Continuing with a look at the Japanese designers who have contributed to the development of golf in Thailand, other well-known architects include:
Isao Izumi: Siam Country Club (1971), Pattaya, Yoshihara Aihara: Pinehurst Golf & Country Club (1990), Bangkok, and Isao Katsumata: Sawang Resort Golf Club (1993), Hua Hin.
Siam Country Club is one of the more famous Thailand golf courses, being built more than 27 years ago and completely renovated in 2006.. Over the years the golf course has hosted several international golf tournaments including the 2007 LPGA Honda Classic.
It is set in the low hills just a few kilometers from Pattaya and has
been wonderfully landscaped to contain more than its fair share of
mature trees, shrubs and plants.
Various fruit trees on the course give
one the impression of being in an orchard, especially when in season.
The course has an out and back layout with many of the golf holes
playing past a series of lakes, and strategically placed creeks. The
greens are for the most part large, roll fast, and are excellently
maintained and during the aforementioned renovations were elevated and
contoured. Now the many breaks favour the assistance of an experienced
caddie to read properly.
Pinehurst Golf & Country Club was originally one of the more well-known golf courses in Thailand, probably because of it’s proximity to the (old) international Bangkok airport. The 27 hole – South (the Meadow), North (the Lake) and West (Forest) layout was host to the 1994 Thailand Open and the 1992 Johnnie Walker Classic tournaments. It’s style is very similar to many USA courses, flat fairways with water hazards and mounds providing most of the challenge. Nowadays, the course, while still popular with Japanese golfers, has lost most of its past grandeur. Pinehurst could benefit greatly from a complete re-design and makeover and an improved focus on operational quality.
Sawang Resort Golf Club a fair test for all classes of players. Lying in perfect harmony with its surroundings Sawang complements Petchaburi’s rolling hills with many elevation changes and taking good advantage of the naturally hilly terrain. The layout looks like it has always been there with a mixture of both water and tree lined holes. While located not exactly in Hua Hin, Sawang is located on the way from Bangkok to Hua Hin and makes for a good halfway stopping point for those traveling between the 2 cities.
The next post will finish up with some little known facts about “other” Japanese golf courses in Thailand.