Reviewers below use words like crazy, spectacular, breathtaking and quirky to describe the experience of playing at Thracian Cliffs and I’m not going to disagree with any of them as it’s all of that and more – it’s just a shame when I played here recently the weather was dull, overcast and drizzly, which didn’t exactly help show off the course at its very best.
As you leave the Biarritz green on the first hole and compare the top of the escarpment high to your left against the waters of the Black Sea down to your right, you might just wonder how on earth a golf course was ever built on such a narrow strip running between the two. It’s quite a sensational setting (a little like I experienced before at Old Head in Ireland) and at times this surreal location can be almost overpowering.
The opening eight holes are played closest to the water’s edge – highlighted by stunning back-to-back par threes at holes 5 and 6 – and they occupy the prime positions on the property. It’s an unrelenting visual treat from one hole to the next, concluding with a wonderful pair of short par fours at the far end of the course.
It’s perhaps only natural to feel the holes on the way back aren’t quite as stimulating because they’re routed a little bit further away from the shoreline but they are also played at a higher elevation, making the views along the coast even more far-reaching, if anything. The downhill 12th, played to an offset infinity green, followed by the heavily-bunkered 13th were probably the pick of the holes for me on the inward half.
I’d managed to whizz round the front nine on a buggy in 90 minutes on my own but then got caught up behind a series of 4-ball groups on the way home. Taking twice as much time to play the inward half didn’t exactly thrill me but it did afford the opportunity to team up with a couple of Finnish golfers who were happy to be on what was for them the best course they’d ever played.
I have it on good authority that the last two holes were meant to be played originally as holes 1 and 2 but the proposed clubhouse and associated accommodation units (presently empty buildings looming over the 16th green) were put on hold due to the global recession that bit shortly before the course opened.
The development of these half-empty premises would make for a far more satisfying finale at the current 16th, allowing the (relatively) lacklustre #17 and #18 to be played at the start. At the moment, finishing on these two holes left me feeling slightly deflated at the end of what had otherwise been a quite remarkable round of golf.
Date: May 08, 2019