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Bangkok's hidden golf gems


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Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, is a treasure trove of wonderful surprises to delight all travelers, from backpackers to retirees.

 

Apart from its temples, restaurants, and nightlife, it is a great sporting city too.

 

Not many know that in fact there are more great golf courses around Bangkok, than in any other Asian capital, including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and even Hong Kong.

 

Naturally, every city has its elite clubs, such as Sentosa in Singapore or the KLGCC in KL, and Bangkok also has its fair share too.

 

However often these top courses are hard to book a round, are often member-only clubs, and can be very expensive as well.

 

There are approximately 250 golf courses in Thailand, and 60 of these are located within one hour’s drive from Bangkok city’s centre.

 

Therefore, we have listed here a few special BKK gems, for you to enjoy a round of golf at a top-class golf club.

 

They are mostly close to the city centre, offer competitive rates, are often not too busy, and all offer a great and special Thai golfing experience.

 

Maybe you agree or maybe you feel we have missed out on a favorite, so do let us know. Happy golfing!

 

Thana City Country Club

Designer:     Greg Norman. 1993

Course:         18 Holes, 6,966 Yards

Location:      25 minutes from City Centre.

 

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Located on the final flight path to Suvarnabhumi airport, this fairly flat course was originally designed by Greg Norman, who returned recently for a televised skin match with Thai superstar Thongchai Jaidee.

 

It is a genuine championship course, having hosted several major events including the Johnnie Walker Super Tour in 96 won by Ernie Els. Ryder cup captains Harrington and McGinley also took part in the 2011 Thailand Open here too.

 

Over the past few years, they have spent vast sums on upgrading the course and facilities, and it now offers golfers a great outing not too far from the city centre.

 

It was previously a rice paddy field, so although relatively flat, you still need accurate tee shots to avoid their fairway bunkers. They also have several island greens to keep you on your toes.

 

Here they make use of many native trees, flowering shrubs, reeds and sand, used to create the illusion of a seaside links.

 

Still it can bring up some surprises, so a low score and you have done well.

 

The clubhouse is enormous and very modern, with Thai Japanese and Western food, plus a very large well stocked pro shop.

 

Lotus Valley Golf Resort

Designer:     Gary Player. 1998

Course:         18 Holes, 7,015 Yards

Location:      45 minutes from Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

 

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Only an hour from the city or just 45 minutes from Suvarnabhumi is the only course in Thailand designed by the great Gary Player.

 

Maybe a bit further out than some of our other gems, it is still worth the trip, as their course is always in tip top condition. Modernized with new turf and the latest irrigation in 2005, this course offers several water hazards, wide fairways, fast undulating greens, and is surrounded by beautiful flora, fauna and wildlife.

 

It provides you with a well-deserved escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and is a good test of golf at all levels. Their modern club house has an excellent restaurant, and don’t miss their traditional Japanese Onsen bath, in the men’s locker room.

 

Muang Kaew Golf Club

Designer:     Lee Schimdt & Lee Curley. 1992

Course:         18 Holes, 7,015 Yards

Location:      20 minutes from City Centre.

 

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One of the closest courses to both the city centre and the international airport, Muang Kaew’s 18 holes is great for a round when you arrive or maybe even before your night flight out.

 

Designers Schmidt and Curley came back to upgrade the course, using Tiff Eagle on the greens and Paspalum on the fairways, ensuring great all-year-round playing conditions.

 

Fairly flat and wide fairways give you a fair chance of a good second shot but beware of some tricky elevated greens with high lipped bunkers and shaved fringes. Be careful otherwise they can be costly.

 

This course has several water hazards from streams to large lakes, and a few blind but exciting doglegs. Its finishing par 5 is very deceiving, with a pond guarding the green. Carts are optional here and being fairly flat, the course is great for walkers.

 

Clubhouse is adequate and serves Thai and Western dishes. They also have a well-stocked pro shop. However, being close to the city, can be busy, especially at weekends, so worth booking ahead.

 

Lam Luk Ka Country Club

Designer:     Roger Pickard. 1994

Course:         36 Holes, 7,012/ 6,605 Yards

Location:      1 hour 15 minutes from City Centre.

 

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A real countryside layout in a natural rural environment, packed with 100’s of unusual wildlife, plus wetlands and local flora and trees.

 

Here you have the choice of two excellent 18-hole courses, the Championship East Course taking in A & B nines, or the Resort West Course linking C & D loops.

 

They are both very well maintained; however, the West course is a bit shorter and not so tough on your scorecard.

Water hazards are a feature here on most holes, with sloping but wide fairways and some fairly deep but very well-maintained bunkers.

 

Greens are some of the best in Bangkok, some elevated and many with undulations. The caddies will earn their tips here, as we suggest you take their advice when reading the greens.

 

It is a fairly quiet and peaceful course, and they benefit from cool breezes and some welcome shade from the 10,000 trees around their 36 holes.

