Schmidt-Curley can’t seem to do any wrong in Thailand. Following on from their splendid designs at Amata Spring and Chiang Mai Highlands, the American architectural duo have done it once again with this stunning 27-hole track, a thirty minute drive from the resort town of Pattaya off the Bangkok highway. Unlike its famous sister—Siam Country Club’s Old Course, which hosted last year’s $1.3 million Honda LPGA Thailand event after a complete redesign by the pair—the Plantation Course is somewhat unique in the Land of Smiles: a public facility open to all those with a certified handicap of 36 or less. Available since April, the courses—defined by the Sugar Cane, Tapioca and Pineapple nines—roll across undulating terrain and are characterized by their formidable bunkering and slick, highly contoured greens. Dastardly false fronts and beautifully sculptured collection areas (not un-Pinehurst like) make this a true championship test, while the nattily-appointed clubhouse affords panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand. Conditioning has so far proved exemplary, with the Bermuda Ultradwarf greens routinely running in excess of 11 on the stimpmeter. The courses’ Paspalum fairways, meanwhile, ensure that great lies are the order of the day. Shorter hitters beware: even from the standard white tees the course measures close to 6,900 yards. A stiff test it might be but, our own Kau Sai Chau aside, there can’t be many better public courses on the continent.
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