Royal Ratchaburi Golf Club
Designer: At-anan Yomchinda
Course: 18 holes Par 72
Distance: 60 minutes from Hua Hin
About the course
This is a surprisingly good golf course set between some big, forest-clad hills. It’s busy at weekends and sometimes after lunch during the week, but the effort to play this one is well worth it.
The layout has the two out and back nine holes split by the hills of Khao Rang and Khao Chong-Lao. Most fairways are tree lined with several also sporting forest. It’s a well designed course with few dull straight holes and excellent use of the natural relief.
Playing the course: Blue tees
The 1st 471 yards par 5 is a dog-leg left up a hill for the drive and then down over a rise for the second. Both sides are forest clad and a bunker defends the right side to catch the shorter hitter. Smack a good draw off the tee and you have a chance to get on in two for an eagle.
However, the green takes some negotiation as it slopes sharply from right to left and from the back to the front. Put your second or third shot too far right and you face one of the most wicked breaks in the country!
The 13th 498 yards par 5 is superbly designed, regardless of the tee box used. The left is guarded by trees and a large bunker, the right is lined with a lake. It’s best to play for the heart of the fairway, which is essentially a landing area, but anything too big or right will get you wet. The second shot is tricky, as the lake comes round back into the fairway and big bunkers force this shot to be a good one. There’s little respite from the sloped green and a tier in the middle makes a back pin hard to get at.
The 18th 325 yards par 4 can be a ‘Card Wrecker’ if driving is not your strong suit. Lined by thick bamboo trees left and hilly forest to the right, it’s a narrow drive to a more open landing area once the hill bends off right, but you need to be big enough off the tee to get into the open, so a fairway wood might be the answer.
There’s a choice of greens, which is fun as they’re very different. The one to the right is up the hill and the one straight ahead is slightly downhill, but almost completely surrounded by bunkers.