The memory of the brutality of a course landscaped by burrowing animals makes playing a well-maintained course that much more spiritually uplifting. And this is why Thailand’s golf establishment has once again been honored by the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators (or the IAGTO) as they have named the coastal city of Pattaya Asia/Pacific’s number 1 golf destination for 2012. The whole country actually received the award in 2010.
At the top of the list this year is Pattaya’s own Siam Country Club, which was named the best maintained course in the region. But that isn’t all. Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin was named the best championship course in the region and Thai Country Club right here in Bangkok was named the second best layout in the region.
But ratings and accolades aside, there are a lot of beautiful unsung courses in Thailand. Some part of me believes that there is an effort on the part of local golfers to keep a few courses to ourselves. Of course it is my business to let the cat out of the bag about this sort of thing, so here it goes…
Khao Yai is a good place to start, as it doesn’t see as much traffic as Pattaya or Bangkok. First let’s look at Mountain Creek Golf Resort and Residence. The 27 hole course designed by Seve Ballesteros is laid out over 3 9 hole loops, each designed to take the best advantage of their natural setting – highland, creek, and valley (also the names of the loop). The courses layout is so harmonious with the natural landscape that the experience is truly transcendental, it’s also a great course for a very short, or a very long round, if you don’t have much time or have too much of it.
There are more there in the Khao Yai National Forest area, and lots of great golf in Thailand (obviously Pattaya is a good spot to hit and Bangkok’s golf offerings aint to shabby either) but you’ll have to wait for the next article or check out the Golf Thailand site to learn more about those!