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 cut appropriately to provide respectable roll on tee shots, quite rare in Thailand. The very large greens have a variety of moderate undulations and were running 9.2 on the stimpmeter, a very good speed for true rolling putts. I did find that like the sister course down the road, Suwan Golf Club, chip shots would roll well past the pin if no back spin was imparted on the shot so golfers should keep this in mind on approach shots. Despite this, the greens held full shots pretty well.
The course plays 6590 yards from the blue tees and is a bit on the short side for longer hitters. In fact only two par 4’s exceed 400 yards. However all par 5’s are at least over 500 yards with two measuring 543 yards. Long hitters playing the course for the first time would benefit from using 3 wood off the tee on several holes such as number 6, 11, 12, 14 and even the 18th a 543 yard par 5, due to outrunning the fairway and landing in a water hazard.
I found the sand to be a bit too deep and soft on a number of holes, both in fairway and green side bunkers making maintaining a stable lower body on sand shots difficult. The Bermuda grass rough though not high enabled balls to fall to the bottom rather than sitting up thus making shots from the rough more difficult than it would first appear. This same phenomena occurred at Navatanee Golf Club last time I played there.
Despite lack of hole maps at the tees, the direction of most holes was apparent except for a few of the par 4’s previously mentioned where too long of a drive could reach a water hazard. A map layout on the scorecard can provide some help in this regard.
All in all, my impression of the Royal Gems course improved as my game progressed, with the layout, mature scenic surroundings, very good fairway conditioning and excellent putting surfaces contributing to my positive assessment.
Next time you are in Bangkok give The Royal gems a try. It belongs in the same category as the other “A” courses such as Thai Country Club and Alpine. While also similarly priced on the high side, it is worth a go at least once, if nothing else for the variety and prestige of playing this premier private Bangkok golf club.