Features

Golfing around... Hua Hin

1 Nov 2006 by intern22

Combining the attractions of a modern holiday destination with the charm of a still active fishing port, Hua Hin and Cha-am have been among Thailand’s most popular resort getaways for more than 70 years, especially among Thais and foreigners living in the Kingdom.

Some two hours south of Bangkok, the majority of the seven golf courses within the vicinity are nestled between the crystal clear blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand and majestic mountain ranges that divide Thailand and Myanmar.

With the exception of Royal Hua Hin, all the clubs have transportation to and from the courses and can arrange pick-up from any of the nearby hotels. Booking your tee-time in advance is recommended, especially if you intend to play in the early morning.

Golfing in Hua Hin and Cha-am is wonderfully relaxed and attractively priced. A winning combination in anyone’s language.

SPRINGFIELD VILLAGE GOLF & SPA

WHERE IS IT? Less than two-and-a-half hours by road from Bangkok, Springfield Village Golf & Spa is situated in the popular beach destination of Cha-am, a 25-minute drive north of Hua Hin.

WHAT'S IT LIKE? Opened in 1993, the 27-hole Springfield Royal Country Club (SRCC) has repeatedly ranked among the top 10 courses in Thailand by professionals.

Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the championship course measures 6.46km from the back tees and plays to a par of 72. In all, there are five different tee boxes. Dotted with his trademark bunkering and plenty of water hazards, Nicklaus has produced a course that offers a tough challenge, especially when the wind blows, but also a fair one. Make sure you find time to admire the breathtaking views of the Gulf of Thailand and Cha-am’s lush jungle hilltops that provide a backdrop for numerous holes. As well as hosting the 2001 Thailand Open, SRCC has staged the Asian Tour Qualifying School.

HANDICAP REQUIREMENT: Handicap certificates not required.

SIGNATURE HOLE: The 482-metre par-five 18th is a spectacular way to finish the round – and an especially daunting one if your match is hanging in the balance. Only the longest of hitters will have cause to contemplate going for the island green in two. For most, two good shots will leave a mid- to short-iron over water to the putting surface, that sits beneath Springfield’s grand clubhouse.

CAN I HIRE CLUBS? Yes. Club hire starts at US$16 for a basic steel shafted set and US$24.10 for premium rental sets. Shoes and umbrellas are up for rent at US$4 and US$2.68 respectively. 

AFTER THE GOLF? Close to the course are two five-star resorts that offer guests the option of staying by Cha-am’s seaside (Springfield Beach Resort) or in Balinese-styled rooms perched on lush green hilltops (Springfield Village Resort). The Bird Of Paradise Restaurant at the resort serves international fare, while Jack’s Lounge offers drinks and snacks. A more formal dining experience is available at Bosco The Restaurant in the upper lobby, known for its Italian-Asian fusion menu. Seafood lovers can choose from the local and seafood dishes at the Beach Terrace. Food is also served at the Garden Terrace and Starfish Steak House.

Activities range from swimming to aerobics to mountain-bike riding. The Springfield Spa has a variety of treatments ranging from traditional Thai massages to special rejuvenation packages. Cooking classes are also on the menu, while free shuttle buses will ferry you to and from Hua Hin.

OTHER FACILITIES: Springfield is home to the acclaimed Heartland Golf School where lessons can be arranged with leading instructors. Driving range as well as putting and chipping greens are available. If you’re in need of stocking up on balls, tees or gloves, then pay a visit to the excellent pro-shop. Changing rooms are well equipped with individual lockers and shower facilities as well as sauna and spa.

PRICES: Weekdays and weekends – US$67. For guests staying at Springfield Resort, the green fee is US$33.48. Buggy rental is US$20, while caddie fees are US$5.36.

CLUB HOURS: 0600-1900 daily.

