Thai Golf Excursion - June 2009 revision

 
  Well folks, another trip in the books. We did see, or hear about, a few demonstrations (mostly in Bangkok), but nothing in Pattaya. Tourism did seem down. We also ran into another government sponsored non-drinking event (some holiday or another). We are not having a lot of luck when it comes to that. Attendees were; OC, TJ, Teddy, Wayne, and myself. Wayne brought his mother and her husband to Thailand and Miles did play a couple of rounds with us (first time playing for Miles, started off pretty good... then nothing).

We played 7 different courses this year. 11 rounds in 13 days (6 in a row the first week and 5 in a row the second), we did not play the day we arrived or the day we left, we also took the weekend off in the middle.

We played these rounds with the Golden Ferret Golf Society (Peter's on Soi 7, Soi 7 Fun Bar). This is a kind of interesting setup. You can sign up for golf the day before or just show up. It isn't bad, Peter includes breakfast in the morning and a beer after the round. His costs include the green fees, caddie fees, prizes, required carts on the courses, and transportation. We figured the cost and they do not differ much with our regular tour company. Peter treated OC, Wayne, Teddy, and me to a lamb shanks dinner, it was really good (for those of you who don't know Peter, he was a chef in another life).

The day would start out; walk to the club and eat breakfast; load up the vans for the trip to the golf course; play golf; some would shower after the round and eat something while Peter would figure out the scores for the day; load up the van for the trip back to the club; arrive at the club and have a beer and get any winnings you deserved (I know deserved is a questionable term); we would end the day either passing out in the room (me most of the time, the heat beat me up this trip) or going out to dinner, resting and then partying till the wee hours of the morning (right OC?).

There were a number of birdies this trip, one guess which one of us got most. TJ actually started out first in the birdie run this time. I think I started second, and then, well let's just not talk about it ok. There were two eagles this trip, read further on the courses for the details.

Peter would figure out the scores using the Stableford method, and OC could not help himself, he kept winning, and Peter would have to keep lowering his handicap. Wayne for some odd reason had the same thing happen, but I do not think he believed that it should. By the end of the trip, OC went down from an 11 to a 7 handicap, and Wayne dropped from a 22 to a 18. If you win; you lose handicap strokes; if you lose you gain 0.2 strokes per loss. Brits, what do you do with them…

On with the courses:
  • (1) Laem Chabang - great course. We have played this course several times in the past and have always had a good time. Lots of trouble here depending on the courses you draw. The Bermuda grass can be a killer. This course is also one of the more expensive courses we played, but well worth the money.
  • (2 & 3) Pleasant Valley (new course, twice) - I tried to walk this course the first time, but could only make about 6 of the holes, the heat just took me to task. This is a brand new course. The club house is not even finished; they do have a temporary club house. While the course was pretty interesting, it is not ready for prime time. It is a very interesting layout, there are some pretty interesting shots you need to make on some of the holes; one over a waste area of about 200 to 210 yards (played this course twice, and I could never get over that damn waste area), and a par 5 that is pretty short, but with lots of waste area that inhibits your shot selection. They have "inside the course OB", but we tried to talk with the management to change the OB area to hazards that require you pickup your ball and drop in the proper fairway. Peter and I both mentioned that to the course's management. It would definitely help the speed of play. Peter believes that it will be a premier course for the area once everything is finished and the trees have grown in. I think that is a pretty good assumption. Memorable moment; I knocked the ball in from about 60 yards for par.
  • (4) Emerald - (walked)
  • (5) Putalang (navy course) - This was the first time we were able to get carts at the beginning of the round.
  • (6 & 7) Bangphra (twice) - a Japanese course. This was a pleasant this time. The course was greener than we have ever seen it, and the monkeys were not much of a problem. They were there, but were fewer. Most of the caddies have sling-shots and the course has employed a number of dogs that love monkey legs.
  • (8) St. Andrews 2000 - a good course, and was in good shape. This course has two par sixes, over 800 yards. This course has about everything, water, sand, and trouble everywhere. Again another expensive course. Memorable moments: OC eagled one of the par 6 holes and Wayne eagled the last par 5, this was on the same day (oh yea, they both got birdies this round as well).
  • (9) Phoenix - closest to Pattaya, although the Siam courses are pretty close too. Phoenix was a good day.
  • (10 & 11) Rayong Green Valley (twice) - this course is next to St. Andrews. I walked this course the first time. Course was in good shape. There is nothing really long about this course; it just seems to have a lot of sand, water, and loads of trouble. The course is a little expensive, but that is, most likely, because it is next to Andrews (actually part of the same course). Memorable moment: I knocked the ball in from about 80 yards out for a birdie the first time we played this course.
That was it for our scheduled courses. You can find out more information about all these courses at www.thaigolfer.com.

Well, that will have to do for now. If I get more ambitious I may put out an addendum (yea go figure).

Expenses: (rough estimates)

Airfare = $360 ThaiAir
Hotel = $338, includes 14.5 days @ 750 THB, and maid's tip
Golf = $936, includes green fees, caddie fees, caddie tips, and cart fees for 11 rounds
Transportation = $60, to and from the airports for both Thailand (includes driver tip) & Korea


Phil…