This is a follow up to the Jack Nicklaus designed Thailand golf courses post.
I bet you thought Mission Hills was in China right? Well the 3 original Mission Hills golf courses are actually in Thailand, all being Nicklaus designs as well.
It seems that the creator of the Mission Hills brand, the wealthy Thai businessman, Suraphan Ngamjitsuksri, commissioned Jack Nicklaus to build him 3 golf courses across Thailand. Then later on, together with other investors, they brought the concept to Shenzen and created the 12 golf course complex known globally as Mission Hills China. Since that time Khun Suraphan, sold his shares in the China venture and now, together with his aptly named son, Khun Golf, is solely is devoted to his 3 original Thailand Mission Hills courses, which are also the topics of this post.
Mission Hills Golf Club in Kanchanaburi is a challenging course in natural surroundings. Set on a sloping hill, mature palms line the fairways of this course that relies on water, sand, trees and, Nicklaus’ specialty, waste bunkers for its hazards. In addition, five of the holes offer double fairways, giving different approaches to the green. The course has a choice of five well-spaced set of tees for players of all abilities to choose. Conditions vary from average during the wetter summer months to very good during the drier winter from November to March.
Mission Hills Khao Yai is the oldest and easiest of the 3 Mission Hills Thailand golf courses. It situated between two valleys in the mountains of the Khao Yai National Park and winds beneath the steep hills that border the park. It is easy to forget about your score, not because you will shoot so badly, but rather you will enjoy the breath taking views over the surrounding hills. I recommend playing Mission Hills Khao Yai during the low season as the course is usually full with large groups of Korean golfers during the high season, which make for slow and at best, frustrating golf.
Mission Hills Phuket Golf Resort and Spa is the one to play. It sits among mangrove forests on the scenic north-east coast of Phuket and has incredible ocean views from almost every tee. Large white sand bunkers (actually real beaches that you can find people sunbathing on) contrast with the translucent blue hues of the ocean waters and the vibrant greens of the Paspalum Sea Isle 1 grass on the fairways and Paspalum Sea Isle 2000 grass on the putting surfaces. The ocean views come at a price, as water comes in to play on seven holes and the prevailing sea breezes make play at certain times of the day very tricky. Course conditions are very good, I played there last month, making Mission Hills a must include for all Phuket golf packages.
In my next post I will follow up on the remaining, and some of the best of the Jack Nicklaus designed Thailand golf courses: Laem Chabang Golf Club in Pattaya, Springfield Golf Resort in Hua Hin, and Legacy Golf Club in Bangkok.