Best golf in Asia

Thai people love to play golf, but tend to prefer the added comforts of buggies, caddies and luxurious club house facilities. This makes golfing in Thailand an absolute pleasure as it combines recreation, challenge and absolute indulgence. Thailand has long been drawing golfers from around the world thanks to its kind climate, service minded culture and attractive coastal and mountain scenery. The rising popularity of golf has also rubbed off on the local populous and the country now boasts some big name players like Tongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wirachant, both of whom regularly make the cut on PGA and European Tour events.

Thai golfing packages often combine top class accommodation with green fees and also include other benefits like spa promotions that appeal to “golf widows”. The choice of courses and locations is vast and the standards high. In general, the etiquette surrounding golf is less stringent and elitist than in some other countries, which means a relaxed attitude to dress codes prevails, as well as an open door policy for non members at many of the country’s top golf clubs.

Thailand’s most celebrated courses include the Thai Country Club in Bangkok, which is regularly voted one of the top five courses in Asia, as well as the President Country Club, a semi-private golf course that offers members and visitors 36 holes of challenging golf in unique tropical surroundings. Bangkok boasts plenty of other dramatic courses, both within and close to the city limits, while a few hours outside the city, the fairways of the Sir James County Club, set in the foothills of Khao Yai national park and the Nichigo Resort and Country Club near Kanchanaburi both offer fabulous golf, surrounded by stunning natural scenery.

Further north around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, cooler weather suits European and North Asian golf enthusiasts and several new golf courses have opened over the last few years to cater for increased international demand. The Royal Chiang Mai Golf Club was designed by 5-time British Open winner Peter Thomson and is located just 30 minutes from the city. Similarly accessible, Chiang Mai Highlands Golf Club boasts a superbly maintained practice facility with several practice greens, a short game area and a 300-yard driving range.

On Phuket, internationally renowned courses such as Blue Canyon and Red Mountain draw players from all over the world, both amateurs and professionals. Similarly challenging and beautiful courses can also be played on the mainland at places like Black Mountain in Hua Hin and the Old Siam Country Club in Pattaya. Even Thailand’s boutique destinations now boast their own appealing world class courses. The stunning Santiburi Samui Country Club is set high in the hills above Mae Nam and offers unparalleled views across the Gulf of Thailand. One reason why it already hosts Asian Tour events.

Thailand is the perfect location for both short golf breaks and longer golfing holidays. Course-side accommodation can be arranged in advance with many quality villas and houses offering easy access to one or several golfing locations. The range and diversity of courses and beautiful natural settings makes Thailand one of the world’s top destinations for lovers of the game.