14 February 2012 08:57
Bulgaria is the Manchester City of the golf travel world. From absolutely nowhere, they have become a serious player on the scene. Three years ago, the prospect of going on a golf break to Bulgaria was as likely as City challenging for the title. Now, both are very real possibilities. Both have required big investment too, and while the blue half of Manchester is reaping the rewards for spending millions on players in the transfer market, the Cape Kaliakra area of Bulgaria is benefi tting from having the foresight to get involved in golf.
The area, in the north east of the country and sitting right on the coast, is one of Europe’s premiere sport, leisure and holiday resorts and is now a haven for golf. It is a beautiful spot on the Black Sea, 500km East from Sofia.
It’s the third biggest Bulgarian port, and is now home to three terrific new courses: the links-style Lighthouse (opened September 2008), the exacting Black Sea Rama (opened in May 2008) and the star of the show – Thracian Cliffs. Because while the Lighthouse and Black Sea Rama – which won the ‘International Courses’ category of the 2009 Development of the Year Awards – are fi ne courses, Gary Player’s Thracian Cliffs has taken the quality of golf to a new level.
With seemingly endless sea views from across the magnifi cent bay from Cape Kaliakra to Cape Galata of the Black Sea, this truly is a special place.
The images on these pages tell the story better than words; this is seriously thrill-a-minute golf of a high enough quality to be immediately slotted straight in at No.65 in Golf World’s continental Europe Top 100.
It takes something superb to find yourself so high on the list in such a short space of time – Thracian was only open a matter of months when the rankings was compiled – but that is exactly what this Bulgarian venue is.
“Framed by rugged coastal cliffs and the vast blue of the Black Sea, the 18-hole Gary Player-designed Signature course at Thracian Cliffs is one of the most dramatic golf courses on earth,” says their website, and when Golf Escapes visited the course just prior to completion, we found absolutely nothing to disagree with that sentiment.
Thracian is laid out over 164 hectares of wild terrain with the course stretching 4.5km along the rugged coast.
Legendary South African Player, admittedly not always the most reserved of men with his opinions, insists Thracian Cliffs is twice as good as outstanding US Open host Pebble Beach…
But these images indicate to you that this is something very special and multiple tees on every hole allow players of all levels to be both challenged in their play and inspired by the incredible views.
This is a truly exhilarating golf experience and is set to become one of the stars of the European scene.