One of the great things about golfing in Thailand is that at most courses, you have a choice, unlike in other golf destinations.
Many golf courses in Thailand are relatively flat, especially the Bangkok golf courses, but it is quite hot here so riding will require less energy in the heat and humidity. A golf cart or buggy will also provide a measure of shade protection from the intense sun and of course a breeze while moving. Speed of play may be improved here as one can get to their ball faster, but this will only be a benefit if the groups ahead are also on buggies. Things will be a bit easier on the caddies as well since their walking is reduced and they do not have to pull a cart loaded with a big bag and a couple of bottles of water, especially at a hilly course like Red Mountain in Phuket. Naturally a buggy also provides a comfortable seat while waiting.
But, walking has many advantages as well. It is a delight to stroll the fairways without having to pull a cart or lug a bag. One can just carry their umbrella on days with intense sun or walk “like a pro” down straight down the fairway at say Thai Country Club on days when no umbrella is necessary. The exercise gained will increase your stamina for future rounds, help to shed a few pounds over time, and definitely enable one to sleep more soundly at night, all healthy attributes.
Additionally being able to walk the course provides a better feel for learning the layout of the course especially for future rounds, enables the golfer in Thailand to get in touch with nature more closely and observe the beauty of the golf course while still focusing on their upcoming shot. One difference in buggy riding between Thailand and other golf destinations is that here, there is only one golfer per buggy. So, even when buggy riding in Thailand one can still focus on their own game rather than having to be a bit distracted by the play of a buggy partner.
Although the sun is intense here, golfers should always carry an umbrella, not just for rain. It really makes a difference! In fact, in Thailand, golfers will use their umbrellas far more for sun and heat protection than they will for rain. Umbrellas that provide UV protection are recommended.
Being able to walk directly to your next shot one can cut down the time difference between buggy golf and walking as buggies are often restricted to the buggy path, hence buggy golfers may have to walk all the way across the fairway or further into the rough for their next shot and then all the way back to the buggy while the walker can continue walking in a direct line to his/her next shot.
With some courses such as Laem Chabang, Siam Country Club, and Mission Hills carts are mandatory. But on most other Thailand golf courses where walking is allowed, you can and if you are physically fit you should walk. Give it a try and you will greatly enjoy your round!
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