Hello,

 

Thanks for checking out my golf blog on the events throughout the year. Below is my views on whats happening in the golfing world in Pattaya and Thailand.

Updated 7th November  2016

Graham Davison has been at it again giving us his first hand experience about the August trip to Vietnam, including golf in Danang, Vung Tao and Saigon

Read his full story here

 

Updated 9th September  2016

Just fresh back from our trip to Cambodia ( Siem Reap)   Graham Davison has written about his travels          Read full story here

 

Updated 18th Jan  2016

While not about Thailand, I recently went to Hanoi Vietnam to inspect some new gof course and hotels for our add on tour for the Vietnam August trip          Read full story here

 

Updated 5th Oct  2015

With our 2016 Amari Pattaya & Hua Hin golf tournments the next of our events, one of the players has written about what he experienced last year and what you have to look forward to in 2016.

See full story here

Updated 27th Sept 2015

So much for being a weekly update !! it cant be 12 months since I updated this ??  Well i have just come back from our golf weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia. while these two destination are my hidden jewels, one of the players had written a story about his experiences in Cambodia

See the full story here

Updated 26th Sept 2014

Last week I spent the entire week driving around and looking at golf course conditions as my friends are coming to play soon and wanted to know where they should be playing golf in Pattaya.

For me, the top 4 courses in Pattaya are The three Siam Country club courses,  Siam Old Course, Siam Waterside and Siam Plantation and Laem Chabang, are always in tip top shape. What did surprise me is how quickly you can turn the condition of a golf course around in a relatively small time.

Case in point is Phoenix Country Club

This course was recently taken over by a new owner and now have appointed a new general manager, Khun Nathawat who was previously pulling the reigns at Thana City Golf Club   in Bangkok.

There has been many refurbishments around the greens, tees and bunkers and the course is looking in tip condition. I wish I took my clubs to play !! The popular Thai golf designer, Khun Ope from Golf East ( Banyan Golf Course, Nikanti Country Club, Siam Waterside) was brought in to reshape some bunkers and make some changes to drainage and having his level of experience will pay big dividends over the new few years as the course goes from strenght to strenght.

The fairways were in the best condition I have ever seen this course in the 10 years I have been playing golf in Pattaya.

I believe they will be lifting the old compulsory carts rule from 1st October which will make the walking golfers happy.

I would recommend if you haven’t played Phoenix for a while you should get back up there and have a round. I saw some drawings at the club and believe they are going to undertake some major club renovations that will take in accommodation on site as well !

 

Next stop in my whirl wind tour of southern Pattaya golf courses was St Andrews 2000, Green Valley and Silky Oaks. We were shown around by John who has the St Andrews Golf Centre, where they have the  golf simulators so you can iron out your game over a cold beverage as well as great western food after your round. (Try the killer hotdogs !!)

We started off with Green Valley and again it seems to be the season for growing grass, as this course was in great condition as well, good fairways coverage and most greens running about 9 on the stimpmeter, which is a good speed for a public course.

The driving range is up and running  and has a great chipping and putting green nearby.

 

We moved over to St Andrews 2000 and they have made a lot of changes here with taking many trees out to allow a better airflow around the greens and to keep the shadows of the green which were causing problems previously with patchy greens. As we drove around the par 6s are looking a devilish as ever, as when I suggested that they need to remove the trees in the middle of the second par 6, John said we should leave them alone, as they catch plenty of people (yeah me)

 

As we moved onto Silky Oaks, we started with probably the shortest par 3 in Pattaya at 87 yards, I could probably throw it on from that tee. But when you look at the shot you have to hit, its a down hill shot to a wide and skinny green with bunker to trap the shot that is short or right

Silky Oaks Par 3

 

There is plans to re route a few holes and one of them is one of my favourites the par 5 down and around the lake.

silky-par 5

For the biggest hitters it was a good, two on, opportunity if you were happy to take on the water, but now the plans are to bring the tee forwards and make it a shorter par 4. I think it’s a loss, but someone knows better ?

 

Emerald

Ok lets wind the clock back 12 years and Emerald had a temporary club house  and was a round of golf on the way to Ban Chang for drinks.

After my visit on Wednesday, it’s a course that I will bring my friends as the conditions are great, green speed up there at 9, and the layout that Nick Faldo designed back in the day, still continues to test your game on every shot.

At THB 1700 all in, with caddy and cart, you cant miss.

A  little bird told me that the golf course is looking for a new owner, and with another 1200 rai of land available (192 hectares, 475 acres, Laem Chabang with 27 holes has 700 acres ) and has plans drawn up from Sir Nick Faldo for another 18 holes, it could be a good opportunity for a passionate golfer to live out there dream and own their own 36 golf course ! 

(More more details and price, contact me on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

 

Updated 21st June.                                                                                     

So there is no hiding the fact that Thailand is under martial law and the army is in control. Is it all doom and gloom for the 24 million visitors that come here each year tourists?

As an expat, living here in Thailand, I see no changes to my lifestyle. The golf courses are still open each day, the markets where I buy my lunch and dinner are still trading, traffic on the highways is still about the same and all the tourist attractions are still open.

So what’s all the fuss about in the media and why is it on the front pages of every newspaper worldwide  ?? I DON’T KNOW.

 

I believe now is the safest time to visit Thailand, the fact that the Army has stepped in to control the fighting between the two political parties and is bringing them to the discussion table. Thailand is in the middle of some ground breaking changes, as I see it, and it will take many steps more to bring Thailand to a more transparent, democratic society, but you need to start somewhere and over the last few coups ,changes are being made.

