You can see the article as a slideshow here as well: Best Golf Courses in Thailand – Slideshow
Over the last couple of decades, golf has boomed in Thailand and it is not difficult to see why, golf courses in Thailand can cover every imaginably scenario and natural beauty that will allow the mind to wander as your stroll down the lush green fairways. Few holiday destinations offer such a wide variety of golf course design as Thailand.
In whichever region of Thailand, you decide to visit, although it is highly recommended to visit all regions if you are on a golfing tour, you will be left in awe of the spectacular golf courses on offer.
In this article, we are going to run through the 5 most outstanding courses, all with their own nuances and quirks.
The Black Mountain Golf Club – Hua Hin
Hua Hin, in the southern Thai province of Prachuap Khiri Khan is known worldwide for its white sandy beaches, restaurants and hotels. But Hua Hin offers yet more world class golf courses, yet one stands head and shoulders above the rest, Black Mountain. The Black Mountain Golf Club was designed with championship golf in mind and it is no surprise that it has hosted professional tournaments throughout its short history.
The course designer, Notlov & Edfors, have utilized the natural contours and creeks perfectly to present a course that fits perfectly into its surroundings, a natural wonder Black Mountain will delight you at every single turn.
Not a single hole stands out as weak, but one of the most intimidating holes in Thai golf must be the island green par 3 11th, select your club wisely and clear your mind before you play this shot.
Careful attention to bunkering has created a visual delight and the introduction of water hazards to protect the large greens is testament to the care and attention the design team took when planning the route of this golf course. Add to this the backdrop of the Black Mountains and you are left with a truly remarkable course that will not disappoint.
Black Mountain is one of the best golf courses in Hua Hin and among the most expensive courses to play, but the higher price is justifiable so dig down and get your money out to enjoy what is possibly the most visually stunning golf course in Thailand.
Thai Country Club – Bangkok
Just a short drive from the capital city of Thailand you will find the Thai Country Club, a wonderfully deceptive design by Denis Griffiths which encapsulates the spirit of Bangkok.
Host to the 1997 Honda Classic won by Tiger Woods the course is a championship golf course that, although not the most difficult in Thailand certainly provides a stern challenge for the majority of golfers.
The design here is delicate and unassuming, but don´t let that put you off, the quality of the course is superb and it is more than worth a visit when in Thailand. Water hazards, trees and bunkering offer protection to the fairways and the super smooth, almost impeccable greens. It is a strategist´s dream course, big hitting is rewarded but anything wayward will be punished and that is the delicacy of the design. Initially it seems a straightforward test, but it is anything but. Use your caddy wisely as they are some of the best trained caddies in Thailand and their knowledge of the course, especially the greens will be invaluable.
The clubhouse facilities are top notch, and with a well-stocked pro-shop there is nothing that you will be left wanting. Be warned, weekends are extremely busy so plan your game for midweek.
Chiang Mai Highlands Golf and Spa resort – Chiang Mai
On to a cooler region of Thailand, Chiang Mai a mountainous region to the north of Thailand that offers stunning views and a taste of Thai nature. As you drive to the wonderful Chiang Mai Highlands Golf and Spa resort you will witness some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. If you play in the early morning then it is a good idea to pack a sweater as the cooler mountain climate can leave a chill in the air well into mid-morning.
Designed by Lee Schmidt the Highlands Course is an award-winning masterpiece and has quickly established itself as one of the leading courses in Thailand.
From the 1st tee you get an impressive view of the mountain valley and a glimpse of this stunning course. The course is maintained to the very highest standard and the greens are quick and smooth, the course bunkering is a work of art, creating the perfect frame for many of the holes and add difficulty to this course.
Water hazards are in play on all but two of the holes, creating wonderfully shaped holes that sweep around the lakes and streams.
As you would expect the restaurant, clubhouse and practice facilities at Chiang Mai are superb. The restaurant offers a wonderful menu, whilst the pro-shop is well stocked.
A great experience and one that you should put on the rota when visiting Thailand.
Siam Country Club, Old Course – Pattaya
As one of the up and coming regions of Thailand, Pattaya on the east coast was once a quiet fishing village, which has now become a thriving beach resort and is quickly becoming increasingly popular with both tourist golfers and native golfers, generally businessmen and women that travel to Pattaya from Bangkok for a weekend break.
With over 20 courses to choose from and the vast amount of money being spent here, Pattaya is sure to quickly become one of the golfing hotspots of Thailand.
A course that was re-modeled in 2007 by Schmidt and Curley designs has become one of the most sought after tee times anywhere in Thailand. A private members club, this is definitely one for during the week, The Old Course at Siam Country Club easily ranks amongst the very best courses in Thailand.
A permanent venue to the LPGA Honda Classic the quality of the layout is without question.
The design of The Old Course is very traditional with large mature trees watching over the fairways, native plants and shrubs provide colourful backdrops and strategically placed water hazards create numerous problems for club members and visitors alike.
The greens are some of the best, if not the best you will find anywhere in Thailand and they are devilishly fast, the knowledge of the local caddies is more than welcome in your attempts to 2 putt the delightful greens.
But it is the finish at The Old Course that really brings this course to the top of the list, four holes that will make or break your round.
Finally, onto what many, and myself consider to be the best course in Thailand.
Red Mountain Golf Club, Phuket
Located in the Phuket region you will find one of the most sought after green fees anywhere in Thai Golf, in fact possible Asian golf.
Unfortunately, the world will never see this as a championship golf course due to its length, a mere 6314 meters and distances between holes, but oh boy what a golf course. Rarely does an architect create his best work with his first attempt but if John Morrow betters this design then it will be a truly unbelievable golf course.
A seemingly impossible place to build a golf course has been turned into a golfer’s paradise, almost heavenly in design Red Mountain sits between jungle clad hills and lakes that are a reminder of the sites previous use as a tin mine.
Fairways are narrow and protected by the jungle, so accuracy over brawn is the play for the day. The addition of bunkers, water hazards and natural rocky outcrops add amazing character to this delightful golf course.
Not a single poor hole mars this design, instead 18 holes that all vie for the best hole on the course.
Perhaps the most memorable, in my opinion is the par 3 17th. Teeing off from an elevated tee through the canopy of trees you must find the putting surface some 80 meters below. The hole is spectacular the views even more so.
The finishing hole is another truly magical experience. Downhill all the way a pinpoint accurate drive will set up a chance of getting home in two and finishing in style. Miss the fairway at any point and you will be punished, as you will on most holes at Red Mountain.
When finished take the opportunity to admire the natural beauty and wildlife from the clubhouse whilst you enjoy a well-earned cold drink.
It truly is an experience that you simply must try and I can assure you that it will be an experience that will last you a lifetime.
There are many other truly wonderful golf courses in Thailand, but the 5 that I mention in this article are the most memorable and all for different reasons.
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