Samui Wining & Dining
The Golf of Thailand

17Samui has golfing facilities to attract everyone, even non-golfers. 

Golf is a rare sport in that it can be played by men and women, young and old, the fit and unfit, the naturally gifted and those who are totally useless. And, with the handicapping system, it’s possible for any combination of the above to all play together. There are very few, if any other sports, where this is the case.

And it’s the most popular participation sport in the world. Plus, in addition to the fact that such a large percentage of the population can play, it can also be physically and mentally beneficial for those who participate. In Thailand, the sport is incredibly popular and many areas enjoy the benefits of several high quality courses to play. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Phuket all have a selection of courses to please the most demanding golfing enthusiasts.

The sport has very much developed into a lifestyle choice and it’s a game which, even in these days of social equality, is associated with the rich and the famous. It’s even been incorporated into the business world with on-course meetings being a common occurrence, and its international popularity has also led to a golf-specific tourism industry.

It can be an expensive game with exclusive clubs charging high membership fees, and the equipment required can be expensive too, even down to the clothing, as most clubs will have a strict dress code.

But the success of golf, as a sport for everyone, has spawned a number of fun and practical spin-off games and activities alongside the main activity, and Samui offers the lot.

For the true golfer the island has an exceptional 18-hole tournament-standard course at the Santiburi Samui Country Club. Known as The Beast, this par-72 course has been literally carved out of the mountain in the north of Samui, offering extreme differences in altitude, from 30m to 290m above sea-level. It was designed and built by the renowned Quality Golf company, with the concept of creating a course with minimum disruption and maximum harmony with the island’s breathtaking natural beauty. This course is also the chosen venue for the Asian professional tour’s ‘Bangkok Airways Open’ tournament.

If you don’t have the time for a full round, or you fancy a change of scenery, then the Royal Samui Golf and Country Club is an excellent alternative. Currently set up as a nine-hole course, this has been designed as an 18-hole course and plans are in place to expand to this in the future. The views over Chaweng Bay and Lamai Bay rival the Santiburi course and this offers a great experience for golfers of all standards.

Next there’s Bophut Hills Golf Club; another nine-hole course with championship greens and a convenient location.

And each of these three courses can provide a challenging and enjoyable golfing experience for all golfers, regardless of their abilities. However, if you’re interested in honing your skills a little before playing on a course then you can try one of the island’s two golf driving ranges.

The first is situated near Bandon Hospital in Bophut and has good facilities. The second is also conveniently located, on the ring-road in Lamai, and both provide excellent practice opportunities to get your swing just right.

Now, so far, the facilities mentioned are all really for people who have a genuine interest in golf, who have played before, or who want to take up the sport, or at least give it a try. But what about those who are here on holiday and just want some fun?

Well, golf comes in many formats, some instantly recognisable and others a little more imaginative. For example, Choeng Mon is home to Mini Golf International which is a fun and enjoyable way to spend some time, without the pressure of having expert golfers in front or behind you.

In Chaweng, there’s the even less formal Crazy Golf which is situated just off the beach road and in easy walking distance for anyone staying in the island’s busiest resort area. (DESCRIPTION REQUIRED OF WHERE IT IS)

Anyone who has ever dismissed this as a form of entertainment without trying it first should definitely have a go. Perfect for children and adults, this is a course designed to challenge, frustrate and basically reduce everyone to the same standard. You’ll rely on luck as much as judgement and it’s a great place to people-watch as the adults become increasingly annoyed at the children beating their scores.

But, on Samui, golf takes on another unique form by merging it with one of the world’s other most popular sports – football. Samui Football Golf in Choeng Mon is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, regardless of whether you can play either football or golf. The reality is, the better you are at either sport, the more frustrated you’ll get when someone with less ability beats you.

The format is simple and yet brilliant at the same time. As in golf, you work your way around an 18-hole course. However, instead of hitting a little ball into a little hole using a club, here you kick a football into a suitably sized hole. There’s a par structure in place and the course definitely offers a challenge as you kick the ball up sloping fairways through rocks and palm trees.

So, Samui may not have as many golf courses as other parts of Thailand but, whatever budget you have, whatever your interest in golf, and whatever sporting ability you possess, Samui has a golfing opportunity to provide you with hours of enjoyment. You can play alone, as a couple or in groups of friends and family.

And one thing that does link all of these diverse golf-related activities is the satisfaction of winning. Of course, to be politically correct, it’s the taking part which is fun. But, just watch the sense of triumph and passion on the face of the person putting a match-winning birdie at the 18th at Santiburi; the wife, out-driving her husband at the driving range; the children getting the ball through the lion’s mouth and into the hole on the crazy-golf course; and the oldest, and most out of shape player, kicking a hole-in-one at the football golf to beat the young, fit David Beckham wannabees in his group. The sense of achievement and the bragging rights are exactly the same.

Yes, there’s nothing like a bit of golf in the gulf.

 

 


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