For 98% of Thais and 99% of tourists its business as usual and everyone is going about their own business blissfully unaware that there is a change in the wind.

My advice is if you were intending to visit Thailand in the near future, still travel, certainly keep away from any protests that the locals are participating in and enjoy your time here,Thailand is open for business as usual ! 

For those that are still worried and would prefer another destination, we have some great packages for Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Bali for those of you that still want some golf on your holidays.

If you want an unbias information on the current situation, you can call me on +6685 640 5421 and I can give you live information. As I write this, I am in Pattaya, where there this no change to daily life.

Please email me  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and I will send you some suggestions on where you will get some great golf in this holidays.

 

May 20 Centara Pattaya.

We have just secured Centara Pattaya as sponsoring the Pattaya Golf Week being held 18-25th October, so I wanted to see the level of accommodation at this recently opened hotel, that the players would be staying in.

Centara group have 3 hotels in Pattaya, Centara Modus in North Pattaya, Centara Grand in Pratamnuk (Jomtien) and the one I looked at, Centara Pattaya.

 

This hotel is located just off Second Road, 1 block from the beach and opposite soi 6/1 and not far from Big C shopping centre. When you first look at the hotel from the outside it looks quite small, but as you walk through to the pool area, you can see where they put the 152 rooms.

 

The four types of rooms they have are

 

  1. Deluxe rooms, approx. 29-32meters and are either a king bed or two single beds
  2. Centara Family Studios, approx. 60 sq metres have 1 king bed and bunk beds in the other room
  3. Centara one Bedroom Suites have 1 king bed and a separate lounge dining area with approx. 60 sq metres
  4. Centara two Bedroom Suites. approx. 70 sq metres Have 1 room with 1 king size bed and the other room either 2 twin beds or king sized bed

 

The breakfast buffet is served from 06.00-10.00 am each day and has a huge range of Western and Asian dishes to choose from and at night for those wishing to eat it, has a great selection of meals, from steaks to pastas and traditional thai foods.

 

In fact, they have a thai cooking class where you join the chef and go to the local markets select the fresh vegetables and meats and then head back to the kitchen and cook up a storm. After cooking, you can eat the fruits of your labour !

 

Onsite has a travel desk and Luci will only be too happy to book an island cruise or a temples visit for you.

 

Im looking forward to staying in this new hotel for our golf weeks and look forward to seeing you there.

 

 

May 15th Bangphra

I like to try and get around to most of the golf courses in Pattaya  and play them at least once a year, but its difficult when there are over 40 courses within an hours drive of downtown Pattaya.

Well this week I managed to get out and play Bangphra, a course I haven’t played in over 12 months and what a surprise I got.

Last time I played here the greens were very grainy and the speed was inconsistent from green to green, and the fairways and bunkers were not maintained, and I didn’t really enjoy the experience and was wondering what I was going to get this time !

On the day, I was greeted with a course that was in great shape, they had done renovations on approx. 5 greens and fairways and it was a pleasure to play.

This course is a parkland style and was designed in the late 1950s, and has a mixture of undulating, flat and monkey holes.

Yes, you read correct, monkeys.

These monkeys usually hang around the holes near the mountain and you see them on holes 5, 6, 7 and 8. The caddies have slingshots to keep them coming to the golf bags and taking phones and golf balls!!

The course while designed in the 60’s, has a great mix of short holes, doglegs and elevated greens and tees , something you don’t see in courses designed in that era, typically its just up and back design.

The 12th hole, a quaint little par 3 completely over water with a large bunker guarding the right hand side, was voted one of the top 500 golf holes. For me, the stretch of holes 11, 12 and 13 are probably the best 3 holes on the course, a little amen corner if you will.

11th hole is a 560 yard par 5 with an open driving area on the left hand side and flanked by tall tree on the right hand side. Your second shot should be played up the left hand side, avoiding the water that comes into play from 150 yards all the way to th e green . The green is quite generous and flat and with a good caddy read, a birdie is possible.

The 13th hole is a 350 yard par 4 with the fairway finishing at 260 yards with a creek that runs across the front of the fairway. A hybrid or 3 wood from the tee leaves a 130 yard shot across the water to an elevated green that is relatively flat green.

This course tests you all the way to the final hole, with the 18th  a par 4, with trees on both sides and the fairway getting narrower as you get closer to the green, with a bunker on the right sides of the green, ready to catch the weak second shot.

The newly renovated lockers rooms have full length lockers and the showers are quite large and modern with new tiles floors.

The clubhouse is quite large and has seating for 150+ people for lunches or dinner.

All in all, quite an enjoyable day at a golf course that has been diligent in maintaining and renovating its facilities to attract more golfers.

April 2014
Siam Waterside
I have recently been given the pleasure of playing the latest golf course in the Siam Country Club range of courses, Siam Waterside. While not officially open to the public, I was allowed to play the course on invitation from the Managing Director, Khun Chai


What a great feeling it is to be one of the first few to play a new course for the first time, I had been watching the course take shape over the last few years and standing on the first tee, it was great to see the finished product.


The course, apt to its name has some great holes that hug the large lake around the club house, but also has holes where creeks meander through the course. Its design is a little friendlier than its to sister courses, where you don't have the big tiered greens with large drop off areas that both Plantation and Old course have.
Holes 1 and 2 have water in play off to the right hand side, then the courses heads away for the water and uses bunkers to hinder your progress.

Holes 7, 8 and 9 move back along the waters edge.

Moving into the back 9, the water doesn't make an appearance until holes 16, 17 and 18.

