Author Archives: Thailand Golf Holiday

Thailand Professional Golf Update

Congratulations to the Thailand team that won the Fortis International Challenge at the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club, Malaysia two weeks ago. Thai hotshots Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng put on an outstanding exhibition of golf with a final round eight-under-par 64 to win this prestigious event. Thailand had a great start to the tournament by firing an 11-under-par 61 for the joint first round lead. The pair then produced a battling two-under-par 70 to take a one-stroke halfway lead...

Nick Faldo’s Thailand Golf Courses

Perhaps surprisingly, Nick Faldo’s contribution to golfing in Thailand is relatively sparse and, maybe like his career, somewhat controversial. So far he has been associated with only three golf courses in Thailand. Century Rayong , Banchang to the locals,  was designed by Faldo on a piece of property which makes every hole spectacular from the tee. Although not long on the score card, 6,048 off the white tees, the elevation changes add to the difficulty in club selection. You never seem to...

Nick Faldo In Thailand Golf

Previous postings in my series about some of the world’s best golf course architects who have designed some of Thailand’s golf courses featured fierce tournament rivals, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Peter Thomson. Today’s post and the next is about two other golfers who often competed head to head in majors and who subsequently built up successful golf course design businesses: Nick Faldo and Greg Norman. Turning 50 just last month, Nick Faldo is, unquestionably the greatest British golfer ...

Peter Thomson In Thailand: His Golf Courses

Peter Thomson is credited with 3 Thailand golf courses; Greenwood Golf in Pattaya,  Rayong Green Valley in Pattaya, and Royal Chiangmai Golf Resort. The golf course at Greenwood Golf & Resort (formerly Noble Place) in Pattaya is located among tree lined hills and this very scenic course with extensive fauna and landscaping. It is a thinking man’s, British style, course with many pot bunkers, fairway undulations and waste areas of ’native’ lemon grass which require particular skills to h...

Peter Thomson In Thailand Golf

Peter Thomson, five times British Open Champion from 1954-1965, three times Australian Open Champion and nine times the New Zealand Open Champion, has won a hundred tournaments worldwide, including the World Cup for Australia, twice. His record on the PGA Seniors Tour is scarcely less impressive; in 1985 he set the standard by winning nine tournaments out of a possible 27. Born in the working class suburb of Brunswick in Melbourne, Thomson began his professional career in 1949 and won his first ...

Arnold Palmer In Thailand Golf

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 ...

Robert Trent Jones Jr In Thailand: His Courses

Robert Trent Jones Jr has built golf courses around the world including the Rocky Mountains, French forests, Palm Springs desert, Russian parkland, Japanese hills, Australian coastlines, and former rice paddies and coconut plantations in Thailand. The four Thailand Trent Jones golf courses in Thailand are Navatanee Golf Course in Bangkok, Eastern Star Golf & Country Club in Pattaya, Green Valley Country Club in Bangkok, and Santiburi Golf Club in Chiang Rai. Here is some background  and...

Robert Trent Jones Jr. in Thailand Golf

My postings about Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus set me thinking. Many of Thailand’s over 260 golf courses have been designed by some of the world’s best and most famous golf course architects. Today I shall begin a 2 or 3 part series about Robert Trent "Bobby" Jones, Jr. influence on the Thailand golf scene. Robert Trent Jones Jr. was the international golf course architect that put golf in Thailand on the world map. Born in 1939 and the son of legendary golf course designer Robert Trent...

Thailand Golf Zone Goes To Mauritius

For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that I having been posting Thailand golf articles around 3 times a week for the past one and one half year. Well this past week , as you must have noticed, I was totally silent and I bet you wonder what happened to the Thailand Golf Zone and it’s author, me. Well last week and for the first time in years my family and I took a real vacation. Not one of those to visit family or a long weekend, but a real holiday. Not only that, it was a...

Jack Nicklaus’ Other Thailand Golf Courses

This is the final post about the great Jack Nicklaus golf courses in Thailand and covers the other, non-Mission Hills, courses. Legacy Golf Club (formerly Winsan and before that Natural Park Ramindra Golf Club) at over 7,000 yards is a tough course, heavily bunkered around most greens and with huge water hazards. The conditions are well kept and the golf course being located only around 30 minutes from town is a good choice for those in Bangkok wanting to play a top course and not travel too far...