 

The big old-fashioned clubhouse serves excellent food, and a welcome cool drink overlooking the course. A wonderful and memorable golfing experience and their rates are also very competitive. A bit longer drive, but well worth the effort.

 

Suwan Golf & Country Club

Designer:     Weeyos Design. 2005

Course:         18 Holes, 7,125 Yards

Location:      45 minutes West from City Centre.

 

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Surrounded by rice fields and fruit orchards, Suwan is a countryside course West of Bangkok.

 

With lily ponds and palm trees here, you will definitely enjoy a very tropical layout unlike many courses in the region or back home.

 

Imported Paspalum is used on the fairways, and their top-class greens were rebuilt in 2009 using Ultra Dwarf Bermuda Mini-Verde. Therefore, this Championship course is in excellent condition, and their putting surfaces have lightning-fast speeds and are some of the best in the region.

 

You are playing on a course that has hosted many tournaments including Asian Tour events in 2009 and 2010 plus the Thailand Open 2011.

 

Unusually for Bangkok’s fairly flat terrain, Suwan has a hilly and challenging layout, with fairways with uneven lies and elevation changes, plus greens that are well bunkered and also undulated.

 

With lily ponds, streams, and sand traps to catch you out, you need to listen to the advice from your well-trained caddie, before taking your next shot here.

 

There are two large putting areas and a grass driving range, backed up by a modern clubhouse with rain showers, Japanese-style bath plus an excellent restaurant overlooking the course. Suwan is a class act for sure!

 

Please let us know if you have recently played at any of these courses as our many golfers would like to have a recent update?

 

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45 minutes ago, fulhamster said:

Any information on all-in costs for a round at any of these courses ??

As you say. they are offering competitive rates .......

You should be able to find their promotions on either their websites or Facebook.

 

MrsJ and myself play Muang Ake two or three times a week … In the last three years has been improved considerably, now it’s very nice and greens are really good. We have been members since about 2008.

 

I’ve seen a price after 1pm of 1050 all in I think.

 

Caddies are generally good. Worth a visit. Mon-Tues-Wed are reasonably quite.. very busy Fri-Sat-Sun

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I used to enjoy Muang Kaew before they 'fixed' it. It was quirky and had a lovable character to it, particularly since it was quite different from all the other Cookie Cutter Courses in Thailand. I went once after the changes, then never again. It had lost its charm.

 

The same abomination was done to another unique course in Pattaya...Siam Country Club. It was fun to play before the 'upgrade'.  There was one hole with a water hazard about 250 yards out. One could lay up and leave a mid iron second, or blast it from the tee and carry the stream, leaving a chip and putt.

 

Neither course was broken, but sadly, the owners decided to fix it, and both became indistinguishable from any other Thai course.

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4 hours ago, Walker88 said:

Siam Country Club. It was fun to play before the 'upgrade'.  There was one hole with a water hazard about 250 yards out. One could lay up and leave a mid iron second, or blast it from the tee and carry the stream, leaving a chip and putt.

Is this the short par 4 that some of the ladies during the Honda LPGA can drive with the tree to the left of the green? If so are you saying the stream is no longer there (bigger expanse of water to the right from memory)?

When was that changed -  I haven't played there for about 8/9 years?

Or are you talking much longer ago than that?

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5 hours ago, The Hammer2021 said:

Do people still play golf?

Actually yes….and it is getting more popular.


A little surprised that you needed to ask that question… anyway, now you know… 😀

  • Haha 1
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20 hours ago, fulhamster said:

Any information on all-in costs for a round at any of these courses ??

As you say. they are offering competitive rates .......

AS PRICES ARE CHANGING DAILY, BEST BET IS TO EITHER CHECK THEIR WEBSITES FOR ANY OFFERS OR CALL THEM DIRECT. 

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20 hours ago, fulhamster said:

Any information on all-in costs for a round at any of these courses ??

As you say. they are offering competitive rates .......

Prices are changing daily during the pandemic so best bet is to contact the club directly and ask if they have any offers or perhaps reduced rates after midday. Good luck.

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11 hours ago, The Hammer2021 said:

Do people still play golf?

Yes....... but around Pattaya the courses have decided it's now high season and ramped up the costs. Add to that the adverts for Thai-only rates and that is why the 9-hole courses around Sattahip are suddenly busy.

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1 hour ago, topt said:

Thanks. Not that bored! But if you have free time try;

https://themakingofamillionaire.com/golf-a-complete-waste-of-time-and-money-that-is-destroying-the-planet-1587ca61a4ad

Edited by The Hammer2021
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On 1/20/2022 at 1:57 PM, The Hammer2021 said:

Read it. He doesn't like golf. A lot of people do.

Environment - some of his points may hold water.......but depending on the course/area some don't.

What about potential health benefits....

Yada, yada, yada :biggrin: 

 

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If a course is a hidden gem it has bad promotion, which is nothing to be proud of. There are lots of great value courses, but everyone likes different things, so best to play some and work out which ones you like.

 

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