With close to 30 golf courses spread out on the eastern seaboard of Thailand, the areas of Chonburi and Pattaya have long been a destination of choice with domestic golfers as well as those in the region.
And in an indication of their growing popularity, other golf course projects are also being planned. Many layouts have been designed to championship standards and have involved some of the top golf-course architects in the world, namely Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Desmond Muirhead and Schmidt/Curley.
Here are two must-play courses in the Pattaya area.
1. Pattana Golf Club & Resort
This 400-acre resort has three nine-hole courses, named Andreas, Brookei and Calypso after the cacti found throughout the property. Catering for all levels of golfers, the three have been designed to include undulating fairways, panoramic views and scenic signature holes. These include island par-3s as well as a signature 606-metre par-6.
Facilities include accommodation, swimming pool, fitness centre, spa, restaurants, clubhouse, driving range and pro-shop.
Call +6638 318 999 or visit www.pattana.co.th
2. Siam Country Club
The Old Course, originally designed by I Izumi and opened in 1971, has hosted the Thailand Open in addition to the Honda LPGA Thailand. It underwent a complete renovation back in 2006 by Lee Schmidt of Schmidt/Curley who kept a lot of the original routing but added a lot of bunkers. It’s a stunning layout with many memorable holes including the par-four 17th which requires strategic club selection. A klong or canal crosses the main landing area so you can either lay up or attack the fairway hoping to cross it to be on the green in two. The green is angled right to left, with the most difficult pin locations being at the back left of the green. Getting up and down from the bunkers surrounding the green will test players of all skill levels.
The Plantation Course was built at the same time that the Old Course was being renovated, and opened in 2008. Designed by Lee Schmidt, it consists of 27 holes – Sugar Cane, Tapioca and Pineapple – and is superb to play on with its routing sitting high on rolling hills.
There are many exciting holes, one of which is the par-3 third on the Pineapple course. The longest par-3 on this nine is a natural deep ravine which traverses from right to left, so accuracy is key. It’s obviously safer to play right but there are a number of grass hollows surrounding the green which can prove challenging. The green is narrow with gentle contours.
Another dramatic hole is the par-3 sixth on the Sugar Cane layout which has the highest elevation from the back tees with views of the Gulf of Thailand and Jomtien Beach. Club selection is critical here due to the downhill play and daily windy conditions.
The newest course, Waterside, opened in 2014. It was designed by IMG Golf Course Design. Obviously, there are many holes which feature water hazards like lakes or creeks, but it also offers a great challenge for all levels of golfers. And that includes the wind conditions, so it’s a good idea to think about your club selection on each hole.
Facilities at all three courses include a clubhouse, driving range, pro-shop, practice areas and restaurants.
Call +66 38 909 700 or visit www.siamcountryclub.com
Adapted from The Business Times.