Here is a great write up by Phuket golf expert and long time Thailand resident Howard Gross.
If you are in Phuket playing golf, you will undoubtedly play the Loch Palm Golf Course. It is one of the top three courses on the island. And you cannot just play Loch Palm without playing the new sister course Red Mountain which had a very soft opening in May of 2007. No fanfare, hoopla or special promotion, the opening was announced simply with a sign as you drove to the old club house, of Loch Palm, that Red Mountain was now open.
It may have been a quiet opening but it held a very big surprise. Carved out of the mountains of an old tin mine I think this is the most stunning Phuket golf course. Breathtaking views of Pang Na Bay are visible from the back of the green of what may be the 4th hole. I say may be because the course opened in two stages, the front nine and the back nine almost one year later. With the construction of the new clubhouse underway, the layout order of holes will change again. But the order in which one plays this course is not nearly as significant as club selection on every hole.
Unlike Loch Palm which temps the mid to low handicapper to go for the shot or pay the price, Red Mountain demands you know your ability and that you play within yourself or be prepared to pay the price with high scores and lost balls. Accuracy counts to not only stay out of trouble but to make the next shot possible, not impossible. If you take in the amazing natural beauty of the course, you may find your concentration slipping as you fall into your comfort zone and stop concentrating on what you really need to consider on every shot.
The greens roll very well and unlike her sister course, Loch Palm, the greens at Red Mountain are 100% consistent. Speed is not an issue as much as line but they are set up to make putts possible, not frustrate you death.
The par 3 5th hole may well become the signature hole, not unlike the par 3 14th at Loch Palm. The difference is depending on the tee box you chose. You are hitting from an elevation of over 40 meters down to a guarded green, protected on the left by jungle and on the right by sand bunkers. Miss it left long or short and it is gone. Miss it right short and you are in the jungle again. A beautiful hole that tests your ability to just throw it up there and float it down soft and straight.,
Another favorite hole of mine is what used to be the 4th. Fist time I played it I made birdie with a great drive from the white tee to the center of the fairway and I hit a wedge 4 feet from the cup and made the putt. Of course I liked the hole! But, I have not succeeded in even making par ever since. If you hit driver a touch to left of center and too long, the ball crosses the cart path and rolls into the jungle. Hazard, take a drop, you will not find it nor can you play it if you do. If you take the line over the bunker that sits about 190 out on the right side and hit it long, great you have a good birdie chance if your wedge game is on. Miss it short and you are in the bunker, miss it right and you are in the jungle. You might want to consider 3 wood or 3 or 4 iron off this tee depending on the tee box you select.
One of the nicest options on Red Mountain is your choice of tee. The club tees and championship tees are exactly that. If you are not long and straight, forget them, select the whites. Most macho players want their money’s worth and it seems and opt for a tee box beyond their ability. A good example of this is the par 3 second ( again this number will change as the course layout numbering is adjusted. Depending on the tee box you have selected, this hole plays over more and more water, the farther back you go. A long cigar shaped undulating green with multiple breaks awaits you if you are accurate enough to find it. Guarded by bunkers on the left and water on the right, it is a demanding shot. You need to know you skill level here or have a good mental game!
The par 5 11th is another great golf hole. You need to be long and straight off the tee but going left is the best place to put it. The hole dog legs after the second shot, tight into an elevated tee. Long ball hitters must go left to even be able to see the line into the tee should they be thinking eagle. The second shot has to be perfectly placed to give yourself a shot at getting there in three, otherwise you will be asking yourself, what was I thinking?!
I think this is a great course and would say you have to list it in the “must play” selections when you come to Phuket. I take it the name is no accident that Red Mountain is rivaling Blue Canyon for the most alluring and challenging course on the island. Having played them both
I think Red Mountain has the edge!
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