The 17th hole has water along the full length of the hole and for your second (or third) shot you need to hit across the lake to the green, protected by bunkers on the left.
Hole 18 is a long par 5, with water again the full length of the hole.If you play it as a three shotter then there isn't many problems, going for it in 2, requires you to hug the waterline for your drive, then carry a fairway bunker to get to the large putting surface.

The greens at Waterside are quite large but don't feature the large tiered complexes that Plantation and Old Course share.The course designers were given the directive to make it a playable course for the public, yet from the back tees to be able to host world class tournaments. If going by Watersides sister courses, it wont be long til we see the LPGA stars playing here.

In my opinion, when the initial enthusiasm dies down on playing a new course, I can see this course getting as many rounds as Plantation course, for me, I would prefer the Waterside course.


It will be interesting to see what the Siam members prefer to play, as they will have a choice of 3 world class courses, if you get used to playing top courses all the time, its going to be hard to chose,but you will see me playing my Titleist around Waterside.

 

 

Dec 2nd 2013

 

My best 18 holes here in Pattaya.

 

 

We were sitting down the other day and discussing the best holes here in Pattaya, and trying to put together a dream 18 holes. I get to play most of the courses at least twice throughout the year and the top course probably 3 times. Here is my dream 18 holes here in Pattaya.

 

1st Hole Laem Chabang Mountain Course. Par 4, 336 yards

 

Here you stand on the tee and wonder if you can fit your ball onto the fairways, with out of bounds on the left and jungle on the right, you wish you had spend more time warming up on the driving range.

 

2nd Hole Laem Chabang Mountain Course. Par 3 175 yards

 

A great par three down hill, water front, left and long, the safe bale out is on the right but course designer Jack Nicklaus decides to tier the green, so you are chipping downhill and down the tier to get to the front right pin placement

 

3rd hole Khao Kheow A course, par 3 180 yards

 

Another testing par three 180 yards from the blue tee with water all up the right, and big mounds on the left If you do get the ball on the putting surface the green is reasonably flat giving you a good opportunity for birdie

 

4th Hole Burapha B course, par 4, 353 yards

 

A great par 4 from an elevated tee, the complete hole is laid out in front of you. Large mounds on the right of the fairway and water on the left. The great feature of this hole is the bunker on the left hand side that goes from the 150 yard marker all the way up to the green and around the back of the green

 

5th Hole Siam Plantation par 5 543 yards

 

Here the fairways must be 220 yards wide! An uphill par 5 with a spilt fairway. Take the left fairways and its a shorter distance but you almost bring all of the 27 bunkers in play, take the left fairways and its virtually bunker free. The green is double tiered, so the jobs not done when you get to the green.

 

6th Hole Laem Chabang Lake Course Par 4, 420 yards.

 

From the blue tee its a 300 yard drive downhill to the water, with a fairway bunker right and OOB left. From here you are faced with a 170 yards to the green with water front and right. The green is quite flat once you are there.

 

7th Hole Burapha Country Club B course. Par 4,  414 yards

 

 from the tee you look at OOB on the left and water on the right. With your drive favouring the left side there is a tree  hindering progress unless you can hit it high or took the tiger line off the tee up the right hand side. The green has two tiers and makes that birdie putt just a little harder if you not on the correct level.

 

8th Hole Laem Chabang Lake Course,  par 3, 145 yards

 

From an elevated tee you look down over the water and a single bunker that protects the flag. Its quite a flat green so putting isn’t the problem, just keeping the ball dry and off the beach should make it an easy par.

 

9th Hole Siam Plantation Sugar Course par 4, 472 yards

 

Well the club house is in sight but it still requires a drive right of centre and the a long iron or wood for some, to reach the green that is protected by bunkers on the left and huge run off are to the right and a triple tiered green. Course designers Schmidt Curley cant be golfers to design such a brutal finishing hole, or they were having a bad day at the office !

 

 

Back nine coming soon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 16th 2013

 

HUA HIN NAMED GOLF DESTINATION OF THE YEAR

Costa Daurada, Spain, Nov 15 -- Hua Hin, the laid-back seaside town on the Gulf of Thailand that has been the Thai Royal family’s holiday headquarters for more than 80 years, now has another claim to fame: Asia and Australasia’s 2014 Golf Destination of the Year.
 
Hua Hin, 200 kilometres south of Bangkok, received the award this week at the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators’ annual convention, held in Catalonia, Spain.
It is only the second time a region, rather than a country, has been named Golf Destination of the Year in Asia/Australasia. Thailand has twice won the award and in 2012 the Thai city of Pattaya was the winner.
The 2014 award was accepted by Hua Hin’s Lord Mayor, Khun Nopporn Vuttikul, at a ceremony at the end of the convention, which was attended by golf tour operators, and executives representing resorts, golf clubs and destinations from around the world.The accolade recognises Hua Hin’s rapid recent ascendancy to the pinnacle as a golf tourism destination in Asia Pacific. The site of the first golf course in Thailand, Royal Hua Hin Golf Club built in 1924, the region’s golf credentials have risen since the opening in 2007 and 2008 of Black Mountain Golf Club and Banyan Golf Club.
 
Both courses have since been rated consistently among Thailand’s elite layouts. Black Mountain has been named for each of the past three years at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit, including again last week in Jakarta, as the top course in Thailand.
 
In 2011, Black Mountain was named best championship course in Asia Pacific and the following year became the first course in Thailand to be included in US Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses Outside the US. This year it was runner-up as best championship layout in the region.
 
Banyan has been in the top three in Thailand for the same period and for the past two years its clubhouse was voted best in the region. In 2009, Banyan was named best new course in Asia Pacific.
 
