and sand dunes with embedded trap to the left; a magnificent, stadium style finish.
It is a difficult course to score well on the first time out. Fortunately one of the first thoughts that come to mind when you come in is “I want to play this course again!”.
After your round, you can choose to eat at the clubhouse restaurant. Lunch is included in your green fee, and dinner is complimentary if you stay at Club Med. Or you can head to one of the other three restaurants, the buffet-style Rhapsody or one of the specialty restaurants.
After dinner you there is live music in the lobby bar, or on most nights entertainment in the hotel theater. When we were there we saw an arrangement of “Mamma Mia”, surprisingly well done considering that most of the performers were hotel staffers, with just a few professionals.
This time we only had four days to spend at Club Med and Lykia Links. The next time we hope to stay a bit longer, so that we have time to defeat the course. It may take a few weeks, but it will be an enjoyable challenge.
Find all details about Lykia Links here.
About Club Med
- 433 rooms plus a number of villas
- Situated on 100 hectares of land, 20 for the resort, 60 for the golf course, and 20 surroundings
- 8 pools of which two are indoors. The main pool is heated except December-February
- Four restaurants and four bars
- Next to 2.5 km of white sand beach
- Indoor theater
- More information here
About Lykia Links
- Among top 100 world courses
- #1 in Turkey
- 2500 sqm clubhouse, pro shop restaurant, and bar
- 400-meter driving dual-sided driving range, covered on one side
- Breakfast and lunch included with green fee
- Find all details here