Golfing in Hua Hin is a paradise for golfers. There are 10 courses to choose from within a 90km radius. The Travelling Golfer’s Tour in October 2013 featured 4 of the best courses in the region: Palm Hills Resort, Springfield Royal Country Club, Banyan Golf Club and Black Mountain Golf Club.
Heavy rain on the morning of our first game led us to believe the day would be washed out. However, as the courses on our tour are about a half hour apart, we were able to switch to Springfield which had little rain and was in amazingly good condition.
Springfield Royal Country Club is Jack Nicklaus designed and has 3, 9 hole courses – Mountain, Lake and Valley. The course is a typical Jack design with risk/reward play. It has great sweeping fairways with greens surrounded by water. Water hazards regularly come into play and each hole presents its own individual challenge and character requiring finesse. Accuracy is required at all times as the rough is comprised of a series of hillocks and holes lined by a forest of mature trees.
Many of Springfield’s driving holes do not leave much room for error.
Our second game was at Palm Hills which was a little damp but amazingly good given that it had 4 inches of rain the previous day. Considered by our group to be the lesser of our 4 courses played, the Max Wexler designed course was one of the easiest to play in the area. The Palm Hills course is lined with hundreds of palm trees, and has plenty of hillside lies, thus the name Palm Hills. Thousands of brightly colored frangipani trees and bougainvillea shrubs add to the natural beauty. The back nine plays along the mountainside and provides great views of the district.
Many of Palm Hills driving holes are generous (left) but this par 3 will challenge most (right).
One of the best courses of our mini-tour was Banyan Golf Club. Built among a pineapple plantation, the course opened in 2008. It provides spectacular mountain and ocean views from most of the holes and is one of the best layouts in the area. Banyan Golf Club won the 2009 Best New Golf Course in Asia. There are many picturesque holes and the course is clearly one of the best in the region. Strategically placed water hazards, waste bunkers and sand traps are spread throughout the course. Significant use of native pineapple groves make local fruit come into play if you stray too far off most fairways.
The Banyan course has many elevated tees and greens, sloping fairways and well placed fairway and greenside bunkers.
Arguably the best course in the Hua Hin region is Black Mountain Golf Club. Black Mountain was transformed from lush jungle and pineapple plantations and is set in a valley, just next to the Black Mountains. The large black rocks set into the mountains provide a nice backdrop to many of the holes. The Phil Ryan designed course was selected as one of the 100 best golf courses outside the USA by Golf Digest magazine.
Black Mountain has several water carry holes.
The golf course looks magnificent and maintains many features of the site before it was a golf course. The most important of these are the small creeks that run throughout the course and the rocks that have been used as design features on many of the holes. The creeks that meander through the course frame many of the holes.
Black Mountain is not only a test for the top professionals, but also very playable for the average golfer. All of the holes provide the golfer with a safe route, but for the more adventurous player there is a higher risk option with a potential greater reward. The course features 6 tee boxes providing a wide range of choice depending on the level of challenge for your group. Black Mountain offers generous fairways for the shorter hitters that become narrower for the longer tee shots. The greens are large with many pin positions that offer different degrees of difficulty. The holes are well protected by numerous white sand sculptured bunkers.
The Black Mountain course is magnificently manicured. It is a 'must-play' if you are ever in the Hua Hin region.
One of the pleasures of golfing in Asian countries is the local caddies that carry your clubs for you (with trolley). While most have little English, they are great for providing yardages and their reading of greens is second to none! For golfers who prefer not to walk in the warmer weather, all clubs have carts available for hire at about A$20 per player.
After golf, there are plenty of options for good quality and reasonably priced meals along the coast within Hua Hin. The town has a good night market selling a wide range of goods, clothing and food. There are plenty of cheap spa centres in town to help you get back into condition for your next round tomorrow!
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to Hua Hin to suit you!