CONTACT: 193 Moo 6, Huay-Sai Nua, Petchkasem Road, Cha-am, Phetchaburi 76120, Thailand, tel 66 32 709 222, fax 66 32 709 234, email [email protected],

www.springfieldresort.com

ROYAL HUA HIN GOLF COURSE

WHERE IS IT? Barely 1km from the old town centre, Royal Hua Hin Golf Course sits at the base of Hin Lek Fai hill, a five-minute walk to the beach.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Built around Hua Hin’s railway station in 1924 by Scottish railway engineer AO Robbins, Royal Hua Hin is Thailand’s oldest golf course and has associations with the Thai Royal Family dating back to the 1930s.

Constructed around the base of a limestone mountain range, the golf course received a much-needed upgrade in 1980 but maintains an old-style charm. With its undulating fairways carved out of the lush jungle surrounding Hua Hin’s rolling hills, the course stretches to 6106m and plays to a par of 72.

Among clumps of century-old trees, look out for the fairway trees carved in animal shapes. From panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand to Hua Hin’s old Buddhist temples and the Bangkok-Singapore railway station with its classic Thai architecture, playing at Royal Hua Hin is a memorable experience.

HANDICAP REQUIREMENT: Handicap certificates not required.

SIGNATURE HOLE: With an old Buddhist temple perched on a lush jungle hilltop serving as a backdrop, the 136-metre par-three 14th is one of the most photographed holes in Thailand.

CAN I HIRE CLUBS? Yes. Club rental at the pro shop starts from US$13.39. Shoes for US$2.68, umbrellas for US$1.34 and portable chairs for US$1.33 are also available for hire.

AFTER THE GOLF? Playing at a course just minutes away from the middle of Hua Hin town has its privileges. If you finish early, head to Hua Hin beach for a swim in clear blue waters. Sea sports and horse riding along the beach are also offered.

If your game finishes late in the afternoon, Hua Hin’s famous night bazaar is a great option. Here you can pick up many items and souvenirs, ranging from T-shirts and shoes to woodwork and craft to Thai seafood. Only a pitching wedge away from the course, shoppers can enjoy a round of golf before seeking out the best bargains in Hua Hin. Fresh local seafood is readily available at the plethora of restaurants along the fishing pier.

OTHER FACILITIES: As well as the 18-hole course, there’s a driving range and a putting green. Locker rooms and shower facilities are provided at the clubhouse, where food and drinks are served.

PRICES: US$32 for 18 holes on weekdays and US$40 at weekends. Caddie fees are US$5.89, with buggy rental an additional US$9.37 for nine holes or US$17.68 for 18 holes.

CLUB HOURS: From 0600 to 1900 daily.

CONTACT: Damnernkasem Road, Hua Hin, Prachuab Khiri Khan 77110, Thailand, tel: 66 32 531 075, fax: 66 32 513 038, www.golfhuahin.com/royalhuahin.htm

THE IMPERIAL LAKEVIEW HOTEL & GOLF CLUB

WHERE IS IT? About 30 minutes drive from Hua Hin, The Imperial Lakeview Hotel & Golf Club is on the way to Pran Buri via Route 4 from Cha-am. It’s 209km from Bangkok and 20km from Cha-am beach.

WHAT'S IT LIKE? Part of a resort set in 48.56ha in a valley at the foot of a mountain range, the Lakeview course was designed by Roger Packard and opened in 1993. Measuring 6.32km, playing on this par-72 course gives you a sense of isolation and peace.

Sculpted to mimic the characteristics of a links course, carpet-like fairways, rolling mounds and fairways complement the natural features of the landscape. But it’s the number of dog-leg holes that will really test your ability to shape shots.

Trust the caddies when they advise which line to take as numerous bunkers are hidden from the tee. Although buggies are available, this is one course that is not too difficult to walk – a big appeal for many.

For beginners or those seeking a relaxing round, try out the nine-hole Desert Course.

HANDICAP REQUIREMENT: Handicap certificates not required.

SIGNATURE HOLE: Built within an inland lake, both tee and green at the par-three 14th require access via wooden bridges. Measuring 189m from the back tee, expect to drop an extra ball or two if your swing is not up to scratch. 

CAN I HIRE CLUBS? Clubs can be hired at the pro shop from US$13.39. Umbrellas are also available for US$2.68 each. 

