Here is another golf course review by soon to be golf professional Greg Haney, now in the USA, but in the process of taking up residence in Thailand.
Ratchakram Golf Club, opened December 2006 is in the Bangsai area of Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok. Designed by the same Thai golfer who designed Phuket Country Club, I found the course to be a great layout offering a tremendous variety of memorable holes. I never did find out the types of grasses used, but nevertheless the fairways provided excellent lies and greens superb putting surfaces. It reminds one of a links style course with the undulations and openness and the ability to run shots up to the greens on a number of the holes.
The par 72 course measures 6827 yards from the blue tees. Under construction are a championship set of tees which will definitely challenge even the best golfers. Expecting flat and somewhat municipal design, I was amazed to find the course in excellent condition from tee through green, with many undulations, not only throughout the fairways and rough but on the greens as well. The greens are outstanding, with the as mentioned significant undulations. They are firm and fast, but still receptive to holding approach shots, even with long irons and/or woods. To date, they are some of the best greens I have experienced in Thailand. In addition, the bunker sand is of a nice firm texture (not soft and fluffy), providing the ability to put good spin on bunker shots.
Fairways are generous with young trees lining most but they do not present much of a problem now but naturally in future years will enhance the challenge of the Rachakram golf course.
This course has a great variety of holes both in length and design. From the blue tees, the par 5’s measure 500, 550, 578, and 556 yards. With the wind against you at times, a couple of these par holes likely play well over 600 yards!
Again from the blues, the pars 3’s are challenging with lengths of 193, 230, 206 with one short one of 136 yards. There are some blind water hazards and this will challenge the first time player at Ratchakram. The course layout on the scorecard cannot be relied on as several of the hole layouts were totally inaccurate. Our caddies spoke no English so they were of little help, in fact since this is a new course, they are new as well and thus require quite a bit more training and development.
There are several scenic holes due to their outstanding design. Bring your camera for number 10, a dogleg par 4 with a carry over water to a huge green with a false front. Hole 12 is a long par 5. At 578 yards with the wind is in your face, don’t even think of reaching in two shots.
The clubhouse is new, very modern and clean with excellent locker room facilities. We did not try the restaurant as our driver took us to a nearby local restaurant on the Chao Praya River to enjoy some fresh seafood and cold beers.
Yet to be discovered and due in part to some totally inaccurate reviews on Thaigolfer.com, this Bangkok golf course was basically empty. We played on a Saturday (late July) starting around 10:30 and were able to play the course without being held up. This is Amazing Golf Thailand after all!