Chiang Mai (July 18, 2012) – If you are used to the frenetic pace of busy Bangkok, then you are definitely in for a treat when you arrive in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand.
The fifty minute flight from Bangkok is really over before you have had time to read the guide books.
Checking into the Anantara Chiang Mai, you are welcomed into the tranquility of Chiang Mai’s only five-star hotel actually located beside the Mae Ping River.
If you want something different then it’s hard to beat the scenery from your floor to ceiling sliding glass doors, where Traditional Thai life literally floats past your bedroom window in one of the Anantara’s eight-four guest rooms.
Close by you can explore the temples or take an elephant treks or check out the night bazaars five minutes by foot. But if it is a golf treat you are after, then temples can wait a bit.
Your friendly guide will drive you past rice fields, buffaloes and mountains on the short 40 minutes out of town, to your final golf destination, The Chiang Mai Highlands Golf Resort.
As soon as you arrive at the Highlands their helpful staff and smiling caddies literally take over, and you realize you are about to experience one of those special ‘Golf Wow‘ factors.
The course which is set in the foothills east of Chiang Mai was designed by a certain Mr Lee Schmidt. The front nine are utilising the flatter parts of the terrain, while the back nine climb upwards, cleverly using the contours and landscape to dramatic effect.
Opened late December 2005, the course features paspalum fairways and tiff eagle greens. The bunker styles are typical of a Schmidt-Curley design, deep and severely penalizing to the errant shots, but beautiful to the golfer’s eye especially early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
The greens are firm and fast but hold a well struck iron shot. Many greens slope away from the fairway putting more emphasis on strategy and local knowledge.
Their first hole, a 378 yard dog leg left, eases you into the course with a relatively wide fairway and a raised green surrounded by bunkers.
Hole Three is a long 550 yard par 5 with water running down the left hand side. Bunkers come into play at various places along the fairways so most of you will take three shots to get you within reach of the green.
Hole Eight a 387 par 4, has almost more bunkers than fairways, with even more huge craters surrounding the green. Can be an expensive experience!
The real fun however starts on the back nine when you start time climb into the mist covered mountains.
Memorable holes include 13, with an elevated tee offering a panoramic view of the course.
At hole 16 you are back battling the mountain, with a long par 4, with the fairway sloping down the valley on the right hand side of the green.
Their signature hole is left for last, the 531 yard hole number 18. Here you tee off into the unknown down a valley, with a stream running across the bottom of the dip, with an uphill third onto the raised green opposite the club house.
Overall the course certainly is worthy of the several golf magazine awards that have been bestowed on the club and definitely worth taking a few classic golf course pictures here!
After a breathtaking day on the course, let the magic of the Anantara cast its spell. Try a visit to their spa, for some pure holistic pampering, to easy away those golfers aches and pains. Or perhaps before the sun sets, take a dip in the hotel’s 34 metre swimming pool beside the river.
The Chedi is covered in candles as night sets in, and many head for the ‘Restaurant‘ where East –meets-West with as the hotel website states, ‘Contempory takes on the World.’ Italian, Indian even Korean dishes here are all mouthwatering.
With Chiang Mai often experiencing cooler weather, a visit to this region makes a welcome break from the hotter regions in the south.
Both the Chiang Mai Highlands Golf Resort and the AnantaraChiang Mai combine to give you much more than just a 5 star experience. Great golf in Chiang Mai, superb hospitality offered in a wonderful part of Thailand.
For more information, contact:
Pascal Orczech, Golfasian / Golf in a Kingdom, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2 714 8470