Thailand was a little late entering the golfing world but since the opening of its first golf course, it’s definitely made up for it. Bangkok alone has more than 50 courses within easy reach of the city, and even has a course that is right on Don Muang Airport, so you can tee up while the planes fly in! Many golfers are coming to Bangkok not only for the world class golf courses but also because the cost to golf is so much cheaper than in Western countries. Bangkok really is a golfer’s paradise.
Here are some of the best courses in Bangkok and the features they offer, as well as golfing tips to make sure you have a great golfing experience.
Thai Country Club
This is owned and operated by the world class Peninsula Hotel, so you can guarantee it’s going to be fabulous. This superb 18 hole golf course has even been tested by professional golfers as the 1997 Asian Honda Classic won by Tiger Woods was held on it. The conditions on the course are immaculate, the service is amazing, and the sea breeze coming off the Gulf of Siam really cools things down. Their clubhouse restaurant is known for great food with a good choice of Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Western dishes.
It’s located 45 minutes south of Bangkok and offers a luxurious experience you’re not likely to get in most Western countries. One of the best golf courses and experiences in Thailand, this one is one not to be missed. Telephone them at 038-570-234-46.
Muang Kaew Golf Club
Only about 20 minutes from downtown Bangkok, Muang Kaew has wide fairways, scary bunkers and runoff areas that will kill your score in no time. It’s a semi-private golf club, which offers a golfers bar and restaurant that overlook the golf course. It also offers fabulous locker rooms, a fully stocked pro shop, two practice greens, golf carts, golf club and shoe rentals. They often offer promotions and special golf packages, so check often for what’s available.
The course was designed by Lee Schmidt, who was voted one of the Hot Golf Architects by Golf Digest Magazine, so it’s stellar. It recently had a complete facelift, so is one of Bangkok’s most popular fairways. Very busy on weekends, your best bet is a weekday tee off time. Contact them at 02-316-3918-21.
The Legacy Golf Club
The Legacy has the only Jack Nicklaus designed golf course in Bangkok. It’s built between two beautiful lakes and was designed for amateurs and professional golfers in mind. Lots of bunkers and water hazards make this a very challenging and exciting course. It’s around 40 minutes away from Bangkok, and is a favorite with locals and tourists alike. It is very crowded on weekends so, if possible, playing a round during the week is preferable.
Course conditions are known to always be excellent and it has had very good reviews for the food and beverages in its large clubhouse. Phone 02-914-1930-60.
Lam Luk Ka Country Club
Lam Luk Ka has two courses – a 36-hole golf course that is considered one of the best in the area. Its back nine ends with a dramatic risk-reward Par 5 and is a favorite of golfers who really like a challenge. It also has a short course that centers around water, which makes many of the holes very challenging. One of the main attractions to this course is not only the world class golf, but also the fact that it is surrounded by nature and is home to wildlife and bird species not seen on other courses.
Lam Luk Ka is further out of Bangkok than most golf courses, around an hour’s drive away but is well worth the extra time. It is also known as one of the best conditioned courses in Thailand. 02-995-2300-5 is their phone number.
Tips on Golfing in Bangkok
Most courses are open to the public but, even if not, the private ones can usually be played if you book through a golf tour operator.
Weekends are very busy at most golf courses, so play on weekdays if possible.
Tipping caddies in Thailand is compulsory. They don’t get paid a salary, so a $10 to $15 tip (350 to 500 baht) is expected.
Most courses have a one-player per cart policy.
Take it slow. The heat in Bangkok is horrendous, especially if you’re not used to it. A good day golfing will be ruined if you suddenly keel over of heat exhaustion. Drink plenty of fluids, and stay in the shade where possible.
You can play in shorts, but every course in Thailand expects you to play in a collared shirt – no t shirts allowed.
Most Bangkok courses have a split tee time system on weekends to take care of the crowds. Usually between 6:30 am and 8:30 am, and then after 11am.
Most importantly, remember to have fun. Everything in Thailand is done with grace and a smile. Public exhibitions of yelling, screaming and shouting are frowned upon and will not help your situation. Take everything
calmly and graciously and you’ll have a wonderful time. Thais are experts in hospitality, so your golfing experience in Bangkok should be bar to now.
Photo – Michelle Wie driving off the tee of the par 5 18th hole on the Old Course at Siam CC – brianewen, Creative Commons License