Phuket is one of the best places in Thailand for golf, with a number of first-class courses on the island and nearby, offering a challenging round in warm tropical weather and drawing visitors from all over the world. Altogether there are 144 holes to be played at seven clubs. All of them are open to the general public and offer equipment hire, caddies and carts at reasonable prices.
However, Phuket gets full over the main holiday season (December-February) and visitors are thus advised to book in advance during this time. Generally, a round will cost 1,200-2,000 Baht (US$40-US$70).
Blue Canyon Country Club
Blue Canyon Country Club, just seven minutes north of the airport, offers two of the best golf courses on Phuket and hosts regular tournaments for amateurs, including the annual Phuket Open.
The Canyon Course is the club’s championship class course (Tiger Woods has played tournaments here) and is considered to be one of the best courses in Asia. A par-72 course, the Canyon is 7,179 yards of top flight golf, and includes water hazards on 10 of its holes and more than 80 bunkers to trap the unruly ball.
The course consists of four par-threes and four par-fives, with the nasty 600-yard 11th hole being the most difficult. Rated the easiest on the course, the 407-yard 4th hole is still a challenge, as is the yawning chasm on the 309-yard 13th.
The aptly-named Lakes Course features water on 17 of the 18 holes, but is still not as difficult as the Canyon. Larger greens and fewer bunkers (36) mean that this course is more suited to beginners and casual players.
Highlights of the Lakes Course include the 4th hole, which doglegs from a gorgeous, wide fairway into a knot of trees and foliage before a shot over a canyon to an elevated green, and the deceptive 18th hole, which gives players a choice between left- and right-hand paths around a huge tree in the middle of the fairway. 165 Moo 1, Thepkasattri Rd., Thalang. Tel: (076) 328 088.
Laguna Phuket Golf Club is located in the prestigious Laguna complex and is home to some of the most exclusive homes and resorts on the island. Despite the addition of more water hazards, this is still a relatively simple course for those who simply want to enjoy a lovely day of golf.
Water is a factor on 14 holes of this par-71, 6,654-yard course. The course has two holes that stand out from the rest. The 612-yard par-five 17th hole snakes first left, then right and terminates in a triangular green, while the 373-yard par-four 9th hole offers up the challenge of an island green with up and down slopes to remind the player that this course still has its challenges. 34 Moo 4, Srisoonthorn Rd., Cherngtalay, Thalang. Tel: (076) 324 350, Email.
Phuket Country Club has two golf courses, one on each side of a road between Phuket Town and Patong. The 18-hole Old Course is fairly flat and simple, and offers the definite possibility of a low score, while the nine-hole new course has varied terrain and is a challenge to players of all abilities. Among the highlights of the Old Course are the 10th and 17th holes.
The 10th features a water hazard where the fairway should be. This 557-yard par-five offers the temptation of carrying the 240 yards to the green in one shot – possible but difficult. The 143-yard par-three 17th is almost an island green and getting to the wide putting surface is never simple.
Across the road on the nine-hole New Course players are challenged by the 450-yard par-five 8th hole, which has two fairways; one on a plateau and one that lays up in front of a canal. The centre of the hole is dominated by trees and the two fairways link again in front of the green. The last hole on the course is a 545-yard, par-five that throws everything at players, including rough, a narrow fairway and a long water hazard on the approach to the green. 80/1 Moo 7, Vichitsongkram Rd., Katu. Tel: (076) 319 200-204, Email.
Other Phuket Golf Clubs
Also in the Kathu area is the 18-hole Loch Palm Golf Club (38 Moo 5, Vichisongkram Rd., Kathu. Tel: (076) 321 929-34, Email) in a valley with plenty of challenging water. It has the most unusual spectacle on the island, the par-71 Red Mountain Course, which has a great deal of ups and downs in its 6900 yards, including the signature 9th hole, which has a stomach-churning 50-metre drop from tee to green. Carts only on this course.
On the east coast is Mission Hills (195 Moo 4, Pak Khlonk, Thalang. Tel: (076) 310 888), which currently has 18 holes. More have been in the works for a long time, including a night course – but so far these have not been built. The most spectacular hole is the 4th, with the green sitting on a promontory surrounded by the highly distracting scenery of Phang Nga Bay.
Finally, there is the Phunaka (99/99 Lungporcham Rd., Chalong. Tel: (076) 521 991-5) course off Chao Fa West Road. This is nine holes and has floodlights, making it the only night course on the island. It also has a 56-bay driving range. There are also has driving ranges at Phuket Country Club, and on Kwang Road (north of Chalong).
This challenging 18 holes miniature classic championship golf course is surrounded by palm trees, stones, water, bamboo, sand and bushes. Designed & built together with Scandinavian Adventure Golf it’s just as much fun for adults as kids. The Off Course open-air restaurant gives diners a full view over the mini golf park with signature thin crust homemade pizzasserved directly from the pizzaiola station. The menu includes a wide range of Thai- & international food as well as a great children menu. You can also book a private company party, celebration, networking event or children’s party.
18 holes of mini golf takes about 1-1.5 hours to play depending on the number of players. They recommend not more than 4 players per team and from 4 years age and up. 72/44 Moo 3, Bangtao Beach Rd., Soi 2, Thalang. Tel: (076) 314 345, Email.
Phuket Golf Clubs Listings
Blue Canyon Country Club: 165 Moo 1, Thepkasattri Road, tel: (076) 328 088.
Mission Hills Phuket Golf Resort: 195 Moo 4, Pak Khlonk, Thalang. Tel: (076) 310 888, Website.
Phunaka Golf Course: 99/99 Lungporcham Rd., Chalong. Tel: (076) 521 991-5.