Tag: golfasian

Thailand Golf, Off the Beaten Track – A Golf Group’s Tale

Thailand Golf, Off the Beaten Track – A Golf Group’s Tale

Gary with Golfasian MD Mark Siegel
Gary with Golfasian MD Mark Siegel

Hi, my name is Gary. I am an Australian, originally from New South Wales, but now very comfortably domiciled in Perth, Western Australia with a wife of 35 years marriage and two grown up kids!

I have played golf since my father stuck a golf club in my hands when I was about 10 years old. At 61 years old now, I guess you could say I have been a long-term golfer. I have been a member of private golf clubs since a junior, and a member of my current golf club, Melville Glades for the last 22 years. My current handicap is 4 … hard earned at my age! I also happen to be the President of the club and have been on the Club’s Board for the last 5 years.  Melville Glades is a parkland golf course in the Perth metropolitan area and will celebrate 50 years of operations in 2017. We have in excess of 1,100 members with member competitions every day of the week.  Oh, we also have a mob of around 200 kangaroos that live on the golf course which is a very special experience for our members and visitors.

I have been to Thailand around half a dozen times, and have played golf in Phuket, Pattaya, Bangkok and now Kanchanaburi. Thailand is renowned as the best and most enjoyable golf tourism experience in Asia, and the combination of well-conditioned courses, excellent caddy services and comfortable, luxurious Clubhouses, makes for a unique golfing experience for visiting Australian golfers.

Gary with Golfasian's Hua Hin Manager Ian Morgan at Black Mountain
Gary at Black Mountain with Golfasian’s Hua Hin Manager Ian Morgan 

My most recent golf tour included Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi and Hua Hin. We played 5 great golf courses, including Black Mountain, Thai Country Club and Grand Prix … all different with individual challenges. Royal Ratchaburi was a unique and most enjoyable golf experience playing in the countryside and through the mountains bordering Myanmar.

With golf tours in Asia, you need to consider the time of the year and the prevailing weather conditions. There are obviously peak season times where prices increase, however I like to schedule my tours around the “shoulder” seasons where I can access some lower rates and then build some “value-add” into the tour price with things such as trophies, prizes, complimentary polo shirts etc.

My most recent tour had 22 guests and most were golfing couples. Being a 10-night golf tour, we only arranged a couple of team dinners … this allowed the guests to “do their own thing”! Some couples teamed up with others for dinner and drinks, and others went out for massages and shopping … things Thailand are famous for!

group-photoAll in all everyone thoroughly enjoyed the trip and would like to sample another Asian destination, perhaps Vietnam. Let’s see what Golfasian can do for us!!

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.

Wildlife, Scenery and Outstand Golf…Khao Yai Thailand

Wildlife, Scenery and Outstand Golf…Khao Yai Thailand

When considering a golf vacation in Thailand it would be fair to say that most of us are likely to end up going with the flow to head for the popular destinations namely Phuket, Hua Hin , Pattaya and Chiang Mai.

02_golf02 Naturally Bangkok has the largest selection of championship courses, so it is a great place to start your vacation. However one area which is gaining a lot of attention is Khao Yai., approximately 2 hours north of Bangkok.

Khao Yai National Park, approximately 2 hours north of Bangkok, is situated in the Sankambeng Mountain Range, the southern prolongation of the Dong Phaya Yen Mountains.

The park is the second largest in Thailand. It covers an area of 2,168 square kilometers, including evergreen forests and grasslands. Its altitude mostly ranges from 400 to 1000 m above sea level.

Khao Yai National Park has three main seasons, with an annual mean temperature of 23 degrees Celsius, though this varies greatly with the seasons.

Rainy Season Is from May to October. During this season most days have high rates of precipitation. The atmosphere is humid with average temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius during the day dropping to 13 degrees Celsius at night. Good waterfalls for travelers.

Cold season is from November to February, with clear skies, sunny and cool. The average temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius during the day and 10 degrees Celsius at night. Good time for hiking.

Hot Season Is from March to April. Humid with day temperatures of 20-30 degrees Celsius and 17 degrees Celsius at night.

Apart from the fabulous wildlife, this region is also the home to a number of first class golf courses, each one offering great golf, in spectacular scenery.

A brilliant setting for a coveted lifestyle, Toscana Valley Golf Club offers diverse range of recreational activities. The 18-holes Toscana Valley Golf Course at Khao Yai ascribes its handsome design to renowned golf course architect Bob McFarland.

