Located an hour from central Bangkok, Nikanti GC opened for play at the end of 2014, and its owners are clearly not afraid to be different. The business model is for a high end public access course which will give golfers "a member's experience" for the day. The green fee package includes golf, carts, caddies, tips, water, full use of the locker room, and a gourmet two course dining experience under the direction of TV personality and Michelin star rated Chef Pop.
The only thing a golfer has to pay for is his alcohol.
It is a bold plan, and it appears to be working as the course is busy...
The business plan is matched by a bold course design by Pirapon Namatra from Golf East who also designed Banyan GC at Hua Hin. He takes no prisoners with this design, having started with flat ricefields, and has produced a course that will challenge golfers of all levels. This course wants to be different and has 3 loops of 6 holes, all with a slightly different look, and all starting and finishing at the clubhouse. For instance the lake edges are naturally grassed on one loop, boarded on another and have stone walls on the third. The rough grasses are also different for each loop. And the design moves from water feature holes, to links style, and then holes that would not look out of place in Arizona. And of course the routing includes 6 par 3's, 6 par 4's, and 6 par 5's...
Nikanti is proudly eclectic!
The modern clubhouse and facilities are simply stunning, and Chef Pop has a wonderful setting for his mouth watering signature dishes.
We loved the mature trees that have been planted through the course- it would appear that a lot of effort has gone into choosing trees with character, and positioning them on the course. And is each is propped up elaborately (presumably) until they settle in.
Nikanti offers a genuine golfing and dining experience with no fuss. Once the green fee package has been paid your only concern is to pay for drinks. I think it will appeal to all those that can afford the green fee package- currently 27500THB. The facilities are first class and really do give the golfer the feel of being a member of a private club for the day.
The course is very nicely manicured and visually appealing, but the penal style architecture will not appeal to everybody. The course is relatively short, but the design is not altogether forgiving- and for the most part green approaches dictate the shot required. Rarely are there bail out areas or safe sides to miss- water on one side will see the other side heavily bunkered. The fairways have plenty of roll, so flat lies will be rare. In time perhaps the course will be softened a little with a few tweaks to contours around pin positions on greens, and bail out areas around them, but for the moment some nearly good shots will be severely treated!
Nikanti demands your attention, and requires you produce quality golf shots to hit greens. It is a course that will no doubt reveal it's secrets slowly to the golfers lucky enough to make return visits
Personally, I cannot wait for my next encounter with Nikanti, and I commend it to you
The Travelling Golfer