Golf in Southern Thailand During a Pandemic

Golf in Southern Thailand During a Pandemic

It has been two years since I used my golf travel cover and flew anywhere for a golf holiday, so when my family decided to return to Thailand through the Phuket Sandbox, I jumped at the chance to reunite with them and get in some much overdue golf.

Our first stop was the Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas. It was my first time at the property, despite using it previously for many Phuket golfers and corporate travel groups. There is so much to like about the resort, from the awesome villa designs, an abundance of F&B outlets, a one-kilometer resort jogging track, and a direct beachfront location.

Also, in northern Phuket, Blue Canyon and Mission Hills were just a stone’s throw down the road. I played both Canyon Course and Lakes Course at Blue Canyon between two professional golf tournaments. The courses were far better than the last time I played, though there is still work to get them back to their former glory levels. Speaking with the new owner, Khun Prapant, it’s good to see his long-term improvement commitment, and I am sure the Phuket resort will continue to improve.

Our second stop was Phang Nha province. While not previously a leading golf destination, it will be soon. The new Aquella Golf Country Club is a fantastic resort course that improves the former Thai Muang’s seaside design with new hole routing and bunkers accented by sleepers. The clubhouse is a massive upgrade on par with 5-star resorts. Service is first-class, amenities are abundant, and the restaurant serves some of the best Thai and International dishes in the province, with unique deserts from the on-site bakery. Anyone contemplating a Phuket golf holiday should either make the day trip to Aquella or, better yet, stay over a few nights in Khao Lak and play Aquella twice or mix it with the other area courses.

Traveling through Thailand’s south was easy. Just get a quick antigen Covid test and show your vaccine certificates, and you walk through airports and interprovincial checkpoints without delay. Besides being with family, playing a new golf course, and getting around so quickly, another surprise of the trip was the prices. Compared to 2019, green fees are 40% of pre-pandemic levels. I advise getting to Phuket as soon as possible and taking advantage of outstanding golf before green fees creep up.