Complimented by the stunning Khao Yai backdrop, the charming ambience resembles the environment of Toscana Valley, Italy.

Toscana Valley Golf Course was developed by the same team of experts responsible for creating world-class golf courses such as Green Valley Golf Course (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Rayong; Thailand), Windmill Country Club (Bangkok), Saint Andrews Hill 2000 (Rayong), Lotus Hill View Golf Club (China) and Guangzhou International Golf Course (China).

Apart from the golf Toscana offers equestrian facilities, where you can take advantage of professional instruction in horseback riding. For those who are already experienced, there is access to numerous riding paths through breathtaking Khao Yai scenery. If residents would prefer to casually stroll or have a vigorous walk, a vast network of hiking trails can be explored on foot.

Another club to recommend is Kiri Maya an exclusive 18-hole championship golf course – designed by Jack Nicklaus. It is set within natural surroundings with panoramic views of Khao Yai’s lush greenery and mountains. The course ranges from 4,875 yards (ladies) to an incredible 7,115 yards (tournament) and with its single-track layout, golfers feel as if they are the only ones on the entire course for a truly memorable golf experience.

Panorama Golf & Country Club is set amidst the meandering hills outside of Nakorn Ratchasima also in the Khao Yai area. This Thailand golf course offers some challenging play in simply striking natural surroundings. Although it offers relatively few hazards, this challenging, breezy course is nevertheless difficult, relying on the natural lay of the land rather than man-made obstacles. In addition to the immaculately maintained course, while playing Panorama G&CC only on two holes will you ever see another golfer on a different hole, 16 of the 18 holes has its own separate corridor of natural beauty and stunning scenery.

Most of the area does not cater for mass tourism so forget the 400 bed hotels. Check out http://www.golfasian.com/ and I am sure they will find you some wonderful small villa style hotels to stay in.

If you crave for something different, and are fed up with playing your golf back home next to a motorway or nearby a city centre, then please head for Khao Yai. You will not be disappointed.

Golf Comes With a Big Smile in Thailand

Golf Comes With a Big Smile in Thailand

Having played my short golfing time in the UK, the Middle East and now in Asia, I have to say there is a definite magic in the air when you tee off at a Thai golf course that is hard to find elsewhere.

IMG_6929 Perhaps our definition of what makes a great round of golf may slightly differ from continent to continent.

I have never experienced playing golf in Scotland and I am sure getting a good Scottish breakfast after a round at these historical courses must be awesome.

Also it is hard to beat the quality of the rock hard greens at most of the top UAE golf courses, and their club houses definitely offer everything for the pampered oil execs.

But as Thongchai Jaidee Asia’s golf super star has said, ‘What makes playing a round here in the Kingdom is the warmth and friendliness you receive by everyone from the taxi drivers to the locker room attendants.’

Certainly the smiles from the beautiful caddies can go a long way to making your round of golf in the Kingdom of Thailand an extremely pleasant experience. They know how to read the greens like a popular paperback novel, so you may with their help, break your record too!!!

This coupled with the huge variety of courses…280 in all across the country… makes taking a golf vacation in Thailand a true challenge for all levels.

Add the shopping, spas, cultural temples and palaces and the 5 star services in the hotels and restaurants and Thai golf vacations are hard to resist.

The Thai government is fully aware of the appeal its course hold, and they have created a number of excellent golf tours offered by a number of leading golf travel such as Golfasian.

You can play golf all year round even during the green season (rainy season) as the course have fantastic drainage systems so play is really delayed that long between showers.

If you like the links of Scotland or the seaside courses of Abu Dhabi, then don’t worry these types of courses and more can be found all across the kingdom… but the smile comes free.

I would like to play golf! What is the best way to learn fast?

I would like to play golf! What is the best way to learn fast?

Nobody is the same, but it’s like riding a bicycle, it looks hard to start with, but with practice and once you have grasped the principles, then it comes easier.

PICT3631 Whereas most sports can be played when you are younger, the beauty of golf is that a 15 year old can have a competitive game with a 50 year old. So any age can start to take up the game of Golf.

Here in Thailand clubs actually encourage beginners to play.

Apart from being a great sport for every one of both genders and all ages, you are always trying to improve your game.

So how do you get going?

In a recent survey by a number of golf professionals and golfers in Thailand, they were asked is there a fast and easy way to learn to play golf? Well I have selected a few of their replies….

