Travelling to Phnom Penh
Thanks to the large infrastructure around the city, Phnom Penh is easy to get around and reach from wherever you are located around the globe. Phnom Penh International Airport is the largest airport in Cambodia and welcomes international flights. Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia are three examples of popular airlines which fly to Phnom Penh and are used by many people when booking a golf trip to the Cambodian capital.
While direct flights from European and American cities are not possible, all it takes is one stop in China or Thailand and you will be playing golf in Phnom Penh before you know it. You could even combine Phnom Penh with Thailand to make a tremendous twin destination golf holiday.
When arriving at Phnom Penh International Airport you can either catch a bus or take a taxi to your accommodation or golf course of choice. It’s recommend taking a taxi, especially if you have your own golf clubs because not only are they cheap by Western standards but you will find it much easier to store your clubs in the trunk of the car.
Phnom Penh Golfing Weather
Before looking at the great selection of golf courses in Phnom Penh and planning when to book your trip, you must be aware of the climate in this region of Asia.
Cambodia is one of the easiest Asian countries to work with when it comes to the climate. There are two distinct seasons to be aware of when playing golf in Phnom Penh and they are dry and wet seasons.
The dry season generally lasts between October and late April and this is regarded as being the best time to book a golf holiday in Phnom Penh. Be aware that by April the temperatures can be very hot so you may consider playing golf in Phnom Penh between November and January. Temperatures are known to be around the high 20’s at this time of year and coupled with the dry conditions, this makes it the perfect time for playing golf.
The west season happens between May and October and can bring around 75% of Cambodia’s annual rainfall. Between May and July rainfall can be infrequent, with temperatures remaining hot and between July and September the rainfall becomes more consistent and heavier.
However, it’s still possible to have plenty of nice weather during the wet season, especially in Phnom Penh. It’s advisable to avoid the more remote areas of the country but as you will be playing golf in Phnom Penh, you should have many days to enjoy on the course.
Phnom Penh Golf Courses
Talking of the courses, there are some excellent golf courses to play during a trip to Phnom Penh. Perhaps the best place to start is the oldest golf course, not only in Phnom Penh but the whole of Cambodia, called Cambodia Golf and Country Club.
Cambodia Golf and Country Club was established in 1996 and while this may not seem old for a golf club in many other areas of the world, it is for this part of Asia and represents a big step in the history of the country.
Located just a 1-hour drive west of Phnom Penh, Cambodia Golf and Country Club is a par-72, 18-hole golf course which stretches to just over 7,000 yards from the back tee. The course was created by Japanese and Taiwanese designers and boasts fairways lined by sugar palm trees, native fruit plants, flowers and rocks.
With large mountains looming in the distance, you feel you are away from the city and can enjoy a relaxing round of golf at Cambodia Golf and Country Club. The front nine holes features wide fairways, surrounded by rice farms and the greens are protected by bunkers. The holes are flat but the greens are large, so be prepared to make the occasional three-putt if you are not on your game.
The back nine becomes a little more challenging with elevation changes, longer fairways and smaller greens. Ponds and bunkers provide the main hazards on the back nine holes and club selection is very important when playing this course. Make the correct choices on the risk/reward holes and you can easily find yourself making a low score at Cambodia Golf and Country Club.
The French style clubhouse is very nice and boasts a good restaurant and other facilities including a swimming pool and tennis courts. All in all, Cambodia Golf and Country Club is a great place to spend a day playing golf in Phnom Penh.
Having enjoyed a great round of golf at Cambodia Golf and Country Club why not treat yourself to a day of golf at arguably the best conditioned golf course in Phnom Penh, Garden City Golf Club.
Garden City Golf Club opened for play in 2013 and immediately established itself as one of the best golf courses in Phnom Penh. Situated just 25 minutes away from the centre of Phnom Penh, Garden City Golf Club is easily accessible if you decide to base yourself at one of the hotels in the heart of the city.
