Spectacularly set in a basin surrounded by mountainous jungle, Loch Palm Golf Club has been a firm favourite on the Phuket golf tour since its inception in 1993. More straightforward than some of its more illustrious competitors - but still with enough challenges to test golfers of all abilities thanks largely to the loch itself - this is a hugely enjoyable course.
Keeping your ball out of water should be your main objective, and if you can achieve this first time around then you are ahead of the curve. On the front nine the loch and its associated tributaries are frequently in play, often cutting into the fairway ensuring that even the straightest of drives can end up being punished. Off line you can also find yourself amongst the numerous palm trees which helped give the course its name, but they are never so densely packed together that recovery is impossible. The 4th hole, a long par three over water to a semi-island green, is the pick of the front 9.
The most memorable holes come towards the end. The 14th is a short par-3 with an elevated tee shot to an island green; it is tricky to pick the right club, and it takes some time to find out if you made the right choice as your ball seems to hang in the air for eternity before (hopefully) finding the safety of the green. The 16th is another par-3 where anything right will be swallowed up by water and a sloping two-tier green means that not all balls that land on the green stay there.
While the overall condition of the course is excellent, particularly given much traffic it sees, one small complaint is the inconsistency of the greens. A few of them have been relaid and play much faster, which means it can be easy to get caught out. Thankfully the caddies are excellent, so we suggest you pay attention to what they suggest!
Loch Palm can get very crowded at weekends so midweek play is advisable. The clubhouse has been recently renovated and the changing rooms, pro-shop and the restaurant are all excellent. There’s also a unique driving range where you hit floating balls over a lake.
A small on-site resort caters for those wanting to stay overnight and hit the course early in the morning, but if you’re including Loch Palm Golf Club on your Phuket golf holiday, you’re better off staying in one of the beach areas where there’s more to do.