Situated on the magnificent Dok Krai reservoir's bank, the five-year-old Nick Faldo
designed Great Lake Golf & Country Club is truly magnificent. However, although the
club could have easily relied on Dok Krai's water for its natural hazards, Faldo
has also incorporated an astonishing 120 bunkers into its design eleven of which
can be found along the par-four 18th, the course's most famous hole. Clubhouse and
local hotel facilities are of the usual very high standard. A lot of golf course
designers tell us that they design courses that will suit all levels of golfer, but
few seem to work out that way. Great Lake does. If this is typical of Nick Faldo's
work, then I want to play more of his courses.
It really is a classic mix of tough, medium, and easy holes. The start is gentle
with 2 shortish par 4's and a short dogleg par 5 in the first 3 holes. You are then
met with the stroke index 1 hole; the 4th, a 436 yd's par 4, is a cracker and very
original hole, with water on the right off the tee. A decent drive is required both
in length and accuracy. The second shot is to a very narrow green with water on the
left and bunkers and trees on the right. Your approach must be extremely accurate
to have any chance of par. Among the Pattaya golf society's, this is known as one
of the toughest holes in the area and a par here will feel like a birdie, but in
my mind it is an example that tough holes can be fun holes.
From here, the course continues in the same vein; a couple of par 3's across water
between some dogleg par 4's and par 5's are all a pleasure to play but beware the
last three holes. The par 3 16th at 158 yd's seem easy enough but the way the green
is sited, it is very difficult to judge the distance, the 17th is a 553 yd par 5,
which from the tee looks straightforward but the twist this time is bunkers, and
loads of them, depending on where you are playing your second from, it can sometimes
seem that there is only sand between you, and the green, in the distance. A good
caddy here is essential.
The finishing hole is probably as tough as the infamous 4th but it doesn't seem to
have the same score wrecking abilities, at 453 yd's this is a tough par 4 that requires
two really good hits, a good finishing hole.
Though the course has always been in good condition, go off the fairway and you could
have any sort of lie, this is mainly due to the state of the Thai economy and the
lack of funds to finish the surrounding areas. It is for this same reason that there
is a small Temporary Clubhouse but it is certainly more than adequate.
If you are looking for an enjoyable game of golf in the Pattaya area, I recommend
you give Great Lake a visit.