Here is a company that re-designs golf courses in Thailand as well as developing their own creations. Schmidt-Curley Design, Inc. was founded by partners Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley. Brian Curley resides in the USA, while Mr. Schmidt calls Thailand his second home. Schmidt-Curley is a full service, international golf course architecture and master planning firm with more than 100 golf courses in 24 countries, including the U.S., China, Vietnam, Mexico, Egypt, Sweden, Korea and, of course, Thailand.
The firm is responsible for crafting 10 of the 12 courses at Mission Hills Golf Resort in Shenzhen, China – the largest golf complex in the world. Schmidt-Curley’s style is to team up with partners such as Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, David Duval, Annika Sorenstam, Vijay Singh, David Ledbetter and Jumbo Ozaki to create challenging yet beautiful and enjoyable courses. Schmidt-Curley strives to create golf experiences that stir the senses and elevate golfers’ appreciations for the land, water, and the game. By balancing classic golf course architecture with ever-changing contemporary technology, Schmidt-Curley place an emphasis on site-adaptive courses designed for cost-efficient maintenance and operations.
Schmidt-Curley Design has recently undertaken the redesign of Siam Country Club in Pattaya, which I wrote about in my last post. They commenced the redesign in March 2006 and the course re-opened for play in May 2007. Originally opened in 1971, designed by Mr. I. Izumi, Siam C.C. is hemmed by lush, arching trees and features striking backdrops of pagodas (tiered towers) and giant statues of Buddha. It is one of the two best courses in Pattaya, the other being Laem Chabang.
Another Schmidt-Curley re-designed Thailand golf course is Muang Kaew Golf Club in Bangkok. Several years ago this Bangkok golf course was transformed from an average quality flat course set among rice paddies, to a championship layout that features elevated greens, steep high lipped fairway bunkers, the latest in golf course drainage technology, and of course new weather tolerant grasses. Muang Kaew now is a top course within 20 minutes of Bangkok.
Schmidt-Curley’s three original designs in Thailand are Amata Springs Golf Club, host of the Royal Trophy, Chiang Mai Highlands, winner of the best new course in Thailand, and Best Ocean Golf Club, Bangkok’s only links style course.
Amata Springs Golf Club is, so far anyway (but I doubt for long) , one of only 3 golf courses in Thailand that only accept members bookings, the other 2 are Rachapreuk Golf Club and Royal Bangkok Sports Club. Chaing Mai Highlands Golf Resort won the coveted best course in Thailand award last year from Asian Golf Monthly magazine. The Highland golf course is the best course in Northern Thailand and has to be played by anyone planning a Chiang Mai golf holiday.
Best Ocean Golf Club in Bangkok is another example of Schmidt-Curley architecture. The golf course has a links feel to it, which is quite rare in Asian golf. Not many people care for the design however, as many of the holes are similar with water left right and even center (e.g. island fairways) all playing to elevated crowned greens. Course conditions are good and Best Ocean is a good choice for last minute golf in Bangkok as the course has yet to start membership sales.