Hua Hin, which literally translates as “head rock”, now boasts 11 golf courses, has become a popular destination for golfers from all over the world, especially during the peak winter season when its population of 85,000 swells two or three times. Its perfect year-round climate, laid-back village atmosphere, absence of a rainy season, wonderful beaches, restaurants and proximity to Bangkok are key reasons for its popularity.

 

In March next year, Hua Hin will host the Hua Hin Amateur Golf Week, a week-long tournament for club golfers.
 
Organiser, Mark Penfold, the principal of Thailand Golf Tours in Australia, said Hua Hin stood out as the obvious location for the first event of 2014. “We will play at the top two leading courses – Banyan and Black Mountain, – both of which are within easy reach of Hua Hin and offer a premier standard of golf and supporting facilities.”
 
The general manager of Banyan Golf Club, Stacey Walton, says Hua Hin has become internationally recognised as a “friendly and charming resort destination with several kilometers of coastline, 5-star hotels, water theme parks, nice restaurants, spas, shopping and cultural attractions”.
 
“Hua Hin has all the right ingredients for a fantastic golf holiday and it truly deserves to receive such a prestigious award,” he said. “This will mean a lot to the local community and to our team at Banyan Golf Club as they work hard to provide every visitor with a memorable golfing experience. They will feel proud of our destination’s success.”
 
Black Mountain’s general manager, Harald Elisson, said the award recognised that Hua Hin was home to two of the top golf courses in Thailand. “Hua Hin has perfect year-round golf weather and great courses that appeal to golfers of all levels as well as families. We are just two hours by car from Bangkok, the roads are improving all the time and we don’t have a rainy season. These are perfect ingredients for a memorable golf holiday.”
 
Footnote: A new city plan for Hua Hin, expected to be adopted in 2014, will ensure further development of the region. A high-speed train service is scheduled to commence from Bangkok in 2017.
 
For more information about golf in Hua Hin, visit 
http://www.thailandgolftours.com.au/tour-destinations/destinations/about-hua-hin.html


For information about the Hua Hin Amateur Golf week , visit 
http://www.thailandgolftours.com.au/information/events/hua-hin-amateur-golf-week-march-2014.html

August 30th 2013

I get asked alot about what are the main differences between Siam CC Old Course and Siam CC Plantation Course and which course should I play and why? I am lucky enough to live about 10 minutes from both courses and play them regularly.

 

 

Siam Country Club Old course has been set up as a championship course to host national and international events. The course has large bunkers and greens that have run off area that filter the ball away from the green for a shot that hasn’t been hit crisp. The fairways are quite wide from tree line to tree line but the rough is cut in quite dramatically offering the fairway to the straight drive. Fairway bunkers are placed very strategically to protect the ideal line and are located right on the driving distance for the players, regardless of the colour markers you use.

The holes are a great mixture of doglegs both left and right, some great par threes with water `carries and the best finishing holes you will find anywhere in Thailand. The par 5 18th is a great dogleg to the left with fairway bunkers catching your ball if you try and take the short cut up the left hand side. Your second shot needs to miss the collection of fairway bunkers littered up the centre of the fairway, and when you look at yr third shot to the green you will find three large tiers in the the green and a green that measures 35 metres from front to back !!

Siam Plantation is the newest brother to the Old Course and has 27 holes on offer the Tapioca, Sugarcane and Pineapple nines.

The 1st Hole on the Sugar Cane course is an absolute gem. You stand on the tee and figure out just how to miss all those bunkers. It’s a great piece of design work by the course designer an opening holes that could have been very ordinary but with the use of clever placements of bunkers at specific driving distances give you no alternative but to take the safe route and not try and cut the corner to get to the green.

The Sugar cane nine is quite generous off the tee, there are fairway bunkers along the sides of the fairways and nestled around the green, but I believe this course rewards the golfer that can hit good second shots to green, using the slopes in the greens to get the ball close to the hole. Some of the greens are quite large so hitting your irons correct yardages is most important.

 

The 5th hole is a dual fairway par 5 where you need to manoeuvre your ball to miss the 26 bunkers this hole has. Again plot your way though the maze and when you reach the green you come to a green sloping fiercely front to back with a large tier through the middle.

 

There are many great holes on this course and its one of the course that you will find doesn’t have a bad hole amongst the layouts. Come courses you find have some spectacular holes and few memoriable one and a few plain holes, you will leave plantation with memories of each hole you played.

If you only have time to play one of these courses, if you are a low single figure marker to mid teens` and you want to test yourself go and play the Old course and play from the Blue markers. This length will test your driving, mid to long irons and will use every club in the bag chipping to get the ball close to the hole.

 

If you are a mid to high marker and hit the ball a little wayward at times and don’t enjoy losing 6 balls a round, play at Plantation and take careful notice of the yardages your caddies gives you to the pin, coming up short will give you either a tricky chip to a tightly guarded pin or a 70 foot putt.

 

Irrespective of which course you play, choosing the tee markers that suits your ability is a key ingredient of playing near to your handicap.

 

 

April 10th 2013

 

I was lucky enough to get an invitation by the Managing Director of Siam Country Club, Khun Chai Phomprapha to join him for the golf course opening photoshoot for the new Siam Country Club Pattaya Waterside . As this course is about 3 minutes from my home in east Pattaya, and I had seen the changes going on over the last 8 months, I was keen to attend and see the progress.

The access to the course is either off Soi Siam Country Club, just past the entrance to the Old Course, or if you are coming from the other direction, just drive past the entrance to Siam Plantation and go straight ahead and you will see the new course on the left

While the course has about 7 holes fully grassed, the other holes are following quickly and the course is expected to open early March 2014.

chai

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Looking across at Hole 8

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Looking  towards first tee with clubhouse construction in background

 

As I looked around there was plenty of activity, but I saw a lot of bare areas which begged me to ask the question

 

 

 

“How long does it take for the greens and fairways to be ready?”

