It’s no secret that Thailand has some of the most plentiful, affordable and best quality golf in Asia. Wherever you go in the Kingdom – from the capital of Bangkok, to oceanside destinations of Pattaya, Hua Hin and Phuket and the mountains near Chiangmai and Chiangrai – memorable golf experiences await.There are many great holes to test and enthrall golfers of every level. We have chosen 18 holes that match the same hole number at selected courses to present a composite par 72 round of golf in the Kingdom.
Mark Siegel, the managing director of Asia’a largest and only dedicated inbound golf tourism operator, Golfasian (www.golfasian.com) says Thailand remains a favourite of golfers from western Europe, Australia, North and SE Asia because of the diversity of golf experiences.
Hole 1 – Laguna Phuket, Phuket. Par 4.
A delightful and testing opening hole that requires a perfectly placed tee shot to the left side of the fairway to avoid a Banyan tree blocking an approach to the green from the right side. Water to the right of the green and long left necessitates caution with the second shot.
Hole 2 – Thai Country Club, Bangkok. Par 4.
A sharp dogleg with a sea of bunkers blocking errant tee shots to the right and those aimed at the green from the tee. Water in front of the tee and to the right of the green promotes a straight drive left of the green, followed by a short or mid iron.
Hole 3 – Chiangmai Highlands, Chiangmai. Par 5.
CMH is renowned for its wonderful views, rolling fairways and bunkering. The third hole is relatively, flat but is protected by water on the left, out of bounds on the right and bunkers around the elevated green. At 550 yards from the blue tees it is long enough to require three shots to reach the green by most players.
Hole 4 – Siam Country Club (Old Course), Pattaya. Par 3.
A downhill hole that plays 148 yards from the white tees and 189 yards from the blues. Strong ocean breezes can come into play. A large bunker on the left guards one side of the green, with a small bunker and a tightly mown bailout area to the right gathering in errant shots.
Hole 5 – Siam Country Club (Plantation Course), Pattaya. Par 5.
A classic uphill par 5 with heavy bunkering across a split fairway. Playing left is the best option, although another set of bunkers can penalise the second shot. Tee shots hit right necessitate a steep second shot. The highly elevated green slopes towards the fairway.
Hole 6 – Thai Country Club, Bangkok. Par 3.
Named as one of the great par 3 holes in Asia and playing 197 yards from the blue tees, this is both an extremely testing and attractive hole. Water on the right of the green makes it imperative that the tee shot stays centre or slightly left.
Hole 7 – Riverdale Golf Club, Bangkok. Par 4.
This short risk and reward hole plays sharply left from a landing area off the tee that is well protected by bunkers. The short approach shot is risky because of a sloping green and water on the right. It is possible for very long hitters to cut the corner and seek to drive the green, but the chances of success are limited.
Hole 8 – Muang Kaew, Bangkok. Par 4.
Index 5, this is one of the tougher holes at Muang Kaew, the closest course to downtown Bangkok. Playing more than 400 yards from both the while and blue tees, the dogleg right hole requires two excellent shots to reach the green in regulation. A lake guards the right hand side, while the green is well protected by bunkers left and right.
Hole 9 – Siam Country Club (Old Course) Pattaya. Par 4.
This very long hole could easily be a par 5. It plays downhill from the tee, but requires a long and precise shot to reach or be close to the green. All but the longest hitters are forced to rely on one putt to make par.
Hole 10 – Banyan Golf Club, Hua Hin. Par 4.
Ranked the second hardest hole on the Banyan card, this downhill/uphill par 4 playing 430 yards from the back tee, is a real test. The tee shot is intimidating, requiring accuracy to avoid thick bush right and left. The steeply elevated green is well protected by bunkers and requires an often blind shot to the flag.
Hole 11 – Red Mountain, Phuket. Par 4.
The green is almost 150 feet below the pro tee on this classic hole that plays up to 385 yards. A large green sits in front of one of many exposed red hills featured on the course, adding great contrast to the lush green fairway and green. Water to the left must be avoided at all costs.
Hole 12 – Black Mountain, Hua Hin. Par 4.
A testing uphill hole that requires a well-laced tee shot to have a chance of reaching the green in two. The hole climbs more steeply to the green than appears from the tee. The large green is one of the highest on the course and from there affords sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.
Hole 13 – Nikanti, Nakhon Pathom. Par 5.
One of many standout holes at this new course, opened in January, the fairway slopes right towards water, with the green precariously placed at the water’s edge. A safety-first approach means you need to play your third shot from well above the green and hold the approach on a hard, fast surface.
Hole 14 – Loch Palm, Phuket. Par 3.
A truly stunning hole played from an elevated tee to a green beside water to the left. Playing 161 yards from the blue tees and 144 yards from the whites, it is only a mid-iron or long-iron for most players, but precision is paramount.
Hole 15 – Suwan Golf & Country Club, Bangkok. Par 4.
A long par 4 playing up to 390 yards with water all along the right side of the hole and protected by a well-bunkered elevated green. This is a hole that requires accuracy and caution – the approach to the green being especially important with little room for error.
Hole 16 – Black Mountain, Hua Hin. Par 4.
A medium-length par 4 that is the only side-hill hole on the course. Long hitters can take on the green, which is guarded by two large boulders on the left side. The safe option is to hit right into a wide landing area and play a short iron to the green. There are dangers when taking on the green from the tee.
Hole 17 – Red Mountain, Phuket. Par 3.
One of the most iconic and talked-about holes in Thailand, this dramatic par 3 drops almost 80 metres from tee to green and is only 109 yards long. While only requiring a wedge or long iron, precision is paramount to ensure you are putting for birdie.
Hole 18 – Lotus Valley, Bangkok. Par 5.
A truly wonderful finishing hole, the dogleg left has an open fairway from the tee, but water comes into play with the second and, if required, third shots to the green. An extremely picturesque hole, which is a genuine risk and reward for those seeking to make the green in two shots.