As mentioned in previous blogs Sam the guy who had become my Khon Kaen golfing bezzie (I had probably forced this upon him) had took me under his wing and in the brief time I had left here he was gonna make sure I played all the courses around this lovely city, the ones worth playing anyway. Every Monday and Friday there were a lovely group of gentlemen who called themselves Issan Golf who met up at Si Bourirak also known as “The Agg”. Sam admittedly said it wasn’t the top notch course like Ubolratana Dam and no way near like the standard of Singha Park (yet to blog about) but he said it would be a nice relaxed round of golf at a local golf course with some good chilled out guys and that’s exactly what it was. As you drove into the car park of The Agg it had a similar feel to the underwhelming Sri Thani Forest in Udon Thani, the caddies all gathered in a mere shed the clubhouse was on open sided shack and the shop was also a less than overwhelming building. My first thoughts were “oh no not another Sri Thani Forest”, but first thoughts were to be quite deceiving. This course albeit 9 hole was full of charm, personality and funnily enough greens to die for, so much better than Dancoon, the only down side really were the horrific bunkers, and if only they smartened the bunkers up this little 9 holer would be quite the charmer.
The first hole was a fairly simple dogleg right over water quite uninspiring really if you hit a good drive you would have a very short chip into the green, but after the first this charming little 9 hole course really came to life, the second being a good testing long straight par 4 with a couple of trees down the left hand side of the fairway and if you were prone to a fade or slice you must be careful of the water to the right (for right handed golfers). Then for me came the most charming par 3 I had played in a long time, whether it was the rather ugly looking lake in front of the green, or the rickety bridge over to the green that looked as if anytime soon it could collapse there was something about this par 3 that you had to love. The green would be one of the hardest I have ever come to putt on, with a severe down slope back towards the water and especially second time round after the sun had baked this green it became a very testing par 3.
The quite uninspiring 1st hole, then the charms of this course came to life with the bridge to walk over to the par 3 3rd, the par 3 3rd green and the approach shot into the 2nd.
The fourth would then become a really testing but quite open par 5 with a selection of tall trees down the left hand side of the fairway that guides you to the green, after this you had to take a slight walk past the first tee, around the shop to the lovely quite short par 4 with plenty of traps including a tall yet narrow lovely looking tree that bears down on your tee shot, pick left or right of this tree, left for safety, right for the greedier golfer, if you go right beware of the water trap down to the right. The 6th again is a tricky yet shortish par 4 with a dog leg to the left and if you hit a good 200 yards you’d be at the corner of the dogleg with a mere 130 in. For me though the conclusion to this par 9 course is fantastic the 8th was a stunning quirky par 5, but you got to keep it straight, go left and you are not finding the ball and if you go right you’ll probably end up in some water, and perfectly positioned about 150 from the green is the tail of the water so you’ve either gotta be brave and clear it or if your game is a bit shorter be a wimp and and lay up. The 9th is the signature hole, although for me the 3rd is ore interesting, like the third it had water to the front of the green, but this par 3 9th looked more man made and crafted to be nicer on the eye, which is probably the reason I preferred the more natural setting of the 3rd. It’s a bigger hit in and the green is generous in size. All I can say about this course (barring the bunkers) is if you are in the Khon Kaen area you must play this course, it costs about £10 and for me was the best course in terms of being so charmingly quirky, but if you want the picture perfect standard 18 hole courses you generally get here in Thailand don’t be expecting too much. If you also fancy joining some lovely guys here look up Issangolf.com and they will greet you with open arms.
The lovely approach shot into the 5th green par 4 and the testing par 5 8th.
Looking back from the large 9th green towards the tee box.