 

Khun Chai quickly answers

 

“ It takes approx  4-6 months for the fairways and greens to get complete coverage. We would like to turf the golf course entirely, but there is only one Donald Trump in the world (he smiles) We have approx 300-400 trees a month being delivered and the course is taking great shape.

 

As we drive around the course he points out where the 9th green is located, as right now, it’s a big pile of dirt with a flag put in there.

He points out the different coloured flags that is on every hole, one for the Black tees, one for white tees,  green flags for the landing area on the fairways ( approx 270 yards from the black flags) or turning point on the hole, and one for the green.

On the first hole, the designers have put the single bunker on the left hand side of the fairway at 260-280 yards from the Black tee, on the right hand side the fairway slopes off into the huge lake.

The green sits at about  45* angle from the fairway and is protected by bunkers on the left and right of the green.

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Towards 1st green from 140 yards

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behind left hand bunker 1st hole

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from 100 yards out 1st Hole

As I was talking to Chai about the course design, I asked him where does this design sit, in relation to the two other courses that he has overseen construction in the last 6 years.

waterside layout

He says

“Over the last few years having built 63 holes championship golf holes, we have built up a vast wealth of knowledge and experience what works and what doesn’t and we move forward with this information, Waterside will be more user friendly than the other two designs. We don’t have the high elevated greens that you see at Plantation, where if you miss the green, the ball will roll off, sometimes up to 30 yards from the pin. Similiarly the greens wont be as expansive with the green contours that you see at The Old Course, that type of design is good for the professionals , but we are selling enjoyment here, no one enjoys losing a dozen balls a round and 4 putting, you could top the ball along the ground onto these greens!

(again another smile)

 

 

 

As we drive back to the site of the new club house he tell me the facilities here will be first class.

 

“I don’t understand you Aussies, tell them to bring a change of clothes with you and have a shower at the end of your round, I will guarantee you, my facilities are much better than the hotel you are staying in”.

 

I agree with his comments 100%, bring a change of clothes and enjoy the 180*views from balcony of the new course when it opens.

 

I will be updating with new photos as new holes open.

April 5 2013

During the hotter months, when I don’t play as much golf, I like to get around to the hotels in the area and have a look at what has changed during the year. I was recently at Woodlands Resort at North Pattaya, near the dolphin roundabout, and inspected the resort again.

They have just renovated all the superior rooms to a high quality level of finish. All these rooms now have a flat screen TV, walk in shower, safe in the room and new tiled flooring. The deluxe rooms have the bath and shower and a personal balcony either looking over the pool or into the gardens.

The general manager was telling me that the hotel has enjoyed a 90% occupancy rate since Sept / October last year and part of this success has been from the high ratings from trip advisor. The hotel is centrally located in Pattaya, the public transport is right at the front door, and there is so many different restaurants of different nationalities that you can eat in a different part of the world each day. As is with most of Thailand,Pattaya traffic can be a problem getting to the hotels in the afternoons when peak hour arrives., Woodland resort is situated near two of the main roads in Pattaya, so traffic is never a major concern

Because of the factors above, and the success that Pattaya has had being voted the best golf destination for 2012, The resort built a sister hotel called Woodlands Suites on the property adjoining the resort and offers a higher level of accommodation in their deluxe and executive suites

The resort has a calming atmosphere, and as I walked around the complex, there were people swimming, reading the papers, kids swimming in the shallow kids pool and people getting massages outside under the cabanas overlooking the pool. The hotel has something for everybody.

March 16th 2013

During the second week of the Pattaya Amateur Week we played some new courses that the players hadn’t played before. This time we decided to venture out to Pleasant valley.   While this is a relatively new course, the fairways and greens have grown in nicely and just the rough is yet to fully grow out. Its quiet a tight layout with holes running parallel to each other, and it’s not uncommon for there to be other players on your fairway heading in the opposite direction.   This course is one where you need to bring your straight driving club, on a couple of holes I was just off the fairway and all I could do was hack it back onto the fairway, I wasn’t sure if this is the design of the course or the rough hadn’t been mown for a few days, but the rough was penal !!   There are some great holes on this course, none better than the stretch of holes 3, 4 and 5. The 3rd, a par 5 with water running the full length on the right hand side requiring your third shot to be hit over the water, followed by 4th a driveable par 4 with water again along the complete right hand side and then a downhill par three over water.   Another great hole is the island green, par 3, 8th hole.   Give this course another couple of years to grown the grass so it has consistent coverage and it will be a course that you will want to come back to and play again because just after one round not many players will master this pattaya golf course. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 22th 2013

 First week in March we were hosting the All Nations Cup, this was three golf associations from different nationalities playing the best courses here in Pattaya then onto Bangkok for the last two rounds. Since the LPGA was being played at the Siam Country Club (Old Course) during the same week they were here, the group played Siam Country Club ( Plantation Course) and then onto Laem Chabang International Country Club.  Both courses conditioning was immaculate and the speed of the greens were 9 to 9.5 which offered a good test of golf. I am constantly amazed about the quality of Thailand Golf courses. Each day you could show up and play a major international event on these courses. Some courses throughout the world close the course 1 month prior to get the course ready but the courses this group played, Thai Country Club, Suwan Country Club and the two mentioned above could host any event with a days notice. During my day at Suwan Country Club, I drove around and looked at the attention to detail that the top courses go through to maintain a golf course in tip top condition.

