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