Golf in Thailand - Great Courses & Real Live Caddies
Golf in Thailand can be a rare treat for the westerner accustomed to crowded courses, expensive greens fees and poorly maintained fairways. Lush courses abound, from the serene mountain courses of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai to the championship design of Blue Canyon in Phuket.
Chonburi Province (Pattaya) boasts more than 30 golf courses within a 30 minute drive. Kanchanaburi, of Bridge on the River Kwai fame, is another excellent golfing venue with a dozen or more fine golf clubs.
The economic problems of Asia have provided a unique opportunity for western golfers. Until recently, country clubs such as Blue Canyon would only allow members and guests to play. Now many prestigious clubs are now open to the public. Package holidays are available
Starting times at most Thai golf courses are spaced for a much more leisurely pace of play. Many courses have "sportsmen's day" and offer substantial discounts. Hotels can normally make arrangements for tee times and transportation.
Caddies are available on virtually every course and their fees are remarkably low. They carry bags, spot balls, rake traps, hold umbrellas and generally brighten the environment. And some of the more experienced are adept at reading greens.
Golfers not accustomed to Thailand's heat should use a good sun screen and drink plenty of water while on the course. Don't over exert and postpone your favorite alcoholic libation until the round has finished.
Consider taking along a change of clothing. Most clubs in Thailand have excellent locker rooms and showers, shampoos, hair dryers, powder and cologne. Fellow golfers may appreciate you use of that facility before retiring to the lounge.
For Thailand's top golf courses plus excellent golf resources ... Thai golf
"Ee-gun," she shouted!
After playing most of my golf in Southern California it took some amount of time playing in Thailand before I quit asking myself, "What's going on here?" At first it was the fact that on week days our twosome or foursome might have several open holes ahead and behind us. I finally got used to that, or maybe spoiled is the better description.
The next enigma was the caddy. I had never played with a caddy, but had always thought of caddies as strapping young men. So I felt a bit guilty about this mere slip of a lass lugging my bag around in 34 degree heat. They were covered from head to toe and even had the caddies' version of a ski mask. Only their eyes might be showing. So I wondered if they could last the full 18 holes, or if heat stroke would set in and they might expire somewhere far from the clubhouse, stranding me with a heavy golf bag, a dead caddy and no water. ... more
My first brush with Thai caddies was not really with caddies, but rather with "ball girls" on a driving range. It was the first time I had a golf club in my hand in the Kingdom. I first bought a ticket which was given to a young woman who gave it back to the woman I bought it from to get me a bucket of golf balls. Then the girl proceeded to sit on a very low stool, wedge a well worn tee into ground, put a ball on the tee and look at me expectantly.
Now driving range practice is not all that aerobic even when one bends down to put another ball on the tee. But this was taking laziness to a whole new level. It really was hot though, so after several rather inelegant swings I sat down on a bench to watch some of the other golfers and how they reacted to the distraction of having someone sitting inches from a ball they are about to hit.
Then sure as heck the guy next to me whiffs a ball. The girls starts giggling, then the guy starts laughing. They haven't finished their fits of mirth when he swings again and . . . yep, you guessed it! Now she is about to fall off her stool and making very minor attempts to stifle her rippling giggles. Meanwhile, the guy looks like his knees look about to buckle. So I start realizing how I would have reacted. "How dare you laugh at my macho attempt . . . "
But my thoughts were interrupted by a command shouted from a bullhorn. All the "ball girls" suddenly jumped up and grabbed buckets. They dashed out onto the range and started gathering balls. Obviously, the ball bin had run dry. After a few minutes of toil they started playing, tossing balls playfully at each other. Then another bullhorn command set them scurrying back to the really important stuff in life.
Pretty soon the bin was full and they went back to setting balls on tees and snickering at how poorly we were hitting shots.
I was just getting my timing down when a wild squeal turned the driving range into a mob scene. A movie star or pop singer had just arrived to do some sort of promotion. They ran to gather at the edge of the practice green then proceeded to swoon at ever movement or gesture this guy made ... even though he didn't even know how to hold a putter. I mean .. really, is that even close to being fair?
All the Thais golfers sat down so I thought I might as well do the same. The girls squealed every time the star stroked a putt and every time he smiled or made a joke and every time he brushed his hair out of his eyes.
After a reasonable time someone scolded them back to their chores and I realized I didn't have any more practice balls left. The ball girl looked at me expectantly and I shook my head. No more practice. It had been a really tough day.