Laos (5): Laos is behind other neighboring countries with only 7 golf courses open for play. Most Laos golf courses are in the capital Vientiane and are only average in quality. However, Luang Prabang Golf Club, in Luang Prabang is the country’s best having hosted 2 Asian Tour events, with spectacular scenery, and excellent playing conditions.
Thailand (7): There are many championship golf courses in Thailand including Siam Country Club (home of the Honda LPGA) and Black Mountain Golf Club (Royal Trophy and Black Mountain Masters). Golf In A Kingdom includes all of Thailand’s best golf courses.
Laos (4): Golf in Laos is a relatively new and as such finding trained service personnel at the golf clubs is difficult. Most staff and caddies hardly speak any English and are not familiar with the rules golf. This detracts from the otherwise good overall golfing experience.
Thailand (10): The land of smiles carries on its name onto the golf course as well. Friendly locals and caddies are everywhere at all Thai golf courses. Try playing when you get back from a Thailand golf holiday to really appreciate the Thai service!
Golfing Experience (25%)
Laos (7): Laos is a traditional destination. Vientiane and Laung Prabang both feature village life, temples, monks, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The country has a rich culture and many religious festivals are celebrated throughout the year. Travel at any of these times to add to a memorable golf holiday.
Thailand (10): Of the entire world’s top tourist destinations, Thailand stands out as the one with the best golf. Its famous beaches, sights, and nightlife insure great golfing experiences. Golf in A Kingdom should be tried at least once to see what the entire buzz is about.
Value For Money (20%)
Laos (8): Golf in Laos is affordable. Green fees start at $10 US and top out at only $50 US. Hotels, food, and transportation are all less expensive than other neighboring countries.
Thailand (8): Green fees at top Thailand golf courses run from around $50 to $150 US. Accommodations, transportation, food, and entertainment are all affordable compared to other world-class destinations. Overall golf trip costs are lower than expected and represent good value-for-money.
Overall Verdict (100%)
Laos (5.85): Laos is a good side golf destination to combine with golf in nearby countries. On its own it is probably not going to trill anyone. It is good to try out for those who have been everywhere else in SE Asia and want to get off the beaten tourist trail.
Thailand (8.70): Thailand wins easily over Laos as a single golf destination. However, combined with one another they make for an interesting golf trip.
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.