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  1. #1
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    A Golfing Experience in Northern Thailand

    Apologies that no photo's are available

    Myself and 2 farang friends set off from Khon San, west of Chumphae, at 0800hrs on Thursday 18th November 2010 to discover what some Northern cities had to offer in the way of golf courses.

    Travelling west on the 12 road for around 3 hours we arrived at Phitsanulok and were very kindly directed to the Dong Phu Kert Military course located south of the main road.

    The 18 hole Parkland Course itself is pretty flat and in good condition although i found the layout is a wee bit uninspiring.

    The Green Fee was a very reasonable- 400 baht with an addtional a 200 baht Caddy Fee.

    As we were teeing off around noon we had to wait around 10 minutes for caddies to appear (think all were already on the course). On the plus side we were pleasantly greeted at the 1st tee by a male staff member who mentioned that i looked awfully smart. (What a flatterer!)
    On the minus side, one of the front 9, par 3 holes was under reconstruction so the caddies very kindly put a par on the card for us on that hole.

    Our caddies, although not particularly skilled in the art of green reading were very friendly.

    Gross score - 86

    A cool beer at the clubhouse following the round was most welcome albeit we did notice a more popular venue for food/drink across from the car park on our exit.

    We then went in search for a local hotel and managed to locate the 'La Paloma' a few blocks south of the River Nan.

    Clean and comfortable good sized twin rooms were 800 baht for a walk-in, including breakfast.

    A very pleasant evening was spent at a riverside bar/restaurant (sorry, can't recall the name, but fairly close to a bridge)



    Day 2


    Leaving Phitsanulok we went in search of the 'Waterland Golf Resort' which incidentally has it's own website.

    Unfortunately the person who devised the website map giving directions to the course clearly had no concept of north/south/east/west as it took us over 2 hours to locate the resort which could have been no more than 50 kms from Phitsanulok. After a very frustrating period we were most grateful to be given directions by an officer of the law.

    On arrival we noticed that the course was devoid of other golfers and caddies had to be phoned to come to the course before we could start.

    700 baht including caddy fee. Cold drinks but no food available in the clubhouse.

    This course is truly in beautiful surroundings but wow, the layout has a lot to be desired. The 1st tee was a 230 yard carry over water and we were ferryed across the lakes to play some of our next shots. The fairway grass around the course was so high it covered the golf ball, the tee boxes were small and quite honestly after 9 nine holes we had seen enough.
    The caddies did their best to make things pleasant for us and apparently they only work around twice a month as customers are few and far between.

    This course is in desperate need of a manager who has some positive ideas as it is possible to alter the layout at very little expense. It was also a shame to see that the resort has lots of buildings, accommodation, swimming pool which is deteriorating simply due to lack of customers.

    My friends and I will certainly be giving this course a wide berth until improvements are made.

    Following the 'golf' we travelled to Tak and booked into the 'Wiang Tak Riverside Hotel'. Highly recommended accommodation although as it was 'Loy Kathrong' weekend we were informed that only suites were available at 1500 baht each including breakfast. We were happy to pay the extra having seen the rooms.

    We were also fortunate enough to see the very grand riverside parade at 7.30 pm and spent the remainer of the evening sipping a couple of cool beers at the hotel terrace (beware, 160 baht for a large leo)


    More to follow

  2. #2
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    harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Looking forward to the follow up!
    Cheers.

  3. #3
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    Day 3

    From Tak we travelled to the (EGAT) Bhumibol Golf Course around 45 minutes drive. It was a Saturday so we were pleasantly surprised not to find too many playing. (Possibly because of Loy Kathrong commitments)

    Green Fee - 500 baht weekend plus 180 baht caddy fee

    This hilly course has beautiful scenery and is far from easy. 2 holes, 7th and 8th were under maintenance so the caddies led us to play holes 2 & 4 again on the front 9. Some lovely driving holes and the greens were in pretty good condition, however the fairways could do with a wee bit more attention.
    My male caddy was very helpful but scoring low proved extremely difficult, 52 and 47 for a gross 99.

    Par 72 with 5 par 5's and 5 (we only played 4 of them) rather lovely par 3's.

