Here are my rankings on the golfing in these 2 countries on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best.
Turkey (8): Golf in Turkey is well-developed, especially the area around Belek (Antalya). There are some 15 golf courses to choose from here, all being located only 30 minutes from the main resorts. Most modern golf course architects are represented including Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye and Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Thailand (7): Thailand has 280 courses open for play. The best of these courses are located in one of five major golf tourist golf destinations. Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Phuket are the main sea side resort areas. Chiang Mai is northern Thailand, and the capital of Bangkok has 60 courses within a one hour’s drive from the city center.
Turkey (4): There are all-inclusive 5* resorts near the Belek golf courses. However, while the standard of rooms and facilities are high, the services levels are not. Be prepared for long queues and mediocre service. At the golf courses there is an absence of caddies and limited facilities or food/beverages.
Thailand (10): Golf in Thailand equals service. Thai hospitality is some of the world’s best and the Thai golf courses are no exception. Caddies are compulsory at all Thai golf courses for every golfer whether or not golf carts are used, thus ensuring excellent service is available at all times.
Golfing Experience (25%)
Turkey (4): Turkey has developed golf tourism and Belek offers top golf courses, but not much else. Local sights and authenticity is missing is this area. Istanbul, on the other hand, which does have a wide variety of cultural and historical experiences, offers very little in the way of golf.
Thailand (10): The Thai Golf Experience is hard to describe and must be seen to be believed. Don’t take my word for it; give it a try and you might just get addicted and become local. Anything and everything is possible when you golf in the Kingdom of Thailand.
Value For Money (20%)
Turkey (9): Golf in the Turkey is very reasonably prices with green fees as low as $50 US Dollars. Add to this low cost charter flights and the all-inclusive programs at the resorts and you have the makings of one of the least expensive golf destinations in the world.
Thailand (8): An overall Thailand golf vacation is affordable as hotels, entertainment, and food are all reasonably priced. Green fees however are much higher now as compared to years past. It is not uncommon to spend $200 US Dollars for a round of golf at top courses like Blue Canyon Phuket. To get the best deals buy a package with golf, hotel, and transfers from a local golf tour operator and travel during the summer months of July and August.
Overall Verdict (100%)
Turkey (6.0): Turkey is the one of the best golf destinations near to Europe. It is great for cost conscious golfers looking for a short-break or hardcore golfers wanting to play 36-holes a day. Those looking for a golf and culture holiday might best look towards other golf destinations.
Thailand (8.7): Thailand wins over Turkey due to its wider appeal across all golf travel sectors. It is so good over so many aspects that many golf tourists now make Thailand their annual home away from home.
Stay tuned for the next world golf challenge to see how Thailand stacks up against other golf destinations. Let me know if you want to see your country included in my survey.