Beautiful holes continue to unfold from elevated tees as illustrated by the lovely par-four 10th at the Banyan Golf Club. (Photo by Robert S. Fagan)
If you want to explore the best golf in Thailand, your journey must surely include the Banyan Golf Club of Hua Hin. Located in rustic rural surrounds meandering through native pineapple groves and jungle just a few minutes from downtown Hua Hin, this 2008 layout does, indeed, vie for the Country’s best and compares with any in the Asia Pacific region.
Hua Hin has its roots as the home of Thai Royalty and here you will find a golf experience fit for a king (or queen).
Big bold bunkering and scenic vistas greet you as you step beyond the modern clubhouse facilities to the first tee. Your heart quickens. As you survey your opening tee shot, you immediately realize that you’re in for a treat. There is water that comes into play, but more as creeks as opposed to larger bodies. Nonetheless, the water and the bunkering is quite strategic and definitely defines the challenge.
The first tee shot on the par-four dogleg right at the Banyan Golf Club is enough to get you excited… as are the views to the right below! (Both photos by Robert S. Fagan)
From the tips, Banyan boast championship credentials on its 7,361-yard frame and slope/rating of 137/75.2, but that would miss the essence of the layout. It was designed by the team from GolfEast and really hits the mark. From the many elevated tees, you are greeted with exhilarating vistas – some with wide fairway thoroughfares defined by imposing bunkering and several others routed amongst corridors of trees.
The spectacular Thai scenery is on display from any spot at the Banyan Golf Club of Hua Hin. (Photo by Robert S. Fagan)
The quartet of one-shotters is particularly impressive. You are introduced to them early on at the 217-yard downhill second that requires you to place your initial shot on the putting surface if you hope to safely secure par. The brawny 253-yard 4th over water features a much more expansive green, while the uphill 237-yard 17th is a definite test both getting on the green and then down in two putts.
Whether from a forward tee or the tips at 217 yards, the shot down from the elevated tee at the second hole signals that the game is on! (Photo by Robert S. Fagan)
While I detest the term “signature hole,” Banyan proudly points to the shortest hole, the slightly downhill 147- yard 15th as theirs. It is typically just a short iron, but includes not only a jungle backdrop, but a view of the not-too-distant Gulf of Thailand in the left background. It’s an engaging little hole with a putting surface that falls away and an imposing bunker just short, right.
You can catch a glimpse of the Gulf of Thailand only at the 15th tee at the Banyan Golf Club. (Photo by Robert S. Fagan)
In contrast, most of the views that the Banyan Golf Club offers are of the distant Burmese Mountains as the gentle landscape spills away from the clubhouse into the valley and wooded areas – a relative dreamscape that is excellently manicured. The putting surfaces are smooth and quick, while the plush Zoysia fairways are nearly perfect. While many holes feature expansive hitting areas, many play a bit tighter due to the abundant bunkering. A few such as the beautiful 430-yard 10th spell danger as jungle terrain captures shots immediately off the fairway. I count that hole as well as the 413-yard 16th among many favorites, but perhaps Banyan’s best feature is its variety of holes and its flow. You never encounter the same look or challenge twice, and some are not too difficult providing a welcome pause.
Golfers must be precise with their tee shots as well as approaches on the downhill par-four 16th. (Both photos by Robert S. Fagan)
Unless you fancy yourself a powerfully skilled player, I heartily recommend that you tackle no more than the “White Tees,” which will still provide more than enough challenge at around the 6,300-yard mark. And another nice feature is that the course is walkable.
The clubhouse complex at the Banyan Golf Club of Hua Hin is as inviting as it is luxurious and comfortable. (Photo by Robert S. Fagan)
As is usually the case in Thailand, a well-trained female caddy corp enhances your golf experience in addition to the cart-supplied GPS, while the modern, attractive clubhouse and locker facilities assure both a pleasant pre and post-round experience. Drink spots are located by the 5th and 15th tee boxes along with Mulligan’s Pub situated above the 1st tee and 9th green. Once finished, you might enjoy the Terrace Restaurant with its all-day Thai, Asian, and international cuisine and a nice wine selection from its wine cellar.
Everything considered, the Banyan Golf Club of Hua Hin with its stunning facilities proved a worthwhile surprise and a must-play course in Thailand!
Below: your trip to Hua Hin, Thailand will be rewarded by a visit to play the Banyan Golf Club of Hua Hin, and this strong par-four final hole here will not disappoint you! (Photos by Robert S. Fagan)