All You Need To Know
Do I need a Handicap Certificate to play?
Ideally yes, but it is not mandatory for play. We accept your club handicap here, but you will need 3 rounds in to get a Pattaya Sports Club handicap (USGA). You will also need to join the PSC in order to get the discounted green fees. The membership will pay for itself after the first round. It's a good deal, and one year is 500 baht which also benefits local charities.
What is the cost?
Around 1,200 - 1,600 baht for green fee, caddy fee, transportation there and back, and competition fee, in the low season. That figure is less on Sports Days and more for the top courses.
What is Sports Day?
That is a low season (01 April thru 31 October) promotion day for many courses and it is usually one day per week per course where they offer huge discounts on the green fee. Sometimes it also includes a 100 or 200 baht voucher for food or drinks. We obviously try to take advantage of this offer for our guests (and ourselves!)
Why should I play with you guys?
Good question. There are lots of choices in Pattaya for golf. We play with the other venues all the time and they are our friends. There is a strong golf ex-pat community here, and golfers are the cream-of-the-crop as far as who you would like to hang out with. Here at The Golf Club we do things a little differently. We go for the quality courses and that doesn't mean we are the cheapest to play with.
We have a lot of pro caddies from the European tour that play with us (and bring us lots of great golf memorabilia for the walls!) and most players here are serious about their game. We are a mixed up bunch of different nationalities, religions, races, political opinions, etc. and we all love to play golf. Most of us have had interesting or exciting jobs in the past and are now here to enjoy ourselves with wine, women and song, as they say. Throw golf into that mix and that explains what we are about, simple as that.
Can I rent clubs?
Yes, we have quality clubs for rent here at The Golf Club like TaylorMade, Callaway, Wishon and Ping. We also have left handed sets, and ladies sets. Golf clubs can be hired for 500 baht per day, cheaper than if you rented them at the golf course. We also have balls and gloves and fantastic golf shirts by Antigua with our own club logo.
What do I wear?
Pretty much the same as back home, no jeans, vests, singlets, etc. Shorts and a collared golf shirt will always work fine. Soft spikes are the policy at all golf courses in Pattaya. Also, bring a change of clothes for after the round. All gof courses here have individual shower cubicles to clean up after a day on the course. We advise you to use sunscreen at all times and keep re-hydrating with plenty of water.
What about food?
There are drinks stations at about every 3 holes at almost all golf courses in Pattaya with snacks and sandwiches, sodas and beer. We can also pack food to go from The Golf Club so you will be sure to get what you want and with better quality than the courses. Be sure to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration, even when it?s not hot.
Do I need a caddy?
You sure do, in fact, it is mandatory at just about all real golf courses in Thailand (except the par 3 courses). You will want one, as they will help your game considerably. They are great fun also, and they will fix your divots, repair your ball mark on the green, mark your ball, tend the flag, hold your umbrella, find lost balls, show you the line for your putts, keep your clubs clean, and if you're lucky give you a quick shoulder massage while waiting for the group in front to clear the green. The caddy fee is around 350 baht and we suggest you tip her at least 400 baht for her hard work. Add 50 baht for every birdie! Remember, a caddy will give you advice but it is you that makes the shot, so don't blame her if you miss a putt. We have zero tolerance for caddy abuse, so go out and have a good time!
When is the rainy season?
Pattaya sits in a very unique position near the top of the Gulf of Thailand on the coast but with the Chonburi hills 10 miles away. We have a micro-climate here that is wonderful. We rarely get rained out- even during the wettest month of September. If it does rain, it is very localized and short lived, but it comes down in buckets. You will experience a short burst of torrential rain for 15-20 minutes usually, and 5 minutes later start playing again. There are times when half the course gets rain and the other half is dry! Pattaya golf courses drain very well and quickly so don't worry about the rain.
I'm a beginner, is that O.K.?
Sure, no problem. As long as you love the game of golf you are most welcome here. We will set you up with other high handicappers and put you out at the back of the groups. We discourage slow play, so as long as you keep up with the group ahead of you, adhere to the Rules of Golf and act with respect to your caddy and playing partners there is no problem. Remember, of all the millions of golfers in the world, only about 50 are really good and only 1 of them is actually great. Most of the guys here play off a 10-15 handicap but we like to have serious fun when we play.
What's an average golf day like?
Assuming you have booked online (or come into The Golf Club and signed up on the sign-up sheets), you would come to the club for transportation to the course. We usually leave around 08:30 but that varies with what tee times we can get.
We are open for breakfast at 07:00 and most guys get here 30 minutes to an hour early, read the paper and eat and then we head out. When we get to the course, the caddies take our bags off the van and you follow everyone into the clubhouse to pay your green fees. Next we head to the locker room to change our shoes and leave our change of clothes there for after the round. We head out to the practice green for a few putts and then over to the first tee and check the sheet for our group time. After the round it's back to the clubhouse to shower and change (they all have great facilities) and if there is time, grab a quick beer before we head back to the club for the presentation.
We are usually back by 3:00 pm. There is a presentation at around 3:30 so you have time to go back to your hotel or stick around and grab a bite and a few beers. The Golf Club is very central in Pattaya and we have a great neighbourhood to explore!
What are the best golf courses?
Golf course evaluation is such a subjective venture that it is impossible for any 2 golfers to rate the top 5 courses the same. Criteria must include immaculate greens-keeping, challenging design, and general quality of the golfing experience. Personal preferences such as a carts on cart-path only policy or cost of green fees would not factor into our equation of rating a course.
Siam Old Course and also their sister course Siam Plantation (just a mile down the road) must rate 1 and 2 as they have been chosen to host LPGA Asian Tour competitions. Their reputation as a quality golfing destination would rank them at the top of our list of courses in Pattaya. The design team of Schmidt-Curley of Arizona and the professional Thai course maintenance and management are hard to beat as of this writing. The practice area at Plantation is the best in the region, so get here well before your tee time to get the most for your money. Both are true Championship courses. The new Waterside Course opened in May 2014 and is also a must-play track.
Laem Chabang has been around for a very long time and many have sung her praises and awarded her with many honors. A very hands-on Jack Nicklaus designed course of 27 holes, she sits in a beautiful setting along the Chonburi foothills. This course would definitely rank in the top 5, and the new driving range and clubhouse renovation gives her a new facelift for the next decade. When visiting Pattaya, you must play Laem Chabang.
The final 2 courses for our top 5 are very difficult to call and actually change every so often for various reasons. Khao Kheow is certainly right up there, and greens-keeping has improved greatly. The beauty of Phoenix Gold is a great deal of money is now being spent on many improvements to course and clubhouse.
St. Andrews would have to be included at this point, despite the gimmick of 2 par 6 holes which are a truly needless design element. This track has been used as an Asian tour event and Q School qualifier. Many holes are visually impressive and Desmond Muirhead has used the land strategically in the course layout. The sister course of Rayong Green Valley, which shares the same clubhouse, should also be played while here.
Finally, Burapha finishes in the top 5 for its variety and consistency. It is a fair and pleasant test for all handicaps. The 36 hole complex and its practice area are excellent and it is all very well run by some sharp Thai management.
Some may argue that Bangpra should have been included or Eastern Star, Mountain Shadow, Greenwood or Pattana, and even Pattavia Century, but at the time of this report- June 2016- the decision stands.
To be honest, all golf courses around Pattaya have their own unique appeal. Even the Navy Course, Plutaluang, has many scenic and memorable holes for very small money. You will be the ultimate judge, so get out here and try them all and let us know what you think!