Named by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators as the ‘Undiscovered Golf Destination of 2012’, Bulgaria looks set to be European golf’s next big tourism venue.
The sport is still very much in its infancy in the country, which sits in the south east of Europe to the north of Greece and Turkey. However, if the hype is anything to go by, then it has a hugely exciting future ahead of it.
At present, there are only a handful of courses in Bulgaria but, if ever there was a case for quality over quantity, this is it.
Thracian Cliffs, pictured, is without doubt the best-known development thanks to the fact it hosted this year’s Volvo World Matchplay Championship.
Geoff Ogilvy described it as ‘a stunning bit of land’, whilst Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter called it ‘amazing’.
The Gary Player-designed course’s stunning cliff-top setting has seen it dubbed the ‘Pebble Beach of Europe’ and the Black Sea resort was certainly popular with the players who took part in the tournament. Former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy described it as ‘a stunning bit of land’, whilst Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter called it ‘amazing’. Bear in mind that these guys have seen all of the great courses the world has to offer, so they don’t give out compliments lightly.
Thracian Cliffs is not Player’s only Bulgarian development. He is also the brains behind the BlackSeaRama layout, which is a links-style course just 50km from Varna, the largest city on the Black Sea coast where the majority of Bulgaria’s golf courses are to be found.
An exception to this rule is the Riu Pravets Golf & Spa Resort, situated on the banks of a lake and just 40 minutes east of the capital Sofia. Its course is a ‘must play’ for any golfer visiting this beautiful, rapidly-growing country.
Bulgaria might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of great golf destinations but, trust us, all that could change very quickly.
British Airways flies to Sofia from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen via Heathrow.
The currency in Bulgaria is the lev. Current exchange rate: 1 lev = £0.43.
NUMBER OF CLUBS
At present, there are only six courses in Bulgaria. Several more are in the pipeline.
Bulgaria is great good value for money. A round at Thracian Cliffs, for example, costs €88.