Bangkok Golf Courses
Course-by-Course Introduction to Golf in-&-around
the great metropolitan & capital city of Bangkok
Bangkok has by far the most in number of golf courses in and around a major city anywhere in the region, with a good portion of these being of world class standard as well. It is also a great place for sightseeing. A multitude of Buddhist temples dot the banks of the majestic Chao Phraya River. The Grand Palace near Wat Phra Kheaw and other monuments as well as the bustling city life make Bangkok a city of delight to visit. Excellent restaurants offering tasty foods from every part of the world are to be found in and around the city. For shopping, the range of products offered at attravtive prices will simply overwhelm you. Classical Thai dancing, kick boxing, a soothing and relaxing Thai massage and not least the world famous nightlife of Bangkok will ensure your stay will be a most enjoyable one. Nonetheless, here are some of the almost listless golf courses in and around the capital city that we have sampled:
Bangkok Golf Club of Bangkok – Beautifully landscaped this 18-hole Par-72 6,800-yard championship course has a layout which includes a challenging island green, an island tee off area and a waterfall hole. Some find the Par-3 175-yard Hole#11 with an island green particularly challenging. It is not so much the expanse of the water that is providing the psychological challenge but rather the mere 23-yard depth of the green that appears to test the confidence.
Muang Kaew Golf Club of Bangkok – Muang Kaew is another grande dame of golf courses in and around the capital city. Less than half an hour’s drive from downtown Bangkok, the course was re-designed by Schmidt-Curly in 2003 and upgraded to international standards. For a long while this course remained a best-kept secret until more got to know of its new facelift.
This 18-hole Par-72 7,010-yard course boasts of numerous challenging holes set in a parkland environment with lakes and ‘klong’ (canals) segmenting the course. Not unexpectedly, the fairways are amply lined with mature trees that befit its seniority.
The most difficult hole appears to be the Par-5 550-yard Hole#6 where two deep bunkers guard the small elevated green at the sides and a large pond lining the right-hand side of the fairway approaching the green.
Summit Windmill Golf Club of Bangkok – Comparatively, Summit Windmill is not only older than most of the golf courses in and around Bangkok, it is also not the easiest. Characterised by the many artificial lakes found all over the entire complex of about 160 hactares, the course is challenging to say the least. Take for instance, the Par-5 624-yard Signature Hole#1 has a large water area port side all the way from the tee to the dogleg and beyond. Power and accuracy are both badly needed here. This design is then repeated on Hole#18 and as well on two others making them somewhat representative of what this course is all about. And to match in a different and more subtle way, there are also numerous Par-3s well flanked by water holes with Hole#12 in particular which has an island green for the weak-hearted, perhaps. Well, knowingly one suspects, Nick Faldo designed this Par-72 6,964-yard course of low shrubs of palm trees lining most of the fairways with a challenging layout in mind. There are various coloured tees incorporated to suit the different levels. Even then, the tee-boxes were not done without good angling and positioning.
Despite, this golf course remains one of the most popular with the locals and foreign visitors alike partly owing to its close proximity to the city (about half-an-hour’s drive) and good access (just off the busy Bangna-Trad Express Way). And for that, bookings for premium tee-off time are as challenging.
Muang Ake Golf Club of Bangkok – Located just 10 minutes from the old Don Muang Airport of Bangkok, Muang Ake Golf Club is known for its forgiveness in the flatness of the course layout, if not in the relatively short distance of 6,398 yards. Additionally, the greens are wide with little undulation. But that’s not to say there’s a total lack in challenge. Several lakes and small water holes surround many of the greens providing some deceptions to an otherwise open course of seemingly easy birdies. The favourite holes are the Par-4s of the 371-yard Hole#9 and 365-yard Hole#18 both of which come complete with island greens with blind spots to the lake. If you like, dense shrubs artistically sculptured into shapes of animals serving as distance markers only provide further distractions when concentration is needed most.
Designed by Maneerat Asadang in 1986, this Par-72 18-hole course is ideal for novices and high handicappers if it is not already very popular among locals and foreigners alike for its proximity to the city and easy access along the highway to Ayuthaya.
Royal Ratchaburi Golf Club of Ratchaburi – The Royal Ratchaburi is one of the rare courses in the country that is surrounded by scenic mountains. Stretching nearly 7,000 yards, this 18-hole Par-72 mountain course makes much use of the natural hilly terrain as well as the water catchment areas to provide challenging obstacles to a good score. Sand traps and testing greens add to the degree of difficulty. Against the majestic mountain view as the backdrop, lush woodlands abound with regular wild monkeys at the tree top; a hole-in-one is unlikely to be celebrated unnoticed any time on the course.
