Another pleasant surprise for those of you looking for a course with challenge, variety
and rolling terrain is the very scenic Narai Hill Golf Resort located around 140
km north of Bangkok. It is a little long for a one day drive but they do have rooms
and villas at a golf resort where you can overnight and make it two days of golf
and have loads of fun overnight.
The course was designed by Major Veeryot Pethbuasak and opened in 2006. Although
the Paspalum fairways are still a bit thin, especially with the recent dry season,
it has a very nice design with plenty of doglegs, bunkers, uphill and downhill holes.
Khun Veeryot also designed Suwan Country Club and Phokeethra Country Club in Cambodia,
both also excellent courses. Distances on this course are well established at 7357
from the black tees, 6825 from the blue tees and 6378 from the white tees. Thus all
golfers can select a set of tees which will present them with a good challenge.
Fairways are generous and often gently sloping so Thai golfers should listen to their
caddies and play to the appropriate side of the fairway in order to take full advantage
of the terrain. An interesting feature of the designer on this course is that many
fairways have a tree right in the middle but players should be able to hit around
or over the trees with little problem. It actually functions as a directional target.
What will really challenge golfers here are the very sloping Tifdwarf greens which
have some of the toughest breaks to read ( grain, not the slope ) and will leave
you questioning your caddie, but usually she will be correct. They are a bit firm
but will hold shots. Sand is good but a bit inconsistent in firmness from hole to
hole. The course sets up pretty well so that first timers will not be struggling
with their approach shots and wondering where the pin is on the green. The exception
is hole #18, an uphill par 4 with the approach shot over a ravine that still has
trees in it. So, early in your round as you walk past the 18th green, take note of
the slope and pin position, you will be glad you did!
The clubhouse facilities are excellent with scenic views not only from the restaurant,
but also from the locker room, a first in Thailand! In fact one can see for miles
around throughout the course which is a real contract (no pun intended) to Bangkok
itself. The caddies are all well trained which is especially impressive considering
that this is a relatively new course.