Award-winning golf tourism region of Pattaya will add 18 more reasons to visit in May.
When Siam Country Club’s new Waterside course officially opens to visitors in little more than two months, the golf complex near Pattaya will become the largest in Thailand, with 63 holes and an expected 25-percent growth in new golfers playing its three courses during the first year.
Siam Country Club’s Managing Director Praserthchai Phornprapha views the Waterside addition as a natural complement to the facility’s existing pair of layouts–the 27-hole Plantation track and the 18-hole Old Course, a visually stunning challenge Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist tackled to win the Honda LPGA event just this past week.
While the majority of Waterside’s holes, unsurprisingly, will show some teeth via an array of lakes, ponds, and fairway-splitting creeks, the overall course experience has been designed to be more forgiving than its older siblings.
“Each of the three courses is different in style and thinking,” said Phornprapha, who showed the course to selected visitors last week. “It’s all about happiness. We want everyone who plays Waterside to really enjoy the experience.”
If words such as “enjoyable” and “forgiving” leave you with the impression that your skills might go untested, rest assured that Waterside can be twisted and stretched into configurations that would test even the longest-hitting touring pros. Exhibit A: The par 72 course, which features paspalum fairways and Tiff Eagle greens, rolls the measuring tape out to a whopping 7,454 yards (6,816 metres) from the tips.
“There’s a lot of room,” IMG’s Associate Design Director Steve Shepherdson explained during last week’s inspection. But the distance evens out considering that other features are on the milder side.
“The bunkers aren’t as deep as on the other two courses and there’s not as much run-off from the greens,” said Shepherdson. “Also, there’s only [about 40 feet] of elevation change, compared with [roughly 130 feet] at Plantation.”
Alongside the main attraction, the Waterside facility has plenty to add to its overall presentation. A separate clubhouse, overlooking the greens on the 9th and 18th holes, will be ready by the end of April. Eager visitors can also look forward to honing their skills on a 25,000 sq.-foot practice green (that’s about four times the size of a normal green), a 360-yard driving range, and a separate chipping green.
Waterside’s planners credit location as a significant factor in their optimistic predictions, which anticipate a raise in visitors from 90,000 (current) to 120,000 in the immediate year following launch. Siam Country Club is less than a half-hour drive from Pattaya. Onsite accommodation is expected to be popular, especially considering that other sought-after courses in the Pattaya area, including Laem Chabang International Country Club, are nearby.
While there’s certainly plenty of details to shore up at Waterside between now and the opening day in May, Siam Country Club’s visionaries aren’t sitting idle and watching the grass grow. Plans are already in the works for the development of a 4-star botique hotel that could be providing visitors beds for their heads within the next two years.