I have a special treat for all readers. A good friend of mine and long time golfing resident of Phuket has agreed to author a series of original articles about golf in Thailand. These articles will be published exclusively here at the Thailand golf zone.
Over the next 3 days I will publish the first of these articles dealing with impressions and new golf experiences in Phuket, from a returning expatriate who has been away for several years.
Here is the first part covering green fees and recent changes in the Phuket golf scene.
I spent a few days in Phuket recently after some years not visiting the island. The main topics of conversation amongst the golfing fraternity were: the eye-watering walk-in green fees to be introduced by Blue Canyon next month, the poor state of the fairways at Mission Hills, and the stunning views from the new nine holes at Loch Palm. My own overriding impression of the island was of the fantastic job that has been done to recover from the Tsunami of December 2004. Of course, there are still traces of the devastation but, by and large, life has returned to normal. The not so good news is that the rapid rate of development continues unabated, and not always for the better. There does not seem to be any planning and poor quality buildings spring up everywhere in a higgledy-piggledy fashion. It is hard to find any stretch of land which is not being built on. As used to be said about Hong Kong, and indeed, probably still is, it will be nice when its finished. A far cry from my first time in Phuket in 1978 when I stayed in one of a handful of beach huts on a deserted Patong Beach!
Since the Tsunami, green fees in Phuket have been gradually eased upwards. Now, effective November, Blue Canyon Country Club (BCCC) will charge a whopping 8,850 Thai baht (US$235) to play on the Canyon Course (including caddy fee and caddy tip). To play the Lakes Course will cost 7,450 Thai baht (US$200), including caddy fee and caddy tip and GPS buggy. Caddies will no longer be able to accept tips as this is built into the new prices. Of course, it is always possible to find golf tour agents offering discounted deals at BBCC, such as golf travel company, Golfasian.
Tomorrow I will continue this post and share the returning expat’s speculations about the reasons for the BCCC green fee hikes as well as give his thoughts on the other Phuket golf courses and holidays.