Santiburi Samui Country Club is one of the two most beautiful golf courses in Thailand, with scenic sea view panoramas on almost every hole. Only Red Mountain in Phuket comes close to having such spectacular scenery. Santiburi may also be the most challenging Thailand golf course due to steep elevation changes and lost ball possibilities both left and right, again on almost every hole. So take your camera and a good supply of balls, leave your ego at home, and have a great time golfing at Santiburi Samui Country Club.
Developed and owned by the same family that brings us Singha beer, everything about Santiburi Samui Country Club (and the 5-star Santiburi Samui Resort) is first class; beautiful clubhouse, restaurants that serve up tasty Thai and western dishes (along with fresh Singha of course), fine Thai service, and a very special golf course.
Santiburi Samui Country Club requires the golfer to use creativity in hitting a wide variety of shots; including many you won’t normally encounter elsewhere. Narrow fairways with mostly up hill or down hill lies make approach shots very challenging. Oversize greens make getting on in regulation a little bit easier; a small saving grace!
However, be forewarned, the views can be very distracting. Coconut palm tree covered mountains, offshore islands, spectacular sloops and sailing junks, and the Gulf of Thailand visible from almost every hole make it difficult to concentrate on your golf. Moreover, according to Golf Operations Manager Jakraphong Thongyai (Khun Jay), the sea changes color everyday, and after rain showers the course is graced with waterfalls and rainbows; what better image of the penultimate golfer’s paradise.
Attempting to walk 18 holes at Santiburi Samui would be a brutal test for all but the fittest golfers (unless you are a mountain goat). Carts are compulsory and help maintain pace of play. For “safety” reasons (this is Thailand after all) only caddies are permitted to drive though as cart paths are quite steep and winding. I once heard of a caddie who flipped her cart down the embankment on hole #11, only to be found unconscious the gully. She fully recovered but was left with several scars and a big repair bill from the club.
Recently Santiburi Samui hosted the 2008 Bangkok Airways Open, a stop on the Asian Tour for the fouth year in a row. Local golfer Thaworn Wiratchant conquered the treacherous Santiburi Samui Country Club with a winning total of 13 under 271 and a record 10th win on the Asian Tour.
Samui may never become a major Thailand golf destination, despite beautiful beaches and numerous resorts. Land prices are high and undeveloped areas simply too steep; making cutting another playable course through the jungle very difficult.
However, for those adventurous golfers in Thailand, Samui already has a second course on the island. The Bo Phut Hills Golf Club, a 9 hole par 27 course, was completed in 2008 and makes for good fun; at least compared to Santiburi. The next time you are thinking about a unique Thailand golf holiday, look no further than Samui Island for part of the journey. You will be pleasantly surprised at the golf and adventure on this relatively lesser known island golf paradise.
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