Pattaya, Thailand, Feb 24 -- When Siam Country Club’s new Waterside course officially opens to visitors in May, the golf complex near Pattaya will become the largest in Thailand with 63 holes and an expected 120,000 golfers playing its three courses during the next year.
Described by the developer and owner as a unique and different experience to the existing Old Course and Plantation layouts, the IMG-designed Waterside course sits between the existing two high-quality courses.
Waterside is aptly named with 10 of the 18 hotels playing over or beside lakes and ponds, while another two holes have creek crossings. Despite this, Waterside is expected to be more forgiving than the 27 holes Plantation course and the superb 18 holes Old Course, where the Honda LPGA women’s event, won by Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, was held last week.
“Each of the three courses is different in style and thinking,” Siam Country Club’s managing director, Praserthchai Phornprapha, said while showing the course to selected visitors last week. "It’s all about happiness. We want everyone who plays Waterside to really enjoy the experience. People will play Waterside for the quality, happiness and standard of service.”
Waterside, which features paspalum fairways and Tiff Eagle greens, is a par-72 layout that will play 7454 yards (6816 metres) from the championship tees, 6608 yards (6042 metres) from the blue tees and 6058 yards (5539 metres) from the white tees.
“There’s a lot of room,” IMG’s associate design director, Steve Shepherdson, explained during the pre-opening inspection. “The bunkers aren’t as deep as on the other two courses and there’s not as much run-off from the greens. Also, there’s only 12 or 13 metres of elevation change, compared with 40 metres at Plantation.”
A separate clubhouse, overlooking the greens on the spectacular 9th and 18th holes, will be ready by the end of April. Among notable other features are a 2300 square-metre practice putting green that is four times the size of a normal green, a 330-metre driving range and separate chipping green.
Owned by the Phornprahpa family’s Siam Motors group, Siam Country Club isn’t stopping its development plans with the opening of its third course.
Next on the agenda is a 4-star boutique golf lodge that Khun Chai expects could be built within the next two years.
Because Siam CC is 20 minutes’ drive from Pattaya, on-site accommodation is bound to be popular, especially as other sought-after courses in the Pattaya area, including Laem Chabang International Country Club, are nearby.
Currently, Siam Country Club welcomes more than 90,000 golfers a year, mostly Thai and international visitors. When Waterside opens, the number will immediately rise above 120,000.
Golfers wishing to play the Old Course, dating back to 1971 when it became Thailand’s first privately-owned golf club, will have to play either the 27-hole Plantation or Waterside course first.