Category: Thailand Golf Playing Tips

5 THAILAND GOLF ETIQUETTE TIPS

5 THAILAND GOLF ETIQUETTE TIPS

Thailand Golfer When golfing in Thailand remember these 5 simple points of golf etiquette and everyone will be assured of a satisfying golf experience. The overriding principle is that consideration should be shown to others on Thailand golf courses at all times.
 
1. The Spirit of the Game in Thailand
Unlike many sports, golf in Thailand is played without the supervision of a referee. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other golfers in Thailand and to abide by the rules of golf. You should conduct yourself in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how you are shooting. This is the spirit of the game of golf in Phuket and all golf destinations in Thailand.

2. Safety for Golf in Thailand
When golfing in Thailand, you should ensure that no one is standing close by or in a position to be hit by the club when you make a stroke. You should not play until the players in front are out of range, especially at the best golf courses in Pattaya such as Siam Country Club.  If you hit a ball in a direction where there is a danger of hitting someone, immediately yell (not whisper) FORE, even when playing golf with Thai golfers who speak Thai.

3. Consideration for Other Golfers in Thailand
Always show consideration for other players on the Phuket golf course and do not disturb others play by moving, talking or making any unnecessary noise.  Thailand golf visitors should ensure that any electronic device taken onto the course does not distract other players. TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE ON THE COURSE!

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Stop Trusting Thailand Golf Course Superintendents

Stop Trusting Thailand Golf Course Superintendents

Golf Superintendant Be wary of Thailand golf course superintendents! They can cost you strokes.

Thai golf course designers create fair, but challenging courses. However, the Thai superintendents sometimes play tricks on you, especially with tee boxes. I have seen at least one and in most cases up to 50% of tee boxes on golf courses in Thailand be aligned to the out-of-bounds or hazard rather than the fairway.

Take for example the Canyon Course at Blue Canyon Country Club in Phuket. Look at where the tees point on hole 11, straight into the woods on the left side. Then take hole 14. Yes that is the par 3 that is in practically every advertisement about golf in Thailand. On that hole it is hard enough hitting onto the island green. Why does the course superintendent insist on placing the tee markers so that a straight shot will fly well left of the green and right into the lake?

This is not the only example. I was playing at Phoenix Golf Club in Pattaya last week and no sooner did my foursome get to the first tee of the Mountain Course then I found the tee markers aimed way to the right and into the fairway of the ninth hole. This was a poor start indeed.

There's nothing in the rules of golf that says course superintendents must help you. The way a superintendent mows the grass doesn't always give you a true aim down the course for example, so why should the tee markers? Take some time to study the hole before teeing off to assess the situation and select the true target line.

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3 Par Saving Chiang Mai Golf Tips

3 Par Saving Chiang Mai Golf Tips

Thailand Golf Practice Green
Jim just sent me these tips which outlined how he managed his score when golfing in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai a few weeks ago. I thought I better share them with you before I forget.

1. SHORT GAME – WHERE MOST SHOTS ARE TAKEN (AND WASTED)
Arrive 30 minutes early and head to the practice green. Then, practice chip and pitch shots before heading to the first tee. Chiang Mai Highlands has the best practice area in the area, so why not take advantage of it. Besides it is free and fun. Alpine Chiang Mai and Royal Chiang Mai Golf Club also have good short game practice areas. 

You will find both your short game improves on the golf courses in Asia, as the movements necessary to create good dynamics for ball contact in pitching/chipping will also carry through the whole round.  You will find your confidence building as you start to save more pars by sticking your wedges close – and that confidence will carry over to the approach shots because even if you miss you the green you will believe you can still save par. The vast majority of shots, and the vast majority of wasted shots, occurs within 100 yards of the green!

