Step into the incredible unknown in Bulgaria

Courses and Travel

Chris Bertram assesses the unknown quantity of Bulgaria’s key golf area, Cape Kaliakra

BlackSeaRama Golf & Villas Resort

Another Gary Player design with Thracian Cliffs-esque thrills as well as a better technical test

Gary Player has designed two of the three courses in Cape Kaliakra yet because Thracian Cliffs was such an inevitably dramatic project, his work at BlackSeaRama has not received anything like as widespread exposure.

Yet some believe BlackSeaRama might be the best course in the area. Certainly, it sits on a more flexible site and there are less super-quirky holes as a result, yet still enough drama and visual kicks to get the juices flowing.

Black Sea Rama

“BlackSeaRama offers the very best of Gary Player’s style,“ said double major champion Angel Cabrera after playing it in 2010.

Named ‘Best new golf course in the world’ in 2009, it is located in the middle of the resorts, with Lighthouse on one side and Thracian on the other and as is a constant theme of the trip, you drink in idyllic views of the eponymous water from its idyllic clifftop setting.

Its 18 holes stretch over a mammoth 7,300 yards of the coastline and while the length may be intimidating, forward tees and wide fairways make it very playable for high handicappers. But if you want to open your shoulders and let rip from all the elevated back tees, you won’t be disappointed.

As is the case with all three of the courses here, the wind plays a significant factor given the lofty location, especially when you are on the edge of the bluffs.

Black Sea Rama

Then, when the course filters inland, water hazards – notably on the quartet of holes from the 5th – maintain the aesthetic appeal as well as the challenge.

Another lake appears on the 16th to make it a real card-wrecker and it is followed by a strong 17th (complete with infinity green) and a fabulous short 18th over the cliffs.

So, while BlackSeaRama perhaps lacks the consistently jaw-dropping appeal of Thracian Cliffs, it’s greater technical merit allied to still-impressive scenic allure mean it is a challenger for the title of a Top 100 course in Continental Europe.

Cape Kaliakra travel guide continues on the next page…

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