One of my prior posts about the world’s best golf course architects’ presence on the Thailand golf scene featured Jack Nicklaus. This post and the next are about two of his fiercest tournament rivals, Arnold Palmer and Peter Thomson.
Few names in the world of golf enjoy such widespread and instantaneous recognition as the name Arnold Palmer. This colorful character earned and maintains today the title “King of Golf”. His brilliant career in tournament golf – which includes the winning of virtually every major golf tournament in the United States and around the world, gave him the opportunity to create and expand a vast golf business enterprise. Today, he is among the leaders in the area of design and construction of outstanding golf courses. The Palmer Course Design Company has been involved in over 300 golf course projects including the USA, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Guam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Costa Rica, India and, of course, Thailand.
Palmer’s aim is to design the kind of courses that are requested by their clients, not one that just satisfies Palmer and his company, whether the course is private, resort, or public. All of their courses blend in naturally with the existing environment and they preserve the existing terrain and environment as much possible.
Sadly, Palmer has designed only one course in Thailand, Bangpoo Golf & Sports Club in Samut Prakan province just 30 minutes from Bangkok. The golf course is set near the Gulf of Thailand on land consisting of rolling terrain, mature trees, and large amounts of natural flowers. The seaside location provides a nice breeze to keep golfers cool even during the hottest of months. Wide fairways and large greens provide golf for the average player. Although located near the sea, Bangpoo Golf Club actually has fewer water hazards than most Bangkok courses. The golf course is not too difficult for the majority of players.
Bangpoo being one of the original courses in the Bangna Trat Bangkok golf alley and it is starting to show it’s age. The course is playable and the green fees are among the lowest of all Bangkok area golf courses. However, Bangpoo Golf Club is in need of a major renovation improve the quality of the greens and fairways. Let’s hope that in the coming seasons that the management at Bangpoo Golf Club makes the effort to bring the 18 holes back to the level at which Palmer meant for the golf course to be maintained at.