The 18-hole course, set in a valley, runs through forest, undulating hills and flat country. Water comes into play at seven holes, and there are 54 bunkers. It could never be called daunting and offers the prospect of a relatively low score. On the other hand, the nine-hole course (par 38) is a true test for golfers of all standards. Only one hole is free from having water in play, and there are 27 bunkers.
Phuket Country Club New Course
BLUE 575 YELLOW 550 WHITE 515 RED 425
No easy start. The first tee looks out over lakes, and the fairway of this par five seems a long way across the water. Water also lies left and right, with a series of bunkers alongthe left. Bushes guard the edge of the water on the right. From mid-fairway, pines and a bunker intrude on the right with out-of-bounds beyond and water again left. The green is surrounded by bunkers and mounds. The water's ragged edge and diagonal lines make judgement difficult. The green slopes and rolls a long way back, about 40 yards.
Another daunting prospect. Water cuts across the fairway on this par four. It's almost as though the fairway was designed for another tee position, off to the right. Tall pines, marking out of bounds, cut in diagonally from the right. Strategically-placed rocks, bunkers and bushes add to the difficulty. There's a point where the water and out-of-bounds almost meet up. The green is quite large, on two levels.
From the tee, a narrow bridge winds across a swans' lake, with meandering water surging in and out, distorting perspective. Bunkers lie left. From the landing zone, towards the second bridge, longitudinal bunkers surround a tree that is virtually in the ideal spot for the second shot to land. The fairway slopes down towards the water. On the far side, the green is elevated, with bunkers front and right and mounds at the back.
Water is not such a menace on this par three, although there is plenty in the foreground to the left. Trees and scrub intrude, with bunkers around the green. It's slightly elevated, down through a valley, with every effort being made to distort the perspective.
A tight par four. Water lies left, with out-of-bounds awaiting any ball hit too far and too straight. The fairway is again designed for a lateral tee, with a narrow target made more difficult as the fairway slopes to the water. Bunkers along the edge save many balls. Curving left, an undulating fairway inflicts downhill or uphill lies and the water curls up past the green, with bunkers and mounds and deep trouble to the right also protecting it.
On the tee at the seventh, you can see water cutting in from the right, with trees and out-of-bounds jagging to the left, and fairway bunkers scattered left and right. The hole doglegs sharply to the left, with scattered rocks and trees placed to make near-enough never good enough.
An intriguing par five with a big clump of large trees in the middle of the fairway. There are more trees to the left and hedges to the right. You either go up a tier to the left onto the high fairway or take the low route and run the risk of driving into a canal. There's out-of-bounds to the left and to the right, but with plenty of space in between. Bunkers lie high on
the left, then the fairway tumbles down to the clump of trees. It's a rocking, rolling ride. The twin fairways do not meet again until just in front of the green. Water continues to zigzag along on the left.
The ninth appears to be relatively open, although the actual fairway cut is narrow and surrounded by light rough. There's a small valley close to the tee, holding the canal. Bunkers can be seen up on the left. Undulations and the slope make it more complicated. A second shot on this par five has to be a lay-up because it's a long way across water to the the green, with not a great deal to aim at. A clump of trees at the end of the promontory fends off long hitters.
Phuket Country Club Old Course
A minefield of bunkers surround the green on this par four. But first, negotiating the undulating pre-fairway and avoiding the water hazard on the left and the road to the right is the task. At least you can see the flag in the distance. It's a slight dogleg right, through the coconut palms. The green slopes forward and back, with a distinct kink in it.
From the tee, this seems a relatively simple par three with a copse of trees on the left, and mountains in the distance -- too far away to pose a problem. But a strand of pines does, along with a road to the right.
The first par five looms. It's best to cut the corner as the hole doglegs sharply right. There are plenty of mounds and undulations to provide uncertain lies. From the fairway, you can see pines and out-of-bounds, marked by a roadway on the left, with trees and trouble on the right. The green is locked in by bunkers and there's a lot of growth in the fairway.
You need to pull up short to avoid the creek. A big-hitter could fly over, but it's a long way. Bunkers guard the front of the green with another over the back.
Rated the hardest hole on the course, this par four doglegs to the left. Out of bounds also lies left, while the fairway is open on the right and tempting, but a long way from the green. Deep vegetation swamps both sides, with an uphill run from the dogleg to the green. The putting surface is heavily protected by bunkers.
Water cuts across on the left of this par three. The ornamental pond is charming but fatal. Bunkers on the left build up from the water. Trees lie on the right and in the back, but there's not too much trouble if you hit it straight. The green slopes away.
There's a pleasant climb to the tee at one of the high points on the course. Out of bounds lies left on this par four with bunkers around the green on the right, beyond a single line of trees. Go too far right and you have to fly the bunkers.
Another par four with an elevated tee. Impenetrable foliage lines the left, as the hole doglegs right. It's a fairly wide, accessible fairway, with a line of bunkers marking the corner of the dogleg, with more on the left of a sloping green.
The third-hardest hole, this par four doglegs left. It's quite an open-looking fairway but looks can be deceptive. Despite having no bunkers and no out-of-bounds, tight shots are required. A scenic gem.
This long, curling par five doglegs right, with plenty of trees to the left. The fairway seems open. A row of bunkers capture balls that stray too close to the corner, and there are plenty more around the green.
The course's signature hole runs around a huge lagoon. Long-hitters have been known to try to make the green in one. The landing zone for a regulation drive has a vast expanse of water in front and several bunkers beyond. It's target golf. Stray right and you're in the water. Bunkers and palm trees emerge to block your way. The finish is over a small creek that crosses the fairway, with a bunker in front of the creek. Plenty of swans to watch you make a fool of yourself.
An elevated tee faces an open fairway on this par four, with a dogleg to the left. The creek crosses the fairway then runs along the right. A big bunker protects the corner of the dogleg and there are more to the right. The creek meanders along the right-hand side of the hole. There's a hazard at the back of the green, with bunkers and mounds front and right.
A par four where you can actually see the flag. There's a little water and you can see some tall elegant palms. Far off to the left, a line of trees mark the edge of the fairway.
Another par four, this one with an open fairway, traversed by power lines. Trouble lies left, along with a roadway. Away to the right is water, and some greenside bunkers.
A straightforward par three. A strand of trees intrudes onto the fairway on the right, while on the left the biggest hazard is a large patch of natural vegetation. Only the straightest of shots avoids trouble.
The second-hardest hole on the course has out of bounds left and right and a tree or two on the fairway. Essentially, it's a long, open par four with bunkers right and left of a long, two tiered green.
A pretty hole off an elevated tee, past water on the left, and trouble to the right. Over the crest of the hill lies a valley, with the green set picturesquely on the far side of a creek.
Virtually an island green, this par three belies its eye-catching appeal. Pines line the foreground and stretch behind the green. The putting surface is sizeable but hitting it is no foregone conclusion.
A par five to finish. Pines cover the right, as the hole doglegs. Ornamental water on the left shouldn't come into play except for a wild shot. A small creek runs across the fairway, just around the dogleg corner. The hole goes uphill towards the green, with a large tree blocking your path if you stray too far left. Bunkers scatter on the hillside and around the green.