Bangkok – Golf Destination Review by Richard Clarke

Bangkok – a mesmerizing cocktail of flavors, sights, sounds and sublime golf!

Landing in at either Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) or Don Muang Airport (DMK) within thirty minutes you will be in downtown Bangkok, depending on traffic! On that journey though you get glimpses of the ornate shrines, dazzling temples, mammoth shopping malls and meander through the vibrant street life to your selected hotel into what is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon.

Golf!

Bangkok has over sixty golf courses and unlike Hua Hin and Pattaya transfer times are generally longer to the golf courses. This shouldn’t put you off! Many of these golf courses are world class and certainly worth the wait! Discuss your game in the VIP Van or your night out the previous night!

Most people often come into Bangkok for a short trip before transferring off to Hua Hin or Pattaya. So which are the famous golf courses should you play while you are here?

Alpine Golf & Sports Club, my personal favorite where Tiger Woods won The 2000 Johnnie Walker Classic and I lost about 2000 balls last week! Thai Country Club, a superb Denis Griffiths design that again has hosted a PGA win by Tiger! The Royal Gems Golf City, Asia’s first replica course combining the back 9 of Augusta National and front 9 of the most famous holes in the world from The Road Hole at St Andrews to the 17th at TPC Sawgrass.

Night Golf!

Before moving here, I hadn’t even heard of night golf and to be honest wasn’t really up for it. However, I now love it any would recommend anyone to get a game in while they are here because it is so different! Tee off around 6pm and avoid the heat and see the sunset! The course is shortened, Summit Windmill is a popular choice and one of the closest courses to town.

In terms of new courses being built in Bangkok there hasn’t been many of the past few years. Lakewood Links has opened which I am yet to try, seeing the pictures it looks impressive and has some funky island greens!

Free Days!

Ok maybe I am biased because I love this city but with floating markets, golden palaces, majestic porcelain spires and boat filled rivers you really have never seen a city like Bangkok! Visit Central Embassy or Emquartier for first-class shopping, then unwind in the garden enclosed compound of the famous Jim Thompson House. Take a boat from Saphan Taksin Pier up to Wat Arun temple, stop of in China Town, visit Wat Pho temple of the Reclining Buddha and if you have time take in Khao San Road!

Eating and drinking!

There is no shortage of eating and options in Bangkok! There is an abundance of World Class restaurants and bars, whether you are looking for a romantic spot overlooking the sites, Rooftop city bar or river dinner cruise. For me though you haven’t eaten Thai food until you have eaten on the street with a bowl of spicy noodles dripping in sweat and surrounded in a cloud of motorbike and car exhaust fumes! It’s an assault on your senses and one to try if you don’t need a fancy tablecloth.

New Courses Played!

Over the last few months I’ve tried to visit and play courses I have never been to.  Vintage Golf Club is the only Arthur Hills designed course in Thailand, great layout and impressive club house and if I was to join anywhere this could be the place. Panya Indra Golf Club for me is the ultimate Thai experience for playing golf! Fantastic food kiosks, two sets of caddies – Regular and ‘Pretty’ at an extra cost and noise on the course like I have never heard! It’s not uncommon to see a six ball here! So six players, six to ten caddies on each green, it’s like being on the PGA tour with so many eyes watching!

Why try it?

For any golf enthusiast you must come to Bangkok to experience and appreciate the true beauty of the golf courses here. Ok the weather can be intense at some points in the year but an early morning pick up and tee time and breeze blowing through the palm trees you can’t beat!

This is called the “Land of Smiles” for many reasons and there is no better way to experience it than coming and seeing it for yourself. Go on – give it a go!