Thailand has an interesting face that many vacationers are not aware of; many people know Thailand as one of the best holiday destinations because of the variety of things it offers the vacationers. Medical Vacations, Scuba Diving Vacations, and Vacations on a Tropical Beach are well known. Thailand is also one of the best places for golfing vacations anywhere in the world.
There are number of world-class golf courses in Thailand to cater to the needs of the golf enthusiasts in Thailand. At the same time, these golf courses are a major attraction to tourists who love the sport. All the popular cities of Thailand including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, Pattaya, Cha-am, Hua Hin, Phuket, Chiangrai, Rayong and Khao Yai have many golf courses. It has been estimated that there are over 200 golf courses in Thailand.
In our city of Chiang Mai, there are two magnificent and outstanding golf courses that meet the highest international standards, the Royal Chiangmai Golf Club and the Chiangmai Green Valley Country Club. Most good golfers (and I am afraid I am not one of them) say these two courses are the best in the area, and rank high for the greatest courses anywhere. They are also the most expensive in the area, with green fees for the Royal at 1200 Baht (about US $39) and for Green Valley at 1500 Baht (about US $49). Most courses also require a caddy at about 250 Baht (US $8). The caddys are young ladies, and know the courses extremely well, and make the game better for sure. You will want to tip the caddy a couple of hundred Baht. If you book your game through a package offered by a travel agency, you can usually cut the green fee down.
The Royal Chiang Mai Golf Course is Designed by 5 times British Open winner Peter Thomson and Michael Wolveridge, this 6900 yard, par 72, park-land style course is located 30 minutes from Chiang Mai, in the foothills and provides breathtaking panoramic vistas of mountains in the distance. The high altitude provides a cooler, less humid climate, sweet refreshing air, and gentle breezes. It’s filled with the songs of birds, an abundance of wildlife, and thousands of flowering trees erupting in different fragrances and colors every month of the year. The design uses elements from a British links style course, including bumpy gently rolling fairways, pot bunkers and closely mowed areas around the greens.
The Green Valley Country Club Situated in the lowlands, only 20 minutes from downtown Chiang Mai, this championship course offers an unusually tough challenge. The heat and humidity, along with the 7,200 yards of wide open fairways, tough water hazards on every hole, plenty of bunkers, and few trees, make for a difficult and thirsty round of golf. Ideally played in the early morning or late afternoon, due to lack of trees, this tournament caliber course has Chiang Mai’s most superbly conditioned and maintained fairways and greens. The clubhouse is a model of excellence. Green Valley is now featuring night time golf that is a must to try out with stunning background lighting behind the palm trees.
In the Chiang Mai area, there are about a dozen other golf courses and many will be substantially less in green fee costs than the two top courses mentioned above. The golf course near my Chiang Mai home is the Hang Dong Golf Club, and green fees run 350 Baht including the cost of the caddy (about US $11). This exceptionally low cost is pretty standard for “non championship” courses in the area, and in other cities in Thailand.
Unlike many other European and many American golf destinations, golfing is not only inexpensive in Thailand; you can also golf all round the year because the tropical climate makes it possible. This is another reason why golf is popular in Thailand. You will be able to find cheaper prices when you choose to play golf on weekdays
Here’s a complete list of the golf courses around Chiang Mai:
Aircraft Golf Club (Pimanthip Golf Course) aka Star Dome Golf Club – 9 holes -Near Chiangmai Airport, Suthep Road, Chiangmai – http://www.stardomegolfclub.com/.
The Alpine Golf Resort (formerly known as Chiangmai-Lamphun Golf Club) - One of the best golf resort in Chiangmai, located in the mountains West of Chiang Mai in a deep valley close to the town of Lamphun. http://www.alpinegolfresort.com/
Bhumibol Dam Golf Course – this course is actually located a 3 hour drive south of Chiang Mai not very far from the city of Tak, located in the mountains near the Thai/Burma border, and is one of the finest courses in Asia. No website, but info at Thailand PGA.
Summit Green Valley Chiang Mai Country Club – one of Northern Thailand’s finest, located North of the City in the Mae Rim area, http://www.summitgreenvalley.com/
Chiangmai Highlands Golf & Spa Resort – Set in the foothills East of Chiang Mai, another one of the great Chiang Mai golf courses. http://www.chiangmaihighlands.com/
Gassan’s Khuntan Golf Resort – located a one hour drive south of Chiang Mai near the city of Lamphun in the mountains. This is a challenging course with a great reputation. http://www.gassangolf.com/
The Gymkhana Sport Club- a 9 hole course located very close to the center of Chiang Mai. No website, but easy to get to. Standard Tours – Gymkhana Club
Gassen Marina Golf Club – a new course located near the Night Safari in Chiang Mai, around a very large lake. http://www.gassangolf.com/
Chiang Mai Inthanon Golf & Natural Resort – located fairly high up in the mountains an hour south of the City, this is a challenging course that is quite hilly in a beautiful area – http://www.chiangmaiinthanongolfresort.com
Lanna Golf Club – located in the hills of Doi Suthep with great views, close to the City. A mature course recently redone. http://www.golflannachiangmai.com/
Mae Jo Golf Club & Resort – located close to the City behind Mae Jo University in Chiang Mai. Good views and nice fruit trees. http://maejogolfclub.com (website may not be working)
Royal Chiang Mai Golf Resort – located north of Chiang Mai near the town of San Sai, this is one of the best in Northern Thailand. http://www.royalchiangmai.com/
Mae Sa Golf Club – North of town near Mae Rim, cheap. No website. Good Luck.
Santiburi Golf Club – Located north of Chiang Mai in Chiang Rai, rather hilly, but looks very nice. http://santiburi.com/SantiburiGolfChiangRai/
Waterford Valley Chiang Rai – also located north in Chiang Rai, with long fairways. http://www.waterford.co.th/Project_Goft_Course_About.html (yea, they call it a goft course all over their website).
Mae Kok Golf Club Chiang Rai – Located in Chiang Rai near the Mae Kok River. No website.
Happy City Golf & Resort – in Chiang Rai in the foothills. Be happy. http://happycitygolfresort.com/
Hang Dong Golf Course – situated right off the canal road in Hang Dong (easy to miss the little hand painted sign), it is noted as the cheapest golf in Northern Thailand.and cheap beer. A relaxing and laid back course. No website, but I recommend this place for a lazy fun afternoon.
If I missed any courses, please bring them to my attention, and would appreciated any comments, good, bad or indifferent regarding any of the courses listed. Can you give us a review of any of these golf courses? Please share this info with others. Help others find the right place for the day.