The sloping fairway of the Par-4 320-yard Hole#6 tests placement ability. Tee off shots leaning towards the right will certainly find water and therefore disaster. And if the shot is well placed on the left side of the fairway, a treacherous green sloping back towards the fairway will severely test club selection. A flatter club head for more rolls will be helpful. In any eventuality, the beautiful mountain view and the refreshing air will either compensate for the less than satisfactory finishing or simply add to the joy of having played in such devine surrounding.
The Windsor Park & Golf Club of Bangkok – Known as Panya Park Golf Club in the past, The Windsor consists of four Ron Fream-designed 9-hole courses, the A, B, C and D Courses, with almost equi-distant for all four at approximately 3,200 yards. The main feature of the courses is the lush tree-lined fairways and gently sloping greens, deceptive bunkers and meandering creeks bringing water to almost every hole.
Yearning for an eagle? You may get the chance at the Par-5 496-yard Hole#9 of C Course if you can rip it. Two large bunkers guard on both sides at close to the 300-yard mark. A large pond sits close to the front edge of the large green
Lam Luk Ka Golf & Country Club of Bangkok – Designed by R. Packard, this course is made up of two 18-hole standard courses. The East Course, measuring 7,010 yards, is touted the most challenging course in the country. Hitters who can’t keep the ball straight will be severely punished. The West Course however is much shorter at 6,600 yards. The ease of a shorter distance here is all but compensated by more water hazards placing greater demand on good course management skills. In fact all the holes but three are infested by water obstacles.
The Signature Hole is the Par-5 550-yard Hole#2 of the East Course where the edge of water threatens all the way on one side and fairway bunkers on the other. It will test your power drive as well as accurate placement shots.
The Legacy Golf Club of Bangkok – A Jack Nicklaus’ design, the Legacy is an 18-hole Par-72 7,000-yard championship golf course. Previously knwon as Winsan Golf Course, the layout features lush tree-lined fairways with wide expanse of sand waste and many water hazards. One of the more exciting holes is the Par-5 474-yard Hole#6. The tricky green comes with a waist-line at the middle. Long and reliable tee-hitters will again have a distinct advantage on this hole if the bunkers can be successfully avoided.
Amata Spring Country Club of Bangkok – In 2007, Amata Spring Country Club won the Best New Course in Asia poll conducted by Asian Golf Monthly. Perhaps not the least coincidental, it situates close to the more established and illustrous Thai Country Club. Underlying its emergence in the regional golf scene is a world class golf course that tests, teases, penalizes, rewards and requires play of utmost precision and thought if a good score is to be obtained. This 7,400-yard new kid on the block boasts strategically placed tee-boxes to test experience, and at the same time demanding power and strength on the longer front nine and accuracy and finesse on the more hazard-filled other. In particular, the Par-3 145-yard Signature Hole#17 which has the only floating green in Asia, requires good club selection and judgement on the ever-changing wind directions (read: Bring lots of spare balls!). Another memorable one is the long Par-5 584-yard Hole#15 which you could get to the green in three but only accompanied by accuracy and the ability to side-step well-placed bunkers and other hazards guarding the green in all directions.
Amata Spring Country Club was the host of the inaugural Royal Trophy in January 2006. It is also the home course of the darling of Thai golf, Virada Nirapathpongporn.
Summit Pinehurst Golf & Country Club of Bangkok – The Summit hosted the Johnnie Walker Classic Golf Tournament, part of the European Tours, in 1992. Designed by Yoshihira Aihara, this championship course is made up of three 9-hole courses called the North, the West and the South. The most tricky of the holes has to be the Par-4 314-yard Hole#9 of the West course. If your tee shot is powerful and quite confidently accurate, you could well try an eagle, if you are really hard up. With a bit of luck, the ball may just sail past the water hazzard and sand traps and weave through the palm leaves for a one-on. A tall order to dwarf the tall palm trees guarding the greens for some, but otherwise, there’s always the conventional of laying up before an accurate landing for a birdie. The real challenge, it appears, lies in the decision you make base on the condition of the course as well as that of yourself.
President Golf & Country Club of Bangkok – This 36-hole RTJ2-designed championship course consists of four Par-36 9s namely the 3,034-yard North, the 3,128-yard South, the 2,942-yard East and the 3,013-yard West. The characteristic of the course lies in the numerous water holes and deep greenside bunkers. Good sand shots are essential to good scores here as often the ball has to be literally dug out high for the fast greens with subtle burrows. There are also several Par-3s with wide area of water in between. Particularly challenging of the Par-3s are the 177-yard Hole#6 North and the 197-yard Hole#17 East. The South and West 9s generally have more long holes, the more memorable of which are the Par-5s of 557-yard Hole#11 and the 562-yard Hole#18 South, both have water running alongside the fairway to the green.