2. PUTTING – SEE THE LINE

Many different approaches to putting have been successfully used throughout the history of golf, though the one thing all great putters have had in common is that they setup with their eyes along the line of play (they can be over the ball or behind the ball).  If you are looking at the line from an angle, your chances of hitting the ball on the correct line are greatly reduced even if you know where the correct line is.  An easy way to check is take your putting stance on the practice green, than hold your putter next to your eyes with just two fingers and let the putter dangle straight down – take note of where the shaft points.

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3 Thailand Golf Score Improvement Tips

3 Thailand Golf Score Improvement Tips

Thai Golf Course
Jim’s just back from golfing in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai and I just got back from watching the Thailand Open in Phuket.

While on his trip Jim came up with these 3 tips that worked for him and I can say after watching the pros in Phuket that the same basic concepts help them as well. Why not apply the tips to your game the next time when golfing in Thailand?  Here they are:

1. ON THE TEE – JUST PUT IT IN PLAY
The purpose of the tee shot is to put the ball in play.  When golfing in Thailand you aren’t going to make a birdie or par based on your tee shot, though you can easily eliminate the possibility by trying to rip a big one down into the narrow part of the fairway.  Be realistic about your abilities, how well you are playing on the particular day and how confident you feel.  Many amateurs on a Thailand golf holiday and playing at unfamiliar golf courses would hit more fairways and get into a lot less trouble by hitting 3 woods from the tee more often, and probably wouldn’t lose that much distance.  As I sometimes say; “The jungles and lakes around Thailand golf courses are full of big hitters”. 

2. KISS
Here I am not referring to KISS your caddie, (ed. although this might not also be a bad idea and I have seen several people try the tip this way), but “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”.  Try to work on eliminating unnecessary motion from your swing.  The more ‘dancing and jiving’ that occurs during your swing, the harder it is going to be to deliver the clubface squarely through impact. Ask your mate to video your swing. Many of today’s digital cameras, which practically all golf holidaymakers in Thailand carry around have a movie-capture option which is ideal for this purpose. You will be very surprised to see what is really going on, versus what you thought your swing looked like. 

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Tip To Stop Skulling When Golfing In Thailand

Tip To Stop Skulling When Golfing In Thailand

Thin_Golf_Shot
Hitting the ball thin, also known as skulling, is common among golfers in Thailand especially when hitting an approach shot from closely moved fringes or tight fairway lies. Thai golf courses with conditions and lies particularly prone to this are Siam Country Club, Plantation Course in Pattaya and Alpine Golf Resort in Chiang Mai.

Skulling an approach shot not only ruins your chances to get up-and-down, but adds strokes to your score as well. Instead of being on the green sizing up a short putt, you're usually over the green considering your next shot, or worse.

This is what I did to eliminate practically all of my thin shots when golfing in Thailand.

1. Relax before hitting, this is really important.
2. Swing my club back square to the target. I used to take the club inside and this one change added great consistency to my shots.
3. Hit down on the ball. Sometimes I even aim for the front half of the ball.

A poor backswing contributes to hitting a ball thin. Golfers in Thailand who I see skulling their shots usually swing the club too steeply into the ball, which results from taking the club back too far inside the target line. This forces the golfer to bend his or her left elbow in a “chicken-wing” position to get back down to the ball. As a result, the club reaches the bottom of it’s arc behind the ball and catches only the top of the ball on the upswing.

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Short Putts In Thailand Golf

Short Putts In Thailand Golf

Short_ptt_thailand
Here is another short putting tip.

When golfing in Thailand and I have a putt of ten feet or less (which is practically every hole), I make a slight change in the stance I use for longer putts.

I stand so that the ball which is off my left toe on all putts is an inch nearer my foot. I also choke down (up if you are American) on my putter about 1 additional inch so that my hands are slightly nearer to the head of the golf club.

Moving the ball in that inch changes the feeling I get about the kind of stroke needed to contact the ball squarely. My hands feel more in control. By this, I mean I get the feeling as I line myself up that I can hit the ball much more solidly and more decisively and that my stroke doesn't have to travel so far either going back or coming forward or have as much delicate timing to it.

