Category: Phuket Golf

Let These Asian Golf Courses Be the Judge Off Your Skills

Let These Asian Golf Courses Be the Judge Off Your Skills

Blue Canyon Country Club, Phuket

Blue-canyon-phuket-golfAs the name suggests, Blue Canyon Country Club is built on the edge of the canyon. The club features two courses; both carefully blend in the natural surroundings to give the courses their unique character. A feature of the course is its tough and stubborn nature, surrounded by freshwater lakes and natural hazards accompanied by slick Bermuda Tiffdwarf greens. This Course is both a pleasure and grief blended in together. Challenging your wit and technique, this course is a joy to behold and after finishing a round, the sense of accomplishment is unparalleled. Definitely the highlight of the course the 17th par 3 hole that has famously troubled even the legendary Tiger Woods, so if you get to finish the course you will join the elite club.

Montgomerie Links, Danang City


Montgomerie-links-danang-nlVietnam’s Montgomerie Links
is a world-class, partially private and perhaps the swankiest course you’ll find around the Asian golfing circuits. With its close proximity to the country’s Central Coast and Da Nang International Airport, Montgomerie Links is ideally situated alongside the East Sea and the picturesque Marble Mountains. The view alone is worth a trip, and also provides a good outlet to regroup mentally as the course is a definite brain teaser for amateurs and Pro’s alike.  The 18-hole, golf course was designed by the renowned, Colin Montgomerie.

The Saujana Palm Course

Saujana-gc-palm-klAlso known by its nickname "The Cobra" and many have tried to doge its bite but, the golfers are the ones who keep biting the dust. The Saujana Palm golf course has had the privilege of hosting the last 13 Malaysian opens and is a mainstay of the Asian golfing circuit. With thick forestation on either side of the course, and the many fairways, water, and sand hazards in sizeable proportions, just getting to the green might prompt you to high five your caddie. Past winners of the Malaysian open include the former world number one, Fijian, Vijay Singh. The Cobra's with its oober fast putting surface is probably the hardest to putt on in the world, including those at Augusta. Only the best survive the course, others simply lie.

If you think the local courses around you don’t challenge you enough may want to consider an Asian golfing vacation to these tough and exotic courses. They will challenge you to improve every aspect of your game, and if you ever get frustrated with yourself, there is enough beauty around to calm yourself down so that you can conquer the course.

Does Phuket Need to Reconsider Its Golf Strategy?

Does Phuket Need to Reconsider Its Golf Strategy?

GreenPhuket Golf has always been a major attraction for tourists from all over the world who love to spend their time staying in first class resorts on this beautiful Thai island.

The same can be said for golf, and even the likes of Tiger Woods and Greg Norman have played here at the islands only true Championship course the famous Blue Canyon.

For such a small island, it is unusual to find such a wide variety of golf challenges, from seaside to mountain layouts, and all within a maximum of 45 minutes from your hotel.

The Phuket golf courses are: Phuket Country Club (27 holes); Blue Canyon (36 holes); Lock Palm (18 holes); Red Mountain (18 holes); Laguna Phuket Golf Club (18 holes); Mission Hills Phuket (18 holes); Phukana (nine holes, floodlit.).

The majority of these courses are in good condition and certainly they offer some great memorable holes, especially the 14th at Blue Canyon and the 17th at Red Mountain.

The problem is that most of the green fees are extremely high compared with similar standard courses in other parts of the country.

Here you could be looking at little change from Baht6, 000 once you have tipped your caddie at the end of the round.

Chanwut Hongyok the GM at the island’s busiest course Phuket Country Club has recently said in a local magazine that Phuket needs to start to look at its golf courses and to begin to be more competitive. He explained that it is now unlikely that there will be any new courses built ever again, as the land prices are just too expensive. Therefore he said the existing courses have to rethink how to fill more tee times.

I agree with him that things need to change otherwise the existing clubs will start to loose business.

That said, the Island is still home to one of my all time great golf experiences, Red Mountain, which is expensive, but delivers on all fronts. A great layout, well trained caddies, wonderful modern club house, top class clubs for hire and a certain magic.

Definitely worth booking through a golf travel operator here, and save on both green fees and hotels, then you can enjoy this part of the World’s golf paradise!

 

Why is Golf Different in Thailand?

Why is Golf Different in Thailand?

Thailand’s leading golf course designer and builder, Pirapon Nimatra, is responsible for designing and renovating numerous courses in Thailand.

Therefore who better to explain why playing golf here in Thailand different from the rest of the World?

‘First of all we have great weather and you can pretty much play golf all year around. Secondly the caddies do make the experience playing here just that much friendlier and fun,’ said Pirapon.

Saturday Play 116 ‘However from my perspective as a golf course designer, what makes Thailand different is the variety. For example you can play on a 100 year old course like Royal Hua Him, where the greens and bunkers have that old style, or you can go to the other end of the scale to Siam Country Club which is very modern looking with new grasses and flashy bunkers. ‘

‘Then of course you have the variety of locations from sea side courses in Phuket and Hua Hin to mountain courses in Chiang Mai, similar to what you might play on in Hawaii. So the overall mix is what I think is special about playing in Thailand.’

Recently several international golf professionals found the greens were totally different at the Maybank Open in KL compared with the Masters at Augusta. How would you describe the actual playing surfaces here compared with US or European courses?

Pirapon explained,’ Well in America especially North of Florida you have cool season grass similar to Europe, where as we have warm season grass and they are two totally different animals. Warm season grass is a lot grainier, and it also grows a lot faster, but it also adds another dimension. When you are reading the putts here, you don’t just need to look at the slopes, but also which way the grass is actually growing. Also if it is hot and windy and depending on the time of day they could be playing to a difference of a foot on the stimp metre.’

Thailand has nearly 280 golf clubs. Is that a lot for the number of regular golfers?

‘Well they say that there are over 1 million players, but it is still good news for us golfers. There is a lot of competition to attract the players, so the rates are quite reasonable.’

You earlier mentioned caddies adding to the fun. As a golf course owner yourself, what do you think are some of the most important things the caddies need to know, especially as they meet lots of golf vacationers?

‘Well the caddies are expected to know our golf course and all the yardages, and as the grasses are likely to be a lot different from back home, so they can help by reading the lines too. Also it can be quite hot here sometimes, so one thing we train all our caddies is to keep your bosses cool! They will carry the umbrella and they also have little fans, so when you are waiting on the tee, they will keep you cool.’

They don’t do that at St Andrews in Scotland?

‘No they have a slightly different attitude, and they are not nearly as pretty too!’

Finally as a Thai based designer and builder of golf courses, what would you sum up is Thailand’s number one asset?

‘Apart from the huge variety, it is the people that make it so special. You are in touch with the caddies, the people at the club house and in the locker room, and it is their friendliness that brings back foreigners here to play golf again and again.’