Arriving in warm sunshine we made our way to the five-star Lighthouse Hotel.
A luxurious base camp surrounded by 3 excellent golf courses. Six rounds of golf lay ahead. Friendships were to be forged. Battles had to be fought. Bulgarian wines and putts needed to be sunk. But first, the lost ball sweep had to be made. How many balls would our adventurers lose on the battlegrounds of Bulgaria? Guesses ranged from 36 to 320! Oh dear.
Round 1 saw us play the excellent hotel course. We all Waltzed our way around its ballroom fairways. Those reliant on their G*rm*n for yardage could only get a distance to the first green in Istanbul. Tears were shed. Tantrums were seen. Handicaps were not adjusted. It was a taster for the excitement of round 2 at Thracian Cliffs. Were we afraid? We took courage from our Bulgarian Red.
Thracian Cliffs was as exciting and dangerous as we had been told. It accounted for 40 of our lost balls. For those of a vertiginous nature, the 6th hole with a tee on the edge of the cliff and a drive required to plummet 210 metres below onto a miniscule isthmus of a green induced catapedaphobia (the fear of falling over a cliff edge like a lemming). Still reeling, we then had to row out to the island green that was the 7th tee to make the 190 metres carry back to the mainland. Only the brave survived. The views were spectacular. The golf shots required were fearsome. Our adrenalin flowed. One man one woman to count in each team. What cruel heart had set this challenge? Where was The Golden Fleece?
Together we danced the night away led by our Lord of the Dance, Robin Hart, treating us to dance steps from a bye-gone era.
Round 3 was our Battle of the Sexes at Black Sea Rama Golf Course. This is a challenging and wonderfully attractive links like course. Its clubhouse overlooking the Black Sea is absolutely stunning. The men seemed to score better here but the ladies claimed victory. Nobody dare argue.
Each of the three golf courses was played twice. At Thracian Cliffs we were all allowed 6 courtesy shots for the Marital Sting competition. It was not enough. All credit to the Kennedy’s for their win that day. Carol’s 2 net 0 proved to be the lowest net score of the week. It was also the first sighting of the Mosers on that famous course. What a boost he gave to the lost ball count! We even discovered a new word for hunting for a ball that appeared (and usually was – ed) lost. Mosering. New rules for GSGB members introduced dropping zones and several R&A rules had to be waived by our rules supremo. Balls embedded in, or last seen disappearing over a cliff were a step too far however. The Thracian Cliff Eclectics were won by the now singularised Andrew Stock and she of the flowing golf swing, Christine Aphrodite Hinchcliffe. Congratulations go to both.
There were two non-golfing rest days, plus a visit to the local town of Balchik. Our final dinner evening was an excellent mix of wine, food, cabaret entertainment and even some Harryoke. We laughed, sang and danced with our newfound friends. Our winners were cheered and we were not too cruel on the losers. We forgave our rules supremo as we celebrated his 44th wedding anniversary to the divine Sue and for one night only, refused to blame our faulty G*rm*ns for our poor scores. On reflection, Bulgarian wine is a great leveller.
The tour was a great success and Thracian Cliffs will long live in our memories. Everyone in the group contributed, and the result was a happy and enthusiastic band of GSGB adventurers. Who cares if the golf was not of the highest standard? (I do – ed).
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