 

The palm trees were trimmed to stop the dead leaves falling on the ground, the bunkers were raked to perfection, (I’d say the caddies have a large role to play in this), the fairways have been cross hatch cut to give a great optical effect when you stand on every tee.With so many top golf courses in Thailand that need to be played, I would suggest if you are coming over here to play, try and play the best ones in the area, if you are on a budget, play one or two rounds of golf less but don’t settle for second best, I’m sure you can play average golf courses in your home country.

 

Part of the All Nation Cup group package was staying at the Hilton Hotel while staying in Pattaya, while plenty has been written about the hotel, until you stay there it’s hard to believe how good it is. Located on the 15th floor of the Central festival shopping centre the rooms either have a great view looking into the bay towards walking Street or if you’re on the other side looking into the bay towards north Pattaya, to wake up in the more to this view is absolutely superb. The breakfast area in the hotel is located on the 16th floor and the views while having your bacon, eggs and coffee are to surely die for, either sit inside and enjoy the air conditioning or go outside and enjoy the cool morning breeze from the bay. With so many restaurants available in town, and I don’t usually eat at the hotel I stay, I was tempted to go the rooftop restaurant called Horizons. Here there was a great range of western and Asian dishes and a good range of imported wines to match. Certainly worth a visit next time you’re in Pattaya to this roof top restaurant, whether you are staying at the Hilton or not.     

        

Tues 19th Feb.  

Our Irish friends today are out playing at Mountain Shadow. I haven’t been here for about 3 months and was keen for a game.   From the initial impressions, the course is on the improve from when I was here last. The greens are running about 8 on the stympmeter which is a good speed for the average golfer, and the fairways have a good even coverage on them.   The green sizes here are smaller that the other golf courses in Pattaya, only a couple of the green has vicious slopes on them, the rest are generally flat and make for a enjoyable days putting   At this course the fairways are quite narrow and there are minimal fairways bunkers, it’s the trees that line the fairways that cause the golfers problems. This course was cut from a fruit orchid and the fairways are still lined with many trees bearing fruit. The caddies grab the sand rake and pull down the fruit that’s ready to eat.

 

Also there are palm trees throughout the course, and trying to hit a ball through them is fraught with danger. It seems every time when I try to hit a ball through the palm trees, the tree catches the ball and sends it straight to the ground, so I am faced with the same shot again !   The group I played with complained about the lies off the mown fairway, the rough is either long and you cant always move the ball onto the green, or you get sandy lies and have to hit a career shot to put in on the putting surface, hey what do you expect when you hit it in the rough I told them ?, if you want a smooth surface everywhere you play, go and play bowls !   Well after they focused on hitting in the fairways they were rewarded with great lies and the opportunity to hit some greens in regulation. While Mountain Shadow is not a long Thailand golf course, you are rewarded for shots in the fairway, some of the fairways only measure 15 metres across in some places so straight driving is a must to shoot a good score.  

 

My two favourite holes here are both par 5’s. The 3rd is a straight away hole and for your second shot for the long hitter you can either lay up for your second leaving a 120 yard 3rd shot or you can have a go for 2 on, but there is water in play short, left and right for any miscues.   Once on the putting green, you could be faced with a putt of up to 30 meters if you didn’t hit the right club ! Its one on the narrowest longest greens I have seen for a while.   The other favourite is the 11th Hole. Here you have a split fairway to the green, going to the left side is a shorter route but the fairways is much narrower, but you are rewarded with a green that you hit straight up towards, if you take the right side fairway, it’s a bit longer, not as much trouble and your third shot is to a green that would be 40 meters wide and 10 metres deep. For me I always take the left side as it gives me an easier third shot to a green that looks like it has buried elephants under it.

  

Monday 18th Feb.

 I recently had an international group head out and play Pattana Golf course and I thought I would go and play here as I haven’t played here for approx 3 months and I wanted to get an update on the course and the golf conditions.   While not on the golf radar for the international Golfer, the local ex pats, travel the extra distance to this great course and enjoy the world class facilities the course has to offer.   The course was named after the founder’s husband Dr. Pattana Juangroongruangkit, who unfortunately died prior to seeing his labour of love completed. The course has 27 holes, with each 9 named Andreas, Brookei and Calypso and from the Blue tees each 9 measuring over 3500 yards, is a tough test for the average golfer.  

 

The first thing you notice about the Pattana Golf & Sports Resort is the sheer size of the complex. The resort has outdoor sports stadium, driving range, 2 chipping and putting greens and a 200+ room hotel.   The locker room has facilities for 200 players and would be the envy of many of the top courses in the area.   The course itself is in great condition with the greens running about 9 when we played, which would be some of the fastest greens in the area over this Christmas period. The fairways and greens has great cover and while there has been a little rain the previous two days there was no major wet patches and carts were allowed on the fairways when we played.   After the round we stayed at the restaurant and had lunch and overlooked the course, and I have to say in terms of club house facilities, its in the top 5 in the Pattaya area.   If this course was 15 minutes closer to Pattaya it would be booked out all year round! the fact that is just near the 1 hour trip from central Pattaya turns most golfer off, however if you are looking for a golf course that tests your skills, and then offers great facilities to refresh you after your round then take the extra 15 minutes drive and play this great layout

  

Thurs 14th Feb.

As I get around most of the courses in Pattaya every 1-2 months to play, I am constantly drawn back to play at Laem Chabang.   While this course was the pinnacle of Pattaya golf in the earlier 90’s and late into the 2000’s, it still is one of my favourite Pattaya golf courses.  