It works that way for me no matter where I golf in Thailand. Last week golfing in Phuket I played the choppy greens at Mission Hills and the slicker putting surfaces at Blue Canyon, and Red Mountain. The technique worked just the same.

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Practice Your Short Putts In Thailand With Tennis Balls

Practice Your Short Putts In Thailand With Tennis Balls

Thailand Putt_1
Here is a drill that will sure to brand you as “insane” among your Thailand golf buddies. The funny thing is the laugh will be on them when you take their money on the golf courses because of all the short putts you make and the ones they do not.

Most missed short putts on the golf courses in Thailand are the result of anxiety or lack of confidence rather than mechanics.  Have you ever stared down your putt and felt that the hole appears small and remote?

 A simple yet effective way to overcome this and create confidence in your stroke is to practice putting with tennis balls. That is right, this is Thailand (TIT) and anything goes so keep an open mind and give this a try.

 Take two tennis balls and two golf balls to the practice putting green on your next round of golf in Hua Hin and start with the tennis balls.  Stand one putter length away from the hole and stroke the oversized balls toward the hole until you sink five in a row.  If you miss, start over.

After you've aced your fifth consecutive tennis ball, put the tennis balls aside and putt with the golf balls.  The golf ball will seem like a marble and the hole a bucket.  On the golf course in Phuket you will sink a lot more of those three and four footers, guaranteed!

2 Ways To Avoid Hitting Thin Shots In Thailand

2 Ways To Avoid Hitting Thin Shots In Thailand

John Daly
Hitting the ball thin, also known as topping the ball, is common among golfers on a Thailand golf tour. It happens allot when golfers do not practice much and then get here ready to tee it up after not playing for weeks, if not months.

It's so sad to see golfer’s top the ball when hitting their first approach shot on their first round at say Thai Country Club in Bangkok. Topping an approach shot not only ruins their approach, but adds strokes to their score as well. Instead of being on the green sizing up a putt, golfers on holiday in Thailand are way over the green considering their next shot, or worse.

There are two things I do to avoid topping the ball. They work for me all the time.

1. Relax before hitting. This helps practically everything as tension is the “devil” in my swing.
2. Swing your arms back wide and make a full shoulder turn with your back to the target at the top of your backswing.

If I have a poor backswing it almost always results in a bad ball strike. A topped shot occurs when I swing the club too steeply into the ball, which results from taking the club back too abruptly in the backswing. This forces me to slide past the ball on the downswing, and requires me to swing the club straight down to make contact. As a result, I cast at the ball and only catch only the top of the ball.
The key to hitting a ball flush is making a full shoulder turn. I take a normal address position, and then a couple of deep breaths to relax. When I find myself rushing, it almost always results in a bad shot.
Also, I swing my arms back wide during my backswing. I make sure I turn my back to the target at the top of the swing, make a smooth transition, and turn completely through the swing. If I do all this, I'll make a more level strike at the ball and never top the ball.

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Driving Off The Deck When Golfing In Thailand

Driving Off The Deck When Golfing In Thailand

Driver_golf_shot_3No this is not about your car, but rather how to drive from the fairway when golfing in Thailand.

I do not see many Thailand golfers hitting a driver off the deck, but knowing how to sure helped my Australian golfer friend score well at the new Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin.

His shots flew low with plenty of distance, so it was advantageous when he had  ton of yardage to the long par-4 10th and miraculously using the same shot he reached the monster 11thth, a par 5 in two, setting up an eagle putt (he missed it and had to settle for birdie.). After I saw him do this feat two holes in a row, I thought I had to write about it for those of you who golf in Thailand.

Here is what  he did to hit his driver from the fairway.

