Turkish delight for Galloway golfers

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Dumfries & Galloway golf club pairings from Dalbeattie and Sanquhar are bidding to become national champions when they jet out to the sun for the final of the Belhaven Best Scottish Club Handicap Championship.

Dalbeattie duo James Henry and David McDowall and Sanquhar pair Ian MacFarlane and Stuart Biggar are among 40 club golfers from across Scotland who have booked dream spots for the showpiece final, staged at one of the European Tour’s most prestigious venues in Turkey.

It will be the first time Scottish Golf has staged one of its championships overseas, with the move part of the governing body’s ongoing campaign to provide exclusive benefits to its 222,000 member golfers.

Thanks to a ground-breaking new sponsorship deal that has boosted the nation’s most popular participation event, the luxurious Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort in Belek will host the 20 leading club pairings after they all battled through stiff competition from 280 other clubs in last August’s four Regional Finals.

They will all be flown out to Turkey early next month courtesy of Turkish Airlines, another new official partner for the event, where they will enjoy four nights’ accommodation, a practice day on Friday 5 February, before the weekend 36-hole final from 6 – 7 February.

The 5-star Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort is one of Turkey’s premier golfing destinations and will host the Turkish Airlines Open as part of the lucrative Final Series on the European Tour in November, while the venue also staged a Ladies European Tour event in 2015.

Dalbeattie’s James Henry said: “I’m really looking forward to playing golf in Turkey, the 2 courses that we are playing and the hotel look stunning. I have played golf abroad before but it will be different actually playing in a competition.

“Davie and myself aren’t even thinking about winning it, as getting to the finals is a pretty good achievement. The whole tournament is a great event and shows the benefits of being a member at your local club.”

Turkish Airlines General Manager for Edinburgh, Ahmet Serhat Sari, said: “With Turkish Airlines now having a permanent base in Edinburgh, we are delighted to be supporting this fantastic event and investing in the game in Scotland. One of our added benefits for golfers is that golf bags fly for free with Turkish Airlines, which is great news for golfers taking trips overseas with us.”

General Manager for the host venue, Hakan Duran, added: “The Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort is delighted to be involved in supporting Scottish Golf’s club members by hosting the championship’s first overseas Final. It’s an exciting time, with Regnum also hosting the Ladies European Tour in 2015 and we look forward to playing host to a key event on the European Tour’s Final Series schedule in November.”

The Belhaven Best Scottish Club Handicap Championship has been the country’s biggest participation event since its launch in 1999, with around 20,000 club members taking part in local qualifying each year. Belhaven Best has been Scottish Golf’s official partner since the inception of the event, making it one of the longest standing sponsorships in the domestic game.

Every club in Scotland was invited to host a qualifying event for golfers of all abilities during the spring and summer, with the top two players based on nett scores earning the chance to represent their club at the Regional Finals and secure a spot to Turkey.

Graham Baird, Sales Director for Belhaven, also welcomed the new final venue, and noted: “Golf clubs and golfers have been the foundation of Belhaven Best’s brand’s success and it’s fantastic to welcome Regnum, Turkish Airlines and GolfKings as new partners of the championship. Their support has helped us take the event to another level and reward clubs and golfers across Scotland.”

For more information on golf packages to Turkey, visit www.golfkings.co.uk, official travel partners of Scottish Golf.