Generally in this course the fairways are wide and the greens large, and both are fast. The tough and wiry Tif-Way 419 grass of the fairways also encourages a more cautious and less aggressive shots. In all this is still a challenging course if it is not the most difficult amongst the so many good golf courses of Bangkok. A little outside of central Bangkok, President Golf is located north on the way to Cha Cheong Sao and thus is afterall not too far away from the Suvarnaphum Airport.
The Royal Golf & Country Club of Bangkok – This 18-hole Par-72 golf course was designed with a view to retain as much of the natural environment as possible and at the same time provide a scenic backdrop for an enjoyable golfing experience. Measuring 6,800 yards, The Royal Golf, designed by Chohei Miyasawa, was acclaimed one of the best managed courses in Thailand by the GA of Japan. Perhaps there is a Zen-touch in it that while it is described as fairly challenging to the mind, one will experience it in a beautiful and peaceful surrounding of colourful flowers and shady trees, shimmering lakes and well designed landscape. Transcendental golf, anyone?
The Par-4 358-yard Hole#18 appears the most memorable hole. With a view of the clubhouse to line the tee shot. Watch for the water on the direct path to the clubhouse by drawing the ball, if you can. Otherwise a careful drive to the left of the bottle-neck fairway will do the job.
Uniland Golf and Country Club of Bangkok – Uniland Golf is another three 9-holes courses making up the entire complex of a 27-hole golf club. Surrounded by mature lush green trees and lotus ponds, Courses A, B and C average 3,200 yards each with Course C touted as the most interesting of the three.
The dog-leg left Par-5 Hole#8 of Course B appears the most challenging of the holes. At a hefty 640 yards, two ponds hair-pin at the turn requiring the tee shot to be at least 250 yards off the tee to hope for a par. A long iron or fairway wood second will not only provide the distance but also accuracy mindful of the water fronting the narrow approach to the green. The large elevated green is by no means of any comfort for a good placement. Club selection is crucial to counter the sloping green and the prospect of a birdie. At the very least, this is a very challenging hole to most.
Krungthep Kreetha Golf & Sports Club of Bangkok – Comparatively Krungthep Kreeta is an old course considering that it openned in 1969 and then went through a face-lift in 1995. It features a variety of lush green trees, numerous ponds, bunkers, well maintained fairways and greens. Designed by J. R. Vaughn, this 6,300-yard 18-hole Par-72 course demands good course management and accurate placement shots for laying up. Big hitters are not naturally advantaged here. The Signature Hole is perhaps the Par-3 140-yard Hole#4 where hazards guard not only on the ground but also in the air. This special hole offers a scenic view of the tall trees over-arching the big lake guarding the island green.
Thai Country Club of Bangkok – Voted ‘The Best Golf Course in Thailand’ for a consecutive 5 years to 2005 by Asian Golf Monthly, this Denis Griffiths-designed Par-72 7,157-yard boasts one of the finest in attendance. Tiger Woods won the Asian Honda Classic here in 1997 and in 2007 it staged the Volvo Masters of Asia featuring some of the best of European Tours as well as many top Asian golfers. Gentle breeze from the Gulf of Siam constantly whispers through the flowering trees and shrubs. Some describe playing here as ‘an ultimate golfing experience’; whether or not the feeling is influenced by the presence of Woods having won here is quite immaterial really.
As if one accolade is not enough, the 230-yard Hole#6 has been voted ‘The Best Par-3 in Asia’ for three years running to 2003. With an average 3.38 strokes achieved during the tournament that Woods won, perhaps it should be called ‘The best but certainly not the easiest Par-3 of Asia’.
Thana City Golf & Country Club of Bangkok – Designed by Greg Norman, this prestigious 18-hole Par-72 6,400-yard course staged numerous international golf tournament including Thailand Open, Queen Sirikit Cup as well as the Johnny Walker Classic Super Tour Series. Imposing jungle of tall and mature trees, hilly and undulating terrain, rivers and lakes, challenging sand traps are the main features. The Signature Hole appears to be the Par-4 440-yard Hole#9 with large bunkers to thwart long tee-off shots thereby increasing the degree of difficulty for a two-on. Sloping green adds more pressure to produce excellent placement shot on landing.
Cascata Golf Club of Bangkok – Golf for pleasure? This is it! The Cascata, designed by Thanawat Subrungrueng, is primarily built for fun golf with wide fairways and large, some call it ‘stress-free’ greens. Measuring 7,000 yards, this 18-hole Par-72 course is ‘fun and fair’ and is an ideal destination for recreational golf. It is also popularamong golfer-tourists visiting the capital city.
Of interest among the ‘easy’ holes is the Par-3 193-yard Hole#2 with many sand traps and water hazards. If it cannot be officially described as an island green, the water stretching along the left side of the hole and the deep bunkers on the right will certainly remind amply of one.