Category Archives: Thailand Golf Courses and Playing Conditions

Summit Windmill Golf Club, Bangkok Thailand

Designed by Nick Faldo and opened in 1993, Summit Windmill Golf Club is one of the tougher tests of golf in Thailand with a back tee rating of 74.2, slope of 146 and measuring 6964 yards. The middle tees at a more modest 6211 yards have a rating of 70.2 but with a challenging slope of 132. Thus both mid handicappers and single digit players can challenge themselves by playing the appropriate tees. A unique concept in Faldo’s design is that most of the tee boxes for the back tees are set up on l...

How I Conquered Siam Country Club, Pattaya?

The story starts last week when I played the Siam Country Club, Plantation Course. Opened only 2 weeks earlier, this fabulous Schmidt-Curley design will set everyone who plays there back about 10 stokes off their handicap. It is easily the most difficult Pattaya golf course, surpassing both St. Andrews Golf Club and Pattana Golf Club for top honors. After fumbling around for the front nine I realized Lee Schmidt had only one design trick up his sleeve when he laid out this course; namely elevate...

Most Underrated Bangkok Golf Course

Bangsai Country Club is a sleeper course………one that does not make theThailand “A” list by most surveys. Opened in 1996 Bangsai Country Club is about 70 minutes north of the Bangkok, but is a trip well worth taking due to its very low cost and excellent layout. Upon entering the course one may sense that they will be playing a local municipal course in typically so so condition. However, a surprise is in store as it is a refreshing change from the typically flat Bangkok area golf courses and is s...

How Fast Are The Greens In Thailand?

To answer this question a brief review of green speed measuring systems is required. A stimpmeter is typically used to calibrate and compare green speeds from one golf course to the next.  Many Thai golfers are aware of the term but how many know the history of this green speed measuring tool and just how does it work? The original stimpmeter was developed in 1935 by Edward S. Stimpson an accomplished US amateur golfer. In the mid 1970’s the device was adapted by the USGA and became the st...

Presidential Golf In Bangkok

Since the US elections are just around the corner, or one would think given all the campaigning, I thought it appropriate timing to post this review of the President Golf Club in Bangkok. A Robert Trent Jones designed layout opened in 1993 and located on Suwintawongse Road (route 304) in Lumitoiting Nongjok consists of 36 holes with  water coming into play on three holes on the west and eight of nine holes on the east course. Although a bit far away from central Bangkok (48 km) this is one ...

Does Bangkok Really Have Royal Gems?

Yes! Bangkok’s Royal Gems Golf and Sports Club was designed by Gary Roger Baird based in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, a former protégé of Robert Trent Jones and offers a nice variety of holes surrounded by mature trees. The course is generally closed for non-member play, but some agents like my golf travel company can secure a limited number of tee times for visiting golfers in Bangkok. Last week I found the golf course in  excellent condition. Fairways were of good quality grass and c...

Walking vs. Riding While Golfing in Thailand

One of the great things about golfing in Thailand is that at most courses, you have a choice, unlike in other golf destinations. Many golf courses in Thailand are relatively flat, especially the Bangkok golf courses, but it is quite hot here so riding will require less energy in the heat and humidity. A golf cart or buggy will also provide a measure of shade protection from the intense sun and of course a breeze while moving. Speed of play may be improved here as one can get to their ball faster...

The Vintage Club Golf, Bangkok Thailand, January 2008

Here is a fresh review of one of the lesser known Bangkok golf courses. The Vintage Club was designed by Arthur Hills, a top designer from the state of Michigan, USA who has designed more than 180 courses worldwide and renovated or modified more than 120 others. Fairways are quite generous and provided a fair amount of roll on tee shots. They were just a bit dry, but not to the point of making any negative impact on play as they were still in fine condition as was the rest of the course. The ro...

In Thailand Golf Respect “The Elders” (Part 4 of 4)

Here is the final part of Respect “The Elders”: A British expatriate golfers favorite Thailand golf courses. Siam Country Club, Pattaya Set in the rolling hills behind Pattaya, this layout always gives me a lift. Being the first golf course in the area, of course the architect, I. Izumi, had the pick of prime locations and he did select well. The long driveway through the gentle hills past the reservoir and the sprawling mausoleum of the founding father builds the anticipation for a special day ...

In Thailand Golf Respect “The Elders” (Part 3 of 4)

Here is the third part of Respect “The Elders”: A British expatriate golfers favorite Thailand golf courses. Khao Cha-Ngok Golf & Country Club, Nakornnayok Having a home in Nakornnayok has provided the opportunity to play this golf course regularly. I was lucky. The course did not exist when we built the house. The only course in the area was the lovely Sarrika Golf Club which was closed and converted into a coffee plantation. I was devastated. Then came the cavalry to the rescue. Khao Cha-N...