AFTER THE GOLF: Described as a total family destination, located adjacent to the course is The Imperial Lakeview Hotel with 75 rooms and suites. Tennis, squash, swimming pool and snooker are all available for hotel guests.

There are two different dining areas – the Tee-Off Cafeteria, overlooking the resort’s lush gardens and serving breakfast and lunch, and The Watering Hole, offering a wide range of Asian and European dishes. Post-round refreshments and pre-dinner drinks are served at the Fairway Lounge, which also features karaoke once the sun goes down.

OTHER FACILITIES: A driving range and short game area consisting of chipping and putting greens are available. You can also unwind in the swimming pool or ease post-round tension with a massage at the clubhouse.

PRICES: For walk-in visitors, green fees are US$53.57 on weekdays and weekends. As a hotel guest, green fees are at US$20.62 for weekdays and US$29.46 for weekends. Caddie fees are US$5.36, while golf buggy hire is an additional US$20.

CLUB HOURS: From 0600 to 1900 daily.

CONTACT: 80 Moo 4, Hubkrapong-Pran Buri Highway, Sam Phraya, Cha-am, Phetchaburi 76120, Thailand, tel: 66 32 456 233, fax: 66 32 456 241, email [email protected], www.imperialhotels.com

THE MAJESTIC CREEK COUNTRY CLUB

WHERE IS IT? Majestic Creek is a 25-minute drive inland from the town of Hua Hin.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Opened in 1994, Majestic Creek has been described as “one of the finest resort courses in Thailand”. Sculpted by prominent Thai course architect Dr Sukitti Klangvisai, it ranked fourth on the Thailand Golf Association’s best golf course listing in 2004.

Partially set within Thailand’s largest nature reserve, Kaeng Krachan, Majestic Creek lives up to its name. Besides being nestled between mountainous backdrops, tee boxes display different specimens of flora and fauna native to Thailand.

Furthermore, natural swampland and roughs provide a nice contrast to the well-manicured fairways. Water hazards that run across almost every hole penalise wayward shots. Subtle contours surrounding sloping greens will test your short-game prowess.

SIGNATURE HOLE: Named “Reach in Two”, the par-five 12th hole measures 414m. Water flanks the length of the left-hand side of the fairway – the direction in which the hole turns quite sharply.

The brave player can cut off as much of the dog-leg as possible and will be left with a short iron into the green. But if you bite off more than you can chew, a watery grave beckons.

HANDICAP REQUIREMENT: Handicap certificates not required.

CAN I HIRE CLUBS? Yes. Club hire is available at the pro shop for US$16. Shoes and umbrellas are also available for rental at US$2.68 a piece.

AFTER THE GOLF: Located just north of the Royal Summer Palace, Majestic Beach Resort offers 45 rooms and is right next to Klai Klangwon beach, where a range of sea sports is available as well as horse riding.

Alternatively, you can relax by the pool or in the outdoor Jacuzzi.

For botanists, the Royal Summer Palace gardens are open to the public when Royalty are not in residence.

When it comes to meal time, check out the Mon Talay for local and Western delights or the Sea Spray Grill Room, specialising in gourmet fresh seafood and boasting a large variety of wines to go with your meal.

Complementary shuttle services are available to Hua Hin town. 

OTHER FACILITIES: As well as a driving range, there is a chipping area and two putting greens. Changing rooms include showers and locker facilities, while food and drinks are served at the clubhouse restaurant. 

PRICES: Green fees are US$53.57 on weekdays and weekends. Caddie fees are US$5.36 and buggy rental is US$17.40. Discounted rates are offered to guests staying at the Majestic Beach Resort.

CLUB HOURS: From dawn to dusk daily.

CONTACT: 164 Moo 4, Taptai, Hua Hin, Prachuab Khiri Khan 77110, Thailand, tel: 66 19 423 619, fax: 66 27 514 020, email [email protected]

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at SeatSpy.com

The cover of the Business Traveller June 2024 edition
The cover of the Business Traveller June 2024 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls