Two of the top-rated golf courses on Phuket and one of Bangkok’s leading public access courses have joined Thailand’s Golf In A Kingdom destination-marketing program.
Loch Palm Golf Club and Red Mountain Golf Club, which are located next to each other in the Kathu region of Phuket, and Riverdale Golf Club in Bangkok’s northern suburbs are owned and operated by MBK Public Company, which has a large portfolio of leisure industry properties and the iconic MBK shopping centre in Bangkok.
The trio’s entry brings to 12 the number of golf course members in Golf In A Kingdom. With 13 hotel and resort members, as well as the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Golf In A Kingdom’s 26 members comprise the largest and most successful golf tourism alliance in Asia.
“We are delighted to have such a prestigious golf course owner as MBK join Golf In a Kingdom,” said GIAK founder, Mark Siegel. “Golf In A Kingdom now includes golf and hotel/resort members in all ofThailand’s major golf tourism destinations. With the addition of two excellent golf courses on Phuket, we have joined the dots and now represent all the best golf and golf-related properties in the kingdom.”
Loch Palm Golf Club, the first golf course in MBK’s extensive leisure portfolio, has been considerably upgraded since it was acquired in 2004. The par 72, 6555-yard layout is set in a valley around Crystal Lake, the largest lake on any golf course on Phuket. Unsurprisingly, it features palms and water on 13 of its 18 holes. The back nine features some hilly terrain as the layout rises away then falls back towards the water.
Red Mountain Golf Club, created by Thai-based Jon Morrow of Morrow Tikkanen Golf Course Design, has developed a formidable reputation among golfers since it opened three years ago. Although just a kilometre from Loch Palm, the landscape is very different on the 6900-yard layout.
Set is a former tin mine, the course features dramatic elevation changes and stark colour contrasts of rich red rock cliffs, verdant green fairways and foliage and blue water. The course’s signature hole, the par-3 17th, has an elevation drop of 40 metres from tee to green and is followed by a long, dramatic par-5 to the clubhouse.
New on-site accommodation, comprising 45 superior and deluxe rooms in the Tinidee Hotel complex, have been built at Loch Palm, which is 15 minutes’ drive from Patong, the main tourist centre on Phuket.
Riverdale Golf Club, located in the Pathum Thani district of northern Bangkok, is a delightful addition to public-access golf in the Thai capital. Just 30 minutes’ drive from downtown, the 7006-yard course (from the back tees) opened for play in 2010 .
Also designed by Jon Morrow and Al Tikkanen, it is set in a bowl on former rice-paddy land. Striking bunkering, often interspersed with native grasses, natural wetlands and tricky green positions make it one of the most enjoyable courses in the city.
A modern, low-slung clubhouse provides a perfect view of the course, especially the first and 18th holes that string away from and back to the distinctive white building.
Welcoming the three MBK courses’ entry into Golf In A Kingdom, the managing director of MBK Golf, Somboon Wongassamee, says the company’s attention to quality and service is a trademark of its approach to golf course management.
“Even though Riverdale is one of the busiest courses in Bangkok, we never overbook,” he explains. “Everyone who goes there can be assured they will start on time and finish on time.”
His advice to golf visitors to Thailand is to make sure they play Riverdale and Red Mountain at least once – and visit MBK shopping centre in downtown Bangkok for a memorable retail experience.
Members of Golf In A Kingdom are: Banyan Golf Club, Black Mountain Golf Club,ChiangMaiHighlands, Loch Palm Golf Club, Laem Chabang International Country Club, Muang Kaew Red Mountain Golf Club, Siam Country Club (Plantation Course and Old Course), Thai Country Club.
Golf course members of Golf In A Kingdom are: Banyan Golf Club and Black Mountain Golf Club, Hua Hin; Siam Country Club Old Course and Plantation Course, and Laem Chabang, Pattaya; Thai Country Club, Muang Kaew Golf Club and Riverdale Golf Club, Bangkok; Loch Palm Golf Club and Red Mountain Golf Club, Phuket; and Chiang Mai Highlands, Chiang Mai.
Hotel and resort members are: Banyan Resort, Hilton Hua Hin Resort and Veranda Resort & Spa, Hua Hin/Ch-am; Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort and Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa, Phuket; Veranda Resort & Spa and The Chedi, Chiang Mai; Millennium Hilton and The St Regis,Bangkok.
Golf In A Kingdom www.golfinakingdom.com