Phuket is a great destination for a golf holiday, with six international standard golf courses set amidst idyllic surroundings. The island is attracting an increasing number of golfers due to its year-round mild climate, beautiful beaches and relaxed atmosphere. Green fees are generally higher than the rest of Thailand, but the pleasure of playing these courses is usually well worth the expense. Bear in mind too, that fees are still very low in comparison to other countries.
There is no need to show handicap cards at any of Phuket’s golf courses. Dress code is not strict but most clubs expect visitors to wear golf shirts with collars, short or long trousers, socks and golf shoes. Generally spike-less shoes or soft spikes are required. These can be hired at the courses.
PHUKET GOLF COURSES
All courses on the island, as well as Thai Muang Golf Club in Phang Nga, provide an extensive range of practice facilities, such as driving ranges, putting greens, practice bunkers as well a high standard of instruction. Other facilities include clubhouses, bars, restaurants and accommodation. It can be uncomfortable playing golf in Phuket's tropical climate, so sessions in the early morning or late afternoon are recommended. Make sure you put on some sunblock and drink plenty of fluids.
Blue Canyon Country Club
Recognized as one of the best courses in the region, the Blue Canyon Country Club comprises two 18-hole championship courses; the award-winning Canyon Course and the spectacular Lakes Course. Both courses are moulded around existing canyons that were originally an old tin mine, with the canyons created by open cast mining now filled to create the courses' many lakes.
The Canyon Course has played host to a number of international tournaments, including the 1994 and 1998 Johnnie Walker Classics, one of the most prestigious events in the region. There are a total of 87 sand traps guarding the greens and fairways. This is the course to play if you want to try the biggest challenge golfing in Phuket has to offer. Greg Norman holds the course record with a tournament round of 64.
The Lakes Course was opened in 1999 and is aimed at a broader range of golfers. As the name suggests, water comes into play a lot. There are five tees and 34 bunkers. The back nine weaves its way through a former rubber plantation.
Designer - Yoshikazu Kato
Yards - Canyon Course: 7179 | Lakes Course: 7129
Par - Canyon: 72 - Lakes: 72
Laguna Golf Club
Formerly known as the Banyan Tree Golf Course, this elegant 18-hole golf course is located within the Laguna Phuket development, very convenient if you are staying at one of the five luxury hotels. The course provides a challenge off the back tees with some very good holes. The terrain is relatively flat and water comes into play on most holes. In fact, there is water almost everywhere in the form of ponds, streams and lakes. The scenery is quite stunning with a dramatic vista of the nearby mountains and Andaman Sea.
Designers - Max Wexler and David Abell
Yards - 6,850
Par - 71
Loch Palm Golf Club
Built around a 48 acre lake, this 18-hole course is conveniently located approximately half-way between Patong and Phuket City. The breeze off the lake and panoramic views of the nearby mountains help to contribute to what the proprietors describe as ‘the most relaxing course in Phuket’. Regarded as one of the best values on Phuket, the course has recently undergone a major refurbishment and is beginning to compete with the more prestigious courses on the island.
Designer - Dr. Sukitti Klangvisai
Yards - 6,434
Par - 72
Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa
Located in the northeast of Phuket, Mission Hills is a new 18-hole course with an additional 9-hole floodlit course designed by Jack Nicklaus. The course is cradled by hills on one side and scenic coastal views along the rolling fairways, with sea breezes to help or hinder your play.
Mission Hills also provides top-class resort facilities. The impressive Thai-style clubhouse contains restaurants, a business centre, spa and swimming pool and 72 deluxe hotel rooms.
Designer - Nicklaus Design
Yards - 6806
Par - 72
Phuket Country Club
Built in 1989 over a reclaimed tin mine, the Phuket Country Club was the first championship standard course to be built in Phuket and has a total of 27 holes. The 18-hole Old Course was voted "Best Course in Thailand" by Asian Golf Magazine 2001 and "Best Holes Par-Five" by Asian Golf Magazine 2001 (Hole #10.) This hilly and challenging course is characterized by a great layout and some very spectacular holes, with fairways meandering through the hills and limestone cliffs.
The 9-hole Country Club Course has 18 different teeing positions, allowing 18 holes to be played. This tricky course is particularly suited for low handicap golfers. Water comes into play 90% of the time, ready to punish any wayward shots. High handicappers bring plenty of spare balls!
Designer - Dr. Sukitti Klangvisai
Yards - Old: 6483 | Country Club: 3757
Par - Old: 72 | Country Club: 37
Thai Muang Golf Club
Thai Muang is one of Thailand's few links courses. Located by the sea in Phang Nga province, the course is about 70 minutes drive from Patong or 30 minutes from Phuket International Airport. Since its latest renovation, this lovely course is now on a par with those found on Phuket and provides a challenge for golfers of every level. With mountains and forested hills on one side, blue sea on the other, this course provides a memorable golf experience.
Designer - Peter Dye
Yards - 7018
Par - 72
Thai Navy Golf Club Khao Lak
Located in Khao Lak, Phang Nga, about 50km from the Sarasin Bridge, this 18-hole course is a cheap and cheerful alternative to Phuket's plush courses. Don't expect country club quality but then you don't have to pay country club prices. Having said that, the course is reasonably well maintained and the layout is quite interesting. There are a few holes adjacent to the beach and the surrounding scenery is very pleasant.
Yards - 6825
Par - 72