Golf Courses in Hua Hin & Southern Thailand
Course-by-Course Introduction to Golf in-&-around Hua Hin
& South Thailand Region including Cha’am, Koh Samui & Others
The coastal city of Hua Hin, two hours’ drive south of Bangkok, has five international standard golf courses, and one of which is the oldest in Thailand. The biggest town of them all before Ha’adyai in the deep south just before Malaysia, it was established as a Royal resort about 100 years ago. It has since become one of the most popular beach resorts on the Gulf of Thailand. With its wide range of luxury hotels, excellent restaurants, championship golf courses, its clear blue water and a charm of its own, Hua Hin has slowly but surely developed into a resort of class and luxury. Together with the other smaller towns and beach resorts along the coast or anywhere else on the narrow neckline-strip of the Kra Isthmus, they make up a potent source of quality golfing activities rivalling other more well known regions like Bangkok, Pattaya and Chiangmai.
Black Mountain Golf Club of Hua Hin – This 18-hole Par-72 7,345-yard Phil Ryan-designed course south of Bangkok on the isthmus of Kra features a visually stunning view of many large black boulders scattered against the mountain in the background. Natural creeks and mature vegetation make up the rest of the beautiful landscape. The best hole is the Par-3 148-yard Hole#8 with water hazards and beautiful petal-shaped sand bunkers (pic) guarding the narrow and slanting green but most of all testing confidence.
Royal Hua Hin Golf Club of Hua Hin – There have been ‘grand dame’ being mentioned to describe some very old courses or golf clubs in Thailand but trust your sweet-smiling caddy, this is the real one! Openned in 1924 during the reign of King Rama VI, this historic golf course designed by O.A. Robins, a Scottish railway engineer, is located just behind the same old railway station of the days gone by which is still being used today. It is the oldest in the country. Period.
The charming seaside town of Hua Hin, incidentally is one of the favourite holiday destinations of the royals. As such, many places of interest here bear a certain touch of royalty at least. The golf club is no exception. Watch for the bearskins-shaped fur tree tops lining the perfectly smooth green in front of the clubhouse (pic). And if you haven’t noticed in this country, only royal guards of the King of Thailand don such head gear.
Constructed around the base of a limestone hill, this 18-hole Par-72 5,690-yard course is covered in lush vegetation clinging to the edge of the rocky overhangs and boulders. Naturally the course winds up some vantage points where one could also enjoy spectacular views of the ocean as well as Hua Hin town snugly fitting in on the narrow strip between the hill and the shores of the Gulf of Thailand. The most technically memorable hole is the Par-3 149-yard Hole#14 where you would inevitably be reminded by your friendly caddy to add club because the yardage tends to be misleading for a tee-shot up an elevated green. But failing all else, you could always try a shot of the digital kind, one you would probably not miss at all of what some call it, a ‘breathtaking view’ of a Thai temple perched on the hillside across.
Springfield Royal Country Club of Cha’am – Another of Jack Niclaus’ master pieces, Springfield Royal, at the tropical beach resort of Cha’am further down the Isthmus of Kra, is a 27-hole course consisting of three 9-hole courses, namely the Lake, the Mountain and the Valley. The main features of the courses are the strategically placed bunkers and numerous lakes common to all but with each course offering varying degree of difficulty. The most challenging hole is the Par-4 361-yard Hole#8 featuring a small and tight green thereby requiring a long tee-shot off the box to be followed by an accurate landing.
The Imperial Lake View Hotel & Golf Club of Cha’am – This Roger Packard-designed 18-hole Par-72 6,910-yard course features rolling hills and lakes as well as having mounds surrounding the greens providing obstacles not found in most other courses. Recently a new 9-hole Par-36 3,420-yard course was added and it features desert play. The most sought after hole for a good challenge is the Par-3 207-yard Hole#14 with a sloping island green guarded by surrounding waters and sand traps. The idea is simple, read the pin position on the green and hit a lofty spin shot perhaps and hope for the best.
Palm Hills Golf Resort & Country Club of Petchaburi – Just north of Hua Hin, Palm Hills is a relatively flat course with generous fairways. There are several strategically placed water hazards throughout the course and fast new greens. The course has been transformed over recent years to being one of the best manicured courses in the area. Built around the lower slopes of hills, there are some magnificent views of the coastline on the back nine holes. Designed by Max Wexler, this 18-hole Par-72 6,888-yard course is turfed with Bermuda Tifway 419 on the fairways and Tiff Eagle for the greens.
The recommended hole is the Par-3 162-yard Hole#11 where the green is fast, undulating and well protected by many large bunkers.
Santiburi Samui Country Club of Koh Samui – The one and only golf venue on Koh Samui to take you away from the sun, sea and surf of this charming tropical fantasy island. But fret no more, this is not a ‘course-on-the-beach’ to have a few hits in swimming trunks. It is a championship course which hosted Asian Tour’s Bangkok Airways’ Open in 2005 and 2006. Measuring 6,880-yard, this 18-hole Par-72 course has two waterfalls in addition to having streams running through the fairways. The spectacular hole of the course is called the Waterfall. It is a relatively short Par-3 157-yard Hole#6 which tees off to a green some 130 yards below sitting pretty and well supported by a cascading waterfall at the back (pic). Don’t miss it: both the birdie opportunity and the photo kind!