Tag: golf in thailand

Festivals Abound in Thailand

Festivals Abound in Thailand

There are amazing festivals held annually around the World, that most of us would definitely add to our list of must see events to see.

There is the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Rio Carnival in South America, the Notting hill Gate Carnival in London, to name a few.

Here in Thailand we are very fortunate as they have many festivals each year, and some are actually quite unusual.

If you are planning a golf vacation here in Thailand and want to bring the family, it is definitely worth checking out when the best festivals are taking place.

While you can enjoy some extra tee times on some of Asia’s best golf courses, the rest of the family will be busy enjoying many Thai traditions.

Here are a few of the more unusual events!

There is the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, an ancient royal rite held in Thailand to mark the traditional beginning of the rice-growing season. This year it is on Tuesday, 10 May 2011.

Loy Kratong is a major celebration in November when Thais pay respect to the goddess of the waters by floating candlelit offerings on any and all waterways around the kingdom.

North east Thailand's most popular – and certainly most visited festival – is the annual Surin Elephant Festival. This is always held, come what may, on the third Saturday of November. Whilst undoubtedly it has become a tourist and commercial spectacle, the festival is also a fascinating tribute to all things "elephant"!

In this very well patronised tribute to the Buddhist kingdom's best loved animal, over two hundred of the giant beasts are assembled to entertain and thrill the huge crowd, which gets larger year by tear. Few visitors are disappointed with what they see.

The island of Phuket’s has several of its own festivals and perhaps the most distinctive event is their Vegetarian Festival, held annually over 9 days in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar.

A colourful event, it celebrates the Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind.

One of my favourites however, is the quaint Thai festival in April called Songkran. This festival celebra Thailand-golf-festival tes the start of the Buddhist New Year as well as the end of the dry season.

Traditionally, Buddha images are bought out of their chapels and ritually washed. This ritual bathing has evolved in larger cities to out-and-out water warfare.

For three crazy days, Thais and foreigner’s alike splash around the streets in a friendly water fight. This is the time to wear your swimwear, and just get wet or just sit on the sidelines and soak up all the fun.

Songkran is now extremely popular with tourists, to the extent that the Tourism of Thailand now is heavily promoting Songkran as a great time to visit Thailand. This year the festival takes place on April 13th-15th across Thailand.

Playing golf in Thailand is a kind of festival of sorts as well. Although there are no specific dates, we all like to celebrate a great day on the golf course, and helped by your smiling caddie, I am sure you will not be disappointed.

You Are Never Too Old to Play a Competitive Game of Golf in Thailand

You Are Never Too Old to Play a Competitive Game of Golf in Thailand

For the majority of sports, age definitely does become a handicap.

For example it is highly unlikely that a 58 year old can easily have a fair chance of beating a 20 year old at tennis. The youngster will most likely run circles around the older guy.

Although an older player maybe able to score a great goal in soccer, he is most likely to run out of steam and will ask the manager to take him off after half an hour for a breather.

Whereas Golf is one of the sports that is truly a game for all ages.

Certainly with the handicap system in place, Granddad can really enjoy a fair competitive game with his 16 year old grandson.

Even on the professional circuit, the old guys are still up there winning trophies.

Look at Spain's Miguel Ángel Jiménez, the oldest player on the European Tour. At the age of 47years he is still a regular with the Ryder Cup squad, and won three tournaments last year.

Also 40 year old Dane Thomas Bjorn beat the World's number one and two Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, to win last week's Qatar Masters.

Tom Watson's round at the British Open is proof that the oldies are not out of it by any means.

In fact someone asked me last week if their 65 year old uncle was too old to take up the sport, now he was retired and living in Bangkok?

Bottom line is it is never too late to pick up a club, you just need to hook up with a friendly club professional who can quickly give you the basics.

Thailand Golf Recently two 50 year old mates of ours decided they were fed up with hearing another golf story, of how we had all birdied the 17th at Red Mountain (down an old disused mine shaft!) or how we had broken our best record at Thai Country Club's treacherous 18 holes.

