Golf Courses in Pattaya, Thailand
Course-by-Course Introduction to Golf in-&-around
the Great Love City of Thailand
With some 10 to 15 championship golf courses in and around this seaside resort, Pattaya shares some of the golf courses with Bangkok. You will be simply spoilt for the choices on offer. Golf is played all year round in delightful tropical climate, with charming caddies to carry your golf bag, beckoning drink huts strategically located to serve cold beers and exotic tropical fruit drinks and impressive clubhouses offering full facilities.
Pattaya is perhaps the largest beach resort in South East Asia. Its skyline is dominated by modern high-rises and with the number of hotels of various types and standards, it is an excellent holiday destination at reasonable prices. But otherwise, it is infamously known as the sex capital of Asia with its uncountable number of bars and beaus-on-hire. If you do not mind being in the ‘sin bin of golf’ playing in Pattaya, here are some of the better known golf courses you might be interested in:
Laem Chabang International Country Club – Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Laem Chabang offers a world class 27-hole beautifully crafted and well maintained golf course. The course comprises three 9-hole Par-36 courses, namely the Mountain Nine which is 3,440 yards long set in hilly terrain, the Lake Nine which is 3,420 yards long with a stream running through it and the Valley Nine which is 3,620 yards long and is surrounded by scenic mountains.
The favourite is the intimidating Par-3 184-yard Hole#8 of the Lake Course where the small green is well defended by bunkers and waters. But it is the high cross winds from the lagoon that will most likely decide the outcome of the shot. Club selection is crucial to landing accurately.
Phoenix Golf & Country Club – Beautifully landscaped with eucalyptus, bamboo and tropical shrubs, this Dennis Griffiths-designed course makes full use of the availibity of local woods and the rolling terrain. The course consists of three 9-hole courses i.e. the Mountain Course (3,450 yards) which is where the picturesque mountains slope to the sea; the Lake (3,260 yards) which has generous fairways laid out of natural woodland and run in between shimmering lakes and the Ocean (3,360 yards) which, at the highest point of the entire course, has a commanding view of the Gulf of Thailand.
The most recommended hole is the Par-5 Hole#9 of the Ocean Course. Being at the high point of the course, the tee-off area overlooks Jomtien Beach down below with the rest of the Pattaya city skyline at the back. Hard hitters may take advantage of the down-sloping fairway to gain distance for an easier second. A two-on is not too difficult if the spectacular view of the ocean does not become too much a distraction.
Burapha Golf Club – Designed by Gary Panks and David Graham, this course features two 18-hole Par-72 Championship links-style golf courses. The East course extends 6,700 yards while the other, the West Course, is shorter at 6,500 yards. Both courses incorporate the natural beauties of the land – the lakes, hills, tropical fruit trees and other vegetation and not least the ubiquitous coconut palm.
If there’s a must-play hole, it will have to be the Par-3 179-yard Hole#8 where, at the highest point of the entire course, the tee-off area offers spectacular panoramic views of the ocean and Pattaya city skyline. The idea is to control the shot to land preferably in the middle of the small and sloping green. High winds and the drop in elevation to the small green demand good club selection. For some, this hole is definitely a ‘must-play’ for this is the spot where good shots of the digital kinds should be taken for the album.
Siam Country Club – Founded by Dr. Thaworn Phornprapha in 1971, Siam is one of the oldest private golf courses in the country. In 2007 Lee Schimdt-Curley renovated the course by retaining most of the original layout of tall and mature trees but re-building the tee-boxes and greens. The course has also been lengthened to 7,200 yards to include more sand traps, elevated greens and steeper slopes for a more challenging game. The same year, the new international championship course hosted the Honda Ladies Professional Golf Association – Thailand (re: Golf Par Excellence of our Articles page) and it attracted no less than 50 of the top female golfers and the ‘who’s who’ of LPGA including Annika Sorenstam, Paula Creamer, Laura Davies and the eventual winner, Suzann Pettersen of Norway.
The most exciting hole is likely to be the Par-4 422-yard Hole#9 requiring an approach shot up an elevated, tight and steep-sloping green which is further guarded by quite a few sand traps.
An Update on Siam Country Club: This golf club is expanding! In May 2008 a new 27-hole course a mere few kilometers away from the existing will be opened and called the New Siam Country Club Pattaya Plantation. This comes in addition to the recent upgrade and renovation of the existing 18-hole course which hosted the Honda LPGA Thailand 2007 (Article: Golf Par Excellence). Again, Schimdt-Curley designed this Par-72 7,450-yard new course. Send your review if you play there!
St. Andrews 2000 Golf Club – They say copying is the best form of compliment and St. Andrews 2000 of Pattaya was built to replicate the wind-swept links-courses of its namesake in Scotland offering an uncompromising challenge aimed at players with handicaps of 18 or lower. Desmond Muirhead designed this uncompromisingly tough course featuring elevated tee-off blocks and greens, tight landing areas, split-elevation fairways, huge putting surfaces and two Par-6’s that will test the best to their limits. Opened in the year of the new millenium, this 18-hole Par-74 course is long, some believe, auspiciously at 7,777 yards. It certainly ranks as one of the best in Asia.
At a marathon distance of 878 yards, the Par-6 Hole#4 is not for the faint-hearted. It demands the combination of both power and accuracy. The best bet is to tee-off powerfully for a carry-over the pond that splits the long fairway into two sections at the approximately 250-yard mark at the onward-end. The second is fairly straight forward and should be as long as possible, but watch out for the high winds. The third is crucial in preparation for a good landing shot next. Keep to the right as there’s water on the left. If you make it to this point in three which is another 150 yards or so to the green, your game should revert back to a normal Par-5; otherwise depending on the situation, there are many other options to consider which would not be discussed here. Ready, Marathon Man?