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The resort city of Pattaya, on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast, is known for its great cuisine, sun-kissed beaches and dynamic nightlife. But it’s also a golfers’ paradise with more than 20 fantastic courses designed by the world’s leading architects, including Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Peter Thomson, within a couple of hours of the city centre.
Ranks #11 in Thailand on All Square
The Nicklaus-designed Laem Chabang is deservedly regarded as one of the legendary golfer’s best creations in all of south-east Asia. Three separate 9-hole courses, the Valley, the Lake and the Mountain, make up this popular resort. Nicklaus‘ design philosophy of respecting the natural lay of the land is evident here. He has retained the lakes and natural contours making this a must-play destination for golfers of any standard. Just 30 minutes from central Pattaya.
Ranks #30 in Thailand on All Square
About two hours from Pattaya and close to the Cambodian border, this idyllic golf course is surrounded by the dramatic Soi Dao mountains. A Dennis Griffiths design, the course is nestled in breathtaking highland scenery of tropical jungle, native hardwood trees, streams and lakes. Due to the topography you are faced with some of the most aesthetic driving holes in Thailand. This challenging 7,162-yard course will have you marvelling at the stunning scenery.
Ranks #9 in Thailand on All Square
One of Thailand’s original golf courses, Siam Country Club is an old favourite due to its playability and close proximity to Pattaya. American architect Lee Schmidt modernised the layout with a complete renovation in 2006, elevating it to a world class standard. High-lipped bunkering was added to compliment the undulating, fast-running greens and Seashore Paspalum grass was chosen for the fairways. It has hosted the LPGA Honda Classic since 2007, a testament to its quality.
Burapha Golf Club is a high-quality venue, having hosted several professional tournaments including the 2010 Thailand Open. Designed by Americans David Graham and Gary Panks, the 36 holes here take full advantage of the beautiful natural surroundings, incorporating lakes, hills, palms trees and tropical vegetation. The East Course features wide fairways and is perfect for the higher handicapper, while the West, with its strategically placed bunkering and undulating fairways, is a challenge for the more advanced. The resident well-trained caddies are invaluable for reading the tricky greens.
This Andy Dye-designed layout is one of the longest and most challenging in Thailand. There are three 9-hole options (A, B, and C), and several Dye signatures are evident at each: large bunkers, green-side mounding and island greens. Accurate shot making is necessary on these cerebral layouts, and it pays to not be a slouch off the tee. The B course has one of the most photogenic, toughest par-3 island greens in south-east Asia, reminiscent of the famous 17th at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.
This is one of Pattaya’s most scenic and attractive golf courses which makes the most of the rocky outcrops and boulders of its surroundings. Designed by five-times British Open champion Peter Thomson, it’s 7,096 yards long, but feels shorter due to subtle undulations. Thomson’s love of Scottish links golf is evident with deep pot bunkers surrounding most of the beautifully shaped greens. This is a course which requires craft and guile.
After a memorable round of golf, there are several beaches close to Pattaya where you can cool off, relax and have fun.
Naklua Beach is shared with the local fishermen and has a traditional, old-world charm. Pattaya Beach is a 4km-long crescent shaped beach that nestles against this lively city. Finally, Jomtien Beach is less crowded with a quieter ambiance than Pattaya Beach.
There are also a many islands to visit including Ko Chang, Thailand’s biggest island which is a couple of hours away.