1. Used an older driver, like an original Callaway Big Bertha, not one of those fancy 460cc models
2. Picked the ball off the ground, almost like a top

To me the key to making this shot was the ability to pick the ball off the ground. It looked like he was taking a sweeping pass at the ball instead of the usual down-and-through motion. He mentioned that he practices this shot by hitting golf balls off the cart path; without hitting the pavement?? I guess that is why he is so confident hit driver off the fairway when he plays golf in Thailand.

Maybe you won’t use this shot too often, but when you pull off the shot correctly it can be an aggressive play that saves strokes, especially when playing a long par-4 or par-5. Anyway, it’s a good trick to impress your friends on your next Thailand golf trip. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

Stress-Free Thailand Golf Cuts Strokes!

Stress-Free Thailand Golf Cuts Strokes!

GolfthailanddriverDid you ever notice that right after you or your mate has that first sip of Singha on the golf course in Thailand that drives fly longer and straighter? Why is this almost always the case? The simple answer is stress, or lack thereof.

Stress on the Thailand golf course is an insidious golf "disease". Tension starts in your hands and creeps into every muscle in your body. It breaks your golf swing and it strips it of power and accuracy. When tension gets into your address position, it generates mistakes like the dreaded pull hook (which is actually the same root cause as a high slice). Eliminate tension from your body and you eliminate strokes from your score when golfing in Thailand. That is why Singha works!

On the other hand have one too many, and this will not only relieve tension, but also leave you drunk, and if not worse, dehydrated. So what is the best stress-relief solution when golfing in Thailand?

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Putting When Golfing In Thailand

Putting When Golfing In Thailand

Thailand_golf_puttingI have spent a lot of time watching golfers putt when golfing in Thailand. I have seen some excellent golfers putt with one hand, and I have seen some terrible golfers putt with the smoothest stroke you can imagine. Now, I have some definite ideas on putting in Thailand based on what I have seen and what works best for me.

Try the same grip as you use for all other shots, in other words what come natural and feels comfortable to you. Take a wide stance and set up with a firm tripod-like foundation. With a narrow stance, there’s a tendency to sway off the ball and this leads to inconsistency. A wider stance promotes balance.

The less you break your wrists, the fewer margins there are for error. Therefore, try to hit the putt rather than stroke it.  I know this is counter intuitive, but it works! Then, play the ball just slightly forward of center; an inch or two forward will do the trick.

Stand with your left elbow well out and riding very high. The right elbow is kept close in to the right side; in that position it restricts taking the putter back too far. Start the stroke by pushing the left elbow back. This movement of the elbow feels like an imaginary hand is pushing it back.

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Golf Glove Tip For Thailand

Golf Glove Tip For Thailand

Thailand_golf_gloveDoes your golf glove become slick when you golf in Thailand; sometimes causing your club to slip during your swing?

I know mine does and so do many golfers on holiday in Thailand. Short of carrying a series of golf gloves with you and changing to a new one each hole, which can be very expensive, what can you do?

I saw a golfer at Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin do this and thought to share the golf tip with you. It is a good tip for when you play golf in Thailand. Whether it be high over the jungle at Santiburi Samui Golf Club or on a lowlands course like Laguna Phuket Golf Club, if your hands in hot weather get sweaty and you find it hard to grip the club when you swing then here’s a simple solution.

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How I Score Well By Not Scoring

How I Score Well By Not Scoring

Vietnam_golf_scorecard_vietnamHere is an amazing Thailand golf statistic. My best five out of my last 20 Thailand golf scores were all when I shot over well my handicap on the front nine and stopped counting on the back nice. How can this be?

Here is what I found out.

Normally I track my score hole by hole, but have recently found this to be a recipe for disaster. I determined this to be the case by analyzing my scores and watching my golfing mate. 

At Thai Country Club last month my mate, a 2 handicapper, was not playing well. He got more and more discouraged as the day went on saying things like he wondered why even he came to the golf course that day and blaming his poor shot making on his regular caddie of all people. Needless to say by days end his score mounted to well over 80. I realized he set a specific target score for himself and he got more and more discouraged once he passed that target. Lesson #1.

