Thailand’s Golf

Thailand’s Golf Mecca Tees Up Special Season

Hua Hin Offering Rounds for US$25 until October

HUA HIN, Thailand (Aug. 20, 2010) – What price golf in a place the former editor of Golf Magazine (USA) recently compared to a “Zen-like experience”?

Less than US$25, for those quick to tee it up.

Between now and Sept. 30, an 18-hole round at any of Hua Hin’s nine golf facilities – including Banyan Golf Club, which veteran golf journalist Jim Frank also praised in his May article for United Airlines’ in-flight magazine – is going for THB800 as part of the 9th Hua Hin / Cha-Am Golf Festival.

Sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the annual event lasts two months and gives golfers the opportunity to play some of the region’s best tracks at a rate comparable to a sleeve of Pro V1s.

“To put it in perspective, imagine playing another country’s top course – say, Pebble Beach, in the U.S. – for a quarter of the normal price,” said Stacey Walton, general manager of Banyan Golf Club. “The objective of the Golf Festival is to make golf accessible and affordable to the public and promote our destination. There are a lot of great Thai golfers who would otherwise be unable to pay our regular fees.”

To sweeten the deal, 40 of the area’s leading hotels – such as Banyan Resort, Holiday Inn Resort Regent Beach Cha-am, Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa, Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa and Veranda Resort & Spa – are offering rooms starting at THB1,900 (about US$60) per night.

“It’s one thing to save so much money on a green fee – to pay a similar discount on the room portion of a stay-and-play is something else again, and adds value to the golf experience in Hua Hin,” said Richard Mehr, general manager of Banyan Resort.

“It’s important to recognize, too, that we’re not discounting second-tier products. Our course at Banyan was voted ‘Best New Course in Asia-Pacific’ by Asian Golf Monthly readers in 2009, and these are 5-star hotel properties. Is there a better deal anywhere in Asia?”

Founded in 1909, Hua Hin became a popular retreat among Thai sovereigns 12 years later, when a railway station and hotel were erected to service elite train travellers between Bangkok and Singapore.

Today, Hua Hin is the full-time residence of the world’s longest serving monarch – His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej – and a haven for golfers, water sports mavens, spa goers and wine enthusiasts.