Golf Courses Around Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai
Now here's something for all you wannabe scratch players out there: a world class golf course right here in Chiang Rai! In 1999, Golf Digest voted the Santiburi golf course in Chiang Rai among the top ten best courses in the world.
Santiburi Golf Club - Chiang Rai
Opened in 1993 and designed to take advantage of naturally hilly terrain, the Santiburi course makes for a real challenge and a welcome change from the standard ex-rice paddy (pancake flat) courses dotted around Thailand.
Many golf enthusiasts say it's worth flying to Chiang Rai just to play this course. And here's the best bit - green fees are around 1300 baht on weekdays and 2000 baht on weekends and holidays (at time of writing) - that's somewhere around 35 and 50 bucks for a world-class 18 holes. Bet you don't get an opportunity like that in your own country!
However, you'll have to cough up extra for club hire and caddy fee. That is unless you bring your own clubs (and caddy?). Bear in mind that Thailand is one of those places that's still big on servitude, and so caddies are a mandatory part of the local golf scene. Anyone who insists on carrying their own clubs will be considered "eccentric" or just plain stingy. Different culture.
Caddies get paid a pittance for carting your clubs
around and clapping even
when you make bad shots so do remember to give them a tip at the end.
A 50 or 100-baht note stuffed into their shirt pocket would suffice.
If you require an English
speaking caddy then you should book one with the course in advance.
Now, with that out of the way let's not forget the other courses available.
Waterford Valley Golf - Chiang Rai
Another popular course. It's not as easy to get to as Santiburi but is well worth the effort since golf authorities rate it highly. The same rules apply as at Santiburi but the green fees are slightly cheaper, with weekdays costing 1100 baht and weekends and holidays 1650 baht (at time of writing).
Golf Courses - Chiang Mai
Gymkhana Golf Course & Sports Club
9-Hole, par-36 course. This one is right in the heart of Chiang Mai next to the river. Without doubt the oldest golf club in Thailand.
- Lamphun Golf Club
18 Hole, 6,755 yards, par 72. A mere 30-minute drive along the new Chiang Mai / Lamphun Road
Lanna Golf Course
18 Hole - less than 20 minutes drive from Chiang Mai heading toward Mae Rim.
Royal Chiang Mai Golf Course
18 Hole - about 50 minutes drive from Chiang Mai via the town of Sankampaeng
Green Valley Golf Course
18 Hole, 7,173 yards, par 72 - about an hour's drive from Chiang Mai.
Sand Creek Golf Course
A relatively new 9-hole course, par 34 and enough sand in the bunkers to bury an elephant