Then, on another day the same friend and I were playing as a four ball with 2 Japanese golfers at Lakewood Country Club, a very easy Bangkok golf course. My mate was playing well and on track to hit his target score, but blew up and got really upset after one bad putt. This turned his good round into a bad one and it took the fun out of playing golf for everyone around us, the Japanese golfers and all 4 caddies included.  Needless to say, I was really embarrassed to be this guy’s friend and would have even preferred he go his own way on that occasion. Lesson #2.

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Two Thailand Golf Chip Shots

Two Thailand Golf Chip Shots

Chip_shot_thailandLately my game has been pretty good, well at least I am consistently shooting my handicap. 

Then one day three weeks ago while playing the Faldo designed Summit Windmill golf course in Bangkok our golf professional advised me to analyze my shot statistics to find out what was going “right” with my game.

Two rounds later, (1) at Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok and (2) Siam Country Club in Pattaya, I found out what was the key to getting my Thailand golf scores down. You see I was getting to within 10-20 yards of 12-14 greens in regulation, which told me my long game was pretty good. Then I realized that getting up and down was the key to scoring well. Since my putting from within 5 feet or so was fine, it was those dreaded long ones that were limiting my score, and probably yours too.

Rather than work on sinking more 20 or 30 foot putts, a highly unlikely feat even for the golf pros, I decided to work on eliminating the long putts by mastering two shots around the greens: a low runner and a mid-to high flyer. Knowing how to hit these two approach shots got me to within 5 feet of the pin and saved me strokes. When putting, I find it’s always nice to have 3-4 foot ones instead of 10 plus footers needed to save par.

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How I Conquered Siam Country Club, Pattaya?

How I Conquered Siam Country Club, Pattaya?

Siam_country_club_pattayaThe 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 elevated crowned fast greens with shaved fringes. This design feature can be very frustrating when you hit an otherwise excellent approach shot into the green and wind up some 20 yards below the bole in a deep catchment area.

On the back nine I wised up and called into action my trusted Texas Wedge on every hole; even as far as 40 feet off the greens. This shot was popularized by Ben Hogan when Texas golf courses had a reputation for very hard fairways, and I used the same principle. When my approach shots stopped short of the greens, my putter was the better choice for the next shot because of shortness of the grass on the collar.

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How Fast Are The Greens In Thailand?

How Fast Are The Greens In Thailand?

Green_speedTo 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 standard for measuring green speeds. The official stimpmeter is a 3 foot long aluminum bar with a V channel. This V shaped groove supports the golf ball and allows the ball to roll down with a slight over spin, mimicking that of a normal putt.

The ball rolls down whenever the bar is raised so that there is no human hand interference affecting the speed of the ball as it begins rolling. The speeds of greens are measured in feet, so that a stimpmeter reading of 9.5 means the ball will roll 9 and ½ feet from the end of the stipmeter. If the reading is only 8.0, the ball will roll 1 ½ feet shorter, a significant difference as we all know from playing golf and a very simple process indeed!

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Extra Distance When Driving in Thailand

Extra Distance When Driving in Thailand

Alpha_driverNo this is not about road driving; it is about getting the most from your driver when playing golf in Thailand.

If you find yourself hitting it short off the tee you could either buy a new oversized high tech driver at one of the many golf proshops in Thailand or before you do this follow this tip to find the sweet spot on your current driver; you will be amazed at the improvement!

On a good drive, contact is made with the middle of the clubface about an inch off the ground.  But when you set up at address, the ball should be off the toe since the club head moves closer to you when you swing.  In other words, playing it off the toe insures you are the right distance from the ball to make center-face contact.

