Possibly the best all-round golf course on Phuket Island, in terms of representing enjoyable, not too intimidating golf, whilst in no way being a push-over, is the doyen of Phuket’s golf courses, the Phuket Country Club, the first major 18-hole golf course to be built on the island. It is conveniently located 10 – 15 minutes drive from the main tourist areas of Patong Beach and Kata/Karon.
This interesting layout, designed by well-known local Thai architect, Dr. Sukitti Klangvisai, is set in rolling foothills around a large lagoon. The mature and varied trees, plants and flowers around the course lend it an especial beauty. It is distinguished by having six holes winding through undulating hills, another six on the level, while the remainder pass through landscaped forest. The holes themselves vary in their degree of challenge.
As a general rule the tees are elevated and lead to gently rising and falling fairways. Some holes, however, have numerous bunkers or taxing water carries, and others incorporate tricky doglegs or blind greens. Included in these are the sharply dog-legged 493 yards par five 3rd hole, where you need to drive high over the trees skirting the corner in order to avoid a dangerous second shot; the 143 yard island green par three 17th hole, where accuracy is everything; the taxing 563 yards long par five 18th hole, with a dog leg, a carry over water and a long shot onto a tricky steeply sloping green. A short drive on the par four 7th hole will leave you with a blind shot to a difficult three tiered green.
Possibly the best known golf hole in Phuket is the 557 yard par five 10th hole. This runs around the large lagoon and you have to hit over water at least twice. The brave big hitter can drive to a narrow, 15 or so yards wide area in front of the green, a carry of fully 225 yards all over water. Thus this 10th hole is one of the few par five holes where you can be on or close in one!
Nine new holes were opened in 2000 on the other side of the road from the Country Club, the "Country Course". Perhaps because the 10th hole on the "Old Course" excited such comment, Dr. Sukitti the designer has made many of the additional 9 holes the same! Every wayward shot is penalized either landing in water or out of bounds. With five tee-off boxes at each hole, you have the choice of making it less of an ordeal. The distinct feature is water which comes into play 90% of the time. Bring plenty of golf balls when you try this course!
At the new "Country Course" location, there is a driving range, a superb club-house with an excellent restaurant, and many other facilities. This complements well the comfortable, recently extended club-house at the "Old Course" which serves very good Thai food.
There are no public driving ranges on Phuket outside of the golf courses, but the practice facilities at Phuket Country Club “Country Course” are open to non-members, and are probably the best on the island.
Tomorrow, I will post the next follow-on to this series reviewing each of the Phuket golf courses. In the meantime, if you need to reach me you can contact me at my Thailand golf vacation company.