The Best of Bangkok
The HK Golfer Guide to Golf in the City of Angels
Given the economic kudos attached to golf in China and the ever-strengthening renminbi these days, a weekend round on an upscale course in Guangdong will cost around HK$2,400 for a visitor. Okay, this generally includes transportation, lunch, cart hire and a little something for the caddie, but even so, this seems wrong. This seems especially wrong when you consider the potential rigmarole of actually crossing the border: overzealous immigration officials, cursed health declaration forms and – horror of horrors – that blasted yellow bus. “It’d be cheaper flying down to Bangkok for the day,” I told a similarly disillusioned golfing chum a few months ago, “and probably less hassle.”
I had it all planned. Take the early morning flight, grab a cab to Thai Country Club, which has the advantage of being, a) a great course and b) only twenty minutes from Bangkok’s new(ish) international airport, play eighteen holes, wash down a fiery chicken curry with a swift couple of bottles of Singha and scurry back to catch the last plane home. Judging by my calculations we’d return to our respective apartments just before midnight. It would be an exhausting day but, I reckoned, no more tiring than lugging our clubs over to Dongguan and back. It would have been cheaper too, largely due to the fact that we’d have expunged 20,000 Asia Miles on the flights. Point proven, albeit with an asterisk or two.
Flying to the Thai capital for a one-day golfing trip is, of course, hardly ideal. You’d be far too rushed. There’d be no time to linger on the clubhouse verandah discussing that brilliant par-save at the fourteenth and they’d certainly be no time to experience the muscle pummeling and joint-twisting that is a Thai massage. But crucially, there’d be no time for any more golf – and Bangkok’s courses deserve a lot more of your time.
Thanks to the Thai golf boom of the 1990s the city is almost saturated with courses – and they all have one thing in common: pancake-flat terrain. If you’re hoping for sweeping vistas and dramatic shifts in elevation then you should catch a domestic flight to Koh Samui and try your luck on the island’s only track, Santiburi Samui, a track so mountainous you’d be better off wearing crampons than softspikes. As a result, the capital’s courses work hard on impressing golfing tourists with their strategic design, their excellent conditioning, well-appointed clubhouses or their faultless service. A select few manage all four, while very nearly all offer tremendous value for money.
Here is a smattering of the best of Bangkok, places where you really get more bang for your baht.
Written by The Editors
Photography by Charles McLaughlin
Click here to see the published article.
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