Phuket - A Destination Review by Paul Wilson

Phuket – A Destination Review by Paul Wilson

Phuket - A Destination Review by Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson – Assistant Vice President Group Golf Director, Laguna Golf Phuket

Phuket is one of the world’s premier beach resort destinations – offering pristine beaches, national parks, shopping, entertainment, cultural experiences, sports activities and several superb golf courses. Thailand’s largest island, Phuket is blessed with beautiful nature, warm year-round temperatures and smiling Thai hospitality. The island’s long time popularity is still growing, with the newly expanded Phuket International Airport welcoming almost 10m international visitors and a further 4m domestic arrivals in 2019. This includes 120k flights per year (or 300 per day), from 50 different airlines and direct flights from over 70 cities.

I have lived and worked in the integrated destination of Laguna Phuket for 7 years. Situated on the exclusive central west coast of Phuket, 30 minutes from the airport, Laguna Phuket covers 1,000 acres of plush topical parkland, 3 km of pristine beachfront and includes 7 hotel resorts. Many golf visitors will choose a hotel in the Laguna Phuket area, as Phuket’s other golf courses are all within 30 minutes’ drive. I am often asked to recommend which golf courses our hotel guests should visit during their stay.

Conveniently situated at the heart of Laguna Phuket, the par 71 Laguna Golf Phuket provides the perfect beginning and ending to a golf trip. With excellent practice facilities, the golf course challenges golfers to navigate the strategically designed fairways and greens, whilst enjoying the stunning environment of scenic lagoons and mature woodland. Host to the 2009 Thailand Open and annual events on the All Thailand Golf Tour and PGA Tour China Series, the layout appeals to golfers of all levels. Under the world renowned Banyan Tree Group, Laguna Golf Phuket was voted Thailand’s Best Golf Course at the World Golf Awards 2019, and the nearby hotel Banyan Tree Phuket was voted Thailand’s Best Golf Hotel. The facility is known for excellent customer service and superb golf course maintenance throughout the year.

The most stunning golf course in Phuket is Red Mountain Golf Club. This spectacular golf course is a real favourite of mine, with the challenging 18 holes carved through dense jungle, undulating landscapes and naturally some red mountains! Almost every hole at Red Mountain is memorable and my personal highlight is the par 3 17th hole. The hole plays severely downhill and the golf ball seems to float in the air forever! This course is a “must play” to any avid golfers visiting Phuket.

The most famous golf course in Phuket is the 36 hole venue of Blue Canyon Country Club, renowned for hosting several major professional tour events in past years. Both the Canyon Course and Lakes Course provide fantastic playing experiences, with a combination of challenging and exciting holes. Whilst the Canyon Course is the famous course and has welcomed the like of Tiger Woods and Greg Norman, my personal favourite is the Lakes Course. The front nine offers challenging holes played around beautiful canyons, whereas the back nine presents some welcome opportunities to improve score. The final hole is packed full of character and this long par 4 requires an accurate tee shot, followed by a long carry over a deep canyon towards the undulating green!

The newest addition and most undiscovered golf course in the Phuket area is actually located 60 minutes north of the island onto the mainland. Katathong Golf Resort and Spa was opened in 2015 and is situated in a huge valley surrounded on all side by mountains and jungle. This superb golf course features a massive clubhouse, complete with hotel rooms, restaurants and spa. Amongst the several really inspiring holes, one of the most exciting comes at the par 3 10th hole, whereby golfers must play from close to the clubhouse terrace to an island green. This golf course is worth the extra travel time from Phuket and I’m sure Katathong will become a very well-known name in the future and a great addition to your Phuket golf holiday.