Golf Courses in Yangon, Myanmar
Course-by-Course Introduction to the Last of the ‘Virgin’ Golf Destinations in Southeast ASIA! Hurry..hurry!
The Pan Hlaing Golf Club of Yangon – Touted as the ‘Best Golf Course in Myanmar’ and ‘The Pride of Myanmar’, this Gary Player-designed Par-72 7,102-yard course is the latest addition to the golf scene in the country. Opened since 1999, it’s just 15-minute drive from the Yangon Airport and is carved out of the beautiful surrounding in between the Hlaing and Pun Rivers, and hence the name.
Not only does it offer a nice view of downtown Yangon, this golf course boasts of facilities of a very high standard. With well manicured greens and menacing bunkers, fairways snuggling the meandering waters off the two rivers, it also has the vantage point of viewing a beautiful sunset, if all else about the game must fail.
The most memorable hole has to be the Par-5 570-yard Hole#11 which tees off across water. A dog-leg left at about the 250 mark tests judgement, tempts longer hitters but threatens with a long bunker on the left. More bunkers, smaller ones though, await at the end of the fairway just before where the lay-up area for the third to the green is. Water reigns the remaining 70 yards or so to an almost-island green. If you feel comfortable having played this hole, it just might have prepared you well for a grand finish at the last hole which resembles it, albeit with an island green of a greater expanse of water surrounding it. In January 2010, Pun Hlaing Course staged the Asian Tour-sanctioned event of Air Bagan Myanmar Master.
The YCDC Golf Club of Yangon – Sprawled over 130 hectares and just 25-minute drive to the north of the capital city, YCDC (Read: Yangon City Development Committee) Golf Club boasts of 2 18-hole courses with quite completely different characters. Designed by Han Golf Master (Yes, the Han of Mr. Kyi Hla Han, the Executive Chairman of Asian Tour).
Opened in 1994, the Ngwe Taw Thar or Silvery Course is a 7,000-yard course spread across a lower and flat plain with wide fairways and large greens. Not surprisingly, it’s also the friendlier of the two with the longest hole at 604 yards for the Par-5 Hole#12 and a tempting Par-3 130-yard Hole#11. While it’s not included for Course Indexing, this well maintained course is the course for all levels.
The Myakantha Course or Pondy as it is more popular known, is more undulating with tight fairways and certainly more demanding for accurate play. Also of the same length as the other now, both nines will test your stroke play ability equally. Opened in 1996, it staged the Asian PGA events twice, in 1998 and 1999. Easily one of the best golf courses around, it is up there with Pun Hlaing Golf Club.
The Yangon Golf Club – The Yangon Golf Club is a mature, second oldest (Some say it’s the oldest) club in Myanmar. It was established in 1909 by the British at the present site, some 13 miles north of the city. It not only survived the time (A second course of 9 holes built at about the same time and situated at Pyay Road is the People’s Park today); from the first British Captain to the first Burmese Captain in U Cho in 1954 and till today, it has continually been re-newing itself over time. From the heavy flooding for almost half a year on the fairways due to the severe annual monsoon rain to building water-catchment canals along the fairways to concrete underground water tanks to contain the flood water and later using the water to self-provide watering needs during the dry months, it is a museum piece if you play on its Japonica grass today, and you can do it all year round.
No one remembers who designed and/or built this richly tree-lined and undulating Par-72 7,063-yard course; it regularly stages Asian PGA Tours these days. The interesting hole is the Par-5 609-yard Hole#12 which tees off over a sea of water before dog-leg left at 10 o’clock for a straight to the green but with the fairway dissected by a narrow stream of water again in the middle; if you are a long hitter, you’ll do well here. The closing Par-4 415-yard Hole#18 has a somewhat similar layout but lined with OB at the turn of the dog-leg and rough on the right side providing both opportunities and real hazards as well for a do-or-die final hit.
Myanmar Golf Club of Yangon – Perhaps the nearest golf club to the airport, Myanmar (or formerly Burma) Golf Club is a mere 5-minute drive away and about 30 minutes to the city center. Measuring 6,756 yards, this Par-72 course is lined with mature trees and spreads over rolling hills punctured by numerous water holes.
Built by local architects just before independance in 1948, the longest hole is the Par-5 Index-4 508-yard Hole#13 with many friendly Par-3s for good luck hits.
Yemon Island Golf Resort of Yangon – Perhaps initially built more as a city retreat than a serious golf venue, this Par-72 6,530-yard course comes complete with fishing grounds, basic accommodation and other outdoor activities. Situated some 50 kilometers north-east of Yangon on the way to Bago and being a course built around a large beautiful lake, it provides a change from the cluster of golf courses in and around the city. Of late, owing to the popularity of the game and more opening up of the country to the outside world perhaps, the club has had the course planted with modern grasses to meet international standards, according to the Business Review of the Myanmar Times.
We haven’t heard of a major tournament being staged there yet, but we would not be surprised if continuous improvement will make that happen someday. For a relax round of golf cum a day-out to the freshness of natural surrounding, this is the golf course to visit.