One of the most overlooked features about playing golf in Thailand, is night golf
Thailand is famous for many things including great weather, fantastic beaches, stunning mountain scenery, tasty local cuisine and lively night life. However, more and more people are finding out about the excellent selection of top quality golf courses available in the country. Whether it be a links-style course near the ocean, a parkland style course near the city or an undulating course in the mountains, Thailand has it all.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked features about playing golf in Thailand, is night golf. This should not be thought of as the equivalent of playing during daylight hours but it’s a fantastic experience in its own right. Furthermore, if you have plans during the day, such as a cultural excursion or you just wanted to relax by the beach, night golf in Thailand is a great way to ensure you do not miss out on a round, despite being busy throughout the day.
The night golf season usually runs between November and May each year and this coincides with many visitors from the northern hemisphere. Night golf usually tees off around 7pm, with courses closing after midnight, so there is plenty of time to enjoy a full round of golf in the evening. Located just 30-minutes away from Bangkok, Summit Windmill Golf Club is one such course, which offers night golf.
Summit Windmill Golf Club was established in 1993 and the course was designed by Nick Faldo. Although the course is not very long, water comes into play on many holes and this becomes apparent from the first hole. The island green of the 12th hole is the pick of the par-3’s on the this course, all of which are protected by water. There is not a great deal of rough to worry about, so players can attack the undulating greens with confidence. Lights were installed around the course in 2004 and this makes night golf an option, which is perfect for those staying in Bangkok. Having completed a day of sightseeing or work, it takes half an hour to reach the course, which will give you plenty of time to enjoy a good round of golf. With some rounds taking up to 4 or 5 hours, be prepared for a late and enjoyable night on the golf course.
Rachakram Golf Club and Resort is a great place for night golf in Bangkok
Situated a further 15 minutes’ drive from Bangkok, is Rachakram Golf Club and Resort and this is a great place for night golf in Thailand. Designed by Dr Sukitt Klangvisai, the course was opened for play in 2006 and plays much like a links style course, with undulations and open spaces in-front of the greens, allowing for low approach shots. The fairways are flat and generous, with firm and fast greens, which are very receptive to spin. There are several water hazards, some of which are blind and even longer hitters will struggle to clear the water on some of the par-5 holes. The course is floodlit at night and looks tremendous when viewed from the clubhouse restaurant after dark. Rachakram Golf Club and Resort is a good option for a night time round when based in Bangkok but with resort facilities it’s possible play well into the night and stay at the resort for the evening.
Complete with full floodlighting and Rolls Royce golf carts, its little wonder Pinehurst is so popular
Pinehurst Golf Club is the same distance away from Bangkok as Rachakram Golf Club and was inspired by the famous American course of the same name. This Bangkok golf course has played host to some of the biggest tournaments in Thailand, such as the Johnnie Walker Classic and Thailand Open. With wide fairways and flat greens, Pinehurst is suitable for golfers of all abilities and offers three sets, of 9 holes. The Greenfield Course is probably the easiest of the three and is smooth and flat, with the Lake Course playing very much like a typical American municipal course. Perhaps the most challenging is the West Forest Course, which comes complete with water hazards and mounds on the side of the fairways. Complete with full floodlighting and Rolls Royce branded golf carts, its little wonder Pinehurst is so popular with locals and visitors alike.
Laem Chabang International Country Club is widely considered to be one of Thailand’s finest
Moving away from Bangkok and Laem Chabang International Country Club is widely considered to be the best golf course in Pattaya and one of Thailand’s finest. Established in 1995 and designed by Jack Nicklaus, this 27-hole course offers a good mix of terrain throughout, including river valleys, lakes and mountains. As such, the three sets of 9-holes are called Mountain, Lake and Valley, each giving visitors a different challenge. The man-made bunkers and water hazards, are complimented nicely by the natural features of the course, such as lakes, creeks and rock formations. Not only that but Laem Chabang International Country Club offers flood lights around the course, meaning it’s possible to play during the evening and with the cooler temperatures, this makes for a great round of night golf in Thailand. The clubhouse facilities here are excellent and there is accommodation available. So, if you are staying in Bangkok, you can make the trip, which is just over an hour from the capital city, to Laem Chabang International Country Club and stay for the evening or weekend.
Play a round of golf in the crisp evening air at Summit Green Valley Chiang Mai Country Club
Just a 20-minute drive from the centre of Chiang Mai, in the mountainous north of Thailand, you will find Summit Green Valley Chiang Mai Country Club. Being in a mountainous area, the freshness of the air soon becomes apparent during a round of golf at Summit Green Valley but the course itself is very testing. There are many well placed bunkers throughout and water comes into play on almost every hole on the course. The fairways are lined by palm trees and can seem wide but with the sand and water traps waiting either side, any wayward shots are punished. The large greens invite attacking approach shots and they receive the ball well, being moderately fast. The course is fully lit during the evening and with prices for night golf much cheaper than during the day, this can be a great way to sample the course. Playing a round of golf in the crisp evening air at Summit Green Valley Chiang Mai Country Club is a tremendous experience and one every golfer in Thailand will enjoy.
Stardome Golf Club, in Chiang Mai can be seen for miles when lit up at night
Home to the biggest driving range in northern Thailand, the Stardome Golf Club, in Chiang Mai can be seen for miles when lit up at night. This 9-hole Chiang Mai golf course is perfectly suited to night time golf and features plenty of water hazards, which combine with the sand to produce the biggest challenge on the course. Accuracy off the tee is vital for a low score here, as the fairways can be quite narrow at times and the water stretches out alongside each of them. With the floodlights on, night golf at Stardome Golf Club is a lot of fun and that’s how it should be treated. Playing a 9-hole golf course under artificial lighting is never going to be like playing a full 18-hole championship course in daylight but it is very entertaining. Coupled with the huge driving range, which is also open after dark, the Stardome Golf Club is a great place to go for a round of golf after a day of sightseeing or being in the office.
Night golf in Thailand has become a very popular activity among the locals and it’s easy to see why. There’s a great choice of golf courses to play, whether you are in Bangkok, Pattaya or in the mountainous north, you can enjoy a great round of golf after dark in Thailand. It’s possible to play a round of night golf at each of the courses mentioned above, at much lower rates than during daylight hours. Another benefit of playing night golf in Thailand is the smaller number of players who are using the golf course, meaning you can take more time over your shots and really immerse yourself in the course.
Playing night golf in Thailand is a fantastic experience and one you should try when visiting the country on a golf holiday.