Most of the following was written by a visitor to this site who is familiar with playing golf in the Hat Yai area. I have added a few photos, some comments from personal observation and some extra information. If you have anything to add, your feedback is always welcome.
There are five golf courses in the vicinity of Hat Yai and two in the vicinity of Songkhla. The information given below is correct as at February 2011. However, some details in respect to green fees and other charges may not be correct when you turn up at the course.
All the courses are pay and play. All the courses seem to be, one way or another, under severe financial restraint. Rumours from the local golfing community indicate that all of the courses in Hat Yai run at a loss and a half decent offer to the owners may secure for you, your own golf course albeit operating at a loss. The exception is the military course which I understand can't be sold.
One point to remember is that several courses allow six ball games which usually involve betting between the players and are desperately slow if behind them. Have a buggy and the caddy will dodge round them returning back later in the round to complete the missed holes.
Please ensure any driver knows exactly the course you want to play and the route to take. I have been taken to the wrong course despite my Thai wife instructing the driver. On another occasion the driver got hopelessly lost.
Tip Caddies Bt200 for 18 holes. Caddies don't speak much English, best to tip on 18th green.
Southern Hills Golf and Country Club
128 Moo 8 Kanchanavonich Road, Bannpru
The best known and it has its own web site. The course has two par 3 island greens. One may be acceptable but two!! Probably my favourite despite the amount of water but unless you are a tour professional or low handicap player use the forward tees or even the ladies tees on the more demanding holes. No point in proving the capability of placing a tee shot in water. One very elevated tee and unless there is a point to be made, play from the fairway below the tee.
Phone: +66 (0)87 455 3683
Web Site: Southern Hills Golf and Country Club
Taxi fare from Hat Yai return approximately Bt1,000 and the driver will probably wait.
Green fees - best to phone first. Reduced green fees on sport days. Buggy Bt600. Caddy Bt180 per 18 holes.
Hat Yai Resort and Golf Club (previously known as Exclusive Club)
Ton Nga Chang Waterfall, Hat Yai, Songkhla
P.O. Box 152, Post Office Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand 90110.
Again, a lot of water. Same guidance as above. Lay-up if in any doubt.
This 'club' was obviously part of a grand scheme. The clubhouse is vast resembling a hotel from the front. Viewed from the back reveals that above ground level the building is unfinished and appears to be unfinished for several decades.
A pleasant course worthy of a couple of rounds during a stay in Hat Yai. It is the farthest of all the courses from town. Phone for sport days (normally Tuesday and Wednesday).
Phone: +66 (0)74 434770-3
Fax: +66 (0)74 434778
Taxi fare from Hat Yai approximately Bt1100. Taxi driver will wait because of distance from town.
Green fees: Normal Bt600; Sport days (Tuesday/Wednesday) Bt300; Saturday/Sunday Bt900. Buggy Bt600. Caddy Bt180.
If driving yourself from Hat Yai, drive through Hat Yai Nai towards Rattaphum and Satun. About 13km out of town you will see signs for Tone Nga Chang waterfall.
Turn left towards the waterfall and turn left again after about 2.1km. The golf club is about 3.5km down this road on the left. I only saw one sign to the club and it was in Thai, which is a problem if you don't read Thai.
I used a GPS to find it the first time and this makes life very easy. If driving in Thailand a GPS is a very worthwhile investment.
From the club brochure:
Hat Yai Resort & Golf Club, 30 minutes from Hat Yai, one of the most scenic and challenging championship golf courses in the south of Thailand, was opened in 1993. Boasting 18 superbly conditioned holes, the course represents a breath-taking challenge to golfers of all levels.
With par 72 and measuring 6,910 yards from the back tee and 6,064 yards from the front tee, the course features plenty of water and lakes. Many of the holes have been carved out of the palm plantation, thus using the existing natural splendour to enhance the experience of playing a round of golf against a stunning mountainous backdrop.
The club house features an atmospheric restaurant that enables visitors to sample and enjoy some delicious Thai food as well as some international dishes. The famous Thai hospitality is well in evidence, as is a sense of pride in offering all our visitors a genuine welcome. If you are a golfer at heart, there is no doubt that you will enjoy the complete experience in "Hat Yai Resort & Golf Club."
Tongthai Ban Rai Golf (previously known as Hat Yai Country Club)
Highway Hatyai-Sadao Kanjanavanich Road at approximately 10K from Town
Purchased by a 'rubber baron' a few years back after a series of owners. Originally a 9 hole course but a further 9 holes were added approximately three years ago.