    We were well attended to during lunch at the course and following a couple of beers we made our way to the accomodation reception area only to find that almost all the rooms had been booked for the weekend. There was just one room available at 580 baht which we viewed and could recommend.
    We were then directed to a small resort just outside the confines of the dam which was 700 baht for a wendy house type chalet, very clean and comfortable with aircon and breakfast included.
    We were a bit isolated so following an evening meal and a few beers at the resort restaurant we decided to have an early night to prepare ourselves for some more punishment on the course the following morning.


    Day 4

    Bhumibol Dam GC (again)

    Although i had requested the same caddy as yesterday another male caddy turned up (probably because the previous caddy was less than impressed with my performance) However, this caddy proved to be worth his weight in gold. He knew every green backwards and inspired me to a 43 and 41, gross 84 score. A big tip was offered and duly accepted and whilst enjoying lunch i wished him well when i noticed he was about to set off to caddy for another 18 holes.

    Following lunch we were back on the road for the trip to Lampang. We arrived late afternoon and booked into the Pin Hotel, a couple of blocks from the Wang River.

    600 baht including breakfast for a clean but dated twin room. Very popular with organised tours as we noticed many farangs in the reception area.

    The evening was spent firstly at the very popular Aroi One Baht restaurant where we sipped a couple of beers. An amazing place, open kitchen downstairs which was manic in the extreme, the quite brilliant staff keeping up with the demands of the customers at an incredible warp factor 9. We stood there for a full 3 minutes absorbing the stress.

    It was Loy Kathrong so we headed toward the river where we were to witness an amazing array of fireworks and 'Combfires' rising gently into the moonlite sky.

    Onto the Riverside pub and restaurant where we managed to find a suitable table overlooking the spectacular floats and firework displays. We were to spend a couple of hours here soaking up the wonderful atmosphere that Lampang had to offer.


    Day 5

    We first decided to check out the Khelang 9 hole Military GC on the eastern outskirt of town. It appeared ok from a short distance but the guys decided that they were in search of greater prizes so off we went to the EGAT MAE MOH GC, around 50 kms away.

    This proved to be a very good decision as the course was by far the best we had experienced. The tees, fairways and greens were in exceptional condition and all credit to the management and staff for their devoted efforts. It was a 27 hole course although 9 were apparently reserved for special occasions.

    Green Fee 500 baht, caddy fee 200 baht. Carts available at 500 baht.

    The downside was that 2 holes on the back 9 were under maintenance so the caddy's suggested that we play 2 balls on holes 16 and 18. (both par 4's).

    Nice friendly caddies and very few people on the course on the Monday.

    The signature par 3 10th hole is quite stunning. 153 yards with a horseshoe shaped front water feature and bunkers to the rear and of course not forgetting the 100 foot drop from tee to green.

    With a 41 front and 44 back 9 for a gross 85, i considered this to be one of my better days on tour.

    The clubhouse had been majestically designed, downstairs leading out to the first tee there was both a drinks and a well stocked Pro shop. Also a practice chipping/putting green closeby.

    A great deal of thought had gone into the design of the clubhouse and course which featured defunct machinery from the adjacent operational Lignite mine on the back 9.

    Following the round we checked out the nearby resort (sorry can't recall the name) which looked rather upmarket although a wee bit isolated from any evening entertainment. We were quoted 1200 baht per room for the night but were offered a room for 800 baht when we produced our EGAT membership cards. Lovely staff but we decided to return to Lampang for the evening booking into the Lampang Wiang Thong Hotel, 950 baht including breakfast for a comfortable although dated double room.

    We were to return to the Riverside pub and restaurant later that evening to ensure that the quality of the food and beer had not diminished during our absence.


    More to follow
    Last edited by Mr Lick; 26-11-2010 at 09:25 PM.

  4. #4
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    Great information mate but it would of been nice to post some pictures.

    Some of the golf courses in Thailand are absolutely breathtaking.

  5. #5
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    The 2 guys i travelled with took some photo's LT and i hope to publish some in the very near future. You can be assured that I will be nagging them

  6. #6
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    Day 6


    We returned to MAE MOH GC to try our luck once more. Teeing off around 9 am we only came across another 10 golfers all morning.

    Very pleasant female caddies made for a very nice round and i surprisingly managed to lower my previous day score by 2 strokes. 40, 43 for a gross 83. Bit of a shame that the 2 holes on the back 9 were still out of commission but nevertheless an enjoyable day. There are a few steep hills leading to the greens on this course so for the less able a cart should be considered. I should also menton that this course has top quality bunkers.

