Another pleasant surprise for those of you looking for a course with challenge, variety and rolling terrain is the very scenic Narai Hill Golf Resort located around 140 km north of Bangkok. It is a little long for a one day drive but they do have rooms and villas at a golf resort where you can overnight and make it two days of golf and have loads of fun overnight.
The course was designed by Major Veeryot Pethbuasak and opened in 2006. Although the Paspalum fairways are still a bit thin, especially with the recent dry season, it has a very nice design with plenty of doglegs, bunkers, uphill and downhill holes. Khun Veeryot also designed Suwan Country Club and Phokeethra Country Club in Cambodia, both also excellent courses. Distances on this course are well established at 7357 from the black tees, 6825 from the blue tees and 6378 from the white tees. Thus all golfers can select a set of tees which will present them with a good challenge.
Fairways are generous and often gently sloping so Thai golfers should listen to their caddies and play to the appropriate side of the fairway in order to take full advantage of the terrain. An interesting feature of the designer on this course is that many fairways have a tree right in the middle but players should be able to hit around or over the trees with little problem. It actually functions as a directional target.
What will really challenge golfers here are the very sloping Tifdwarf greens which have some of the toughest breaks to read (grain, not the slope) and will leave you questioning your caddie, but usually she will be correct. They are a bit firm but will hold shots. Sand is good but a bit inconsistent in firmness from hole to hole. The course sets up pretty well so that first timers will not be struggling with their approach shots and wondering where the pin is on the green. The exception is hole #18, an uphill par 4 with the approach shot over a ravine that still has trees in it. So, early in your round as you walk past the 18th green, take note of the slope and pin position, you will be glad you did!
Another interesting hole is #5, a 558 yard par 5 that doglegs around a lake. Note the layout on the scorecard! The lay up area is very narrow with water on the right and jungle over a knoll on the left so in essence golfers are provoked into going for it in 2………which is doable as long as you do not let your shot leak right into the lake. There is a bailout area left of the green so the hole is not overly penal.
The clubhouse facilities are excellent with scenic views not only from the restaurant, but also from the locker room, a first in Thailand! In fact one can see for miles around throughout the course which is a real contract (no pun intended) to Bangkok itself. The caddies are all well trained which is especially impressive considering that this is a relatively new course.
This is a must play new Bangkok golf course and in time will get even better. Give Narai Hill a try and you will be in for a pleasant surprise!