by Lang Reid
Books have decided that Lang Reid must play golf, with a copy of The Complete
Guide to Golf in Thailand arriving on my desk (Blue Mango Publishing, Bangkok,
2004, ISBN 974-91847-9-3). Their editorial staff have obviously never seen me
play, or they would not have sent it. On an initial flick through, it did not
appear to have a section called “How to Instantly Improve”, but it did seem
to have everything else!
At a tad short of 300 pages, all glossy colour, it is a
weighty tome edited by Craig Witney. This gentleman is apparently the coach for
the Thailand national team and has held that position for ten years. He also is
a US PGA professional coach, so is someone who knows which end of his club to
hold as well as at which end of the course to begin. He is now several eons
beyond my golf abilities.
Basically each course covered in the guide has one page
dedicated to the contact details, address, email, etc., and then a description
of the course and a scorecard showing par for each hole and the length of the
The next page gives details as to the course designer, when
it was opened, how many holes, the nominated ‘par’ and total yardage. Green
fees for guests and visitors are given for both weekdays and weekends, plus
caddy fees, golf cart fees, which credit cards are accepted and icons for the
facilities offered. There is also a TGA Course Review Score (explained in the
editorial at the front of the book) and a map of how to get there.
The book is divided into geographical regions, being Bangkok
and Central, Pattaya and Rayong, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, Khao Yai and Nakhon
Ratchasima, Phuket and Hat Yai, Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin, and then another
called ‘Other Golf Courses’.
Interspersed through the geographical sections are other
chapters covering the editor’s views on the Best courses in Thailand,
Handicapping systems, Green speed, Professional golfers and Women’s Golf in
Thailand. At the end of the guide there is also an alphabetic index of all the
courses covered in the book.
Being a very amateur golfer, I gave the book to a fanatical
friend who plays golf at least once every week. His initial comments were that
the guide, despite its ‘Complete Guide’ title, is not ‘complete’ as
there are many courses not included. The TGA ratings scale was he felt,
subjective and consequently not all that relevant, but the detailed thumbnail
maps were excellent, as he admitted to often getting lost trying to reach new
The review copy came direct from Asia Books and the RRP is B. 795. Whilst
for the (extremely amateur) golfer such as myself, B. 795 seemed a hefty price,
for my seriously dedicated golfer friend this was not viewed as expensive.
“B. 795 is less than the price of a round of golf,” said he. He also said,
“I would probably buy it just to know where to go when I am away from
home.” A (real) golfer has spoken.