Golf for many of us is a very serious addiction. We have to have our regular fix!
Come rain or shine, family vacations, or business meetings, we all make all the excuses needed to arrange that very crucial meeting which just happens to clash with golf. That is our ‘speak’ for sod it I am going to play golf anyway.
Here golfing in Thailand, a lot of business is conducted on the golf course. Golfers in Thailand often travel with their so-called business associates and in some companies; it is seen as an asset if you play golf.
There are amateur tournaments, club tournaments, Pro Ams, weekday shotguns, and social expat clubs, all where you can join do some serious networking. In fact, I am running a couple of events myself. They are the 2011 Phuket Amateur Week, 1st Team Amateur Championship, and the 2011 Chiang Mai Amateur Week. All three are good examples of how you can make your Thailand golf tour around a competitive golf events and ‘legitimize’ your Thailand golf holiday to the missus at the same time.
The Asian Tour and One Asia visit Thailand several times a year along with the LPGA. In fact the next event is the Thailand Open at Bangkok’s Suwan Country Club in August. These events are good for Thailand golf visitors to play in the pro-am and rub shoulders with some of the world’s best golfers.
It’s amazing how many slots on the tournament’s Pro Am’s are not taken up by the main sponsors. Case in point, last year’s European Seniors Open at Royal Gems did not have enough amateurs to fill its field. Moreover, 2 years back I managed to get slots for 12 Phuket golf visitors at the Thailand Open at Laguna Phuket Golf Club and this was undoubtedly the highlight of their Thailand golf holiday. Pro Ams are an experience golfers in Thailand are unlikely to forget.
Tourism Thailand recently ran a very successful Corporate Golf Tournament in India, with all the individual winners flying to Bangkok to play in the country final. The eventual winners won a full paid trip to South Africa for the world finals. (ed. They did not win!)
Many local Thai golf clubs welcome visitors to join in their golf events. You will have a chance to meet locals and make new golfing friends over 4-5 hours on the course, followed by a slap up meal a few (or more) beers and some speeches and awards thrown in too. The Hua Hin golf group have their own get together s around the area, the most recent one being held at the Banyan Golf Club. The après golf European state meal with fine wine was worth the cost of entry alone. Those guys at Banyan really know how to make their golf tournament guests feel as they are VIP’s.
So if you are planning a Thailand golf holiday and would like to play competitive golf with some locals, then try to schedule your trip to coincide with one or more of the many golf tournaments. Your golf tour operator can help and your missus can’t say no. Don’t be surprised if this is the highlight of your trip!