During the heydays of tin mining in Phuket, miners excavated freely,
cutting canyons into the virgin countryside in the search for the
precious ore. Slowly, as tin prices decreased, mining died out.
Little did the miners know that the labours of their industry would
fuel another, the gentleman's game
The fabricated terrain of sections of Phuket Island proved to be
perfect locations for a number of golf courses however, in many
places the ground was left so acidic that it could not sustain any
plant life. The job required ingenious designers to devise means
to rejuvenate barren land and exploit the ungainly angles of the
miners' strokes, to develop some of the most challenging and
scenic holes in the world.
The Phuket Country Club built the first golf course in Phuket in
1989, over a reclaimed tin mine site. Asian Golf Magazine rated
PCC among the top five in the category of "Best Courses in
Thailand 2001' and "Best Holes Par Five 2001' for
its 10th hole. The club has been host to the Kosaido Thailand Open1992
and the Prince Bernard Cup tournaments.
PCC also features a challenging 3575-yard, 9-hole Country Club
Course particularly suitable for the low handicap golfer. Water
features interfere up to 90% of the time, ensuring wayward shots
do not go unpenalized.
The Phuket Country Club house contains all the facilities for a
relaxing post-course experience, with a swimming pool, spa, sauna
and a 5-star restaurant serving International and Thai cuisine.
In 1991 two more course were opened, at the Blue Canyon Country
Club and the Banyan Tree Golf Club.
The Blue Canyon Country Club is in a class of its own, featuring
two 18-hole championship courses. It has played host to two Johnnie
Walker Classic tournaments. While competing in the 1998 Johnnie
Walker Classic, Tiger Woods commented that the course was "one
of the best I have ever played on." What better compliment
could the designer hope for? These sentiments are shared by Hertz
International and Fortune Magazine who rated the Canyon Course as
one of the most distinguished and prestigious golf courses in Asia.
BCCC has received numerous accolades such as "Best Asian Pacific
Golf Resort of the Year 2000.'
The two courses, the Canyon Course and the Lakes Course, were designed
by Yoshikazu Kato. This talented designer has incorporated the original
freshwater lakes, ponds and pre-existing tin mine canyons, rubber
trees and pineapple plantations into a course filled with natural
golfing hazards and an abundance of beauty. Natural hazards include
tall, tropical trees, rolling fairways, narrow landing areas and
Bermuda Tiffdwarf greens.
The renowned Canyon Course has a relatively gentle opening until
one reaches the green. Hole 17 is considered one of the top 500
holes in the world. Fred Couples described it as "One of the
best Par 3's anywhere in the world." The hole is deceptively
downhill and the green slopes from front to back.
All the caddies at Blue Canyon are female and are well trained.
In addition to a 49 room hotel with full facilities, there is a
250-yard driving range, undercover practice bays and a golf academy.
Phuket's prestigious resort conglomerate, Laguna Phuket is
complemented by the Banyan Tree Golf Club. Opened on 7 December
1991, the 6850-yard par-71 course was designed by Max Wexler and
David Abel to make full use of the contours of the abandoned tin
The first half of the course winds through gentle hills and fairways
lined with coconut palms and casuarina trees. The back nine is flatter,
but deceptively difficult and the final four holes are noted as
a good challenge for any golfer. The 17th hole is called "The
Monster'; a 612-yard, par-5 that requires golfers to steer
around or over water at least twice.
Banyan Tree Golf Club hosts golfers of all levels of experience,
holding regular tournaments for the serious swingers and professional
tuition for amateurs. A driving range, putting greens, practice
bunkers and chipping areas have been incorporated into the design
and with all the luxury immersing Laguna Phuket, Banyan Tree provides
a truly lavish golfing experience.
The best tin mine sites on Phuket Island were beautified and these
courses host thousands of players every year, but variety improves
a golfer's game and the golf trail headed north and out of
The next addition to the portfolio was Thai Muang Beach Golf and
Marina, built in 1993 in Phang-Nga province. Although this course
did not spring from an old tin mine, considerable strategy was involved
in designing the course from the relatively flat beachfront area.
This area is within convenient proximity to the services of Phuket,
yet is far enough away to have remained untouched by crass tourism.
This challenging 7019-yard par 72 course, sculpted by American designer
Peter Dye, is noted not only for its 17th hole, dubbed "The
Lady", but for the encapsulating scenery. The deep hue of the
Andaman, trimmed by rolling white surf to the left and Phang-Nga's
famed mountains to the right, form a wonderful distraction from
the game. The 18th hole is particularly spectacular, running 463
yards along the beach. Practice facilities such as a driving range,
pitching and putting greens are available as well as all the facilities
at the Thai Muang Beach Chalet resort.
1998 saw another course open in Phuket, bringing the island's
total to five courses, including two at Blue Canyon. Loch Palm Golf
Club is spread over 160 acres of hilly inland terrain. The 6,392-yard
par 72 course was blended into the natural landscape, surrounding
Crystal Lake, the largest lake of any course in Phuket. With more
than 1400 towering palms lining the fairways, golfers are treated
to a serene atmosphere along with many challenging hazards and greens.
The most recently built golf course is located in Surat Thani province,
overlooking spectacular Rajjaphrabha Dam. This mountainous region
features limestone karsts that now loom up out of the dam, forming
pinnacled islands and dramatic scenery. Rajjaphrabha Golf Course
opened in 2001 and its 6503-yard par-72 course relies on naturally
jungle-covered valleys and water features to engage golfers. This
new course is modest in service but big on nature and will provide,
at least, a fair test for all classes of player, coupled with excellent
A fair test for all classes of player is what the golf courses of
Southern Thailand can guarantee in addition to internationally renowned
beaches, resorts, restaurants and services. The Southern courses
are beautiful, bold and suitably fit for a tee.