Jack Nicklaus’ Real 3 Mission Hills Golf Courses

This is a follow up to the Jack Nicklaus designed Thailand golf courses post. I bet you thought Mission Hills was in China right? Well the 3 original Mission Hills golf courses are actually in Thailand, all being Nicklaus designs as well. It seems that the creator of the Mission Hills brand, the wealthy Thai businessman, Suraphan Ngamjitsuksri, commissioned Jack Nicklaus to build him 3 golf courses across Thailand. Then later on, together with other investors, they brought the concept to Shenz...

Jack Nicklaus in Thailand Golf

This posting is the latest in my series about the world’s golf course architects and their presence on the Thailand golf scene. Today, I feature Jack Nicklaus, probably the most prolific of the Thailand golf course top designers. The name Nicklaus has long been associated with greatness on a golf course: twenty major championships, electrifying finishes and the sheer will to win. Jack’s achievements are legendary. However, the name Nicklaus transcends his dominance as a player. Today, Nick...

Pete Dye in Thailand Golf

Here is the first in a series about famous golf course architects and their activities in Thailand. Pete Dye, through Dye Designs Inc., is associated with three golf courses in Thailand: Subhapruek Golf Club in Bangkok, Khao Kheow Country Club in Pattaya, and Thai Muang Beach Resort in Phuket. All three feature Pete Dye trademarks: tough par 4’s (especially the closing holes) where you need to hit straight, tricky par 3’s, the subtle use of water hazards and, of course, the railway sleepers (...

Thailand Golf Course Architects: A Series

Most people coming for a Thailand golf holiday are surprised by the golf course quality and list of the major golf architects who are represented at Thailand golf courses. In fact you can find golf courses built by Pete Dye, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Ronald Fream, Ron Garl, Schmidt-Curley, Peter Thomson, Desmond Muirhead, and the list just goes on as a who’s who of famous world-class golf course designers. Over the next few articles I will hi...

A Bangkok Golf Tournament Story

In a recent posting I referred to the perennial Thailand Golf Society, the Mainly Unquenchable Golf Society (MUGS). Today I want to go into more detail by recalling a story told to me by Niftee, one of their members who occasionally join its Wednesday afternoon outings. First some background. The MUGS “clubhouse” (actually a pub in the Silom area) is like the statuesque member’s only area in a long-established golf club: with leather seats, golfing prints, tournament trophies, and past champion...

Fairway Bunker Shots At Thailand Golf Courses

More times than I like to admit I find myself smack in the middle of the fairway bunkers found on many Thailand golf courses around 220 yards from the white tees.  Whether it is at Thai Country Club or the Chiang Mai Highlands, I have much practice from hitting these shots so I thought it would be good to share a few of my tips on the best way to play out of these fairway hazards. PGA professionals hit long irons out of these bunkers. But you’re probably not a PGA professional, and as...

Navatanee Golf Club, Bangkok Thailand

Navatanee Golf Club, a Bangkok Thailand Robert Trent Jones Jr. design, is located just inside the outer ring road making it one of the closest golf courses to the Bangkok city center, and my home! The course made headlines in 1975 when it hosted the Golf World Cup and put Thailand on the global golf map. Navatanee has it’s supporters as well as those who criticize this members only course. On the positive side Navatanee is, in my opinion, the best example of a Bermuda grass golf course in all ...

Rachakram Golf Club, Bangkok Thailand

Here is another golf course review by soon to be golf professional Greg Haney, now in the USA, but in the process of taking up residence in Thailand.  Ratchakram Golf Club, opened December 2006 is in the Bangsai area of Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok. Designed by the same Thai golfer who designed Phuket Country Club, I found the course to be a great layout offering a tremendous variety of memorable holes. I never did find out the types of grasses used, but nevertheless the fairways p...

A Phuket Golf Lesson

A golf pal of mine living in Phuket told me recently that, for the first time for many years, he needed a golf lesson. He plays off a steady handicap of fourteen but for some six or nine months now, usually when the pressure is on and he has a good score going, or when there is a tight finish to a match, he finds himself slicing badly. He then tries to correct the fault by bringing the club back inside, but ends up duck hooking. So, last week he called me to arrange a golf lesson with Steve Ha...

Happy Thai Mothers Day From Pattaya Thailand

Happy Birthday to Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand! August 12th is the birthday of H.M Queen Sirikit and a Thai public holiday. Lucky for golfers, since August 12th falls on a Sunday this year, the holiday is celebrated on Monday the 13th, this giving those who golf in Thailand a chance to get in an extra round of golf as the courses are less busy than normal due to the Thais visiting their families. This day is also known in Thailand as "Mothers Day" as Queen Sirikit is regarded as t...

