Thailand’s rainy season runs from approximately May to November when it gives way to the cool season ending in the particular hot and humid month of April. Both terms are slightly misleading (we will deal with rainy) given Thailand has a tropical climate so temperatures are generally high throughout the year although the high ground in the north around Chiang Mai can produce genuinely frigid weather.
Rainy season is influenced by the south west monsoon, but Thailand does not actually experience monsoon conditions; persistent heavy rain. Due to a measure of protection from Myanmar, rather Thailand experiences late afternoon storms and significant downpours that may result in flash floods although lasting no more than 60 minutes.
So what does this mean for us golfers? First, let’s examine a fact…in 15 years of playing golf here, I have been rained off the golf course completely only once, mainly due to the rather impressive lightning at the time plus I was near the end of a poor round; interestingly, those braver than me with better scores finished much to my astonishment. Several rounds have been interrupted, some for up to an hour but that has been very rare. The fact is, Thailand golf course designers took the climate’s impact into consideration. Thailand’s courses drain superbly, such that even in the face of a deluge they recover to full playability in only a matter of 10-15 minutes, particularly the greens (the bunkers do have the odd puddle). While back at home in the UK, if there was a downpour we’d huddle under some trees if too far from the clubhouse, here there is a drink/snack stop every 3 holes so not only is there shelter nearby, but also the opportunity to get to take a break with your companions. Interestingly, because it is the tropics, many of the storms are spectacular and an experience in themselves.
Bottom line, dealing with the weather as it affects our golf simply requires either planning or patience. First, the storms are extremely predictable, mostly occurring at about 4 in the afternoon so it is sensible to book rounds that end before then. Secondly, if weather occurs take it in your stride and be confident it isn’t the end of the day for you: accept the interruption and use the opportunity to discuss your round thus far or simply enjoy what inevitably is a spectacle.
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