Egypt (6): Golf in the Egypt is widespread, especially in the resort areas such as Taba and Sharm El-Sheikh. Additionally, the Gary Player course at Soma Bay Resort is a sure standout. A high concentration of golf courses can also be found are in and around Cairo with the 27-hole Katameya Heights leading the pack.
Thailand (7): Over 250 golf courses in Thailand are spread out across the country. The best courses include Thai Country Club in Bangkok, Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin, and Red Mountain in Phuket. Chiang Mai in the north also has some top courses including Chiang Mai Highlands.
Egypt (5): The golf courses in Egypt are generally self-serve with limited on-course service and no caddies. The resort courses attached to 5* beach resorts have better facilities, albeit Egyptian service is not the main reason why people travel to golf in Egypt.
Thailand (10): Golf in Thailand sets the standard for service. All Thai golf courses have caddies to assist visiting golfs in every task imaginable, except hitting the ball of course. Expect service excellence at all courses, whether the course itself is 5* or not.
Golfing Experience (25%)
Egypt (8): Many consider Egypt as one of the world’s most interesting golf destinations. Nowhere else in the world can one play golf in the shadows of the Great Pyramids or golf in the morning and then visit the mountain where Moses passed down the Ten Commandments in the afternoon. It hardly rains, so the weather is ideal for year round golf. In addition to site seeing, good shopping and excellent water sports round out the Egypt golfing experience.
Thailand (10): Golf in a Kingdom is all about the Thai golf experience. It is hard to explain in just a few words, but there must be some reason why 60% of the golf who visit Thailand regularly return each year.
Value For Money (20%)
Egypt (10): Only a few hours by airplane and served by many low cost carries Egypt is a very easy destination to reach from most European countries. Moreover, with recent security risks and associated drop in tourism, golfing in Egypt has never been so affordable. In fact, Egypt may currently be the lowest cost premium golf destination in the world!
Thailand (8): A Thailand golf vacation is affordable as resorts, entertainment, and food/drink are all reasonably priced. Green fees at the high end are around $180 US Dollars at Red Mountain in Phuket. However, many good courses can be played for half this amount or less. Travel during the summer months of July and August where costs can be lower than 50% of those the rest of the year.
Overall Verdict (100%)
Egypt (7.05): Egypt is an up-and-coming the golf destination. The main draw is the weather, scenery, and excellent value-for-money.
Thailand (8.70): Thailand wins over the Egypt due to its wide appeal over a larger range of criteria. I know many golfers who take one golf trip a year and make Thailand their annual destination of choice.
Stay tuned for the next world golf challenge to see how Thailand stacks up against other golf destinations. Let me know if you want to see your country included in my survey.