Ever since the 1960s, when political stability in Thailand reached a point where tourism could flourish. Thailand has been a major vacation destination with visitors from all around the world. Enjoying lively cities and beautiful beaches in cities like Bangkok and Phuket.
In fact, tourism accounts for somewhere between 10 and 20% of Thailand’s gross domestic product, which is a huge amount!
But it’s only recently that golfers have begun to recognize that Thailand is more than beautiful beaches, great architecture, and amazing food. There are numerous world-class golf courses that make great use of the wonderful climate and stunning landscapes. While golf in Thailand dates back to 1923, it’s been enjoying a boom lately as more than 250 courses dot the landscape. Thai professional golfers are becoming ubiquitous on both LPGA and PGA Tour leader boards.
Alpine Golf Course Chiang Mai, Thailand
Alpine Golf Club, located just 20 minutes north of Bangkok, is perhaps the best public golf course in Thailand. The lush course resembles a botanic garden more than a golf course, a testament to the perfect weather and exquisite craftsmanship exhibited by the grounds keeping crew.
At 7100 yards, it’s long enough to test the games of top tier players, and there are plenty of water hazards and challenging holes to keep you interested. The short par 4 16th hole is one of the best, challenging you to flirt with a water hazard to get the best angle to the green. Long hitters may try to drive the green, but anything other than a precisely targeted drive will result in bogey or worse.
The Old Golf Course at Siam Country Club Bangkok Thailand
The Old Course at Siam Country Club is an absolute gem located 90 miles southeast of Bangkok. While the “Old” in the name only dates back to 1972, it’s still one of the more elegant and mature courses in the country. It was renovated in 1997 with grasses better suited to the local climate and since then has remained in ideal conditioning. It’s only 10 miles from the major beach resort of Pattaya, making it an ideal option for golfers looking to combine golf and beachfront relaxation.
The Old Course is most notable for its “Amen Corner of Thailand”, a stretch of holes that will make or break your round. The long par 4 15th gives you all you can handle and then some, followed by a tough par 3 16th and then a difficult, water-laden par 4 17th. If you survive that stretch intact, the par 5 18th is a gettable, rewarding good approach shot with makeable birdie opportunities. With three beautiful courses available, Siam Country Club is one of the best complexes in the country.
Banyan Golf Course Hua Hin Thailand
A third course that should be on every golfer’s list is Banyan Thailand, located on the coast 130 miles southwest of Bangkok. Local architect Pirapon Namatra laid the course out to take advantage of the lovely coastal setting. Providing some of the best views of the Gulf of Thailand you’ll find.
The signature par 3 15th gets all the press because of the truly stunning views behind the green. Some people pay the greens fees just to get the photo op on the 15th tee! But the course truly shines on the interesting, risk/reward par 5 holes. They’re the key to a successful round and the most interestingly designed holes on the course.
When playing in Thailand, you’ll need to make sure you’re making solid contact, as breezes off the coast are a near-constant, even several miles inland. The best way to combat wind is to make pure contact: the better the ball strike, the better your ball will behave.
So take an extra club and make sure you’re swinging smoothly and on-plane, as failing to maintain the proper swing plane will impart side-spin, which wind always enhances.
A good mental approach is also essential for a good round in Thailand. With numerous water hazards on almost every course, you’re bound to find a few of them. Just keep a smile on your face, accept that you’re not perfect (and no golfer is!) and focus on making a good swing on your next shot.
Focusing on your target instead of trying to avoid a hazard is the best way to make a good swing. So instead of “don’t hit it in the water”, think “hit it at the top of that tree in the distance.” Positive targets are the best way to counter negative thoughts.