‘I would highly recommend that once you have the basics down by learning with a pro, you spend some time on the golf course with the pro. I find it very frustrating when I cannot figure out what is going wrong on the course, especially when it seemed to be working just fine on the range. Someone knowledgeable can diagnose a problem quickly to allow you to try to correct it whereas fixing your own problems on the course can be next to impossible.’

 ‘I also suggest that you begin your learning from the smallest of shots and gradually increase the size of the shots and length of the club. Those who try to learn with a driver are about as likely to do it as if one were to try to learn juggling by using nitro glycerin. As the length of the shot increases body movements are added one at a time. Thus each new short game shot teaches more of the body actions. The elbows are trained after the hands, the shoulders movements are then added to the actions of the hands and elbows etc, until all of the body motions have been learned.’

 ‘There will always be room for improvement, and so once you are feeling comfortable with what you are doing, try to keep records of scores i.e. score card, and set yourself challenges each time you go out to play.’

‘I have been playing for 3 years and I've got every book, DVD, CD, all the gear and still got no idea ! All this stuff just mushes your brain up, information overload.
What has worked for me is a regular lesson each week, trust and practice what you have been taught and play at least once a week on the course with good players who have the patience to play with a starter. Ask a few friends to recommend a PGA pro and use him and stick with him. Don't keep changing instructors. Most of all have fun playing golf and don't take it too seriously. Just when you think you've mastered it, it all falls apart, that's why all the tour players still have coaches and keep changing their swing and equipment. It's a continuous learning process no short cut.’

‘Join a country club! There is a significant difference between daily fee golf and private clubs. My game improved 20 strokes in six months by playing regularly at a club. A private club is a liberating experience; you can play more often, in a more flexible playing environment, under better course conditions, with other like minded enthusiasts. You won't feel pressured to play 18 just because you paid a greens fee, so you can slip in an hour or so of play when your schedule permits. Only time for five holes? As long as you don't interrupt play, have a go at it! If a country club is not an alternative, try an annual membership at a daily fee course so you can play more often. You'll learn why golf often becomes one's passion!

‘The best way to learn to play golf and the best way to learn correctly is to learn the game from the green back to the tee. By this I mean be willing to learn how to putt, chip and pitch the ball, be willing to take the time necessary to gain control of the ball in these areas of the game. Why? Skills in golf are learned, earned and acquired. Learning the short shots using short swings greatly accelerates this process. Find a PGA professional who is willing to instruct you in this manner.’

‘Contrary to what most pundits will tell you, start at the hole and work your way back with the help of a willing teacher. Get a good feel for putting first, then chipping and pitching, and move back to 100 yards, then all the way back to the tee. It's a target-based game that relies on accuracy. Starting by blasting balls on the range, like I did as a kid, will set you up for a long learning curve, fraught with frustration. Most strokes are taken within 100 yards. A good short game will build confidence, and the game is a lot easier and more fun if you're confident.’

‘If you have never picked up a club before I would say go to a driving range borrow some clubs grab a bucket or two of balls and imagine you are ten years old and have some fun.’

Well there are few of their suggestions. OK from my point of view, too many lessons can feel like you are back at school. When I started to learn, I went out to a par three course such as the Bangkok Golf Club, with a mate who was also learning and we took just three clubs…an eight iron, a wedge and a putter….and just went around those nine holes for two months. Then we felt confident to hit the big time by venturing onto our first 18 holes. Just like riding a bike, just a bit more expensive. For a full list of golf courses across Thailand, why not check out Golfasian.

What Makes A Great Golf Vacation In Asia Even Better

What Makes A Great Golf Vacation In Asia Even Better

For a lucky few of us, vacations are taken several times a year. But for most of us we can only grab the odd week or maybe a fortnight away to play our golf.

Not everyone in the family is going to get excited, when you tell them you plan another family vacation, where you will travel miles to find your ultimate 18 holes.

OK I think we have found the answer to your predicament, the Kingdom of Smiles, namely Thailand.

Swinger I am positive it will not be hard to persuade you to experience Thailand’s marvellous Championship courses. However, first you need to let the rest of your tribe exactly what you have in store for them too.

Firstly there is the climate which is hard to resist, especially lying by the pool with a cocktail and you’re I Pod.