Dragon Hills Golf, River Kwai Thailand

Dragon Hills Golf and Country Club is, in a nutshell, a true hidden gem.  The golf club is located in a remote part of Ratchaburi, Thailand, at the periphery of the Bangkok – Kanchanaburi – Hua Hin triangle, 1 ½ hours from Bangkok. The approach to the course is via secondary roads winding through remote, yet lush farmland and pineapple plantations. The golf course has been designed to make the most of the fabulous setting as the undulating fairways wind through and around 2,400...

Golf Phuket vs. Golf France

Yesterday at Phuket Country Club I golfed with a group of French golfers from Paris on a Phuket golf holiday. During the round, I asked them how golf in France compared with golf in Thailand. The first difference they mentioned was the locations and settings of golf courses. The courses in France tend to all be in beautiful surroundings. For example, there are no Thailand golf courses in the grounds of a 14th century chateau, although there are some with Buddhist shrines dotted around notably R...

Unique Thailand Golf Balls

In the past I described how you can save money by buying used golf balls at Thailand golf courses. So it got me thinking last week after loosing a few balls in the water at Thai Country Club if the new golf balls that I was using were really helping my game? Then, a friend drew my attention to four unique Thailand golf balls- well, five really if you include the one from Ted Hoz from the USA. Ted says that he has everything from a ball with the Lord’s Prayer written on it, to a ball advertising ...

Phuket Red Mountain Golf Club Review

Are you thinking about playing a new course this year on your Phuket golf holiday? Well my friend Dr. Glenn just returned from Phuket where he played at the Red Mountain Golf Club. Here are some of his comments. The Phuket Red Mountain Golf Club course layout is friendly for shorter to medium length hitters, but requires good control from the tees.  Long hitters from the tees that do not perfectly execute their drives will be in immediate trouble and will require many extra balls to complet...

Staying Behind The Thailand Golf Ball

The most difficult thing for the golfer on holiday in Thailand to do, in my opinion, is to stay behind the ball. What do I mean by this? Almost everyone I meet is so excited about playing a new golf course that they have a tendency to swing hard and get ahead of the ball with the body, promoting an over the top swing. This leads to slicing, shanking, and topping. It is particularly noticeable on the tee, where so many on a Thailand golf holiday try to kill the ball. Just yesterday, I golfed with...

Suwan Golf and Country Club Reloaded

Last week I and two other American semi-professional golfers had the good fortune to again play Suwan Golf Club. Here is an updated golf course review. Suwan is a two year old championship Bangkok golf course just west of town. It was designed by the Weeyos Group and although not a top designer name, this is a very well designed course. The par 72 course measures 7125 yards from the tips, 6721 from the blues, and 6378 from the white tees. It consists of beautiful rolling terrain, some doglegs a...

After Bangkok Golf Cheap Restaurant Guide

After a long day at a Bangkok golf course where is the best cheap restaurant to eat at? Excluding sidewalk restaurants (the topic for another post) here are four places that you should investigate after your next round of golf in Bangkok, all under $10 USD a head, including alcohol! 1. Steak Lao restaurant is on Chang Wattana in Ram Intra, 100 yards from the outer ring road exit. The restaurant is an ideal place to visit after golfing at Panya Indra Golf Club, Legacy Golf Club, Windsor Park or ...

Lakewood Golf Club, Bangkok Thailand

Here is a Bangkok golf course review from my friend Greg Haney, an American scratch (well almost!) golfer in Thailand. Greg has significant playing experience and will be writing for the Thailand Golf Zone from time to time.I think you will find his writing style interesting and informative. Greg likes to focus on the technical aspects of golf and as such provides unique insight into each golf course. Lakewood is a J. Michael Poellet (California based) designed course located at the 18km mark of...

Most Improved or Ruined Thailand Golf Course?

I golfed at Muang Kaew in Bangkok last week and after not playing there since last season I have to say that this is the most improved Thailand golf course by far while at the same time may also be ruined for good. How can that be? What is so good about Muang Kaew now? Someone, probably the course superintendent, is doing great work. The greens and surrounding areas are in near perfect condition. Adding to the already challenging design that was put into play in 2003 when Lee Schmidt and Brian C...

Happy Birthday Golf America From Bangkok!

Being an American golfer in Thailand I thought to devote this post to a good cause. First of all, to all golfers in the USA, Happy Independence Day! American golfers celebrate this day not only with a morning round of golf, but also with afternoon family outings like backyard barbecues, picnics, trips to the beach, summer concerts and hot dog eating competitions, and of course glamorous fireworks displays held in both major cities and rural towns alike.. Second for those American golfers servin...