| Golf Travel

Hua Hin golf holidays are cen­tered amongst many ex­cel­lent re­sorts, restau­rants, en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas, and beaches mak­ing it an ideal golf hol­i­day destination.

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Louie Chan

Home to Thai­land’s old­est course, Hua Hin was dis­cov­ered in the early 1920’s by King Rama VII and soon be­came a favourite of the Royal fam­ily and Thai­land's upper-class. As Louie Chan writes, Hua Hin golf holidays are cen­tred amongst many ex­cel­lent re­sorts, restau­rants, en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas, and beaches mak­ing it an ideal golf hol­i­day destination for just about any­one.

Hua Hin is among Thai­land’s most at­trac­tive and ex­cit­ing travel des­ti­na­tions. There is ev­ery­thing here that any­one could want; a pleas­ant en­vi­ron­ment, ex­cel­lent beaches, an ex­cel­lent choice of din­ing op­tions, en­ter­tain­ment and colour­ful his­tory. Also, be­ing the hol­i­day destination of the Thai Royal Fam­ily for the past 90 years makes Hua Hin an ex­cep­tional place.

With no tra­di­tional rainy sea­son to speak of, Hua Hin has per­fect year-round golf­ing weather, plus a collection of great cour­ses that ap­peal to golfers of all lev­els as well as fam­i­lies. With th­ese per­fect in­gre­di­ents for a mem­o­rable golf hol­i­day, it’s no sur­prise that Hua Hin was re­cently named “Golf Destination of the Year” in Asia-Pa­cific.

BLACK MOUN­TAIN GOLF CLUB ( **** 1/2)

www.black­moun­tain­huahin.com Tucked away in the foothills out­side of Hua Hin, Black Moun­tain opened in 2007 and had re­tained the phi­los­o­phy it started out with: to strive to be the best golf course in Asia and rank amongst the best cour­ses

in the world. At the same time, to give its mem­bers and guests the ul­ti­mate and most en­joy­able golf­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. They seem to be suc­ceed­ing and achiev­ing their goals, judg­ing by the string of awards that they have gar­nered, in­clud­ing Golf Di­gest’s 2017 “Best Golf Re­sorts in Asia”, Asian Golf Monthly’s “Best Course in Thai­land and Asian Pa­cific” from 2014 to 2016.

What is no­tice­able at Black Moun­tain is the en­thu­si­asm and ded­i­ca­tion of all the staff and their un­tir­ing ef­forts to make ev­ery as­pect of a visit to Black Moun­tain a mem­o­rable one. Whether it’s the quality of the greens and the fair­ways de­liv­ered by the green­keeper and his staff, the en­thu­si­asm that the chefs dis­play in the kitchen, or just the warm wel­come at the club­house, you can sense that their driving pas­sion is to give ev­ery­one an ex­pe­ri­ence they will fondly re­mem­ber for a long time. Black Moun­tain has hosted some pres­ti­gious tour­na­ments over the years, in­clud­ing the True Thai­land Clas­sic, a Euro­pean and Asian Tour co­sanc­tioned event, and the 2011 Royal Tro­phy, an­nual Asia ver­sus Europe Ry­der Cup-style tour­na­ment.

This eleven-year-old course, a 25-minute drive from the cen­tre of town is a high­qual­ity venue, one that is kept in mind­blow­ing con­di­tion year-round. While some of the rout­ings is a lit­tle con­trived – the moun­tain­ous ter­rain the de­vel­op­ers had to work with isn’t ex­actly per­fectly suited to golf – there are great many fun and fab­u­lous holes out here, par­tic­u­larly on the scenic back nine, which rises and plunges con­tin­u­ously. The sur­pris­ing thing about Black Moun­tain – and one of the keys be­hind its pop­u­lar­ity among recre­ational play­ers is its playa­bil­ity. Many large man­made lakes make this Phil Ryan de­sign look a lot more men­ac­ing than it re­ally is. The land­ing ar­eas are wide, the greens large, re­cep­tive and not ridicu­lously con­toured, while the rough is kept to a min­i­mum. Not ev­ery­one will im­me­di­ately take to it per­haps – the purists out there may not ap­pre­ci­ate a few of the more or­na­men­tal fea­tures, such as the sculp­tured rock cre­ation and bab­bling brook fronting the sec­ond green – but the ma­jor­ity will sali­vate over Black Moun­tain’s lush land­scap­ing, su­perla­tive views and fives­tar club­house – and will un­doubt­edly do so for years to come.

YARDAGE: 6,881 PAR: 72

De­signed by Phil Ryan/Pa­cific Coast De­sign

BANYAN GOLF CLUB HUA HIN ( **** 1/2)

www.banyan­thai­land.com/en/golf/golf-club Oc­cu­py­ing one of the most sig­nif­i­cant sites in Thai golf, Banyan is a mag­nif­i­cently nat­u­ral lay­out, one that this cor­re­spon­dent hopes to play time and time again. Built over a for­mer pineap­ple plan­ta­tion, the front nine here thun­ders across the rel­a­tively open coun­try, while the clos­ing stretch plays through a se­ries of par­tic­u­larly lovely and densely veg­e­tated val­leys.

Mother Nature could have been cred­ited with its de­sign, but Banyan was, in fact, the work of Pi­ra­porn Na­ma­tra, the young Thai ar­chi­tect who made a name for him­self af­ter some­how carv­ing out the spec­tac­u­lar – and se­ri­ously high – San­tiburi course on Koh Sa­mui. Na­ma­tra’s rep­u­ta­tion has only in­creased since Banyan opened in 2008. His rout­ing is sub­lime, the green com­plexes have been par­tic­u­larly well thought out, and he’s been kind enough to leave enough width on the longer holes for recre­ational golfers to open their shoul­ders.

