Imagine yourself teeing off on beautiful greens that roll off into the ocean or dramatic cliffside holes with a mountainous backdrop covered in mist. You can play a round in the middle of rustic Chiang Rai or choose one of the major cities like Bangkok to tee off in.
Golf tourism in Thailand is a major boon for the country. Long gone is the time when people travelled to Thailand just to see the temples or beaches. Last year more than 700,000 tourists visited Thailand just to play golf. According to WorldsBestGolfDestinations.com, only Spain and the United States receive more international golf tourists.
The caddies are very well trained and take their jobs seriously. Most are females, proficient in English and play the courses they work on regularly so they can help better your game as well.
It all began in the early 1920’s when King Rama found himself interested in the sport and decided to build the Royal Hua Hin Golf course which is still played on today. Presently, there are more than 250 courses scattered throughout the country. All the major tourist towns have world class golf courses so it’s not hard to find your perfect course while on your dream holiday.
1. Lotus Valley Golf Resort
Lotus Valley Golf Resort is only one hour away from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport making a perfect quick game when time is short on your holiday. Originally designed by South African golf legend Gary Player and then rejuvenated in 2008 by Jon Morrow and Craig Bertram. The course is meticulously maintained and perfect for golfers of all skill levels. Every hole has a water feature making it a challenging (and sometimes frustrating) yet rewarding course. The Japanese baths in both the men’s and women’s locker rooms add a nice touch after a steamy day of golf.
2. Black Mountain Hua Hin
Black Mountain Hua Hin, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, is a championship course and considered one of the most challenging in the country. It was designed by Phil Ryan and is framed by mountains, has natural creeks running through it and is nestled in between rolling hills and jade green valleys. It has won copious accolades and was awarded the Best Course in Asia Pacific in 2016 as well as Thailand’s Best Golf Course at the Asian Golf Awards. Just a few kilometers away from Hua Hin, the course caters to players of all levels.
3. Chiang Mai Highlands Golf and Spa Resort
In the north of Thailand near Myanmar, Chiang Mai Highlands Golf and Spa Resort has been consistently lauded as one of the top 10 in the country. In 2015, it was voted in the top three of the Best Golf Resorts in Asia by the Asian Golf Awards. It is just 40 minutes from Chiang Mai’s airport and has mountain views from every hole. Because it’s one thousand feet above sea level, the air is a bit cooler and crisper than the rest of the country which has its benefits when spending hours walking around in the sun. The award-winning design team of Schmidt-Curley wanted to let the beauty of the area shine through, so they left the natural hilly properties to determine the shape of each hole.
4. Santiburi Country Club
Heading north from Chiang Mai near the borders of Laos and Myanmar is the Santiburi Country Club. It is only 30 minutes from the international airport in the foothills of Chiang Rai and was designed by Robert Trent Jones II. It’s a championship caliber course but playable for those of every skill level. Surrounded by mountains and rolling hills, every morning the mist settles into the course until the sun burns it off. Undulating greens with large water hazards make it an exciting round, with every hole offering another scenic view.
5. Laguna Golf
If the idea of golfing on one of Thailand’s best-known islands sounds exotic, the Laguna in Phuket is the course for you. Paul Jansen redesigned and reopened the course in January of 2015 and it sequentially won the Best Renovated Golf Course by the Asian Golf Awards as well as Thailand’s Best Golf Course by the World Golf Awards. It’s an eco-friendly course with a profusion of water features that are often inundated with wildlife and water lilies and it’s playable course for enthusiasts of all levels. You can play the same day you land since the course is only 30 minutes away from the international airport and surrounded by some of Phuket’s nicest resorts. Laguna has excellent practice facilities staffed by PGA professionals who are there to help better your game. It’s a perfect holiday paradise for golfers.
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