Black Mountain GC was designed by Australian Phil Ryan from Pacific Coast Design and opened for play in 2007.
The site was formerly pineapple plantations and jungle and is located about 25 minutes west of Hua Hin. Not surpisingly the course is surrounded by black granite rocky mountains.
I have played a number of Phil Ryan courses in Australia ( Eagle Ridge, Sunshine, Patterson River), but found little resemblance among them to Black Mountain. Clearly the budget makes a huge difference, and the terrain has plenty of interest but Ryan has managed to develop Black Mountain into a course which has captured the imagination of both the punters and professionals alike.
Black Mountain is now generally regarded as the best course in Thailand, and in 2012 was rated by US Golf Digest Magazine as one of the Top 100 Courses in the world outside the USA. And in 2014 Black Mountain hosted The Thailand Classic, the first European Tour Event to be held in Thailand.
Together with the Banyan GC, Black Mountain has put Hua Hin on the golfing map. Add Jack Nicklaus' Springfield Resort, Majestic GC, Seapines GC and others and Hua Hin is a genuine golfing destination...
While Black Mountain has proven to be a worthy test and a popular destination for tour players, it is nevertheless quite playable for the average golfer. The thinking golfer will plot his or her way around the course, laying up, and playing to the heart of the greens where in doubt. The course does not play particularly long, but trouble in the form of water and bunkers need to be negotiated on many a hole. Players will not forget the water carries, and the heroic shots they needed to play, but in most cases alternate options are offered. Good decision making and reasonable control will result in good scoring.
There are plenty of postcard moments around the course with significant elevation change adding to the drama.
Most importantly the course is fun to play.
The routing is a little up and back in a few places, and the course gives the impression of being created rather 'natural', but the finishing is dramatic with stonewalls and creeks, and lakes and bunkering all contributing to the drama of the setting.
Favourite holes for me were the strategic par 5 second hole, the short par 4 fourth hole with it's island green, the par 5 sixth green with it's peninsula green, the tricky dogleg water carry par 4 seventh, the heroic all or nothing par 3 eleventh, and the short par 4, seventeenth hole with water in front and behind the green.
Black Mountain has a modern clubhouse with all facilites, and the most amazing par 3 course I have seen anywhere. No group should leave Black Mountain without also playing the par 3 course with it's dramatic greens, water carries, boarded green fronts, and bunkers everywhere...it makes for an unforgettable day.
Black Mountain is a Travelling Golfer 'must play', and features in Travelling Golfer trips for groups. Each trip is tailored to the group, with suitable accommodation recommended according to budget and type of group.
The Travelling Golfer