Sig­na­ture hole honours at Banyan have been given to the 15th, a short down­hill par-three with views across the Gulf of Thai­land, but quite hon­estly, there is quality laced right through this course. Un­like most of the tracks in the re­gion, Banyan uses lo­cal Zoysia grass on its fair­ways, which has proved to the right call; the turf is firm, but you sel­dom get a tight or “skinny” lie. It is a de­light­ful sur­face to play from. Although the course is part of a more sub­stan­tial real es­tate and re­sort con­cern, play­ing Banyan does give you a won­der­ful sense of seclu­sion. Un­like at Black Moun­tain, where the res­i­den­tial vil­las are in full view from many parts of the course, Banyan’s res­i­dences are lo­cated fur­ther afield… in­deed, the only prop­erty you see, aside from the taste­ful club­house, is a cliff-top home in­hab­ited by monks.

YARDAGE: 7,361 PAR: 72 De­signed by Pi­ra­porn Na­ma­tra/Golf East

CEN­TARA WORLD MASTERS

I have had the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in the Cen­tara World Masters am­a­teur golf tour­na­ment on the 2nd week of June. Billed as the most prom­i­nent and most af­flu­ent tour­na­ment for club golfers in all of Asia and again at­tract­ing 500 plus play­ers from 27 coun­tries at Hua Hin alone, Go Golf­ing’s Peter McCarthy founded the con­cept in Aus­tralia 23 years ago. There are now five World Masters Golf Cham­pi­onship events hosted through­out Aus­tralia, Thai­land and Viet­nam each year.

As an in­ter­ested ob­server, you can see this

event is a well-oiled ma­chine. Play­ers are guided onto buses and ar­riv­ing at cour­ses there’s a cho­rus of cad­dies wel­com­ing them with big smiles that make you want to smile. There’s a real party atmosphere with loud mu­sic play­ing ABBA, BeeGee’s and rock an­thems bring­ing the en­ergy. Right be­fore tee-off, the cad­dies rush to­gether to per­form the Macarena, and the play­ers join in.

The event is a week-long cel­e­bra­tion of golf, so­cial and en­ter­tain­ment events in the fa­mous sea­side re­sort town of Hua Hin in Thai­land. The tour­na­ment is open to all male and fe­male golfers over the age of 35.

Cen­tara Ho­tels & Re­sorts is the ma­jor spon­sor and have con­firmed their in­volve­ment through to 2019. Most golfers stay at the ideally lo­cated Cen­tara Grand Beach Re­sort & Vil­las Hua Hin. Es­tab­lished in the 1920’s, the re­sort has mod­ern lux­u­ries while re­tain­ing its by­gone age of el­e­gance. Tak­ing full ad­van­tage of Cen­tara Grand Beach Re­sort & Vil­las Hua Hin’s beach­front lo­ca­tion, the open­ing night wel­come din­ner and gala pre­sen­ta­tion din­ners are hosted around the re­sort pool with the beach and ocean as a stun­ning back­drop. Golfers gather each night dur­ing the tour­na­ment for 19th Hole fes­tiv­i­ties where tempt­ing Thai cui­sine and Chang beer flows and daily golf win­ners are cel­e­brated.

Next year’s tour­na­ment will fea­ture four out­stand­ing cour­ses. Play­ers will en­joy one round each at Spring­field Royal Coun­try Club, Black Moun­tain, Banyan Golf Club and Im­pe­rial Lake View. Carts and cad­dies will be pro­vided at each course, and each player will be as­signed a cad­die wear­ing a bib with the player’s name and coun­try flag.

“At Cen­tara, we have 20 ho­tels and re­sorts in­ter­na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing many in golf­ing par­adises such as Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Sa­mui, Phuket and Chi­ang Mai in Thai­land, and Danang in Viet­nam. We look for­ward to wel­com­ing many more golfers, friends and fam­i­lies not only to Cen­tara Grand Beach Re­sort & Vil­las, Hua Hin, for the ac­claimed Cen­tara World Masters event next year but also to our ar­ray of city and trop­i­cal beach­front lo­ca­tions year-round,” said David Martens, Gen­eral Man­ager at Cen­tara Ho­tels & Re­sorts.

The tour­na­ment is played in 15 di­vi­sions based on age and hand­i­cap. Golfers play each day with com­peti­tors of a sim­i­lar age and hand­i­cap. The sixth an­nual Cen­tara World Masters Golf Cham­pi­onship re­turns to Hua Hin, Thai­land, from 9 to 15 June 2019. For com­plete event in­for­ma­tion and to book, please visit www.thai­land­world­mas­ters.com.

The 2nd hole at the Black Moun­tainEast Course, a sump­tu­ous par-5

The test­ing open­ing hole at the Black Moun­tain East Course plays into a North-East­erly pre­vail­ing wind

Hole 5 is a very test­ing up­hill par-4 the Black Moun­tain East Course

The de­mand­ing 10thhole at Banyan

The sig­na­ture 15th hole at Banyan

The aerial view of Cen­tara Grand Beach Re­sort & Vil­las Hua Hin

Lo­cated in the orig­i­nal ho­tel lobby, The Mu­seum Cof­fee & Tea Cor­ner highlights the clas­sic atmosphere of the by­gone era that char­ac­ter­is­tics the ho­tel

The Pre­mium Deluxe Room is an ex­quis­ite and in­ti­mate re­treat, taste­fully dec­o­rated with dark woods,Thai silk and rich fab­rics

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