A new 18-hole golf course designed by Tim Lobb, principal of Lobb + Partners, has opened for preview play in Ankara, Turkey.
Regnum Golf & Country Club Ankara is the third project that Lobb has completed with developer Fikret Ozturk, joining the Regnum G&CC in Bodrum and Carya Golf Club in Belek.
The course is laid out on a 200 hectare site located 30 km from the Turkish capital and has over 70 metres of elevation change. Lobb says he is working closely with course superintendent Ufuk Dincer on “giving a wide and strategic playing experience on this rolling, open site, which is very different to most other tree-lined courses found in Turkey”.
“We tried to avoid straight uphill holes and worked hard to bounce holes off the contours in a natural fashion, slowly rising and falling in altitude,” adds Lobb, who is also the vice president of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects. “It was quite a challenge to keep the course walkable because of the elevations and expansiveness of the layout but I think we achieved it and that is important for human well-being and golf enjoyment.
“We worked with Oregon-based agronomist Rick Elyea to try and create ‘Oregon’ feeling turf conditions and took that sensation and textures to the course with the seed selections chosen.
“The broad landscape and grand scale of the project helped to plan for a minimalistic and soft horizon design line to the holes and shaping. The immense long views back to Ankara were to be the star of the show with the dominant long vistas across the site, not fiddle mounding or small structures interrupting the scale.”
Two returning loops of nine provide constant changes in direction, with some adjacent holes having connected fairways. Water comes into play on three holes, including the par-five fifth and alongside the approach and green of the par-three fifteenth. The development also includes practice greens and a driving range.
Construction began in 2018 and the course was originally set for an official opening in 2020. But with the pandemic limiting access to the site for personnel and supplies, the course is now scheduled to fully open in spring 2021. “I played most of the front nine a few weeks ago just before the travel restrictions were put in place and was thrilled with progress,” says Lobb. “The grow-in still has a little bit to go and the main purpose of my visit was to fine tune the bunker edges and mowing lines for full opening next year.”
The project has also seen the first Rain Bird IC System installed in Turkey. It was selected for its water efficiency as well as its diagnostic and control capabilities. Lobb said: “I have been fortunate enough to design and open four courses in Turkey over the past 20 years. On all projects Rain Bird was selected as the irrigation supplier. They bring a wealth of experience to the region and each individual project in Turkey. We have been working with many of the same people during this period which gives a consistency of performance across all projects."
Of the ongoing relationship between Lobb + Partners and Ozturk, Lobb says: “I think we are just getting better and better. Bravo to golf in Turkey for the future.”