Sri Thani Golf Forest, Udon Thani, Thailand.

So eventually after the awful experience of Victory Park I had managed to badger myself a game in Udon Thani province north east Thailand. Fortunately through the powers of Facebook I managed to get hold of a lovely chap called Gary Parks who arranged for someone to bring me some golf clubs. I got the taxi drive from my hotel to the golf course it took about 25minutes from the centre of Udon and it was a lovely drive around big lakes and proper Thai villages I immediately knew this was going to be a different experience to all the others I had. After being awake all night with what I might call Udon Thani Tom Tits (the sh*ts) and trouble with knowing if my stomach was ready to explode at any minute and on top of using a new set of golf clubs, and a seemingly nosey old chap from Birmingham constantly telling me where I was going wrong this was to be the biggest mental test in golf I had thrown myself into, but I was adamant I was gonna enjoy being in this rural setting. If you get the gist my golfing performance was horrific so let’s talk about the experience of the course.

Firstly you drive down the driveway to what can be described as a few wooden shacks and some scruffy looking caddies about  (this place doesn’t need caddies). The shop wasn’t open so Gary and the lads said it was ok to play and pay after so we continued ahead. The first tee was split by water and you couldn’t differentiate the fairway from the rough saying that you couldn’t differentiate the fairway from the rough over the whole course and with a good drive you’d only have a small wedge in to the greens that were very slow. Now from what I was used to playing here in Thailand I was bit underwhelming but I was going to enjoy the company of Scotty and Ari who were perfect playing partners especially when I couldn’t find the swing and I had to try and erase the other guy out of my head I’m not even gonna mention his name. My highlights from the course were the 4th par 4 that had a nice little dogleg on it and the par 5 6th that was the most difficult par 5 I had seen, it was long, it had a dog leg and if you were over the green by the smallest of margins your ball was gone into the water. My ball pitched on the green took the most horrific bounce never to be seen again, and with the fairways being as long as the rough you couldn’t really chip and run into any of these greens. Then I got to the 9th and realised it was only a 9 hole golf course so we played 9 twice. I can’t complain too much about this course with a green fee of just over a fiver and if I was living in this area I would certainly play it again for practicing purposes, but I would be damned paying for a caddy that did nothing. If you are in the area and you want a cheap round of golf then by no means go here, but like me if your looking for something more overwhelming then leave this one alone. I would like to mention though the wonderful Gary Parks who organised for me to join his wonderful group of men (apart from one) for a nice Monday morning sociable round, he is a true gent and I hope to see him in the future for a round.

The par 3 3rd. Tough par 3 especially from the blues, didn’t see any of the usual lads perform well on this.

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The opening hole, If it wasn’t for the green you wouldn’t know it was a golf course.

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Don’t be long into this green there is a lake the other side that beautiful looking tree makes it look like you have more room that you actually have. IMG_4404

 

Mountain Shadow, Chon Buri, Thailand.

It was Monday morning, I’d had a steady Sunday evening and I was feeling good we proceeded into the 50 minute drive to Mountain Shadow and again I was partnered with me old mate Trevor, a lovely guy from Oz in his 60’s, an expat who lived in Pattaya. The other two were Japanese guys who spoke very little English but with smiles from ear to ear you knew they were chilled, the weather was great a little hot but hey this is Thailand.

The clubhouse was the worst of the lot and needed loads of tlc, apparently this course was bankrupt and was repossessed by the Bangkok bank. The first tee was a little dogleg right with a tight fairway, I was confident, pulled it into the trees, the second hit another coconut tree, the third over the other side of the fairway scrambled onto the green two putted for a 6. I went from that lovely relaxed calm feeling to frustration in a matter of minute’s. The second another little par four, my heads a mess, I hit the first slice into the trees, next into the bunker, thins out over the green scrambles a 7. Holy shit this was gonna be a bad day. We all know this is what golf does to you the round was horrendous got 20 points the course was difficult, tight long roughs and I was having a mare. I made my mind up to just enjoy where I was, this time I had no buggy, I got to the 8th and thought I was going to die, I seriously questioned my lifestyle decisions at this point whilst Trevor in his 60’s was just strolling around making me look a dickhead. It was one of the hardest rounds I’d ever played. I Was exhausted, my mind was blown, my swing was shot to bits and I was ready for beer.

As for the course, It was lovely, as I said the clubhouse needed work and there were a few things going on, but this course is not for the faint hearted, thick strong roughs you really need to get a swing through it here in Thailand and the fairways were tight and lined with coconut trees, but nevertheless it was lovely.

Highlights of two challenging par 5’s in particular the 14th a long dogleg left hugging a lake all the way to the green. A couple of stunning Par 3’s over water particularly a long 150+ carry over the lake.

The beautifully cut yet narrow fairways of Mountain Shadow (well we all need an excuse).