I am used to the frenetic pace of golf in Bangkok or golf in Pattaya, so whenever I head north get a real treat when I golf in Chiang Mai.
For the best Chiang Mai golf resort, I check into The Chedi Chiang Mai where I feel always welcome at Chiang Mai’s only five-star hotel located on the Mae Ping River. Close by, I explore the temples and check out the night bazaar, a mere five minute walk away.
For the best golf in Chiang Mai, I drive out of town past rice fields, buffaloes, and mountains to the Chiang Mai Highlands Golf Resort & Spa. As soon as I arrive at the Chiang Mai Highlands Golf Resort & Spa their helpful staff and smiling caddies literally take over to start my Thai golf day.
The 18-hole course is set in the foothills east of Chiang Mai. The front nine utilizes the flatter parts of the terrain, while the back nine plays up natural inclines, cleverly using the contours and landscape to dramatic effect. Opened in December 2005, the course features Paspalum fairways and Tiff-Eagle greens. The bunkers are deep and severely penalizing to errant shots, but beautiful to the golfer’s eye especially early in the morning and late in the afternoon. The greens are firm and fast but hold a well struck iron shot. Many greens slope away from the fairway putting more emphasis on strategy and local knowledge.
Their first hole, a 378 yard dog leg left, eases me into the course with a relatively wide fairway and a raised green surrounded by bunkers. Three is a long 550 yard par 5 with a stream running down the left- hand side. Bunkers come into play at various places along the fairways so most of you will take three shots to get within reach of the green. Eight, a 387 yard par 4, has almost more bunkers than fairways, with even more huge craters surrounding the green.
The real fun, however, starts on the back nine when I start to climb into the mist- covered mountains. Memorable holes include 13, with an elevated tee offering a panoramic view of the course. At 16, I am back battling the mountain, with a long par 4, with the fairway sloping down the valley on the right-hand side of the green. The signature hole is left for last, the 531 yard number 18. Here I tee off into the unknown down a valley, with a stream running across the bottom of the dip, with an uphill third onto the raised green opposite the club house.
Overall, the course certainly is worthy of the several golf magazine awards that have been bestowed on the club and definitely worth taking a few classic golf coursepictures here!
After a breathtaking day on the course, I let the magic of The Chedi Chiang Mai cast its spell. I always check-out a massage treatment at the spa and perhaps before the sun sets, take a dip in the hotel’s swimming pool beside the river.
With Chiang Mai often experiencing cooler weather than other Thailand golf destinations, a visit to this region makes a welcome break from the southern golf destinations of Phuket or Koh Samui. The combination of the Chiang Mai Highlands Golf Resort & Spa and The Chedi Chiang Mai gives Thailand golfers much more than just a holiday. It is 5-star experience that encompasses great golf, superb hospitality and service in a wonderful part of Thailand.