As originally published on www.tatnews.org
Destination diversity and the vast choice of golf courses located throughout the country are key factors attracting the large numbers of visitors coming to play golf in Thailand.
From the beach resorts in the south, to the mountainous surroundings in the north, or the bustling cities of Bangkok and Pattaya, there are golf courses to suit every preference. All are located in highly accessible areas with fast and convenient door-to-door transfers possible within several hours’ travel time. This provides visitors with a vast choice for planning a golf holiday.
Thailand — ‘Best Up and Coming Destination’ for Golf Vacations
With modern facilities, internationally designed golf courses, and an excellent infrastructure, the availability of golf has developed significantly in Thailand. This has been evidenced by the World Golf Travel Agents Association recently awarding Thailand the ‘Best up and coming destination’ for golf vacations.
Thailand has hosted world class golf tournaments attracting such players as Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, and Colin Montgomerie to name but a few. Such courses as Blue Canyon in Phuket have played host to international tournaments together with Thai Country Club and Alpine Golf Club in Bangkok during the last few years. Thai Country Club will in fact host the high profile Asian Volvo Masters for the next 3 years.
Following a brief slow down after the economic crisis in 1997, the development of new championship standard courses in Thailand continues at a phenomenal rate. To date there over 200 courses located throughout the country. This number is expected to grow to 250 as new golf courses currently under construction come on stream. This new investment being made in the golfing sector in Thailand will further enhance the facilities and courses available to visitors.
Most of the courses are designed with many water features and strategically positioned bunkers, ensuring the golfer has to apply good course management in order to score well. Below are some of the more famous courses that are popular with visiting tourists.
- Thai Country Club and Alpine Golf and Sports Club, Bangkok
Thai Country Club and Alpine Golf and Sports Club, both in Bangkok, are good examples of very challenging, well designed courses. Each are kept in immaculate condition and the greens are always kept at a good speed. Alpine in particular, provides very challenging putting with large sloping greens.Thai Country Club will host the Asian Tour’s season ending Volvo championships for the next 3 years, and has previously hosted the Honda Classic, of which world famous golfers Tiger Woods and Ernie Els played. When visiting, you can stand on the back of the dog leg 10th hole and visualize the tee shot that Tiger Woods hit when he drove this par 4 hole. In 2004, Alpine Golf and Sports Club hosted the Johnnie Walker Championship, a co-sanctioned event between the Asian and European golf tours. Although not an overly long course, it is a very demanding test of golf with the par 3s particularly difficult as they are long in length, with many bunkers around the well guarded greens awaiting errant tee shots.
- Blue Canyon Country Club, Phuket
In Phuket, Blue Canyon Country Club also hosted the Johnnie Walker Classic in 1994. There are now two 18 hole golf courses, the Canyon course, and the Lakes course, with the Canyon being the tougher. The signature hole is no 13, which demands a long tee shot over a canyon, followed by an uphill iron shot to the green. Just as you thought you had got through the worst of it, the next hole is an equally challenging par 3, nearly 200 yards downhill to an island green surrounded by water.
- Laem Chabang International Country Club and St Andrews 2000 Golf Club, Pattaya Laem Chabang International Country Club and St Andrews 2000 Golf Club are both located in the Pattaya area and each have relatively unique features.Laem Chabang, with 27 holes that were designed by Jack Nicklaus, bear all of his traditional hallmarks with very large fairway bunkers, numerous water hazards and left to right dogleg holes. The greens are very large and sloping in line with the terrain, ensuring maximum care must be taken whilst putting.
The truly unique feature about St Andrews 2000 is the two par 6 holes, measuring over 1700 yards between them off the back tees. Hole number 4 is certainly the most testing of the two, with a drive that requires a 200 yard carry over water, which then doglegs sharply right, when you have to hit over the same expanse of water, albeit in a slightly different direction. Once you have succeeded with your first 2 shots you are then left with a long, tight, well bunkered fairway before reaching the green.
There are many other excellent courses throughout Thailand.
Text Copyright Mark Siegel, Golfasian Co., Ltd.