One is Mandatory – I’d Gladly Take the Other!!!
By: Claudio DeMarchi
We have been introduced to Golf & Fishing, Golf & Blues music, and features that cover Golf & Wine regions. With 2020 seeming to be a hangover that just won’t go away we now have Golf & Quarantine.
So many of us are frustrated with lockdowns and limitations, as am I since as a golfer guy, generally spending 50% of my year teeing it up mostly afar. The Government of Thailand is now making it that much easier to make that trip afar even more appealing, and you can pack your bags and go right now! Yes, you will have to be in quarantine for 14 days but as long as you test negative upon landing, you can play golf and enjoy other safe and socially distanced resort activities.
Three of the Resorts are in the Kanchanaburi region, approximately 70 miles from Bangkok, think WW II and the infamous Bridge Over the River Kuai.
- Evergreen Hills Golf Club & Resort
- Blue Star Golf Course
- Mida Golf Club and Resort
The Sawang Golf Club is about 110 miles from Bangkok in Cha Am, leaving you pretty close to Hua Hin. I can guarantee you that once out of quarantine you will want to visit Hau Hin. The seaside town is where the Thai Royals call home and also where you will find 2 of the most high-profile courses in the country – Black Mountain and Banyan Golf Club.
Closest of all to Bangkok, only 45 miles is The Artitaya Country Club in Nakorn Nayok formerly the Bangkok Royal Country Club.
Lastly and a resort that you would probably want to connect by air to is the Artitaya Chiang Mai Golf & Resort tucked away in the mountainous region of Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is about a 1-hour flight time from Bangkok or just over 500 miles to drive.
For specific information on golf while in quarantine and all of the above-mentioned properties Golfasian the #1 inbound golf tour operator in Thailand is your best option. Additionally, Golfasian has been approved by Thailand’s Safety and Health Administration to work with traveling golfers. www.golfasian.com
So, if you have got the urge to travel afar right now, knock off Thailand as a bucket list destination – Just Do It.
Is Thailand a bucket list destination? In my mind, absolutely!! Let’s start with the fact that the city that you are most likely to land in was in 2019 the #1 most visited city in the world. Might that be because it is one of the best “Bang for the Buck” countries in the world, or because of the year-round ideal outdoor climate, whether you are a beach goer or mountain climber.
Thailand’s history dates back to a time of which I cannot fathom, there are the ruins to prove it, while in showcasing their more modern times and under normal circumstances the Temples and Buddha’s of the Grand Palace in Bangkok attract an average of over 20,000 visitors per day.
Foodies will fantasize forever once exposed to local prawns the size of their hands of which, at the street market in Hua Hin, you can combine with a T-bone steak complete meal for $13.00. Add an 8-year-old bottle of French red wine for only $25.00 more!
Thai Cuisine itself is its own flare with flavors and spice and the choices for any international cuisine is beyond compare.
A number of firsts: Thai Massage, of course it started here, if you have not had one you don’t know what you are missing.
Female caddies are now pretty much the norm throughout Asia, its professionalism started in Thailand. Having played in as many Asian countries as I have, I assure you that no one does it better than in the Land of Smiles.
There are over 250 golf courses in Thailand of which many thousands of tourists enjoy every year. Pick your poison be it around the beaches in Phuket where Red Mountain is a must, in the exotic region where you find the city of Pattaya and its infamous Walking Street you also find the Siam Country Club, home to the LPGA, one of 4 courses with its new addition Rolling Hills and perhaps the most dreaded bunker appropriately name “Wall of Death”.
The aforementioned Black Mountain and Banyan in Hua Hin.
Black Mountain Golf Club has been listed on the Top 100 in the World by Golf Digest (59); Best New course in Thailand in 2008, #1 Course in Thailand by Golf Digest in 2016 and to top it off IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) 2020 Golf Experience of the Year for Thailand. A great layout and meticulously maintained, it is WOW factor to the nines. Rock walls and waterfalls enhance the elevation changes and lily ponds, captivate your attention throughout the round.
Banyan Golf Club is another “Best in Asia” multi-award-winning course in Hua Hin, that also has the Order of Zenith, which is the highest and most prestigious golf award in Asia Pacific by Asian Golf in 2018. This tropical layout has two distinct nines with the front meandering through the lower and flatter terrain while the back nine takes you up and down the mountainside offering up a view of the Gulf of Siam on the signature 15th with all day panoramic views of the Myanmar Mountains in the distance.
There is no shortage of great golf in and around the hustle and bustle of the big city – Bangkok! You may never get to play the back 9 at the Masters – RIGHT! But the King of Replica Courses Ron Garl has recently created Royal Gems Golf City Dream Arena. Step on to the first tee and you are transported onto some of the best golf holes in the world. From TPC Sawgrass to Bethpage Black and the Road Hole at St Andrews to a back nine that is a replica of the back 9 at Augusta National. I can tell you first hand that, that was a fun.
Nikanti Golf Club is also a relatively new and unique addition to Bangkok golf! The very first hole gives you an indication of the style and quality of golf that you are in for. A tough par five with an intimidating yet exciting shot into the green no matter where you are. The only one of its kind in Thailand with three sets of 6 holes and an equal number of par 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s. A five-star experience from start to finish and I would highly recommend that you take advantage of the exceptional dining experience as it is included in your green fee!
With 3 Golf in Quarantine options in Kanchanaburi I would be remiss if I did not include a couple of awesome tracks that we played just before COVID came along.
Grand Prix Golf Club says it all, or does it?! As you drive in past automobiles and Formula 1 sponsor signs, if you asked anyone you will learn that all 18 holes have been sponsored by leading automobile companies with signage delicately placed throughout. The high standards of F1 have been implemented in the look and maintenance of the course. Perched high above the course, from the clubhouse and first tee you have a bird’s eye view of the course with panoramic views of the nearby Burmese Mountains.
A truly unique experience for anyone at Royal Ratchaburi
Monkeys there are a-plenty! At Royal Ratchaburi Golf Club, as we stood on the first tee of the course, we must have seen a couple of hundred traverse the fairway, all going in the same direction – Monkey’s on a mission. You’ve got to keep an eye on your ball and other things when they are around. They are very inquisitive. Once they grab something you are not likely to get it back! The course itself is carved from a lush jungle setting (1994), flanked by both the Ratchaburi and Burmese Mountains and is relatively flat, fairways and greens are rolling and greens are undulating. You would expect nothing less, but nothing too crazy.
To get you on the right track to learning more about Amazing Thailand visit: www.thailandinsider.com
For Golf package information whether quarantine or not, Golfasian is a great place to start. If your preference is to deal with someone in North America, we can recommend the following.