    Lunch and a cool drink at the restaurant (Right of the Clubhouse frontage and not particularly recommended) was followed by a trip to Uttaradit where we booked into the Seeharaj Hotel. 800 baht walk-in price for a comfortable double room including breakfast. This hotel is fairly large and has a residential band plus guest singers. There is also a 'Coyote Show' at the 'Crystal Palm' nightclub located at the rear on Sunday through to Wednesday starting at 10.30 pm. A large bottle of Singha is 190 baht.


    Day 7


    At 7.45 am we set out to visit the EGAT SIRIKIT DAM GC which is around a 60 kms drive.

    On arrival we negogiated a reduced green fee of 200 baht (EGAT membership card) normally 400 baht, plus 200 baht caddy fee.

    We only came across a solitary golfer before we finished our round which made for a pleasant morning. Prior to our start we decided to take a cart each, which in hindsight was an extremely good move.

    This is a very hilly course with many blind shots to greens. The narrow fairways require better attention and there are a couple of what i consider quirky holes on the course. The Par 5, 5th green was out of action so an unputtable temporary green had been placed in the fairway turning the hole into a Par 4.

    The greens were in fairly good shape, a wee bit slowish but true, although at least 2 of the 4 Par 3 greens were very raised and difficult to judge from the tee. The Par 3, 2nd hole (105 yards) being the best of the bunch.

    Gross score 90 (46, 44)

    The Pro shop at the clubhouse is limited and i can't recall seeing an operational drinks kiosk out on the course. Carts are advisable.

    There is a limited menu available in the clubhouse restaurant area and following some refreshment we commenced the long 4.5 hours drive home.

    An immensely enjoyable golf tour with no real problems encountered. We enjoyed the brief company of a few Thai golfers during our week around the courses and they all appeared to be more than pleased to see us, especially a Singapore gentleman called Gilbert Lee.
    Last edited by Mr Lick; 27-11-2010 at 01:45 PM.

  7. #7
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    Sounds like heaven to me ,,,,,, my God your making me jealous ,,,, I am guessing your not from the UK Mr L ? as only pro,s here really use caddies ,,, I know very diff in the USA .
    Is it compulsory to have a caddy in Thai ? as I have never played there ,, personally I prefer to play without one and carry my bag ,, I know its a personal thing . I know it will take more than a caddy to lower my 14 h/cap but age and body mass has taken over ,,,,,,,,,,,, enjoy the golf ,, fore !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I'm proud of my 38" waist , also proud I have never done drugs

  8. #8
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    ^ Course caddies are pretty compulsory in Thailand and amazingly cheap at that. 180-220 baht for someone to pull your clubs around and offer valuable advice is pretty essential in this climate.

    My lady has offered to drive my cart on rare ocasions without the need for a caddy but if the GC agree then one usually still has to pay the caddy fee.

    I'm orginally from the UK and to be honest i wouldn't want to carry or pull my own clubs here. No doubt about it, we are definitely spoilt and long may it last.

    A good walk does us all good so maybe time to dust those clubs off Nigel. It certainly keeps my weight in check but then i can play golf here around 350 days a year.

  9. #9
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    A big tip was offered and duly accepted
    Out of interest, what do you call a big tip?

  10. #10
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    Come on Mr Lick tell us the whole trip experience, after game experience etc.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    A big tip was offered and duly accepted
    Out of interest, what do you call a big tip?


    I usually tip between 200-300 baht Harry, dependant on the attention i receive from the caddy, e.g. knowing what clubs i prefer around the green, ball spotting, green reading, local knowledge etc:

    The male caddy i had that day was quite exceptional and fully deserved his 450 baht tip especially as i reduced my previous day score by 15 strokes. He informed me when asked that he has a handicap of 6.

    Two customers on the day quite possibly earnt him 1000 baht plus on the day and to be fair he was probably worth more.

    For me the caddies are a big part of the game and i enjoy their company and i like to think i treat them well. Golf is very much a social game and shouldn't be taken too seriously, well not at my level anyway. I'm not playing for money, just pride. It is important to have a few laughs along the way and the caddies are a part of that interaction.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Tigger View Post
    Come on Mr Lick tell us the whole trip experience, after game experience etc.



