Bangkok is one of Asia’s leading golf destinations. If you travel one hour out from the city, you have a plethora of courses to choose from with numerous having hosted world class events. Considering many are only in Bangkok for a short period of time, with so many courses at your disposal, which are the ones you should be playing?
- Alpine Golf & Sports Club
This is one of Bangkok’s leading clubs. Just a little longer than an hour outside the city, this course is well worth the drive. One of the rare courses in Bangkok which features elevation changes, this course designed by Ron Garl has been the host to numerous tournaments including the Asia Games, Thai Major Open and Johnnie Walker Classic. A mature course, with excellent course maintenance, it is recommended to spend some time at the practice putting greens to get used to the green speed.
- Amata Spring Country Club
Visitors arriving from Suvarnabhumi Airport should head directly to Amata Spring as this golf course is one of the furthest from the city at least an hour and a half away. That said, this is currently one of the longest, most enjoyable courses one can play on in Bangkok with a series of challenges, testing every aspect of the game on every hole. A unique par 3 island green that requires a boat to get across sets it apart.
- Ayodhya Links
A very exclusive club that boasts some of the best practice facilities in Bangkok, be sure to get there early to use them. A hallmark of this club is its pristine course condition throughout the year. Due to the exclusive nature of this club, the numbers of golfers who play here daily are limited which enables the club to maintain their course conditions to the highest standard. The designers of this course have taken pride to ensure that no two holes are the same. In fact, water features are on every hole on this course. If there is an opportunity to be invited to play here, please do go.
- Krungthep Kreetha Sports Club
One of the most well known golf courses in Bangkok, this course is just 30 minutes from the city and is very popular with locals and visitors alike. The course is one of the most mature in Bangkok, and playing accurate golf is key. Fairways are lined with tall and leafy trees, and water hazards creep in at strategic locations so it is best to hire a caddy to know where to hit it to, or get out from. The only issue with this club is the condition of the clubhouse, which is in serious need of a renovation. Look beyond that, and it is well worth the time and a lovely layout to play.
- Lamlukka Country Club
This is another course that is just a little outside the normal one-hour drive from town. However, it does have 36 holes of championship golf designed by Roger Packard and sculptured over former paddy fields. The difference that this course has over many others in Bangkok is the lush trees and use of undulating fairways that make approach shots more challenging. Water features on most holes but the hazards blend in very well with the layout and none feel out of place. In fact the course design naturally assimilates water into play and hazards are clearly visible. This course rewards accuracy over power.
- Rajpruek Club
This very exclusive club is one of the closest courses to the city and it takes only 30 minutes to arrive at this golfing oasis. This club should be on everyone’s “must-play” list as the overall golf and club experience is exceptional. The clubhouse looks a little dated from the outside, but a recent renovation has transformed it to become one of the best in the city. Designed by J. Michael Poellot, it is astounding to see what he could do with this piece of land – subtle elevation changes and fairways framed by mature landscaping and water hazards on numerous holes masked by gentle waterfalls and serene ponds. One could easily be taken in by the landscaping and forget that these lovely features are in fact hazards.
- Riverdale Golf and Country Club
In the direction of the old Don Muang airport, players will be greeted with a modern clubhouse with all the conveniences. One of the newer courses in town, its claim to fame is the speedy and well-maintained modern green complexes. During the recent floods, they were spared the flooding as the owners actually built a wall around the property to protect the course. A modern layout, this is one of the few paddy field courses that elevation plays such a key role in a number of their holes.
- Royal Gems Golf and Sports Club
Not to be confused with the Royal Gems Golf City, the Royal Gems Golf and Sports Club is the older and more mature of the two. A perennial favourite with the locals, there was much debate about whether the newer City course should be included in its place as it features the back nine of Augusta National and signature holes from other famous courses. However, the older course has a certain level of maturity and playability that the newer course is still developing. Something unique about the design of this course, is the designer’s attempt the merge the best of Thai, American and Scottish courses. To make up for a relatively flat layout, the designers narrowed the fairways and throw in bunkers at strategic landing areas and around the greens.
- Suwan Golf and Country Club
A recent entrant to the golf scene, this club quickly rose up the ranks and hosted a number of Asian Tour events. A general from the Thai Army was brought in to design this heavily undulating course. Making use of intelligent bunkering and water hazards, it offers friendly fairways, but challenges with tougher approaches. The greens are large and are well maintained and one really should walk both sides of his putt as the breaks can be very subtle.
- Thai Country Club
This championship course was the host venue for the Volvo Masters for many years. It is easy to see why when you step into the clubhouse, especially the locker rooms. Owned and managed by The Peninsula Hotels, the food at this clubhouse is easily one of the best in Bangkok, and therefore, it is highly recommended to have a meal here before or after a game. Relatively flat with numerous bunkers and water hazards that come into play, this course suits long bombers with a number of wide fairways which they can take advantage of.