Tag: pattaya

Pattana Golf Resort

Pattana Golf Resort

It is very rare these days that I get to play a new course in my own backyard. Therefore, when my golfing buddies suggested playing at Pattana Golf Resort in Pattaya, I jumped at the change with much excitement.

Pattana is a bit out of the way as getting to the course involved around a 1 hour drive from Pattaya or 2 hour ride from Bangkok. Either way the drive is pleasant enough as the road are good and there is little traffic along the way. Upon arrival I immediately saw the large club house, golf resort, and collection of golf villas. With this kind of infrastructure Pattana must be catering for long staying golfers and those looking for intensive stay and play packages.

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Siam Country Club Playing Tips

Siam Country Club Playing Tips

Siam Country Club Plantation Course Hole 7I had the good fortune of playing at Siam Country Club Plantation Course in Pattaya this week. A usual the course was in excellent condition and in fact just two weeks prior Siam Country Club Plantation Course was awarded the best conditioned course in Asia by the readers of Asia’s largest golf publication.

In order to get maximum enjoyment and a good score at Siam Country Club Plantation Course I realized 4 very important points.

1.    Use your B-game: Why this sounds counterintuitive I found that playing to my weaknesses improved my score. For example, when driving I usually fade the ball off the tee. Rather than trying to fight my fade, and trying to draw the ball, I just aimed down the left side of the fairway and with my fade my drives wound up in the center ever time. This set up reasonable approach shots to virtually every green.

2.    Trust your caddie: The greens at Siam Country Club have many subtle breaks. Unless you play this Pattaya golf course regularly, it pays to ask your caddy to read the line and more importantly; listen to her!

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10 Best Thailand Golf Courses (9 of 10)

10 Best Thailand Golf Courses (9 of 10)

Siam Country Club Plantation Course 1Here is the ninth (actually 2) of my top 10 Thailand golf courses.

Siam Country Club, Pattaya

In 2007, Schmidt-Curley redesigned Siam Country Club’s Old Course that was designed by Isao Mazumi and originally laid out in 1970. It was the first privately owned course in Thailand was the first Thai course to ever host an LPGA event, the 2007 Honda LPGA Thailand. The same event has since returned 4 times since and will take place once again in February 2013.

The Old Course at Siam Country Club is set in the low hills just a few kilometers from Pattaya. This 7162-yard stunner shares terrain with fruit trees, creeks, lakes and 101 sand traps. The immaculate greens are huge, elevated and contoured, meaning even the best putters will need the guidance of a well-trained caddie.

The course has an out and back layout. Making the turn up the 9th fairway, there is a large golden Buddha watching over the green. Dotted with many bunkers and water hazards, the course also boasts several dramatic holes, particularly the last four. The 15th through 18th holes taken together could arguably be the best finishing holes of any Pattaya golf course.

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Night Golf In Thailand Is Over!

Night Golf In Thailand Is Over!

Laem CHabang Night Golf 2June marks the end for night golf in Thailand as courses such Panya Indra in Bangkok, Laem Chabang in Pattaya, and Summit Green Valley in Chiang Mai shut off their lights in exchange for low priced summer golf days.

The night Thai golf season typically runs from November to May, where you can tee-off anywhere from 3-7 PM and finish by midnight! That’s right golf in Thailand until midnight is not only possible, it is fun and affordable.  Green fees run around $30-40 US Dollars.

My favorite time to play night golf is during the hot months of March & April where I get out around 3PM, get nine holes in the daylight and the back nine under the lights.

However, I don’t take night golf to seriously though; it’s more about having a fun time with my friends and the caddies.

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Golf Pride Of The Royal Thai Navy

Golf Pride Of The Royal Thai Navy

Plutaluang Royal Thai Navy Golf Club.jpgHere is a great story from a good friend in Pattaya.

I was once like you folks—playing all the Pattaya golf courses, tipping those lovely caddies twice as much as I should, riding a la cart rather than do the plebeian trudge that would scuff my alligator Foot-Joys, gamboling over golf courses in Cambodia where the game is just getting a foothold…Then, one by one, my old and now ex-friends in foreign lands started treating the loans I had given them as largesse.

