Course Review: The Faldo Course at The Cornelia Golf Club

20 May

The Faldo Course at The Cornelia Golf Club is by far one of the better courses in the Golf town of Belek.

I was offered a complimentary round by their Golf Manager – Mr Mitat Batir. Speaking to Mitat and his passion for the game, the club and his broader knowledge of Golf in Belek, it’s not hard to understand why the Cornelia Golf Club is ranked as the Golf Digest Number 1 course in Turkey. With over 500 000 rounds played in Belek last year, it’s hard to keep courses in great condition but the Faldo Course at The Cornelia Golf Club was in pristine nick.

Cornelia Golf Club - 1

As the name suggests, the course is a Nick Faldo design and consists of three different 9s, The King, The Queen and The Prince. We played The King and The Queen and thoroughly enjoyed making our way through the parkland course. From the first hole, you’re surrounded by an abundance of beautiful forest where all signs and sounds of modern life disappear – no cars humming in the background!

Cornelia Golf Club - 2The silence enhances the pleasure of playing the course but comes at a price – the fairways are tight and there’s not a lot of rough before you find yourself surrounding by trees, shrubs and bushes. A conservative approach from the tee box is essential! My driving was absolutely horrendous on the day and it cost me 3 Pro Vs!!! With holes named Jaws, Corridor and Mountain Peak – you kinda know that the course is not going to be a walk in the park!!!

Like all the other courses we played in Belek, I found the greens a touch slow but they were absolutely true and held the ball up when they needed to. Some of the tiered greens did make for a good test of the putter.  The layout and combination of some monster Par 5s (with the Par 5 Stroke 1 appropriately named “The Long”) and some very short Par 3s makes the course a firm but fair test of your golfing ability.

Cornelia Golf Club - The Long

In a town where all the courses and resorts are trying to deliver a luxury golf experience, the Cornelia Golf Club is the only real candidate to deliver. The entire experience from checking in at the Golf Concierge to the impressive locker room and terrace for post round drinks is ahead of the competition. The Pro Shop could do with a better selection of souvenirs – they didn’t have branded poker chip markers which I collect 🙁 –  but the attention to detail does not go unnoticed. I especially liked the framed bank note at the Golf Concierge which was the first ever tip given at the club.

If I was pressed for a criticism or con it would be the lack of GPS units in the golf buggies/carts but that’s just me being picky!!! I had set out to break the course record of 62, set when the Cornelia Golf Club hosted the World Amateur Team Championship in 2012 but with those tight fairways, that 62 is more a like a 59!!!

My favourite hole was the 7th hole on The King called Faldo’s Choice where you can either lay up with an easy iron or go for a reachable green (even for non big hitters like me) – I chose the latter, pulled my drive a touch and had a short chip on for an easy 2-putt par. I do regret not playing another 9 holes and taking on The Prince but given that I had another 18 holes scheduled later that day, I didn’t want to overdo it.

You are spoilt for choice for good golf courses when visiting Belek but 27 holes at the Faldo Course at The Cornelia Golf Club must be at the top of your list.

Their website is very useful and you can find everything from green fees to some tips from Sir Nick on how to play the course.

The King
Par 36
Black Tees: 3,143 meters/3,437 yards
White Tees: 2,927 meters/3,201 yards
Yellow Tees: 2,687 meters/2,938 yards
Red Tees: 2,371 meters/2,592 yards
Two Par 5s, Two Par 3s, Five Par 4s

The Queen
Par 36
Black Tees: 3,230 meters/3,532 yards
White Tees: 3,042 meters/3,326 yards
Yellow Tees: 2,851 meters/2,606 yards
Red Tees: 2,558 meters/2,339 yards
Two Par 5s, Two Par 3s, Five Par 4s

The Prince
Par 36
Black Tees: 3,181 meters/3,478 yards
White Tees: 2,985 meters/3,264 yards
Yellow Tees: 2,781 meters/2,542 yards
Red Tees: 2,533 meters/2,316 yards
Two Par 5s, Two Par 3s, Five Par 4s

Cornelia Golf Club - The King

 

Cornelia Golf Club - The Queen

 

Cornelia Golf Club - The Prince