B is for buying a diver.The driver, the big dog, the big stick, whatever you want to call it, its one of the most important clubs in Thailand. The old saying “Drive for Show, Putt for Dough” is outdated and whilst it still carries some truth, if you can’t get off the tee and into the fairway when playing golf in Thailand then you’re going to be struggling just to make bogey or risk worse for that hole.
Think of your most skilled golfing friends. I bet most of them are good drivers. Unless you are a complete golf beginner, learn to hit the driver and you’ll find your scores go down. Thailand golf simply becomes a lot easier the longer and straighter you hit off the tee. All of those out of bounds and penalty strokes from going into the many water hazards in Thailand will be avoided. Also, the days of hitting a 3 wood off the tee are numbered as courses get longer and technology makes it easier for you to hit a driver.
When choosing a driver in, pick one that you like the look of, and try it out on the range. All-star golf complex (more like a supermarket) in the Pracha-U-Tid area of Bangkok is a good place to test clubs. It is located next to the Laos Embassy, off Ratchadapiske Road, and is a must visit for all Bangkok bound golf travelers. All of the golf equipment manufactures, like Callaway, Taylor Made, Titleist, Nike, and Ping, have shops at the All-Star range with a good assortment of the latest model demo clubs. Some drivers and driver setups just suit different players and the only way you can find out what ones suit you are by hitting them yourself. (Note: All Star also has 2 excellent restaurants, fantastic and cheap noodle and som-tum sellers, and even boast activities for non-golfers like spas, swimming pools, and karaoke rooms making it a good place for the Thai wife and whole family!)
One mistake a lot of Thai and expatriate golfers make, including myself, is to go out and buy whatever the latest winner on tour has used. Golf professionals play a different game than most of you and I. If you can’t test a club on the range, then go with the one that you like the look of. You’ll never play well with something that is not pleasing to your eye.
All of the major golf equipment name brands make drivers for all levels, and after choosing the head design, the next step is to decide on the shaft. Most golfers I see in Thailand use a shaft that’s too stiff for their swing speed. Stick with a medium flex unless you can hit more than 250 yards.
There’s nothing more enjoyable when playing golf in Thailand, whether here on a golf package or out for an single days green fee, than hitting a drive flush long and straight down the center of the fairway. Select the right driver for you, learn to hit that Big Dog, and you’ll improve your Thailand golf scores round after round!