Thailand extends a royal invitation to their country that boasts over 250 golf courses, Golf in a Kingdom covers Thailand’s six distinct geographical regions – from 8,000ft mountains in the north to limestone islands rising out of the Andaman Sea in the south, so choose your golfing poison, sea, sand, or sky-high and get swinging. Thailand is almost as famed for its golf courses as it is its beaches, and you can’t go wrong in Thailand for a good combination of both.
Bangkok has a number of notable golf courses, The Ronald Garl-designed championship Alpine Golf and Sports Club is a relatively rural option. The beautiful undulating course was originally created from flat rice paddy fields. It was venue for the 2000 and 2004 Johnnie Walker Classic PGA tournament and is about an 80-minute drive from the city. It has also hosted some Johnnie Walker Classics, and it is regarded as one of Thailand’s more challenging courses.
The refreshing and classy 7,097-yard Thai Country Club opened in 1996 and launched its credentials with the Honda Classic in 1997 that Tiger Woods swept.
There’s a lot of golf to be had in Hua Hin. If you get sick of waves lapping on deserted sand beaches take a swing at one of these – our pick of the best golf courses in Hua Hin, all within a short drive of the resorts mentioned here. Royal Hua Hin Golf Course has the accolade of being the oldest golf course in Thailand, opened in 1924.
Chiangmai Highlands Golf and Spa Resort offers an 18-hole course with paspalum fairways and eagle greens, which translate into greener fairways and faster more consistent plays.
Bunkers are deep and severe on errant shots. Mown grass areas surrounding the approach to the greens provide the option of playing either a chip-and-run, pitch shot or even putting the ball up onto the green. Chiang Mai makes for a great getaway too.
Indonesia allows you to play golf in paradise on the “Island of the Gods”.
The upgraded Bali National Golf Club offers a scenic 18-hole course designed by Nelson, Haworth Golf Course Architects, with the 17th hole playing out to the Indian Ocean and a beautifulul clubhouse overlooking the 18th.
The attractive Nirwana Bali Golf Club adjacent to the sprawling former Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort is set among the dramatic rice paddy fields on Bali’s west coast, with the 7th hole’s scenic overlook of the must-see Tanah Lot temple. Opened in 1997 as an 18-hole par 72 course, it is another multiple award-winning Greg Norman-designed course. Think verdant rice terraces, lush foliage, and Indian Ocean views with awesome sunsets.
The Bali Handara Country Club at 1,142m above sea level with spectacular Jurassic Park settings if you arrive early morning in the mist or with a low cloud overhead.
Found within a mountain resort with room and bungalow accommodation, this public golf course is set inside a volcanic crater beautified by tall trees and flowers. Green fees for 19 holes are from. Bedugul is a scenic area and much-photographed Lake Bratan (or Beratan) is close by as added bonus.
Malaysia hosts beautiful colonial comforts and undulating tea-strewn hills, showcased best in Cameron Highlands, a cool getaway 200km north of Kuala Lumpur. Like many hill stations, this was developed as a summer escape for sweaty Europeans – and Britain’s more pleasant influences live on in scattered rose gardens and mock-Tudor architecture.
For a special game of golf, head for the mellow and laid back Malaysian island of Langkawi, where The Els Club Teluk Datai is set in a tropical rainforest with all the flora and fauna to match. It’s not unusual to spot a monitor lizard ambling across the fairway.
The golf course is attached to the splendid and atmospheric five-star rainforest villa property, The last hole is played out of the forest onto the Andaman coast. This is a true Jurassic Park setting so watch for swooping pterodactyls as you perfect your drive.
More island golf is available in multi-attraction Penang, near the airport is conveniently neighboured by the 18-hole Penang Golf Club that underwent a big facelift in 2012. The hilltop course has views of Penang and the Penang Bridge linking it to mainland Malaysia. This is another Robert Trent Jones course, with a famous 10th hole – the tee is located 100ft above the fairway.
Many consider Vietnam to be Asia’s next great golf destination, the ‘new Thailand’ and a yet undiscovered golf paradise. Vietnam is a huge country with 93 million citizens, yet only just over 35 golf courses. Many new golf course projects are underway and in a few years the situation will look completely different.
Vietnam, the latest Asian dragon to awake from its slumber, with more than 1,000 historical, cultural, and architectural sites. And from Hanoi in the north to Danang and Hoi An in the central part of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City to the southeastern coast one finds many good golf courses. The big architects have become aware of Vietnam and today there are golf courses designed by Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie. Among the best golf courses in Vietnam is Danang Golf Club, The Bluffs to Ho Tram Strip and Montgomerie Links.
Vietnam stretches almost 1600 km from north to south. The country has a tropical and subtropical climate, yet the winters in the north can offers night frost. A different story it is in the south where you will always, regardless of the season, find somewhere to play golf in perfect weather conditions. The best season to go on golfing trip to Danang and Hoi An is from February to August where there are fewer players and the temperatures fluctuate between 20-34 degrees. To the south (Ho Chi Minh City) you will find the optimal conditions for a round of golf from November to April.
Vietnam is a great travel destination and is known for its fascinating history, interesting towns, beautiful scenery, excellent cuisine and a friendly and very welcoming population. In Vietnam, a golf holiday can be combined with a string of exciting cultural experiences.
Not surprisingly, golf is booming in China and the country already has a number of world-class championship courses, of which the gargantuan Mission Hills Golf Club, spanning Shenzhen and Dongguan very near the border with Hong Kong is arguably the most famous. Accredited by Guinness World Records as the globe’s biggest (with 25sq km currently in use), the 80,000sq m club is part of a sprawling family resort also offering leisure, entertainment, spas, meeting and conference facilities and restaurants.
In 1983 there were no golf courses in China. Now there are 310, with hundreds more in the pipeline. Some predictions call for as many as a thousand new courses in the next 10 years.
If you truly can’t get enough of golf, this is the place for you: there are no less than a dozen 18-hole courses designed by legends such as Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh, to name just a few.
Golf in Japan is as unique as the country itself. Across the more than 6,852 islands – including the four main islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku and Kyushu – there are no less than 2,349 golf courses, varying from revered top-100 courses to riverside pitch and putts. Japan could be Asia’s best-kept golfing secret!
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