Garden City Golf Club is a par-72, 18-hole golf course which plays to 7,361 yards, making it about 300 yards longer than the course at Cambodia Golf and Country Club.
Thanks to the great work of IMG Golf Management and the use of Seashore Paspalum turf, Garden City Golf Club is always in fantastic condition. The course has been designed by architect Major General Weerayudth Phetbuasak and he has produced a course which will challenge the very best players but which remains playable for amateur golfers of all abilities.
Prior to becoming a golf course, the land on which the course is based was used as paddy fields but once these became neglected they were transformed into the golf course we see today. Featuring large greens and man-made water hazards, Garden City Golf Club is a strong layout, with palm trees lining much of the course.
Playing long and with minimal roll of the fairways, shorter strikers of the golf ball will find this course to be challenging and enjoyable in equal measure. A great example of this is the long 439-yard par-4 6th hole, which features water the entire left side of the fairway and a further water hazard on the front right of the green. If you can walk away with a par on this hole, you have done a great job.
The par-3 15th hole is one which creates much discussion in the club house. There is a choice of green, mountain or island and you must decide which one is in play for the day. Whichever you choose the green is surrounded by sand on three sides and water on the other, so club selection is crucial on this hole.
Having completed your round, head to the modern club house where there is ample room for changing, a good restaurant and driving range. They have also added a hotel and golf academy since opening in 2013, so you could choose to stay for a few days and really get to know the golf course.
A few days at Garden City Golf Club is highly recommended when booking a golf holiday in Phnom Penh.
If you would like to get on the golf course as soon as you arrive in Phnom Penh then you should head to Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club. This course is located only 15 minutes from Phnom Penh International Airport, making it the perfect choice for those arriving to the Cambodian capital by air.
The course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and nestles in an area northwest of Phnom Penh which has seen little development. Therefore, the air and climate here is very fresh and makes for a perfect day of golf.
The excellent fairways and manicured greens make this one of the best kept golf courses in the country. The fairways are wide and tempt you to attack the ball off the tee but the significant mounding and sand around the greens can make approach shots tricky. If you happen to book a tee time late in the day be prepared for the wind, which can add another level of difficulty to the golf course.
The short holes are the pick of the 18 on this course, with the 12th and 16th holes in-particular receiving much praise. The former is a short par-4, with water to the right and bunkers and trees to the left of the fairway. The latter is a par-3 hole with a tee shot some 230 yards over water to the green.
The facilities at Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club are to an international standard and boast caddies who speak good English, which can be invaluable during a round.
The final golf course in Phnom Penh is Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club. This is the closest of all four golf clubs to the city, being just 10 kilometres from Phnom Penh.
Nestled amongst rice paddies and coconut palms, Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club is a favourite with locals and expatriates alike, perhaps due to its location and the fact it is regarded as the Prime Minister’s favourite course. Once you step onto the golf course it is easy to see why the Prime Minister would like it, with many of the original land features still in place such as the native palms, flowers, bushes, natural wetlands, ponds and streams.
Despite being a relatively flat golf course, the water hands and sand traps give golfers plenty to think about and it is easy to drop shots if you do not pay attention to the hazards on each hole. There are only 6 of the 18 holes which do not have water coming into play and many of the greens are undulating, so accurate approach play can help in saving shots on the green.
There are four tee boxes to choose from on each hole, which makes this course perfect for players of all abilities. The off-course facilities include one of the biggest driving ranges in Phnom Penh and a club house which combines traditional Cambodian architecture with the convenience of a modern facility.
If you are staying in the centre of Phnom Penh and are short on time, Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club is the perfect place for a round of golf. You can leave the city and within 20 minutes find yourself on the first tee of a great golf course. What more could you ask for?
Phnom Penh is rapidly growing a great reputation for golf in Asia. If you would like to play the golf courses in Phnom Penh while they remain relatively undiscovered to those who live outside Cambodia, now is the time to do it.
Phnom Penh is becoming increasingly popular, for both general tourists and golf lovers alike and with the excellent golf courses, great climate and good food, it’s easy to see why.