As with many other places in the world, Thailand has its fair share of golf societies (clubs). There are many regular golf groups in the main Thailand golf destinations for travelers, especially Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, and Hua Hin. Apart from the natural tendency for golfers to play with the people they socialize with, there is one other very good reason for this. Thailand golf club memberships can be very expensive, even though memberships can be traded or sold.
In any case, most golfers want to have the opportunity to play a variety of golf courses. If you are not a member of a golf club, it is difficult for you to maintain an official handicap. A number of the golf societies in Thailand are registered as USGA member clubs, thus enabling them to issue official handicaps. Some have their own society handicapping system. Many of the clubs and societies are named after Thailand’s more respectable drinking establishments. The Crown Royal Pub has a golf group which plays every week-end, either Saturday or Sunday. The group is a registered USGA club which results in their “clubhouse” being listed in the USGA Handbook as The Crown Royal Pub, Soi Patpong II, Bangkok! I can just imagine the first time golf traveller wandering around Patpong mystified as to why he cannot find a golf course!
Membership of Thailand’s golf societies is a mix of foreigners (locals and visitors) and Thais. There are enthusiastic ladies sections in most of the societies where often times you can find some single digit Thai lady golfers who have taken up the sport and prefer the challenge of playing in a mixed group. All societies welcome visitors – just pitch up at the “club house” and ask for whoever organizes the golf – but you may need to show a handicap certificate (or be prepared to play off scratch). This is because most groups run regular tournaments for their members and guests, usually using the stableford scoring system.
The larger societies also run regular medal tournaments and team scrambles for their members, plus a running order of merit and knockout events through the season. There are a number of challenge matches between societies, for example The Fred Wade Challenge played annually in Bangkok between The Bangkok Wonderers Golf Society and The Golfer’s Cocktail Lounge; and then there are the matches in Ryder Cup format on a home and away basis between The Pattaya Sports Club, The Phuket Expat Golf Society (PEGS), and The Hua Hin Golf Society. There is also a Societies Golf League in Bangkok. No doubt, Thailand golf can be more fun if you join a group. You may also qualify for discounted green fees and other benefits. In the next few postings I will give you more information about the more popular Thailand golf societies.
If anyone has any questions or recommendations on a particular Thailand golf club, feel free to post a comment or if you prefer drop me an email at my Thailand golf vacation company and I will take care of the posting duties.