With year-round sun and little to worry about weather-wise outside occasional rains, Thailand is a natural golf destination. It doesn’t hurt that the country tees up quality courses of international renown while keeping greens fees friendly.
While golf continues to decline in the U.S. from the height of its popularity during the Tiger Woods era, the game is still booming throughout Asia. Thailand thrives in the midst of that boom with a variety of courses designed by the biggest names in the sport.
Thai Country Club
An hour’s drive from Bangkok, this is a private members club. However, a traveller can still enjoy the 7,097-yard, par 72 course for a price just north of 3,000 Baht (US$90). Designed by Dennis Griffiths, Thai CC has a stately, old-fashioned vibe that belies its 31-year history. All of the classic amenities are in place, from a fully stocked bar and restaurant to one of the best-equipped driving ranges in Thailand.
Like so many of the elite courses in the region, the greenskeepers keep the grounds immaculate. The course’s design and conditions lured the best in the game to its fairways for multiple professional events, including the Asian Honda Classic and Volvo Masters Asia.
Laem Chabang International Country Club
One magical name sets this venue up as one of the most popular in Thailand – Jack Nicklaus. The greatest player in the history of the game was the mind behind Laem Chabang International Country Club, and so many of his classic design features are in full effect. The fairways are wide and bowl-edged to keep an amateur’s ball in play.
However, the final holes grow more difficult as The Golden Bear always makes a player earn it before the round is complete. Laem Chabang International Country Club’s 27-hole track sits on a 283-hectare site in the Sriracha District of Chonburi, 30 minutes from Pattaya. Visitors are allowed for about 3,000 Baht (US$90).
Springfield Royal Country Club
It appears Jack Nicklaus was busy over the years helping to shape the legacy of Thailand golf, as he also designed the 27-holes of the Springfield Royal Country Club. Created with five sets of tees on every hole, the course can be configured for various ages and skill levels. Play from the tips, and the course runs longer than 7,000-yards.
For 3,500 Baht (US$105), a player can take on the Springfield Royal CC, located at the base of the mountains near Cha-am, an easy drive from Hua Hin. Away from its elite golf course, Springfield Royal offers full spa services and an active wildlife sanctuary on the grounds.
Siam Country Club Pattaya
Home to three courses — the Old Course, the Plantation and Waterside – Siam CC Pattaya opened in 1968 on a design created by Japan’s I Izumi. That creation became the Old Course, while the Plantation opened in 2005 following a renovation of the entire property. Finally, Waterside went online in 2014.
Both additional courses are credited to American designer Lee Schmidt. All three of the country club’s offerings play in immaculate condition, with the Old Course remaining in top shape to host the annual Honda LPGA Thailand tournament. Greens fees of 3,000 Baht will get you on that Old Course, but the Plantation and Waterside offer two of the best bargains in Thailand golf as only about 1,500 Baht.
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