Developing Golf in BulgariaTo be able to realise its potential it is vital that golf, and golf courses, in Bulgaria, are developed sensibly, and in a way that encourages golf participation by the resident population, and the wider European golf market.
So what does this mean in reality?
What it means is that there needs to be a mix of golf facilities that will encourage and develop the game of golf for the Bulgarian people, and progressively allow Bulgaria to develop as a golf tourism destination. Acknowledgment of this golf tourism potential has been recognised very recently with Bulgaria being awarded the Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year 2012 by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators [IAGTO] - an award that is deserved and welcomed, and a significant step in a very positive direction for the industry.
The type of facilities needed to meet these two separate criteria are not the same. In the 'ideal world' the relevant governmental authorities [ie sports and tourism] should co-operate with the golf associations and private businesses and, in conjunction with international specialists, determine a national strategy to develop the game of golf, and the business of golf in Bulgaria.
In terms of facilities it means that Bulgaria needs a number of low-cost, easy access, golf facilities that will encourage people to try golf. These should be developed in and around the main urban centres such as Sofia, Burgas, Varna, Plovdiv and others. Once these people realise how enjoyable the game is, they can progress to the larger golf facilities.
Golf tourists, who are generally more experienced players, require clusters of good quality courses. These do not have to be so-called championship courses, or courses designed and built by 'celebrity' designers. This group requires courses that will offer them enjoyment, value for money, and a worthwhile holiday experience.
So far the only golf cluster that exists in Bulgaria is in the Balchik area north of Varna, and as this only so far comprises 3 courses it is still not enough to fully satisfy the demands of the 'week-long' golf tourist. But at the other end of the spectrum, the supply of low-cost, easy access facilities is virtually non-existent.
This really needs to be addressed first, so that Bulgaria can generate a local demand that will sustain golf facilities on a year-round basis, and counter the fluctuations that can exist in golf tourism for a variety of reasons.
The map illustrates what RJGD considers to be appropriate locations for the development of golf facilities developed for the benefit of resident population, and areas that could be developed to provide 'clusters' of golf facilities that can attract international golf tourists.
Roger Jones Golf Design in BulgariaRoger Jones has been providing golf design and golf advisory services to golf developers and golf projects in Bulgaria since 2007. He has spoken at golf, leisure and tourism conferences in Bulgaria a number of times, and has built up a network of respected friends and associates in the industry, all of whom are professional, and keen to see the industry develop and grow. Roger Jones can be contacted at any time on all matters relating to the development of the golf industry in Bulgaria in general, or regarding a specific project - CLICK HERE to contact us now
Roger Jones Golf Design is the golf course architect and advisor for a 36-hole golf & leisure estate project, namely Diva Roza Country Estate, in the Yambol province of the country, and has advised a number of other clients on a variety of golf development, and other golf investment, and golf management and marketing issues.
For more information on the range of services available to clients in Bulgaria CLICK HERE
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