The Ron Garl-designed course at the Alpine Golf Resort in Chiang Mai is an absorbing experience where forested mountains provide a dramatic backcloth. The snaking par five 4th hole will stick in the memory, at 652 yards it’s one of the longest in Thailand.
Alpine Golf Resort, Chiang Mai opened in 2008, and is located approximately 30 minutes from the centre of Chiang Mai by car.
The course now has 3 nines of golf. We played the original 18 holes.. Mr Garl has routed the course through lush natural forest in a valley between mountain ranges in San Kampaeng. He makes good use of all the natural features.
The course has a natural flow to it, incorporating the native vegetation, water, and rolling landscape to good affect. Each hole has a distinct identity- it will have you keen to see what awaits around the next corner...
The par three holes are memorable. Hole 3 is framed by the forest, and features water off the tee and down the right hand side of the hole. Hole 12 has an elevated tee, a short double water carry, and again is well framed by the trees- just a lovely hole. Hole 15 is a classic island green like the famous 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. Although a short iron, it is a shot that demands your attention!
Other holes of note include the double dogleg par 5 seventh hole with water in play on the left and short off the tee, and down the right for the approach to the green
Hole nine stands out as well- it a shortish par 4 with a double water carry. A decent tee shot needs to carry the water hazard to hit the fairway. The water is also in play down the right hand side of the fairway before swinging across again in front of the green. The approach shot with a shortish iron will need to carry 100 yards or more over water to hit the green.
I also liked the short par 4 tenth with a tee shot through a narrow gap in the foliage, and an elevated green.
One of the strongest holes is the longer par 4 sixteenth hole- a classic 'cape' hole where the choice on how much water you take on determines the length and difficulty of your approach.
Alpine Golf Resort is a course that suits all level of golfer. It will test the best, yet be enjoyable for the social golfer.
We found it great fun to be playing to island greens, picking our lines on the cape hole, and working our way around what is a fairly strategic design.
The course is well maintained and the caddies experienced- although communication was at times restricted to lines and distances.
As with most other courses in the area the greens had enough grain to require some education, and chipping from greenside rough was a skill that will altogether elude some.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
The Alpine Golf & Resort in Chiangmai offers three championship nine-hole layouts with five sets of tees starting at 5300 yards extending out to 7500 depending on which combination you choose.
We only played two of them but wished we had more time to finish the trio. From the yellow tees, the A Course starts with three relatively short holes, a 378 yard and a 328-yard par-4 followed by a 150-yard par-3. A perfect way to ease your way into the round.
Then when the fun begins. The 4th hole is a par-5, 560-yarder where your second shot needs to avoid four fairway bunkers.
This is a well forested layout that offers generous fairways. It is relatively flat with not much water until you reach the 7th hole. This 500-yard par-5 features water down the left side that crosses the fairway and continues down the right side until you reach the green.
#9 is a short par-4 where you approach requires a long carry over a large pond that is protected by a huge bunker that circles in front of the green.
The B Course offers very small greens that starts with a drivable par-4 that has bunkers on both sides of the raised postage stamp sized green that I paced out as 17 steps by 14 paces wide.
9B is a par-5 where your third short is to a raised green with a huge swale in front and two large greenside bunkers. Anything short will funnel back into the bunkers.
Alpine recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary but has already won numerous accolades including the #5 Best Golf Course in Thailand in the 2013 and 2014 ‘Asian Golf Awards’.
Green Fees are 5000 baht (approximately US$160 or 135 Euros), power cart is an additional 400 baht and the caddy fee is another 400 (with a suggested tip of 500). You can rent clubs for 1500 baht and I found my Ping 10G 10.5 driver with regular Flex Alta J-50 shaft was perfect for my swing.
Dave Finn is a golf travel writer and photographer from Canada. To read more about his adventures visit www.golftravelandleisure.com