Everyone that plays golf in Bangkok knows nearly all Bangkok golf courses are basically flat with lots of water due to Bangkok being a vast river plain. Golf course construction budgets are not normally large enough to include large scale earth movement needed to create a hilly golf course. But please, don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining about the golf in Bangkok as there are many fabulous courses here and I have to say that it is by far and away the best area for golf that I have had the pleasure of living.
So, imagine my surprise when I recently played golf at the new Suwan Golf and Country Club. The golf course is only two years old and hard to find. The staff is ignorant of how to deal with foreigners, golf travelers, and agents, making the check in process long and painful. The starter has no idea of how to keep tee times as it seems to be first come first served! There are still many immature small trees and the greens, while in generally god condition, are very hard. However, I am sure this can all be worked out in time.
Suwan measures 7,125 yards from the back tees and the overall terrain is up and down and hilly. There are many dog legs which need very careful thought as to what clubs should be used from the tee. Course knowledge is important to select the correct club on these tricky holes. Water is visible in many places and there are only one or two “invisible” water hazards.
Two holes in particular stand out most. The par 5 2nd hole is a double dog leg. 564 yards from tee to green, you are greeted with a view over a lake, its banks littered with boulders. Choice is available off the tee. The long hitter can take on the hazard whilst the shorter hitter can go straight up the left of the water and play the hole in a comfortable 3 shots to the green. The second shot from 220-240 yards out appears to be to a small green, half hidden and tucked in close to the OB on the left. It is only when you get to the green that you realize that there is a bail out area short left of the green, making a lay up with an easy chip shot a much better option for a birdie chance, then a direct second shot to the green which is bound to find a hazard, or worse, be OB.
The other memorable hole is the par 4 13th hole, a 404 yard sharp dog leg left with water forming the dog leg. Most golfers will opt for what seems like a perfect drive just past the corner of the dog-leg only to find themselves on a sharp slope down to the water and in the rough. A better tee shot is the less aggressive hit to the right which does not cut off the dog leg and will find the fairway. The second shot can then be a relaxed iron from about 150 yards out. Otherwise, by cutting the dog leg, the second shot is a shorter 100 yards to the green, but from the down hill lie out of thick rough it impossible to hold the hard green. Going over the green there is more thick rough, making it difficult to get up and down to save par. The lay up area in front is a much better option, and an easy up and down for par.
These are just 2 of the holes that I really liked, there are many others and I suggest if you are planning a Bangkok golf trip, then you should consider including Suwan on your course list. After the ugly check in formalities, you will be pleasantly surprised with an interesting, high quality, and hilly golf course.
If anyone has any experience playing Suwan, please feel free to post a comment here or if you prefer drop me an email at my Thailand golf vacation company and I will take care of the posting duties.