While some courses start to look old and tired after 20+ years, this course has kept the high standard since the day it opened.   The greens are kept at a good speed all year round and the beauty of having a 27 hole course is you can close one 9 each day for maintenance and the course is looking tip top all year round.   The attention to detail in the upkeep of the scrubs and plants around the course is meticulous, and while I shouldn’t be noticing these things, as a golfer, I like to have a look around and take in all the visual aspects of the course, not just the fairways and greens on the hole I am playing!   The club house sits into the side of the mountain with commanding views over the Valley and Lake courses finishing holes and surrounding valley.

 

The locker rooms and shower facilities are some of the best in the area, the new driving range gives you the opportunity to hit a few balls and loosen up prior to your round, and the dining facilities are first class.   Each day they have an international buffet from 11am- 2 pm and I would suggest if you have either an early round or a late tee off come a bit early and enjoy the great food and take in the views that Laem Chabang offers.  

 

This is certainly one of the must play golf courses if you are coming to Pattaya. My recommendation is to try and get to play the Mountain and the Valley courses. The secret to a good score here is to play from the correct tee colours for your handicap / ability and do whatever it takes to put the ball in the fairway, if this means hitting a hybrid or 5 wood to put the ball on the short grass then do that as missing the fairways here is penal! Some courses you can get away with hitting it in the rough or off the fairway but not here.   

Fri 8th Feb.   

This week saw our international golfers play at Burapha, the only 36 hole golf course here in Pattaya. The course we played was the Crystal and Dunes 9’s and they are in great condition. Outside Siam Country Club, these would be the fastest greens in Pattaya at the moment and the whole course is in great condition. Most of the Pattaya golf courses have had a lot of traffic in the last few weeks with Chinese New Year holidays bringing the asian tourists in for the week and the usual high season business for the Europeans typically for their Pattaya golf vacations for three weeks. I had a look at the start sheet for the day, they are busy from 6.15 am all the way through to 13.30 pm the last 18 hole tee time of the day !  

 

I would suggest if you are planning to get a game at this top golf course that you certainly book early to avoid disappointment.   Two of my favourite holes on this C-D layout is the short 7th on the D course. Its an uphill par 4 playing around 300 yards, so for the bigger hitters it’s a one on chance, but if you miss the green, there is deep green side bunkers and deep rough surrounding the green, sometimes making the second shot onto the green difficult. I watched my 16 marker partner hit his hybrid up the centre and an easy pitch on for his regulation par !   The other favourite hole of mine is the Par 5, 6th hole on the C course. This is a gentle dogleg right with bunkers up the right side on the driving distance. The second shot needs to be placed up the right hand side, (but don’t go into the bunkers) giving yourself the best angle for your third shot to the triple tiered green.

 

The green sits at you high on the left to low on the right at about a 30* angle so the best approach is from the far right as you can be so you are shooting up the green. For the bigger hitters, it’s a chance to be on in 2 but your drive MUST be in the fairway as the rough is quite long and stopping the ball from the long rough is a difficult task.   If you are looking for good caddies at this course, I can personally recommend 212, 145 and 321. All three play golf, maybe better than some of the players they caddy for !   

Fri 27th Jan..  

With so many top courses available now within the Pattaya area, there are still a few sleepers around, that for the first time golfer to Pattaya would miss playing if you weren’t in the know.   If I told you that you can play a Pete Dye designed course with an island par 3 green for less that THB 2000, people would be clambering over themselves to go and play it. If this course was in the US or Europe, you would need to have a member invite you to come and play.  

 

Well Khao Kheow is this course and when I was out there last week, all three nines had people going off on all the tees for the 3 hours that I was there, that’s 180 players, so obviously the secret is out !   The course has a driving range right near the 1st tee and a large chipping and putting green with a deep bunker so you can practice the shots that you will face out on the course. I only wish it had tiers in the putting green so I can get ready for some of the severely sloped putts I have out on the course!   With plenty of water on each of the nines, it’s a course that will test you accuracy from the tees and with your shots to the green.   Two favourite holes are the stand out for me here, obviously the island green par 3, B 8 while its only 133 yards from the blue tees, there is just something intimidating about standing on a tee and only seeing water or green, you have a 50% strike rate.   The other is the 1st hole on the C course, a nice little par 5 dogleg left, and as my caddy says, water on the left, Out of Bounds on the right but straight OK! Obviously this girl doesn’t play golf, or she golfs her ball better than me !  

 

Khao Kheow is still one of the top courses that allows you to walk the course, even though it has just introduced the one cart, one golfer policy that the other top courses have introduced, its good to be able to walk rather than have the cart forced upon you.   All three finishing holes finish in front of the club house and the view from the restaurant is great to watch the final groups come in. if you are having a few rounds of golf in Pattaya make sure you book a round of golf here at Khao Kheow  

Tues 8th Jan  

I had the pleasure the other day to play the “Best Maintained Course in Asia Pacific” as voted by members at the annual Asia Pacific Golf Summit in Brunei last week. This is the second year in a row this course as received this award.   Now I know your thinking where did he play, some new course in China, or the courses in Vietnam that have been springing up over the last 3 or 4 years   No, none of these but in Pattaya, Thailand   Siam Country Club ( Plantation Course) has been joint host to the season opening event on the LPGA tour over the last 4 years. I played here on Friday 21st December, on arrival there was 2 coaches in the car park and about 70 vehicles, so I was expecting a slow day.  