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Judging Distances In Thailand

Judging Distances In Thailand

Thailand_driving_rangeMy friend’s scoring on the golf courses in Thailand has been improving as of late, however his big concern nowadays is distance. To be honest he just doesn’t get it, he can spend days at the driving range in Bangkok, hitting buckets (actually trays) of balls and yet when he hits the golf course he loses it, coming up short or long of every green.

Here is what I figured out. Previously he was using the yardage signs at the driving range to gauge how far he can hit the ball with each of his clubs. But there are reasons not to trust those distances. First of all, those signs are probably measured to the tee area immediately in front of them, so if you are not directly in front of them, the distance is probably longer than you think. Second, the tees at grass driving ranges, like that at Thai Country Club, are moved forward or backward every day to allow the divots to repair, so that also affects the distance.

Another factor are the range balls themselves, which are probably inferior to the golf balls most people use, so the distance with a range ball is not the same as with “real” golf balls. By the way, if the range balls were as good as other balls, people would buy a bucket and take it home rather than waste them on the range, right? (Actually, I have thought of this long ago!)

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Useful Thailand Golf Expressions

Useful Thailand Golf Expressions

Thai_alphabet_at_golf_courseDo you want to be admired and respected by golf club staff, caddies and other local Thais on your Thailand golf vacation? Here’s a tip: learn a few words of Thai golf vocabulary!

Aside from hello and goodbye (sawadee), are you well? (sabai dee mai), and what is your name? (khun chue arai), good luck (chok dee) is a nice thing to say when you are leaving someone, or when having a drink and raising your glass to someone (like “Cheers!”).

Remember, though, to be polite by ending with krap if you are male (even if this grates on western ears), or kaa if you are female.

Thailand golfing terms include: golf course (sanam golf), go to play golf (bai len golf), wood (maai), iron (lek), left (sai), right (gwaa), straight (trong), uphill (tee lum), downhill (tee soong), and small or little (nid noi).

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Wedge Sets When Golfing In Thailand

Wedge Sets When Golfing In Thailand

2_golfers_in_thailandWedges are called the scoring clubs in Thailand for a reason. With a shorter shaft, more loft and shorter shot distances, golfers should be able to get the ball closer to the hole. In addition, wedges have more versatility than all other clubs as they can be used from tight lies, sand bunkers, and fluffy lies as well as for a variety of shots from full length pitch shots, to mid length and short chip shots, bump and run, soft sand bunker shots and hard sand shots.

In order to maximize ones scoring efforts, golfers should pay careful attention to the number of wedges they carry,  their lofts, and also to the degrees of bounce (angle at which the trailing edge of the club sits lower than the leading edge).

While golfing in Thailand this is important as golfers will encounter varied grasses (Bermuda, Zoysia, Paspalum, and Tifdwarf) as well as both dry and wet conditions depending on the season. With some courses like Blue Canyon, one should use higher loft wedges as the fairways are soft, sand fluffy and rough very severe. At Thai Country Club where fairways are harder and the rough easier to get through, one might want to consider lower loft wedges.

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Long Game Equipment When Golfing In Thailand

Long Game Equipment When Golfing In Thailand

Mizuno_thailand_ironsI notice from the groups which my Thailand golf vacation company hosts, that these days there is an ever-increasing choice of long game equipment. Nearly everyone has a different approach to their long game set-up, with varying combinations of fairway woods, utility clubs and long irons.

Even golf professionals use diverse equipment. Traditional long irons are now complemented by fairway metals in 13°, 15° and 18° options as well as utilities or hybrids (‘rescue woods’ or if you are golfing in Thailand  a “katoey”) in 17°, 19°, 21° and 24° loft. Each of these clubs offers a different trajectory and ball flight option to each player. So, in Thailand, what is the best option that gives you a playable trajectory for your game at preferred yardages?

The answer is that your ball flight, yardage, and courses you are playing will influence your choice of long game equipment. A number of factors come into play when changing your long game golf clubs.

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How I Improved Past Bogey Golf In Thailand?