The 'new' 9 holes I enjoyed on my previous visit but in 2011 the 'new' 9 are not being played. I was told that they needed maintenance, but I just wonder if the baron grew tired of the cost of maintaining 18 holes and reverted to the 9 hole lay-out.
Not too demanding but take care at the third. A tree is in the centre of the fairway at about 80 yards from the tee. Out of bounds to the left and water to the right. Again a large clubhouse upper floors unused. Obviously fallen into hard times. Has a swimming pool but I am told it is never used.
Phone: +66 (0)74 553660-2
Mobile: +66 (0)86 598 1138
Green fees: 9 holes Bt150 (Week days) Bt250 (weekends). Caddy Bt100. Buggy Bt300
Green fees: 18 holes Bt250 (Week days) Bt450 (weekends). Caddy Bt180. Buggy Bt500
Taxi fare depends on your bargaining power. No need for taxi to remain.
Update April 2011: Upon visiting the course, I was told the green fees are as follows:
Monday, Friday Bt200
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Bt250
Saturday, Sunday Bt450
Caddy fees were confirmed at Bt180 and golf cart rental was the same as the figures above.
The swimming pool has not undergone any maintenance or cleaning for a considerable length of time and is unusable. I found it all a little sad.
As you drive into the course it is very tranquil and pleasant. In many other countries somewhere like this would be referred to as a 'Country Club' and the membership fees would be quite expensive.
In Thailand there are so few paying customers that everything looks neglected and many facilities have fallen into disrepair. Whereas most golf courses would be swarming with golfers on a Sunday morning, I hardly saw anyone playing.
As I parked the car a caddy rushed up to greet me and help me with my clubs. Unfortunately I had only come to look around, and not to play. He seemed genuinely disappointed.
When I arrived in Thailand I thought that my golfing days were over, but after visiting some very pleasant courses and seeing how few golfers there are it makes me want to play again. It's cheap and there aren't many places where you would get this level of personal service.
Update February 2012: The new 9 have now been brought into play. As usual with Hatyai courses there is a fair amount of water but shot selection is not too difficult. The condition of the fairways on the additional 9 is better than the original 9 but there are no "facilities" or drinks stations. A very pleasant additional 9 even for high handicap players.
Korhong Golf Club ( also known as the military course or assault course)
Built next to a military camp by the military. This 9 hole course is the closest to downtown. It also has a practice range. The third hole, exemplifies the machismo of golf. From the tee it is a 160 yard carry across a pond. There is no safe way out or possibility of laying-up. I can't hit a golf ball with a carry of 160 yards but I tried and lost a ball in the pond at approximately 150 yards. Sense dictates to tee-off from the fairway the other side of the pond in the area of the ladies tee. There is a further pond in front of the green. A hole to consider all options. I understand the military started work to extend to 18 holes but the money ran out. Worth a visit if only to say you played the assault course.
Phone: +66 (0)74 219050 extension 44345
Green fees: 9 holes Bt200. Caddy Bt100. Buggy Bt400
Green fees: 18 holes Bt240. Caddy Bt180. Buggy Bt600
Taxi fare depends on your bargaining power.
Update February 2012: The additional 9 holes have been opened and are in play. Once again the military course designers have demonstrated that they believe all golfers are either tour professionals or single handicap players. One par 5 bottle necks to a fairway of approximately 50m wide with water on the right and deep rough on the left. Some of the carries over water both from the tees and from fairway shots are very long probably in excess of 140m. Be prepared to lose many balls. I have a feeling that many weekend golfers will find the new 9 too much as there are no safe shots to anyone playing a regulation round and who can not achieve the long carries over water which the new 9 require.
Air Force Course
Said to be in the location of Hat Yai Airport. I have never played this course. I understand admission is by invitation only, from an Air Force Officer. Within the Hat Yai golfing community this course is not rated as there are no caddies and no buggies.
Thongyai Golf Course
Samila Beach. First tee adjacent to BP Samila Beach. A 9 hole course which is derided by many weekend golfers who pretend to be tour professionals. It is a golf course and for the green fee what do you expect! I like it because I can leave my wife in the hotel and walk to the first tee. No need of cars. Fairways not up to much so play preferred lies and enjoy the round.
Green fees: Bt150 9 holes. Caddy Bt100. No buggy.
Navy Golf Course
Rumour has it that the Royal Thai Navy has a course in Songkhla. I have no knowledge of it, so explore.
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