Bulgaria (6): While a relatively new sport and hardly played by locals, Bulgaria golf courses range from best in the world to rather ordinary. The best Bulgarian golf courses by a long shot are Thracian Cliffs and BlackSeaRama, both of which are Gary Player Signature courses. If there were a few more courses in this category, then Bulgaria would score even higher.
Thailand (7): There are over 250 golf courses in Thailand, where golf is played by 600,000 locals and 700,000 visitors each year. Thai golf courses include well-known championship venues like Siam CC (2013 LPGA) and Suwan (2012 Thailand Open) and undiscovered tracks that are perfect for visitors like Riverdale and Red Mountain.
Bulgaria (6): Service in Bulgaria can be perfect, especially in the 5* resorts along the Black Sea. However, for inland destinations like Sofia, more of a big city can be expected. Overall though, the service in Bulgaria is better than Western Europe as golf tourists are well-liked and looked after.
Thailand (10): Thailand is all about service stemming from the fact that the Thai people are some of the kindest in the world. The only expression that visitors see while golfing in Thailand are the smiles on the faces of the Thai people they meet. It is no wonder Thailand is nicknamed the “Land of Smiles”.
Golfing Experience (25%)
Bulgaria (8): Golfing in Bulgaria during the warmer summer months is excellent. The weather is ideal and the combination with some of the nicest European beaches is hard to beat. January and February however is best avoided as the overall experience can be variable at best.
Thailand (10): The Thai Golf Experience is unique world over and hard to describe. Take my word for it and give it a try. You have not anything like it as everything is possible when golfing in Thailand.
Value For Money (20%)
Bulgaria (6): On the surface, Bulgaria is a relatively affordable European golf destination. However, food and beverages tend to be vacation killers as sky high prices are the norm. Some good Bulgaria golf tour operators selling all inclusive packages and can be found online.
Thailand (8): An overall Thailand golf vacation is quite affordable as hotels, transportation, entertainment, and food are all reasonably priced. Single green fees range from a Greta value for money at courses such as Chiang Mai Highlands and Suwan, to overly expensive at famous tracks like Blue Canyon in Phuket. To get the best deals buy a golf package from a local tour operator.
Overall Verdict (100%)
Bulgaria (6.2): Bulgaria was voted the 2012 best undiscovered golf destination. As more courses come online Bulgaria will continue to gain favor over more traditional European golf destinations.
Thailand (8.7): Thailand wins over Bulgaria due to the diversity of courses/destinations, service and overall golfing experience.
Stay tuned for the next world golf challenge to see how Thailand stacks up against other golf destinations. Let me know if you want to see your country included in my survey.