hole by hole
1. Par: 5
A straight away par 5 for openers. If you find the fairway, a decision must be made to either go for the green and negotiate the pearl cross bunkers or lay back and leave a wedge shot in. Unless your approach is accurate, your shot will be gathered by a bunker left or a run off to the right.
2. Par: 4
A slight dog leg from left to right requires ideally a fade from the tree. Fairway bunkers on the left must be avoided to leave a short approach to a slightly undulating green.
3. Par: 4
A slight dog leg this time to the left requires a straight tee shot between the large fairway bunker to the right and trees to the left. The green is protected in a similar way to the first with a bunker left and a runoff to the right. Be long at your peril!
4. Par: 3
The first of the par 3’s played from a slightly elevated tee requires an accurate longtime shot where the green design will punish a bailout to the right.
5. Par: 4
In my view the toughest hole on the hole requires a long tee shot played up the right hand side to allow a clear view of the largest green on the course. The green is not overly protected to allow for the length and difficulty in reaching it.
6. Par: 3
A beautiful hole that in older times would be called ‘a pitch hole.’ It is played over the water to a green flat in appearance but with some very subtle tiers.
7. Par: 4
The tee shot is framed by a stream flowing along the right hand side where many players may choose to play an iron or fairway wood to make sure of avoiding the stream that crosses the fairway. The green is classic in design with a strong tier running across it.
8. Par: 4
A slight dog leg to the right where the water in view gives an illusion that it is in play. The green is raised and runs distinctly from back to front ensuring an approach to a well defined surface.
9. Par: 5
The beautiful clubhouse is the line from the tee where only the big hitters can get home in two. Fairway bunkers must be avoided on both tee shot and lay up in order to approach a green slightly tilted from left to right.
10. Par: 4
A stream down the right and bunkers down the left frame the opening hole of the back 9. The large lake at the back of the green provides the beautiful backdrop to a green where distance control is difficult due to the water on the horizon.
11. Par: 4
A heavily wooded tree area to the right is a no go area where an accurate tee shot will set up an approach to a green designed around the lake and sloping from right to left.
12 Par: 3
A long par 3 requiring a driven approach chasing up the green. A run off area to the left will leave a tricky chip to a green that sits square on to the tee.
13. Par: 4
A shot par 4 where finding the fairway will be rewarded with an approach to a green designed on Krassi Guergov’s experience of a green he played at Augusta Country Club that is shaped like a saucer.
14. Par: 4
In my view every course should have a drivable par 4 and number 14 at St. Sofia is that hole. A generous fairway awaits a lay up but the real fun of the hole is to take on the green. A fade is the ideal shot here where you must miss left. However the green is designed in such a way that an up and down is not a formality.
15. Par: 3
A unique island green is the challenge on this hole. There are some elevation changes on the green and the front right pin position is designed to facilitate a hole-in-one.
16. Par: 5
Risk/reward is the question on the tee shot as the fairway sweeps to the left along the out-of-bounds. A brave tee shot will leave going for the green a formality whereas a conservative tee shot will mean laying up short of the water leaving a pitch to a raised green.
17. Par: 4
Fairway bunkers on both sides need to be negotiated before an approach to the green where the tier this time runs diagonally across the green.
18. Par: 4
The final hole is a long difficult par 4 where a stream runs along the right side before turning into a pond at the green. A drive up the left will be blocked out by the big tree. The green is large in size in order to receive an approach from quite a distance.
St. Sofia golf course was opened in 2004 and laid the foundation for building the golf community in Bulgaria. In 2009 a major decision was taken to re-design the course resulting in a closure of 18 months. In early May 2012 the eagerly awaited result was unveiled, designed by the famous Irish golfer Paul McGinley. The Capital City Sofia now has a golf course that sits proudly alongside other European Cities.
For the novice looking to make their first steps to play the game and those who have not yet accumulated enough skills to enjoy the challenges of the course, a golf academy is available with a driving range, training simulators, a training course with two holes, and video systems for computer analysis. The Academy is suitable for all – from absolute beginners to experienced golfers. The head teacher is a Professional Golfer supported by an experienced team.
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