The Bonanza Golf and Country Club is about 3 hours from the centre of Bangkok to the north of Khao Yai National Park and we can only assume that the owner was a fan of the 70’s TV show. One of the great advantages of playing golf in Khao Yai is that it’s much less crowded and also much cooler than Bangkok and indeed during the winter it can get quite chilly in the early morning. The course is a classic parkland course which winds its way through the local countryside.
The opening hole is a slight dogleg right with a fairway bunker blocking the tiger line and a small green protected by a bunker along the left. This is followed by a medium-length par-3 with a wide open green but with two bunkers behind it ready for anyone who over clubs. The 3rd is a pretty boring par-4 with no bunkers at all to protect it. Things get more interesting on the par-5, 4th which is a dogleg left with a stream running along the left and then cutting across the fairway – a large fairway bunker waits along the left of the fairway and two more waiting to thwart the big hitter who fancies taking a short cut. If you can play short of the stream with your second it’s an easy wedge into the green but beware the water over the back. The 5th is another hole without any bunkers but with a water carry off the tee and three more ponds along the right you can still get into trouble. The 6th is a short par-4 with three fairway bunkers and two more protecting the green - don’t push your drive or you will end up in the water. The 78th is another bunker-less hole but with trees splitting the fairway and a green almost surrounded by water this could still cost you some strokes. The 8th is an interesting par-3 with water all along the right but you can keep left as there are no bunkers blocking your way. The 9th is a dogleg right par 5 but if you can find the fairway off the tee then its not too difficult.
The 10th is a very tricky dogleg par-4 with a stream along the left as the hole turns the corner plus a fairway bunkers as well so finding a the fairway off the tee is the key to taming this hole. The 11th is a banana-shaped par-5 with e stream all along the left and then cutting across the fairway just in front of the green. The 12th is a short par-3 but with water all the way from tee to green and three bunkers right of the green this hole is sure to cause a few nerves. The 13th has a large water hazard to the left of the tee boxes which then feeds a stream which splits the fairway in two – playing to the left fairway gives you a better angle into the green but its along water carry and fraught with danger. The 14th has water all along the left and a well-positioned fairway bunker along the right. The green is long and narrow with the water very close on the left. On the 15ht they seem to have made up for the missing bunkers on other holes with 5 fairway bunkers and four more surrounding the green – you also have to contend with a large water hazard in front of the tees. The 16th is a long par 3 with a huge bunker in front of the green. The 17th is a shorter par-4 with a wide open fairway and the main challenge is the green surrounded by four bunkers and a water hazard to the right. Slight dogleg par-4 to finish with three fairway bunkers which most decent hitters will carry to the fairway and then the green is pretty wide open.
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