OKOL Lake Park, Bulgaria’s newest and largest golf and residential development, has announced the start of its first phase of construction.
The ground-breaking event took place at Gorni Okol village in Samokov on August 1.
Located 30km south east of Sofia and 25km from Borovets, Bulgaria’s largest ski resort, OKOL Lake Park is being built by Markan EOOD, a subsidiary of Markan Holding, the capital investor behind the resort.
OKOL has also partnered with several international companies, including AccorHotels, IMG and European Golf Design.
Valentin Kanazirev, CEO of Markan Holdings, commented: “We are very satisfied with the project development so far and confident in its future success. Our collaboration with the local authorities and international partners such as IMG, Accor and EGD, started years ago and has already proven to be very fruitful. We are excited to start this journey together with our team, partners and clients.”
The golf course is being designed by European Golf Design and managed by IMG, will be laid out among rolling hilltops and offer stunning panoramic views of the Iskar Reservoir and surrounding countryside. Capable of hosting major international tournaments, the course will be carefully developed and managed, ensuring that it has a positive impact on both the natural beauty and resources of the land, as well as the local communities that surround. OKOL will also be part of the IMG Prestige global network.
Robin Hiseman, architect of European Golf Design, said: ” In a developing golf market like Bulgaria, and in the specific example of a golf resort like OKOL Lake Park, we’ve sought to design a course that will encourage new players to try the game and to stick with it as they improve. We don’t want the course to be so difficult that novice golfers are discouraged and beaten up, but we also need to ensure that as they improve, they find that the strategic challenge of the course maintains their interest. There are layers to the design, which reveal themselves to the players in different ways depending on ability.
“OKOL is lightly bunkered off the tee, so the player will be able to keep the ball moving forward quite easily, but if you are chasing a par score, you’re going to find the green complexes technically challenging. There are several holes with no bunkers at all, because the natural features do the work for us. We’ve made sure there are plenty of different tees to choose from, and we trust golfers will seek out the ones best suited to their ability. They’ll enjoy it a lot more if they do.”
Phase 1 of construction works are expected to take two years, with the golf course, clubhouse, golf academy, and the five-star, 149-room Pullman Okol Golf Resort & Spa Hotel, with adjacent branded residences managed by Accor, scheduled to open in 2022.
Phase 1 also includes the Okol Linear Park and residential areas with holiday and family homes, including studios and lofts, terraced houses, stand-alone houses and lake-view villas. OKOL Lake Park’s first residents will be able to move into their new home in 2022.