My friend’s scoring on the golf courses in Thailand has been improving as of late, however his big concern nowadays is distance. To be honest he just doesn’t get it, he can spend days at the driving range in Bangkok, hitting buckets (actually trays) of balls and yet when he hits the golf course he loses it, coming up short or long of every green.
Here is what I figured out. Previously he was using the yardage signs at the driving range to gauge how far he can hit the ball with each of his clubs. But there are reasons not to trust those distances. First of all, those signs are probably measured to the tee area immediately in front of them, so if you are not directly in front of them, the distance is probably longer than you think. Second, the tees at grass driving ranges, like that at Thai Country Club, are moved forward or backward every day to allow the divots to repair, so that also affects the distance.
Another factor are the range balls themselves, which are probably inferior to the golf balls most people use, so the distance with a range ball is not the same as with “real” golf balls. By the way, if the range balls were as good as other balls, people would buy a bucket and take it home rather than waste them on the range, right? (Actually, I have thought of this long ago!)
Here is a better way to judge distance when golfing in Thailand. On your first round, and when it is not crowded, take some extra practice shots from the yardage markers to the green, all Thailand golf courses have markers 100 and 150 yards from the center of the green. Determine which club gets you those distances most consistently, and then you can adjust one club for every 10-15 yards either side of those markers. Also adjust one club if the wind is blowing, like can often be the case at the seaside Phuket or Pattaya golf resorts. Also adjust one or two clubs according to elevation changes, like on the hilly Chiang Mai golf courses. I found that this is the best way to judge distance when golfing in Thailand. Now go out and have some fun!
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