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Wansteadimp

Golf in Bulgaria

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I'm off to Balchik in Bulgaria for a 5 day golf trip next week. I understand there are three courses designed by Player and Woosnam and that one, Thracian Cliffs, has been mentioned in the same breath as Pebble Beach.

Whilst I'm not expecting that standard, does any one know how far below that standard it is?

Any other tips for golf in Bulgaria?

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Don't automatically assume that Thracian Cliffs will be a low-quality golf course.

Bulgaria is arguably the most stable of the Balkan nations - both socially and economically. Area has a strong agricultural sector, so the locals know how to grow things.

Gary Player has built quite a few golf courses, so I doubt he would go into a situation that wasn't likely to succeed.

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So golf in Bulgaria, not Pebble Beach good, but very good all the same.

Getting there - 3 1/2 hour flight from London to Varna, 30 minute transfer to Balchick. All 3 courses are 15 min transfer from there.

3 courses - Lighthouse (Woosnam designed), Thracian Cliffs & Blacksea Rama (Both Player designed).

Lighthouse & Blacksea Rama on top of the cliffs, Thracian Cliffs - half way up the cliff!

Lighthouse is a little bland visually - a links style but with some lakes, and the rough is a little patchy. The greens are amongst the best and slickest I've played. The least good of the 3.

Blacksea Rama - a similar "links" style to Lighthouse, much better visually, a tough test of golf that will reward if you play well.

Thracian Cliffs - on a plateau between the two parts of the cliff. A very very tough test - 14 of us lost 118 balls between us, tight driving with long carries. Only misses out on being truely exceptional because the greens were a little slow and dead - but not bad by any stretch of the imagination. Lots of undulations and long trips between holes - a buggy is a must. Consider the standard of golfer in your group, we played of the Golds and it was too hard for many of our 20 plus handicappers.

Visually you'll struggle to find any where better.

Thracian Cliffs costs €100 including a buggy, the other are cheaper. Food and drink in the club house came to about £10 per person. Evening meals were £25 for 2 courses and lots of wine/beer. Food quality not haute cuisine but much better than I had anticipated. A bottle of the local beer was £1.

Balchik has a summer season from late May to end of August, so was quiet in September. It won't be a riotous night out even in season, head to Golden Sands for that - 30/40 mins away.

The locals are very friendly and helpful, all speak English and the important signposts are in both Bulgarian and English.

Overall an excellent golf venue - unless you want the wild nightlife to go along with it.

I'll happily go again.

Photos of Thracian Cliffs

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Wow...the last course is stunning.

Thx for your report of exotic locales to hit the links....glad you had a great time.

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