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3 Month Golf Sabbatical In Jan: Chiang Mai Or Pattaya?


bbbrisco

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I've been stalled out between a 5.0-8.0 hdcp for the last few years, and think I'm gonna try and get back on the path to progress next year by starting off with a 3-month golf sabbitical. Thailand looks like an affordable, golf-friendly location to duck the Canadian winter. I've been going over this very helpful forum trying to decide where to go. I'm looking for decent practice facilities, a decent selection of affordable courses, opportunity to join some clubs or organized groups so that I'm not always showing up as a single, affordable accommodations and decent weather.

Based on what I've read so far, I think Chiang Mai and Pattaya sound like my best bets.

Both have organized groups which sound like good bunch to play with (Royal Society vs. PSC), with the nod going to Pattaya which seems to hava quite a few active clubs.

As far as practice facilities (I'm looking for grass tees, good short game areas and putting greens), Stardome seems to be a little better than Harold's in Pattaya (refreshers bringing me beverages sounds nice!), but both sound adequate.

I like the sounds of some of the CM courses, Highlands in particular, but the weekday rates that PSC has in Pattaya seem quite good (ie 200-600 baht for some courses).

The weather at both places promises to be hot, since I'm looking at Jan 15-Apr 15 or so.

Getting to/from ranges/courses with clubs concerns me in both locals. Are they close enough to make taxi's reasonable? I noticed that one of the PSC groups mentioned an organized van to take you from downtown to courses for events for a very reasonable 200B, which sounds like a nice way to do things. Don't think I want to drive in either locale, so a car rental doesn't seem like a good option. 45 min cab rides to courses on the outskirts of CM could quickly eat into the golf budget.

Any bad conclusions I've reached so far? Anything to add that I'm overlooking?

Anyone have a pro to recommend for lessons in either location? Having a recommended teacher would probably swing me in one direction.

Right now I'm kinda leaning toward Pattaya, since I'll also have access to the beach and the possibility of diving, plus day trips to BK for gear at Thaniya and possible lessons if needed.

Thanks!

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Can't really comment on pattaya, although i would guess on average you'd pay less for your green fees, if only because there's more courses there.

You are coming at the height of high season, so, for chiang mai at least, there's unlikely to be any deals on the green fees.

January and february are still the winter season here in chiang mai, and that should mean daytime temps of about 26-30, nighttime can go down to 8-15, and mostly blue skies. In other words glorious weather! March is the start of the burning season which normally means reduced visibility and less than healthy air, but this year wasn't so bad. Which does make me wonder why you don't start off in chiang mai, then head down to pattaya!

Here in chiang mai there are many pros, but one called kitty who operates out of the airport driving range is top quality, and would surely be good for a low handicapper. He speaks excellent english, has lived abroad in the past, and most importantly is a great golf teacher. I think he charges just under 1000 baht for 90 mins, but you'd need to check on that.

Highlands is outstanding. A truly world class golf course.

Gassan khuntan is like the disneyland of golf, every hole is a new and exciting ride.

Royal is a degree less than outstanding.

Alpine is well looked after, and for some a very good course.

Mae jo is good, but redoing the greens.

Gold Canyon and Inthanon courses, the newest, are both very good.

Many of the courses are 30-60 minute drive from town, so that is a factor for you to decide. What you could do if you came to chiang mai is find a happy taxi driver quite quickly, then phone him up every time you need a ride. I'm sure he will cut you a decent deal.

In general you will find the thais in chiang mai several times friendlier than pattaya, also the pace of life, quality of life, and so on are much better in chiang mai. While the golf may be a bit more expensive, accommodation and food will be significantly cheaper in chiang mai. As will beer if you enjoy that.

That should do for starters, i'm sure a few more will come along soon!

One last thing perhaps could be added: it is a common theme that many travelers (non-golfers) tag on a few days for chiang mai after all their beach time, and once they get here they end up regretting not allowing longer. It really is a top class place to spend time in life.

