Why? Because The Lido was designed by two architectural greats of its own era; C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor. They based each of its 18 holes on a landmark hole somewhere else in golf’s universe. Now Hanse has repeated the trick in south Thailand.
North Berwick’s Redan hole, for example, with its fiendishly tilted green designed to repel all tee shots, is replicated in Ballyshear’s 16th. The well-guarded Eden Hole at St Andrews shows up in the 3rd, while the green-bisecting gully that characterizes so-called “Biarritz holes” (named after the French course on which the feature first appeared) is incorporated in the 8th. Not everyone will welcome the Alps layout made famous by the 17th at Prestwick, calling as it does for a blind approach shot, but it’s immortalized once more in Ballyshear’s 10th.
And so it goes on, the challenge never more daunting than at the 606-yard 4th, where two fairways sit amid water and sandy waste. You can play safe to the larger fairway or trust your club and aim at the smaller one to shorten the hole considerably.
For all that these are proven hole layouts, the course is a bold step and a world away from most Thai courses. Angular greens and bunkers and the vast splashes of sand give Ballyshear an unmissable ‘throwback’ look.
By contrast, the understated clubhouse is a modern design and will eventually be joined by a hotel and state-of-the-art practice area.