  13. #13
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    It would be nice to see some pics taken on the tees of the more challenging / picturesque holes ,,,,,,,,, can you take some and post from your next swaree ?? make me a bit more jealous ,,,,,, untill I retire in about 4 years time,,,,,,,,, I hope to be playing around the Udon area ,, if my tendonitus // wife allows me

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nigelandjan
    I hope to be playing around the Udon area

    Watch out Nigel, there's an Aussie Tigger living there.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Lick
    Watch out Nigel, there's an Aussie Tigger living

    there
    Will do , I,ll keep an eye out in the long grass ,, thanks for the tip,,,, do I get a free drop if I bump into him ? rule 69 ?

  16. #16
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    Dont worry Nigel I will ensure you get all the information you need in Udon Thani unlike Mr Lick who keeps all the good stuff to himself.

  17. #17
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    Victory GC

    For your next trip to N/E Thailand, come to Victory GC, south of Nong Khai. Very Nice 18 hole GC. 800 ThB on Wed (Sport Day). Prices may vary in High Season. Greens have grown in and are rolling with true Bermuda ferocity.

  18. #18
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    ^ Played it on a few occasions cdnski, last one in early October this year. Lovely course and have stayed for a few nights in the on-course cabins in recent times. Nice to hear that the course is playing well, thanks.

    Will be there again in January 2011 when i return from Laos and probably also Udon to play a few of the 9 holers.

  19. #19
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    A view of the quite stunning Par 3, 10th Hole at Mae Moh GC as we were descending from the tee.



    The Club House at Sirikit Dam on our last day.





    The 1st tee (par 5) behind the clubhouse at Sirikit Dam





    The Par 3, 2nd hole at Sirikit Dam


    These photo's were taken off the teeing area so maybe do not illustrate the holes at their best.






  20. #20
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    Good informative report ,cheers . Friends of mine play Victory Park regularly , green fees down to 500 Baht on Weds & Thurs , 600 Baht other weekdays (not including caddy fee & tip) , they say the course is in excellent shape .

  21. #21
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    EGAT membership card? Where and how can I get one? And what are the benefits. Discounts at all EGAT courses? Mae Moh and Bumibol dam are on my 'to play' list. I'm in Chiang Mai.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by steevee View Post
    EGAT membership card? Where and how can I get one? And what are the benefits. Discounts at all EGAT courses? Mae Moh and Bumibol dam are on my 'to play' list. I'm in Chiang Mai.


    I am a member of the EGAT Chulabhorn Dam GC, Steevee, (1500 baht per year - 50% discount on green fees and accommodation) and was informed that discounted fees would be available at all other EGAT courses. Unfortunately, despite producing our membership cards at all EGAT course we played, only Sirikit GC at Uttaradit offered us a 50% discount on the green fee of 400 baht.

    We were however, offered discounted accommodation at both Bhumibol and Mae Moh so there are other benefits to be had other than green fees. I haven't explored the possiblity but discount may also be available on club hire etc:

    Can only suggest that you enquire about club membership at Mae Moh/Bhumibol when you're in the area and the guarantees offered. To be fair EGAT courses are by far the cheapest to play and most offer stunning scenery and good facilities.

    I will be posting some more photo's of the courses shortly.

  23. #23
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    Sorry about the small images guys, i've made several attempts to enlarge but i clearly haven't mastered the technique on this occasion.






    This is the 1st tee at Bhumibol Dam







    Looking up the fairway from the 1st Tee






    Walking down from the 13th Tee




    Hitting my 2nd shot from the 13th fairway





    Watchng eagerly as the ball dropped close to the pin for a birdie






    The Par 5 16th from the tee




    The end of the round, standing on the 18th green





    Think this was the 16th tee at Sirikit Dam

  24. #24
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    OK guys, finally got a grip of myself and now able to post decent size photo's of Bhumibol Dam Golf Course.






    The 1st Tee







    The 1st Fairway






    Walking down from the 13th tee







    Hitting my 2nd shot from the 13th fairway








    Watching eagerly as the ball dropped close to the pin for a birdie







    The Par 5 16th from the teeing area

  25. #25
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    Nice shots ML...... eh the photos

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