How I Improved Past Bogey Golf In Thailand?

Thailand_pitch_golf_shotDuring the last 6 months golfing in Thailand, I’ve been hitting the ball better due to a lot of practice and some great golf tips from my friends, but until recently I still found myself stuck in the 92-95 range.

It seems like every time that I pitch from 5-20 yards off the green, say when playing at Thai Country Club, I end up leaving myself an 10 foot putt.  My short game (for example several 9 irons last month at Amata Springs) were fine, but I felt that if I could get the ball closer when pitching, that I’d probably have a better chance to break 90.   

Lately I learned a way to pitch more accurately and this has led to me breaking 90 on all but one of my last 5 rounds. Just a few weeks ago at Blue Canyon Golf Club I managed an 86, with 8 tap-ins for par saves. This is how I did it.

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Practice Or Luck: Good Golfing In Thailand

Practice Or Luck: Good Golfing In Thailand

Golf_rangeHow would you feel about shooting a net 69 on your first round golfing in Thailand? Well to score well, you either have to be very lucky or you have to practice prior to and during your Thailand golf holiday.  Everything being equal, practice is the only thing that can give you an opportunity for a great score.

With warm sunny weather in Thailand, some golfers might think anything beyond a 5 minute putting warm-up might be injurious, how incorrect. Can you imagine a professional golfer showing up at the course 5 minutes before his tee time? It just does not happen!

Do you know why the Korean women are so successful at golf? During the 1980’s the Korean government wanted to obtain world recognition in golf.  They selected young women that had golfing talent and sent them to the USA for training with top instructors. Practice was instituted as a full-time daily procedure. Now, Korea has produced world renowned lady golfers, many of whom now do their winter golf training in Thailand!

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Christmas Presents For Thailand Golfers

Christmas Presents For Thailand Golfers

Golf_club_coolerWith the Festive Season approaching at breakneck speed, like me, you may be in a state of panic as to what presents to buy. Here are six ideas for your Thailand golfing loved one:

1. For his/her next golfing holiday in Thailand, a new travel golf bag will be well received. One of the best I have seen recently is the OGIO Mammoth (US$330.00). This sturdy golf travel bag stands upright and glides effortlessly in transit thanks to four sturdy, swiveling wheels. The OGIO Mammoth has a wide mouth opening that unzips the full length of the bag. Once inserted, your golf bag stays securely in place.. There is a shoe pocket,  carry handle, hat pocket, plus four exterior pockets for rain gear or other last minute check-in items.

2. Very handy when you are golfing in Thailand on a hot day is the Golf Club Kooler Klub (US$49.99), the best way to discreetly carry beverages with you on the Thailand golf course. This high-tech cooler club holds 48oz of hold or cold beverages (enough to satisfy a thirsty foursome). It looks like an ordinary golf club, however just a few taps on the dispenser is all it takes it fill your glass or flask. The shaft of this Golf Club Kooler Klub fits easily into your bag takes ice cubes, carbonated beverages, or alcohol. Just do not tell the club officials, as outside drinks are frowned upon at most Thailand golf courses.

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How To Score Well Golfing In Thailand?

How To Score Well Golfing In Thailand?

Thailand_putting_green When golfing in Thailand it seems like everybody has different thoughts on how to begin a hole.  Many Thailand golfer holidaymakers put everything into their tee shot, practically ungluing themselves every time they tee off. Lady golfers in Bangkok worried about their slice, so they take a lot off of their tee shots and rely on their hybrids.

For the “so-called” professional golfers visiting Phuket, it is a heavy concentration on mechanics.  However, no matter which option you chose when golfing in Thailand, you end up with one shot to finish the hole – the lowly putt.

Why do most golfers in Thailand not look forward to putting?  Everyone knows the old expression, "Drive for show, putt for dough," so why has this not been learned?  Simply put, the putt is not sexy.