Subsequent penury has separated me from your good golf company. Now I rent a one-room apartment well south of Pattaya. My golf is reduced to Plutaluang, the Navy golf course in Sattahip. I ride to the course on a rented Honda 125, my bag athwart the buddy seat. I almost never get run over by trucks and buses or those tourist vans with bar and movies that haul you, my old golfing cronies, to one Pattaya golf course or another, then back to the diversions of Pattaya City.

Plutaluang has four well-designed nines, built largely on hilly terrain that makes them interesting. The Thai Navy Golf Course is definitely a good value for money with normal green fees of $35 US Dollars or less during the low season from May to September. The greens are not bad at all, though some are huge enough that an “on the green” in a far corner gives you a long rolling shot tougher than you’d have if you were chipping from the same distance.

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Caddie Championship in Thailand

Caddie Championship in Thailand

Thailand is well known as a hot golfing destination with over 260 great golf courses and those ever smiling Thai Caddies.

Thailand Golf Caddies Come rain or shine they read the greens, give you the yardage, hold your umbrella and if you are lucky even give your shoulders a quick massage too.

After putting up with us holiday hackers, you would have thought they would have had enough of the golf course, but a large number actually like to play a round themselves.

Smart thinking General Managers encourage them to play on Monday’s or late in the evening, as it improves their knowledge and understanding of their course and the game overall.

Taking this a step further they now hold a series of Caddie Championships in various regions around Thailand sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Singha.

The hunt is on to find Thailand’s best lady caddy golfer.

The TAT – Singha Caddy Championship 2011 consists of six qualifying rounds leading to a grand final at Siam Old Course on September 26th.

All the rounds take place on a Monday rotating across six venues- Putalong Navy in Pattaya, Singha Park in Kong Kaen, Narai Hills in Lopburi, Majestic Creek in Hua Hin, Royal Hills in Nakon Nayok and Burapha in Pattaya.

There are 144 places at each venue and the top 24 golfers will qualify for the grand final. The sponsors’ support allows the caddies to play for a small entry fee that includes green fee, dinner and a lucky draw.

The Grand Final at Siam Old Course will see 144 qualifiers battling for the title of Thailand Caddy Champion, with a first prize of Baht 55,000.

What started out as a simple idea seems to be catching on as a team of Korean Caddies will fly to Thailand later in the year to play a team of Thai Caddies. Later on the will hold the International Caddy Championship in 2012 with teams from China, Japan, Korea and Thailand competing.

Maybe we can expect to find the future Michelle Wie or Yany Seng from these events.

Bottom line is the golf vacationers will now be getting some expert tips which has to be good!

All of this is great news for golfers and caddies alike. Next time you see that smiling face on the first tee, stop and think whether she might be a future LPGA champion as a result of this special opportunity.

Laem Chabang Golf Has New Grass

Laem Chabang Golf Has New Grass

Laem Chabang Golf August 2011 Last month I had the good fortune to play my favorite Pattaya golf course, Laem Chabang International Country Club. To my great surprise the Mountain Course, usually considered the best Laem Chabang golf course, and was closed for renovations, so we played the Lake Course and the Valley Course instead. About half way through the Lake nine I noticed something strange around the greens. The fringe areas seem to be brighter color than the fairways and greens. Upon closer inspection I realized that the fringes had new Paspalum sod on them.

Checking around some more the caddies confirmed this as well as went over the entire maintenance program of Laem Chabang International Country Club.

1.    Valley Course: All 9 holes completed with Paspalum grass fairways, tee, boxes, and fringe areas. New white golf sand in greenside bunkers.

2.    Lake Course: All 9 holes have new Paspalum tee-boxes. Hole 9 completed with new grass and sand. Other holes to follow, but schedule unknown.

3.    Mountain Course: Closed for 2-3 months for grassing of tee-boxes, and fringe areas. New concrete cart path being installed to eliminate high bank areas and tendency for carts to fall-over.

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Why is Golf Different in Thailand?

Why is Golf Different in Thailand?

Thailand’s leading golf course designer and builder, Pirapon Nimatra, is responsible for designing and renovating numerous courses in Thailand.

Therefore who better to explain why playing golf here in Thailand different from the rest of the World?