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I can't provide information on CM, never having visited there. I have played golf in Pattaya since 1978 so I do have some knowledge about playing there.

Many people do not have transportation in Pattaya. Those that do not usually begin playing with a regular group being supported by a bar. Transport is usually provided in the form of baht buses or personal vehicles which would depart from the bar in sufficient time to reach the courses. There is normally a small fee for the service.

Many of these bars are located in the downtown area but there are a few located on the Dark Side, the residential area east of Sukhumvit Road. Motorcycle taxis will take you, and your clubs, nearly anywhere you wish to go so getting to the bars is not a problem.

Check out the Pattaya Sports Club at the link below and you will get a wealth of information about all of this, including the names of some bars that participate in regular golf outings. Join the PSC and you will receive substantial discounts at nearly all the courses in and around Pattaya.

http://pattayasports.org/site/

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Hi I have lived & played golf in Pattaya for the last 6 years or so , I would reccomend Pattaya as a destination as most of the courses here in excellent condition and are within 45/50 mins. drive from the City.

You are correct in thinking that golf here is cheaper than Chang Mai but you must join the Pattaya Sports Club as they have preferred rates at all the local courses.

Many bars play on a regular basis every week and in the local papers you can see where they are playing.

I play with Lewiinski's this bar play 4 times a week in the high season they play Sun, Mon, Wed & Fri. they also have their own mini-buses, a very good restaurant, plus accomodation, although not sure if they have vacances in the hotel, as their rates are very competative, and very friendly staff.

Hope you enjoy your golf in Thailand.

JJ

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I have several years of experience in this matter, but I have always spent the winters in Spain. I would never do the same in Thailand only for the golf, predominantly due to the enormous cost involved. In Spain, there are plenty of resorts where you can get a 3-4 month deal that includes accommodation AND unlimited golf. Play as much as you like. Make sure they have a grass range and a gym. I'd practice my short game for 5-6 hours / day before finishing with nine holes in the afternoon. At times I played 36 holes / day. You will need a rental car, though.

In Thailand there's the dreaded caddie fee and tip. In addition, there's not much practice areas available, which in combination with very high green-fees makes Thailand a crap destination for a golf sabbatical. Thailand is VERY expensive in many areas, golf is one of them.

Whatever you opt for, you will not regret it, playing golf for 3-4 months does wonders for both body, game and soul.

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Great courses in Chiang Mai (12 within 1 hour) but you are talking high season when they will be very busy and not cheap even if you have Thai residence (prices usually cheaper).

May,June,July usually the best prices here, past 2 years only 800 baht even for the best courses.High season you can triple that for many of the courses.

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Thanks for all the advice folks - looks like each of the two areas has fans and points to consider. Since it's my first time golfing in Thailand, perhaps I'll spend a month at each and see how they compare.

Also, thanks for that heads up about the Spanish resorts. Let me know if there are any that you recommend. I wanna stick to Thailand for this round cause I'm also gonna be learning some Thai language and kind of scouting things out to see if I want to come over and teach English for a year or two. But Spain might be a nice option for later years.

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Thanks for all the advice folks - looks like each of the two areas has fans and points to consider. Since it's my first time golfing in Thailand, perhaps I'll spend a month at each and see how they compare.

Also, thanks for that heads up about the Spanish resorts. Let me know if there are any that you recommend. I wanna stick to Thailand for this round cause I'm also gonna be learning some Thai language and kind of scouting things out to see if I want to come over and teach English for a year or two. But Spain might be a nice option for later years.

If it's purely for golfing reasons then would you consider staying in Bangkok ? There's probably more courses than CM and Patts combined in Bangkok and it's surrounding regions....

Just another option for you to consider :)

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Look on this Web site, Fairways driving range Pattaya, accommodation, driving range, chipping area, great greens for putting, great restaurant etc etc, all in all brilliant place, like a small village just for golfers !! NOT EXPENSIVE

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