So they both said they wanted to see what all the fuss was about and give golf a go too.

Being impatient they wanted to start straight away. However first we took them to the driving range for an hour's worth of practice at Bangkok's La Luk Ka Golf Club. Driving, irons, chipping and a bit of putting followed.

They then said they were up for a game, so they just both jumped into a buggie and drove over to the 10th hole on the club's East Course.

We had already explained to the caddies that they really were very green, and starting on the 10th green on a Tuesday afternoon, meant the course was fairly quiet and we would not be pressurised by other golfers following us.

Amazing both teed off and there balls went around 100 yards in the right direction and they were off on their new adventure.

We told them to use their tees on the fairways to help their driving, and they moved their balls away from any obstacles when needed. Also the caddies were very patient, and entered into the spirit, by sneakily moving their balls nearer to the pin on several greens.

Overall both new recruits did remarkably well and afterwards we had to sit there in the club's bar, listening to how they nearly shot a birdie at the 3rd hole. The boot was on the other shoe now, and so we had to put up with their boring golf stories now!

If you feel you want to get out and get some fresh air, then a walk around an 18 hole golf course is definitely great exercise, but it's also a lot more fun than running about in the gym.

Most clubs will have a friendly and patient club professional who will take you through all the shots.

Red Mountain 13 Golfasian the leading golf vacation specialists, now have several European pros who like to escape the chilly winters by flying over with their students for a week's worth of lessons. The only difference is that they can teach you by taking you to play on some of Thailand's wonderful courses, and you are playing in the sun.

Golf in Thailand is for locals, expats and tourists alike, so you don't have to be a member at most clubs.

If you want to just sneak out on your own to hit some balls on the back nine, then that's no problem. Maybe the caddie will give you a tip or two as well.

By playing golf you also get to see a bit of the wonderful countryside around Thailand, from seaside to mountain courses, it's got the lot. And let's not forget golf is also a great way to meet new friends.

So maybe now you are ready to take on your son, grandson and even your granddaughter too!

 

Mike Bridge   Editor Thai Golf News       Golf blog No 5   Feb 2011

Media Scrum at Royal Trophy Press Conference!

Media Scrum at Royal Trophy Press Conference!

Interest in the Royal Trophy is already extremely high, with over 250 journalists from Europe and Asia keen to get their pictures and stories, at yesterday’s press conference.

Although Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie OBE is here in Thailand, along with a host of top stars, the media’s attention was focused on super star Rio Ishikawa, the Japanese pin up boy.IMG_6826

In 2010 Rio made a World record closing round of 12 under par 58 and is returning to represent Asia at the Royal Trophy for a third successive time, and he is still only 19 years old.

Europe not to be out done, have invited their very own super kid, Italy’s Matteo Manassero. Matteo won his first European Tour title at just 17 years old, claiming the Castello Masters last October. He was also recently named European Tour’s Rookie of the Year 2010.

Latest team news is that Eduardo Molinari has had to pull out of the European Team due to injury and Fredrik Andersson Hed has flown in last night to take his place.

Peter Hanson, Thomas Bjorn, Johan Edfors, Matteo Manassero, Henrik Stenson, Pablo Martin and Rhys Davies make up the rest of Monty’s team.

Asia has ten of their players in Thailand to choose from, as Jeev Milka Singh is still recovering from a back injury. He told the media yesterday that he would eventually decide if he was fit to join the team after today’s pro am at Black Mountain Hua Hin.

Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, who is the only player to have taken part in every Royal Trophy match said’ He felt that the Hua Hin course was tougher than last year’s host Amatar Spring Golf Club, and that everyone will need to be aware of some of the greens.’

European team member Rhys Davies from Wales, who is known as the World’s Best Putter, maybe has an advantage, but everyone is predicting a very close fight to the finish on Sunday January 9th at Black Mountain Hua Hin.

The enormous media interest in this event is great for sponsors Tourist Authority of Thailand, as it is promoting golf in Thailand to the masses of fans around the World.