Thailand is well established as one of Southeast Asia’s leading golfing hubs. We take a closer look at some of Kingdom’s finest courses on Phuket and Koh Samui
Phuket’s scenic Mission Hills Golf Club benefits from jaw-dropping ocean views
While many people visit Thailand’s tropical islands in search of sun, sea and sand, destinations like Phuket and Koh Samui are famous for their eclectic array of outdoor pursuits – including golf. The islands are home to a choice of memorable golf courses, ranging from top championship level challenges to courses featuring glorious ocean views. In fact, the golf courses of southern Thailand have hosted a selection of international competitions and championships, attracting amateur and professional players from across the globe.
Each of the golf courses across Koh Samui and Phuket boasts its own distinct charm, and typically, they are designed to make the most of the spectacular natural landscape and tropical views. Many courses, for example, come with far-reaching ocean vistas guaranteed to enhance every round.
Thailand’s island golf courses offer a unique experience for visitors. We’ve rounded up a selection of our favourites to give you some idea of what to expect.
Golfing in the gulf
The Santiburi Country Club in Koh Samui is home to the island’s only championship course
For keen golfers on Koh Samui, a trip to the island’s Santiburi Samui Country Club is unmissable. This spectacular championship course has been designed to complement the striking natural scenery, featuring stunning vistas across coconut forests and mountain creeks. Notably, the club is a well-established stop on the Asian PGA Tour.
Spread generously across 6,930 yards, this par-72 course offers a challenging selection of up and downhill trails, in addition to scenic emerald fairways that roll through the region’s natural coconut forests. Each of the 18 holes on the course has its own unique challenges, and they have been positioned at varying altitudes on the natural slopes of the site. This paves the way for a highly entertaining, dynamic game. Magnificent views of the ocean form a wow factor backdrop, too.
The Royal Samui Country Club commands fantastic ocean views
Situated on the eastern coast of Koh Samui on the mountainside between Lamai and Chaweng, the Royal Koh Samui Golf and Country Club is another fine destination for golfing enthusiasts, whether they’re novices or have plenty of experience. Established in 2006, the nine-hole course has been designed sensitively to make the most of the natural scenery. Each of the holes enjoys a stunning outlook over rolling hills and across the ocean. The picturesque landscape, emerald fairways and rolling greens create an irresistibly chilled vibe, which strikes a perfect balance with the numerous challenges presented by the course. Unlike any other golf course in Thailand, the tees, fairways and greens at the Royal Samui Golf and Country Club were landscaped with mountain green grass that is resistant to drought and heavy rains.
The impressive golf course at the Blue Canyon Country Club features no less than 10 water features
Phuket’s Blue Canyon Country Club is widely regarded as one of Thailand’s finest golfing destinations. Home to two courses, the club boasts an impressive selection of accolades. It’s also a haven for wildlife, and visitors should keep their eyes peeled for wild tortoises, iguanas and civet cats. The courses themselves each offer a distinct set of challenges and highlights. The Lakes course features wide, rolling greens and 36 bunkers. On the other hand, The Canyon course features over 80 bunkers and 10 water hazards. The country club also boasts a lavish clubhouse that is shared between the two courses, plus indoor and outdoor driving ranges.
Destination of champions
Golfing legend Nick Faldo is said to have praised the excellent course at Phuket’s Laguna Golf Club
The golf course at the venue once known as the Banyan Tree Golf Club has undergone a series of changes since it became the Laguna Golf Club. Fairways that were once largely flat now feature a series of dips and rolls, offering a much greater challenge. This stunning course has also become one of Thailand’s most sought-after golfing destinations, and has even been praised by golfing legend Nick Faldo when he travelled there on vacation. The course, which was designed by Max Wesler, comprises 18 holes and has a yardage of 6,850. Water now comes into play on 14 of the 18 holes, too.
The course at Phuket’s Loch Palm Golf Club offers amateur golfers plenty of challenges
Designed by Dr Sukitti Klangwisai, Phuket’s Loch Palm Golf Club enjoys a spectacular backdrop of lush, tropical forest. With a total yardage of 6,434, this 72-par course makes the most of its sublime natural setting, and benefits from fantastic views across the surrounding landscape. Home to no less than 67 bunkers and water features, this course strikes the perfect balance for golf enthusiasts that visit to take part in an enjoyable – yet challenging – game. Various alterations in terrain also infuse the course with an extra challenge for visitors.
On a mission
Phuket’s Mission Hills Golf Club is situated on the site of a former rubber plantation
Last but by no means least, Phuket’s Mission Hills Golf Club is undoubtedly one of Thailand’s most stunning golfing destinations. Designed by golfing legend Jack Niklaus, the course is adorned with white sand beach bunkers and challenging water features. Breath-taking vistas across the gleaming Andaman Sea make for an unforgettable golfing experience, with the friendly caddies and excellent facilities the icing on the cake. There’s even a spa situated at the 19th hole.
A prestigious destination
Thai golfing veteran Prayad Marksaeng won Samui’s Queen’s Cup in 2015
From the ocean-view golf courses of the south to the mountainous terrain of the north, there is a golf course to suit every visitor to Thailand – one reason why the country has become so well established as one of Asia’s golfing hubs. In addition to a selection of amateur tournaments, including Amari Hua Hin Golf Week and Tara Court Golf Week in Pattaya, the Kingdom also hosts a number of professional events. This season’s Asian Tour kicks off at the Windsor Park Golf Club in Bangkok, before moving on to the Suvarnabhumi Golf & Country Club, also in Bangkok. Samui’s Queen’s Cup Golf Tournament and the Singha Phuket Open are other prestigious events on Thailand’s golfing calendar.
Here are a few top tips for golfing in Thailand:
- A visor will not only keep the sun out of your eyes when lining up a shot, it will also protect your face from the sun.
- Caddies are a key part of the golfing experience in Thailand, so make sure to leave a friendly tip.
- Thailand’s golf resorts all have a soft spike policy in terms of footwear, so ensure you bring the correct pair of shoes.