In Thailand Golf Respect “The Elders” (Part 2 of 4)

Here is the second part of Respect “The Elders”: A British expatriate golfers’ favorite Thailand golf courses. Royal Hua Hin Golf ClubSo much has been written about this old beauty which retains the aura of an elegance of a bygone era in old Siam.. A Scottish railway engineer, A. E. Robins, obviously a keen golfer, laid the course in 1924 for the then King of Thailand, Rama VI, and his enthusiastic golfing partner Queen Rhamphaibarni. The basic layout, in the hills behind the old Hua Hin,...

In Thailand Golf Respect “The Elders” (Part 1 of 4)

In Thailand, younger people are brought up to respect their elders. This article, and the next few postings, present the views of a British golfer who arrived in Thailand in the mid- 70’s. He was already a single figure handicapper and understandably retains great affection and respect for the few golf courses which existed at that time. He explains which Thailand golf courses are his favorites, why he liked them then, and loves them still today. Unlike retired generals classic golf courses don’...

Hua Hin’s Best Golf Course Part 2 Of 2

Here is the continuation post on the best Hua Hin golf course, Black Mountain. It covers Chiang Rai based PGA teaching professional Graham Sampson’s favorite 3 holes. Each of the eighteen holes is unique and interesting. Three of the holes I found most memorable were 4, 6 & 15. Hole # 4 is a beautiful downhill par 4 measuring 432 yards from the black tees and 396 from the blue. The elevation drop is dramatic, requiring a precise tee shot that feels slightly ‘blind’ the first time you ...

Hua Hin’s Best Golf Course Part 1 Of 2

Here is a review of Hua Hin’s newest and best golf club by Chiag Rai Thailand based PGA golf teaching professional Graham Sampson The Black Mountain Golf Club, a new 18 hole championship course in the seaside town of Hua Hin, Thailand that opened for play July, 2007. It’s only a ten-minute drive from downtown and a must-play for all golf enthusiasts. The course stretches out to 7345 yards from the championship-caliber black tees to 6502 from the blue with course ratings of 75 & 72 res...

Phuket’s Hottest Golf Course

Here is a great write up by Phuket golf expert and long time Thailand resident Howard Gross. If you are in Phuket playing golf, you will undoubtedly play the Loch Palm Golf Course. It is one of the top three courses on the island. And you cannot just play Loch Palm without playing the new sister course Red Mountain which had a very soft opening in May of 2007. No fanfare, hoopla or special promotion, the opening was announced simply with a sign as you drove to the old club house, of Loch Palm, ...

The Ronald Fream Thailand Golf Courses

The 3 Thailand golf courses designed by Ronald Fream are Panya Indra Golf Club in Bangkok, Windsor Park Golf Club (formerly Panya Park Golf Club) also in Bangkok, and Mountain Shadow Golf Club (formerly Natural Hill Golf Club) near Pattaya. The Panya Indra Golf Club was developed by Fream in 1991 comprises three separate 9-hole championship courses, each with an individual design. It is the only one of the 3 original Panya Group golf courses that still bears the Panya name. The golf course ha...

Ronald Fream In Thailand Golf

Today’s posting about the Thailand golf courses that have been designed by the world’s best golf course architects features another lesser known name, Ronald Fream. But it is also about the rags-to-riches-to-rags tale of one of Thailand’s most prolific entrepreneurs, “Mr Panya” and the partnership between himself and Fream. Ronald Fream, the founder of Golfplan, began his golf course architecture career in 1966 with Robert Trent Jones. The Golfplan team has provided golf course architectural se...

Schmidt-Curley In Thailand Golf

Here is a company that re-designs golf courses in Thailand as well as developing their own creations. Schmidt-Curley Design, Inc. was founded by partners Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley. Brian Curley resides in the USA, while Mr. Schmidt calls Thailand his second home. Schmidt-Curley is a full service, international golf course architecture and master planning firm with more than 100 golf courses in 24 countries, including the U.S., China, Vietnam, Mexico, Egypt, Sweden, Korea and, of course, Thail...

Siam Country Club, Pattaya: Site Of Honda LPGA Thailand 2007

The new Siam Country Club in Pattaya, a par-72 that will play at 6,469 yards, will be showcased during the Honda LPGA Thailand, October 25-28.This will be the first professional golf tournament held at the Siam Country Club, Pattaya after renovations were completed in 2007. Siam Country Club, Pattaya, one of the best golf courses in Thailand, has been opened for more than 35 years and is the oldest golf course in Pattaya. It is situated among breathtaking views on an 800 rai land pl only 15 min...

Greg Norman In Thailand Golf

Thailand’s golf courses have been designed by some of the world’s best golf course architects including Greg Norman. Norman won The Open Championship twice, in 1986 and 1993, and also won The Players Championship in 1994, averaging less than 69 strokes per round. However, Norman may be regarded as an underachiever because of by his myriad near-misses in The Masters, the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship. Perhaps the most famous and embarrassing Norman meltdown of all occurred at The Masters i...

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...

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...