Golf Courses in Phnom Penh & Siem Reap
Course-by-Course Introduction to Golf in-&-around the cities of the Angkor Wat fame in Cambodia
Chances are, you would probably not be entirely surprised that golf in Cambodia today is in fact a new past time for both foreigners and locals alike and, it is developing fast. Until the 90s golf was understandably almost unheard of in the country because of the political turmoil. But with its entry into ASEAN and the world community golf is slowly but surely taking its place as a medium through which friendship and business ties can be forged.
Hopefully in not too long a future it would follow in the footsteps of the more developed neighbour in the region by becoming a sport for all.
There aren’t too many golf courses at the moment in Cambodia, relatively speaking when comparing to the more affluent countries surrounding it. But for whatever existing courses one could find now, it could well prove a blessing in disguise when having to decide on where to play. The few courses now open for business in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are generally new, designed by top names and well maintained, thanks in part to the top golfer in the country in the Prime Minister, himself an accomplished low-handicapper and an on-going enthusiast in the sport.
Cambodia Golf & Country Club of Phnom Penh – Located 35 km west of the capital city, this 18-hole 7,100-yard course was the first in Cambodia to be built. There is apparently no record of the name of the designer despite the fact that it openned as recently as 1996. Amongst all the golf courses in the country, it has perhaps the most natural and native vegetation as its backdrop with delightful green plants, rocks, fruit trees and the distant mountain all forming part of the tapestry of a beautiful surrounding.
If at all, the course is rather flat; but it could well be the genius behind the forgotten designer to reflect on the general terrain of Cambodia as a land-locked level-plane country. The front nine has generous tree-lined fairways while the other features more water hazards in the form of man-made ponds. The most memorable of the holes is the confidence-testing Par-3 186-yard Hole#3 with water in between. Otherwise, watch out for the silently sitting sand traps along the fairways of this wonderful course.
Royal Cambodia Golf Club of Phnom Penh – Located 10km west of Phnom Penh, this is the second 18-hole golf course to open in Cambodia. It is a 7,075-yard course set amongst rice paddies and coconut palms. Relatively easy to manage, the course runs on mostly flat terrain if you find the water in the lakes not particularly hazardous to your game.
Perhaps owing to its historical first and its proximity to the seats of power in the country, it is particularly popular among high officials who include none other than the Prime Minister himself having had some spectacular scores here before. But otherwise on its own, it breathes aristocracy alongside the Royal Selangor Golf Club of Kuala Lumpur, The Manila Club of the Philippines, The Rawamangun of Jakarta and the Dalat Palace Golf Club of Vietnam.
Phokeethra Country Club of Siem Reap – Located 15km west of Siem Reap and in proximity to the famous Angkor Wat area, this picturesque and undulating course is a Par-72 and 7,226 yards long. Designed by V Golf Design Ltd. of Bangkok in 2007, it has sweeping, tree-lined fairways and generous greens. But it is in the natural lakes and water hazards combining with fast greens and tricky bunkers that one would be fully tested. For the record, water hazards are found in all but one hole. Because of that all the Par-3s in particular, are very challenging. But the most memorable hole belongs to the Par-5 588-yard Hole#18 located in front of the clubhouse. Fringed by water, there will be two carry-overs over ponds before the green. It requires a fairly straight tee-off to the middle of the fairway to avoid deep sand bunkers and water hazards so as to lay up for a second over-the-water placement shot in preparation for the third pitching for a good landing on the picturesque island green. Both the fairways and the greens are turfed with paspallum grass. The same year the course openned, it hosted the inaugural Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open.Being in the region of a rich historical past, the course incorporates some of the stone relics as part of its features. Playing here, one is amply reminded of the history of the country. In fact connecting the end of the 9th. hole to the 10th. tee is the restored ancient stone bridge of Roluh which dates back to the 11th. Century and is actually older than the much better known Angkor Wat. It is also an icon of the Khmer Culture, the impression of which is widely used in the country. The club is part of the Sofitel group and for those staying at the Sofitel special golfing privileges and discounts can be expected.
Angkor Golf Resort of Siem Reap – Located close to the heart of Siem Reap, the Angkor Golf Course is a Nick Faldo-designed 7,230-yard Par-72 Championship Course. It features generous fairways, impressively bold bunkering and subtly undulating greens that not only encourage but reward creative landing shots. In the designer’s own words, it ‘challenges all standards of golfers’, it will be an ‘enjoyment to everyone’ and ‘..this golf course will become world renowned’
Booyoung Golf Club of Siem Reap – This is the former Angkor Lake Golf Club that came under new management in 2014 – New details to come.