Korea (7): Korea is a mountainous country with around 200 golf courses scattered from North to South. However the best golf courses are located on Cheju Island, sometimes called Korea’s Hawaii due to the year round temperate climate. My two favorite Korean golf courses are Nine Bridges and Sky 72, both of which have hosted numerous professional golf tournaments.
Thailand (7): There are many excellent golf courses in Thailand. Thai Country Club (site of Tiger Woods 1997 win) and Siam Country Club (home of the Honda LPGA) are two stand-outs. The best golf courses are all part of Golf In A Kingdom.
Korea (6): Golf in Korea is a long but smooth process. Tee-times and pace of play are strictly adhered to as most of the better courses are full from sunrise to sunset. A round of golf can include a break for lunch too, which is good if you like Korea food.
Thailand (10): Service on the golf course in Thailand is all about smiles. You meet friendly locals and caddies which are standard at all Thai golf courses. Try playing without a caddie after you get back from a Thailand golf holiday to really appreciate the Thai service!
Golfing Experience (25%)
Korea (6): Korea has a rich cultural heritage and a number of historic and religious festivals celebrated throughout the year. Travel at any of these times and you will have a truly memorable golf holiday.
Thailand (10): Thailand is a world-class tourist destination, not only for golfers. Its famous beaches, temples, and après golf nightlife insure a great overall golfing experience. Every golfer should experience golf in A Kingdom first hand.
Value For Money (20%)
Korea (4): Golf in Korea is very expensive. All but the poorest courses are booked months in advance as the golf season is short on the mainland and in high demand in the southern island of Jeju. You should budget to spend in excess of $200 at the best courses and a lot more if you want to try some nightlife afterwards.
Thailand (8): Golf is more than it used to be in Thailand. However, accommodations, transportation, dining, and entertainment are all affordable compared to other world-class destinations. Most golfers still find their overall golf trip costs to be lower than expected and an excellent value-for-money.
Overall Verdict (100%)
Korea (5.90): Korea is an OK golf destination with some of the golf on Cheju Island as good as it gets. If you really want to experience golf in every country, then give Korea a try.
Thailand (8.70): Thailand wins easily over the Korea on every point. Ironically, Thailand is so good that Korean golfers come to Thailand for their own golf holidays in numbers larger than any other country.
Stay tuned for the next world golf challenge to see how Thailand stacks up against other golf destinations. Let me know if you want to see your country included in my survey.