What female can resist a bit of retail therapy? Well if you include Bangkok in your itinerary, they can shop almost 24/7 and find local Thai designer ware at very reasonable rates. From swanky air conditioned shopping malls to the massive weekend markets they will be spoilt for choice and it won’t break your bank balance either!

If there are teenagers involved, I am sure a bit of river rafting, bungee jumping or checking out the DVD’s for sale at the night markets will keep them happy.

Through in the odd elephant trek, a visit to the floating market and add the fabulous Thai cuisine, and you will have a very satisfied family.

They will not even notice you quietly creeping out of your hotel suite at 7am with your golf bag, as they will all be exhausted and sleeping soundly.

Thailand is a golfing country and the sport is taken very seriously by the local tourist board, as they can see that overseas players are an important income earner for their hospitality industry. We golfers spend money and naturally they want you to spend your dollars here in Thailand.

Having said that, golf across Thailand is actually very reasonable, and according to a recent survey, their green fees are 29% lower than all other Asian and Middle East golf clubs.

Tour operators such as Golfasian, run a very well oiled operation, so you the golfer can just enjoy the game, while they look after getting you to the course and handling the payments.

Tour Operators are the life blood of most golf club’s income, as the will be able to fill a substantial number of tee times over a twelve month period. Hence you are likely to benefit from some good tee times and at very competitive rates too.

Many of Golfasian‘s staff are also crazy about golf themselves, and like you, they try to play as many courses around Thailand as possible. If you need to know where to play, bearing in mind your type of golf handicap, they can advise you.

If during your fortnights family holiday, you want fit in around 6-8 rounds of golf, don’t worry. I am sure the rest of the family will be too busy to even notice you’re away enjoying some first class golf on some great Thailand Championship courses.

Remember if you could do with some family bonding, you can always suggest that everyone goes to a Thai Spa. I am sure your back swing will improve after a deep tissue sports massage, and they rest of your brood should also enjoy their Thai massage as well.

Enjoy and happy golf vacation to you all!

Playing Golf in Thailand

Playing Golf in Thailand

We all like to experience playing a round of golf in a different part of the world, so if you are used to playing in the cold regions of Europe or the States, then you are in for a treat when you arrive here in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Greg1 Their tourist adverts promote Thailand as the Land of Smiles and they are very proud to promote vacations in their country, especially golf holidays. It’s not surprising as there are over 250 golf course scattered across the country.

You cannot beat playing a round in the tropical sun of Thailand, when back home the local club is two feet under snow!

Now according to the World Meteorological Organization, Bangkok is the world's hottest city, being located just 14 degrees north of the Equator, However Bangkok is sunny at any time of the year with temperatures over 30°C (86°F).

Thailand is a fairly large country so you can experience cooler weather in the north in places such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, while there are cool sea breezes on the islands such as Koi Samui or Phuket.

The most pleasant time for example to visit Bangkok is the cool season that lasts from November till February. It is both the coolest and driest period. Even the Emerald Buddha statue in Wat Phra Kaew even wears a scarf during this period! Don't think that's necessary though — daytime temperatures still hover around 30°C (86°F), but it does cool down into the lower 20s as it gets dark (lower 70s in Fahrenheit).

March and April represent the hot season, and hot it is — 35°C (95°F) on average, but don't be surprised to see temperatures rising into the 40s °C (around 100 °F+). So plan in a lot of air-conditioned shopping mall visits and get a hotel with a swimming pool.

Then there's the wet season that runs from May till October. Expect massive downpours resulting in floods all over the city, and spells of thunder at times. It's not all bad though — the afternoon showers are actually a pleasant way to cool down from the heat, and while they may last all day, usually they're over within an hour. Extreme rainfall happens in September and October, so these months are normally to be best avoided.

Your travel agent such as Golfasian will be happy to advise you on the best area to enjoy the favourable climate. Whatever season you're visiting, so long as you well prepared it is no big deal.

In fact many locals like to head for their favourite golf course for an early morning round. Therefore you may find that playing a round starting at around 13.00hrs will be fine. The course will be a lot quieter, and you can still play up to 18.00hrs in the cooler afternoon temperatures.

Dress lightly for the weather, as shorts are the norm on the golf course. But remember that even on cloudy days you can get sunburnt, so bring plenty of factor 30, plus mosquito repellent is also useful.

Once you have asked your travel agent to select your hotels and golf clubs, all you need to do is get ready to enjoy some of this Thai magic. Have a great golf vacation.

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