Chiang Mai Golfing Information
Chiang Mai is also known as the ‘Land of a Million Rice Fields’, and that is certainly your first impression as you ride out from your hotel to the golf course. The two courses which reflect best the traditional Chiang Mai golfing terrain are Chiang Mai Lamphun Golf Club, a championship course (yes there reallywere several held there over the years) , designed by Dr. Sukhum Sukapanpotharam, situated in the heart of the beautiful valley 30 minutes east from Chiang Mai and Lanna Sports Club, located only 10 minutes from downtown Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai Lamphun Golf Club is set a nature sanctuary in the foothills, amid an enchanting forest of golden teak trees. This 18 hole, par 72, 7,022 yard masterpiece, the official venue for the 18th Southeast Asian Games in 1995, meanders through breathtaking landscaping, mature forest, radiant flowering flora and across refreshing streams, ponds and lakes. The signature 9th hole requires an exacting tee shot to be placed between two water hazards lining the fairway and the demands a long iron shot to carry over a big pond on to a sloping green. It is a recommended Chiang Mai golf course, not to miss by any northern Thailand golfing visitor.
Lanna Sports Club, a lovely 27-hole course, adjacent to the race track, offers three distinctly unique design styles, with panoramic views of Chiang Mai's famed Doi Suthep temple on the mountain top to the west. The golf course winds through impressive boulevards of huge mature trees, skirts many large lakes and ponds, and criss-crosses numerous bubbling streams and canals. It is renowned for its cadre of skilled and lovely caddies. Lanna Sports Club, especially in the afternoon, is old Thai-style golf at its best.
The older courses also include the Royal Chiang Mai Golf Resort, designed by 5 times British Open winner Peter Thomson using elements from a British links style course. The Royal Chiang Mai also features bumpy gently rolling fairways, pot bunkers, and closely mowed areas around the greens. Also, there is the Chiang Mai Green Valley Country Club, a Dennis Griffiths designed course situated in the lowlands and only 20 minutes from downtown Chiang Mai. Green Valley’s 7,200 yards of lowland heat and humidity, tough water hazards on every hole, plenty of bunkers, and few trees, offers an unusually tough challenge. More recently constructed Chiang Mai golf courses include Mae Jo Golf Club. This beautifully designed 6,700 yard, par-72 layout has been sculpted from fertile orchards in the foothills 20 minutes north of Chiang Mai. Its lush, narrow fairways slither through the sweetly scented mango, citrus and lychee trees.
Check out the stunning vistas from the 15th tee! The Chiang Mai Highlands Golf Resort & Spa near Sankampheng’s Hot Springs is 45 minutes east of Chiang Mai and by far the best golf course in all of northern Thailand. This par-72, 7,000 yard course was opened in late 2005. Built on a ‘power spot’ – the hermitage of Kuba Sivichai (the revered monk who founded the famous temple on Doi Suthep), this very special site is breathtaking in every direction and literally tingles with an energetic aliveness. Locals believe that these sacred spots, found for the most part in Asia, continue to radiate energy long after their initial inhabitants have move on.
Gassan Khutan Golf Club and Resort is located one hour south of Chiang Mai. Khuntan means “Devil Mountain’ and this 18-hole, 7,100 yard, par-72 course created in 2004 is devilishly difficult. When you stand on the tee of the par-3, 5th hole and face a mid-iron shot to a tiny island green, in the middle of a huge lake, into the teeth of swirling winds, you will know why this course is aptly named. The extraordinary Gassan Lake City Golf and Resort, fifteen minutes south of Chiang Mai, is an 18-hole, 6,400 yard, par-72 beauty. Designed in 2005 by Gassan’s owner, noted Thai architect Pravit Reang-Po, it is a target golf and risk-reward layout. There are water hazards on every hole and whilst many of the par-4’s can be driven, danger lurks. The short approach shots to the greens demand precision and proper placement so Lake City rewards thoughtful play over pure power. Gassan Marina Golf Club and Resort at 7,600 yards is the longest course in Thailand, with all 18 holes being designed around the contour of the largest lake in Chiang Mai. Add in plenty of waterside bunkers, a backdrop of mountains, lush greenery, and you have a stunning vista to complement the golfing challenge. You will enjoy winding down in the luxury club house, which mixes European and Arabian architecture.
About Chiang Mai
The first thing to understand is that the north is distinctly different from anywhere else in the Kingdom. The region bordering Laos in the east and Myanmar in the west is home to Thailand's earliest civilization and there are still several ethnic hill tribe peoples with unique cultures, traditions, language and cuisine. The northern people are kind-hearted and generous and very polite and the women are noted for their beauty, charm, and hospitality. Chiang Mai has grown from its origins as a small northern Lanna capital and is now easily accessible.
The region is blessed with abundant natural wonders, including renowned national parks and the most famous and highest mountain range in Thailand - Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai - along with other 'doi' including Doi Suthep. Because of this, Chiang Mai is one of the locations where we locals escape to when it gets rather hot in Bangkok and the south. For example, today a cold front blasting in from China has dropped overnight temperatures to nine degrees centigrade! The north has the most beautiful winter season in Thailand. At this time of year, cool-climate flowers are all in bloom, coloring the misty mountain ranges all over the area, especially in the province of Chiang Mai, which is known as the ‘Rose of the North’. From November to February the area becomes a spectacularly exotic and romantic place to go. There are direct flights from Europe and cities around the Far East, in addition to the hourly flights from Bangkok. The airport is 15-20 minutes journey from downtown Chiang Mai. It is also possible for golfers to make the 700 kilometer journey overnight from Bangkok on the first class air-conditioned sleeper train, arriving fresh for an early morning round of golf.