No one says "Wow!" when you make a routine putt, but 300-yard drives that is something.  What is your score at the end of the golf day based on?  Sure, you hit 18 tee shots and a fair number of irons, but unless you chip divinely, you are probably going to hit at least 18 putts on every golf Thailand golf course.

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Fairway Bunker Shots At Thailand Golf Courses

Fairway Bunker Shots At Thailand Golf Courses

Mission_hills_golf_phuket_thailandMore 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 you know neither am I. Hitting a long iron off grass is hard enough, never mind trying to hit one out of a soft Thailand sand bunker. Most Thailand golf travelers can do better hitting a 5-wood, but I have to make some minor adjustments to do it effectively.

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A Phuket Golf Lesson

A Phuket Golf Lesson

Thailand_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 Hamilton, the Asian PGA certified Teaching Professional at Golfasian. Fortunately, Steve was in Phuket at Phuket Country Club and Loch Palm Golf Club teaching two Singapore golfers on a 5 day golf instruction and holiday package.

Steve asked my friend to hit a few balls whilst he watched his swing from various angles. The problem, only a minor fault, was immediately apparent to Steve. My friend was dropping his shoulder on his downswing. This, coupled with swinging too fast (something we all suffer from) resulted in slices and pull hooks.

Steve’s advice was equally simple: just keep the shoulders square and pointed at the target through the swing, and make sure that the body and arms move as one piece throughout the swing.

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Unique Thailand Golf Balls

Unique Thailand Golf Balls

Golf_balls_thailandIn 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 a brothel. Now there is a new Thai marketing idea for places like Annies, Emanuele or Poseidon, and probably best left for the subject of another post all together.

The four other unique Thailand golf balls are:

1. The Nike Juice ball which is frozen – resulting, it is claimed, in up to an extra 10 yards on to your drives. You ship the balls to Nike USA, Thailand is too hot for this procedure, where they go into a freezer at minus 300° Celsius. The balls stay in the freezer for 72 hours before being brought back to room temperature. Nike says that this process changes the molecular structure of the ball, making it stronger and more durable. I want to try one on my next round at Alpine Golf Club.

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Staying Behind The Thailand Golf Ball

Staying Behind The Thailand Golf Ball

Golf_tee_shotThe 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 a group of South African golfers at Thai Country Club and one gentleman in my foursome, tried to hit the ball so hard on the first tee he practically fell over!

It is easy to learn how to stay behind the ball. Try teeing up the ball higher than usual. Most of the pro shops at Thailand golf courses sell extra long tees for about $1 US, so buy a pack on your way out to the first tee. When the ball is teed up this high, you must swing from the inside out in order to hit the ball at all solidly. In addressing a ball which is teed higher than usual, set the golf club head about three inches behind the ball and choke down an inch or so, as this will also help hit it squarely.

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“Z” Thailand Golf Tip

“Z” Thailand Golf Tip

Zeta_jones_golf_fashion Z is for looking like Ms. Zeta-Jones. What does Catherine have to do with Thailand golf tips? I not quite sure, but if you want to hit well and feel well when golfing in Thailand, why not also decide to look the part. Catherine Zeta-Jones always looks good on the golf course. 

If you’re golfing in Thailand, even at the cooler Chiang Mai golf courses like Highlands and Santiburi golf clubs you will most likely want to wear shorts. Many golfers follow the Zeta-Jones look and go with the tan shorts, light colored collared shirt, peds and golf shoes.

Nike has a wide range of golfing apparel for both ladies and men and collections can be found at major department stores like the Emporium and Siam Paragon. There are a also number of other fashionable brands that have come out with what are traditionally non-golf designs, Puma and J. Lindeberg being the most recognizable. US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy wears Puma, and European golfers Jesper Parnevik and Ian Poulter are most famous for their wacky golf fashions, both having a liking for pink pants. Both Puma and J. Lindeberg are sold in Thailand at the Siam Paragon in Bangkok.

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