‘First of all we have great weather and you can pretty much play golf all year around. Secondly the caddies do make the experience playing here just that much friendlier and fun,’ said Pirapon.

Saturday Play 116 ‘However from my perspective as a golf course designer, what makes Thailand different is the variety. For example you can play on a 100 year old course like Royal Hua Him, where the greens and bunkers have that old style, or you can go to the other end of the scale to Siam Country Club which is very modern looking with new grasses and flashy bunkers. ‘

‘Then of course you have the variety of locations from sea side courses in Phuket and Hua Hin to mountain courses in Chiang Mai, similar to what you might play on in Hawaii. So the overall mix is what I think is special about playing in Thailand.’

Recently several international golf professionals found the greens were totally different at the Maybank Open in KL compared with the Masters at Augusta. How would you describe the actual playing surfaces here compared with US or European courses?

Pirapon explained,’ Well in America especially North of Florida you have cool season grass similar to Europe, where as we have warm season grass and they are two totally different animals. Warm season grass is a lot grainier, and it also grows a lot faster, but it also adds another dimension. When you are reading the putts here, you don’t just need to look at the slopes, but also which way the grass is actually growing. Also if it is hot and windy and depending on the time of day they could be playing to a difference of a foot on the stimp metre.’

Thailand has nearly 280 golf clubs. Is that a lot for the number of regular golfers?

‘Well they say that there are over 1 million players, but it is still good news for us golfers. There is a lot of competition to attract the players, so the rates are quite reasonable.’

You earlier mentioned caddies adding to the fun. As a golf course owner yourself, what do you think are some of the most important things the caddies need to know, especially as they meet lots of golf vacationers?

‘Well the caddies are expected to know our golf course and all the yardages, and as the grasses are likely to be a lot different from back home, so they can help by reading the lines too. Also it can be quite hot here sometimes, so one thing we train all our caddies is to keep your bosses cool! They will carry the umbrella and they also have little fans, so when you are waiting on the tee, they will keep you cool.’

They don’t do that at St Andrews in Scotland?

‘No they have a slightly different attitude, and they are not nearly as pretty too!’

Finally as a Thai based designer and builder of golf courses, what would you sum up is Thailand’s number one asset?

‘Apart from the huge variety, it is the people that make it so special. You are in touch with the caddies, the people at the club house and in the locker room, and it is their friendliness that brings back foreigners here to play golf again and again.’

Asian Golf Hits a New High

Asian Golf Hits a New High

The conclusion of the 2011 Avantha Masters at the DLF Golf and Country Club in New Delhi was just the result everyone was hoping for, when India golfer SS P Chowrasia won his second European Tour International Schedule victory in his 74th European Tour event.

This is a huge boost to sport in the region, where golf is now the fastest expanding sport in India, normally the home to Cricket.

SS P made European Tour history with his first win at the 2008 EMAAR –MGF Indian Masters, by winning on his first appearance as an Affiliate Member; the first player to achieve this feat.

He played in 73 European Tour events since his 2008 win. In that time his best finish was ninth at the 2010 Andalucía Valderama Masters.

He actually lost his European Tour exemption at the end of the 2010 season, and he did not get his card back at the European Tour Qualifying School. He began the 2011 season as a fully exempt for the Challenge Tour.

His win moves him to €300,000 in the Race to Dubai, and he gains an exemption until the end of the 2013 season.

From an Asian perspective, this is a massive boost, giving the Asian Tour another regional champion. Thailand also fielded three players in the top ten in New Delhi,

Saturday Play 272 Down in Pattaya, Yani Tseng from Taiwan won the Honda LPGA Thailand beating Michelle Wie. This was Yani’s 4th consecutive win in 2011 putting her on top of the Rolex rankings.

Thai players did well especially 15-year-old Thai amateur Ariya Jutanugarn who turned in the round of the day on the third day, with a 4-under-par 67 and sits in a tie for 11th.

The four day tournament which was broadcast all over the world, provided huge exposure for Thailand and particularly the Siam Country Club in Pattaya that hosted the event.

With several major Asian Tour and One Asia tournaments due to be held in Thailand in 2011, it is no surprise that the Kingdom of smiles has become one of the top golf vacation destinations in the world.