 

The facilities at the course is simply world class, from the locker rooms to the practice facilities, you would think that that you are playing in a tournament. It is interesting to note that the practice range isn’t open to the public just to hit range balls. When I asked the managing director about this he told me “ we don’t need the wear and tear on the grass, its not worth it, we would prefer to keep the surfaces for the players utilizing the golf course”   Now here is a golf course that is interested in creating great playing surfaces and having players have a great experience, rather than chasing the all elusive $   Each time I have played this course, at various times during the year, the conditioning is perfect, greens run at about 8.5 – 9 on the stymp, the fairways are prepared perfectly and the bunkers are always raked to perfection. There is nothing I can blame my bad round on.   As we played,. My playing partner noted that even though there are quite some elevation changes around the course, there was an even coverage of grass everywhere, no bare patches, this had me looking over the next 9 holes to look for imperfections.  

 

I have to say I spent 9 holes looking for criticisms but after my round, I could not fault the course at all, and this is with 150 players that had played in front of us, no spike marks or pitch marks on the greens!  Sure I could complain about pin positions being too difficult or the course being too long, but if you play from the correct tee colours for your handicap then you will really appreciate the hard work that goes into maintain a golf course like Siam Country Club Plantation.   Next time you are in Pattaya and if you have some spare time, make a tee time and go and enjoy this course, it will certainly make you look differently at your home course when you go home.

  

Friday 4th Jan 2013  

When I recently told me friends I was having a game at Wangjuntr, they said wasn’t there a song about that “ Im going to wangjun tonight”   Well unbeknown to a lot of golfers, there is a gem hidden hidden in the forests approx 70 minutes drive from central Pattaya and not many are familiar with the course. I have been coming to Pattaya for 15 years now and this was my second round at this course.   With 40 golf courses within the 1 hours drive radius of Pattaya you tend just to play the popular courses, extend beyond your comfort zone and you will be rewarded with at round of golf that will stay with you for a long, long time.  

 

There is 45 holes here, 18 holes called Highlands, 18 holes called Valley, and a completed 9 of a proposed 18 hole, called Jungle. The elevation changes are the most I have experienced throughout Thailand and probably the world, now before you email me with courses like Red Mountain in Phuket or Koh Samui, the changes are much severe that these two.   What I and other members of the group I played with on the day enjoyed the most was there was no two holes alike, A lot of the modern courses in Thailand are starting to look like others around, you wont see that here in Wangjuntyr. On the highland course we play there was what I would called donut greens, each green either had bunkers, an outcrop of rocks, un mown grass or in the case of the par 5, a water hazard in the middle of the green !!   Most would describe this a tricked up course, but it made you think about every shot you hit, so much so my playing partner actual said he a had a headache as he had to think all day about his golf game, and he’s right, the course didn’t let up !   My favourite hole on the course is the Par 4 14th , from the Blue tees its 260 yards to the water and my caddy suggested that I take 6 iron to be short of the hazzard. Now the elevation drop must be 250 yard drop from tee to fairway and my usual 6 iron travels approx 190 yards with the elevation drop that equaled another 60 yards so my ball was just short of the water. From here I had a water carry to a green surrounded by water on three side.  

 

Unlike other courses, this course has 2 greens on each hole, sometimes you play left from the fairways other times right, and from the blues measures around 7600 yards from the back tees but I would suggest moving up to the Whites for an enjoyable round.   Every hole was different and I can honestly say that I haven’t played golf on a course where I wasn’t saying WOW when I got onto each new tee. From holes with different levels of landing areas in the fairways to greens that were up to 40 metres either deep or wide, Wangjuntr is a course that is a must play when you visit Pattaya. 

 

Wednesday 2nd Jan 2013  

I had an invitation last week to play at Royal Gems Golf Club and I was keen to take up the offer as I had heard about this course and was keen to have a game. Now this course is the first replica course in Asia, it has 9 holes of famous holes from around the world and the back 9 is the back 9 at Augusta National.   Now while I am a keen Thailand golfer and would recognize a road hole, the church pews or an island green, there are others that I didn’t know where they were from, ah the10th hole at The Belfry you say, sorry doesn’t ring a bell for me.  

 

What I did take from the front 9 was that even though they were copy holes, all the holes were still good golf holes, irrespective of where they are from, and the fact that this is still as great golf course, copy holes or no copy holes.   Now for the back nine. When you stand on the 10th tee you see one thing that Augusta doesn’t have, a huge Big C sign in the back ground. All jokes aside, for all of you that play golf in Bangkok you know that the surrounding areas are fairly flat, but looking at the green from the fairway there must be a 70 metre drop from tee to green! There was a substantial amount of dirt moved to create this course. They have made a concerted effort in planting trees at the course, and in a few years when trees are grown more this will be a very challenging course.   All the holes on the back nine were just like what’s on TV and I’m sure you could take the players notes from Augusta and use them here. On the 12th hole par 5 dogleg left, the best place to be was on the left hand side, near the creek, so you had a flat lie, not up on the hill where I was, with the ball way above my feet !   Each hole we played on the back 9 made me feel like I had the shots that the pros fact, albeit the really fast greens ! On the 15th hole after a good drive I was forced to lay up short of the water as I didn’t have enough club to carry the water.  

 

Playing the last hole, par 4 dogleg right up the hill, made me appreciate the amount of dirt that was moved to create this course, The entire hole was all uphill, after a good drive aimed at the two bunkers on the left hand side, with no run ! I was left with a 150 yard shot to a triple tiered green with the pin on the back ! usually I would hit an 8 iron but good advice from my Thailand caddy, I hit 6 iron to get it the ball all the way back to the flag.   After the round, it was a quick shower and into the club house to enjoy a cold drink and some great food while looking over the golf course. There is plans for a further two golf courses here and will be a great golfing destination for you to come and test your golf while in Bangkok.

 

  

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