The sport of golf has deep roots in the Kingdom of Thailand, dating back to the reign of Rama V (1853-1910). Originally played exclusively by nobles and other elites, golf is now played in Thailand by as many as half a million visitors a year. The sport is also popular with Thais from all levels of society. Nicknamed “The Golf Capital of Asia”, Thailand offers countless courses in beautiful and exotic settings, many of them designed by some of the top names in the game (Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, etc.). Below are enough recommendations to get the uninitiated started.
Located roughly two hours south of Bangkok, the beach and golf resort of Pattaya offers more than 20 courses, as well as a profusion of bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
2. Khao Yai
Also within striking distance of Bangkok, the courses in the beautiful region of Khao Yai are some of the country’s best. Less well known by tourists, Khao Yai is nonetheless an excellent choice for enthusiasts looking to get away from it all.
3. Koh Samui
For an ideal tropical setting, the white beaches and coconut palms on the island of Koh Samui are pretty close to perfect. The island plays host to a championship standard course at Santiburi Samui Country Club, and a number of high-class hotels are nearby.
Thailand’s largest island (the so-called “Pearl of the Andaman”) is a great place to marry golf with the iconic natural landscape of the region. The limestone cliffs, tropical forests, and tranquil bays combine for an experience that is unlike anything obtainable anywhere else.