Financed by a group of Dutch investors in the Blue Lotus (Hua Hin) Thailand Company, the 18-hole Banyan layout is the focal point of a large residential development located on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand. The course was designed and constructed by GolfEAST and its team of local architects, engineers and shapers are much in demand on golf projects throughout Thailand.
The par three 4th hole measures an incredible 253 yards from the back tees with a 150-yard water carry across a pond. This hole and the 409-yard 6th are the only two on the front nine with water hazards in play.
The final short hole on the course arrives on the 15th tee and it’s easy to see why it’s the signature hole at Banyan. A mere flick of the wedge from the tee for many as it measures only 119-147 yards from tee to green, it offers simply sensational views beyond the heavily sand-protected green to the small island of Sing Toh.
It's important to point out that my overall awarding a 4.5 grade is how Banyan stacks up against other courses I have played in Thailand. Those who make the trek to play here will find the "experience" elements handled in a very welcoming manner. The creature comforts are undoubtedly part and parcel of the time spent at Banyan and for many that specific connection may be the most important aspect that resonates long after the round is in the memory banks.
The overall architecture is a mixed bag. The outward half is fairly straightforward and does not provide much of a unique contribution to stir the golfing juices. Fortunately, that happens with the inward half. The terrain on the back nine is engaging and the routing works very well to keep the holes encountered fresh and challenging.
The 10th is especially demanding because the tee shot had best find the short grass on this uphill hole and the approach is no less strenuous to a green that accepts at a miserly rate only the best of plays.
The par-5 11th that follows is a quality hole. One encounter a stream bank which is wonderfully angled forcing players to decide how much of a carry they wish to attempt to cover. The pin placement determines a good deal. When placed on the far-left side of the green it pays to go wide right on the 2nd shot for the best angle. Conversely, if the pin is hard right then staying on the closer side of the stream on the left provides the best angle.
The par-5 12thh reverses course and turns left as one nears the green. A true three-shot hole save for the likes of Bryson DeChambeau.
Holes 13-15 are rather pedestrian and allow players an opportunity to regain momentum lost at holes 10-12.
The final three holes end the round in splendid fashion. The par-4 16th is quite finicky with a must play tee shot expected. The long par-3 17th at nearly 240 yards yields only to those who can mix length and accuracy from the back teeing area. And the closing hole is a stout 471-yard hole forcing players to push hard to end one's day with a par-4.
The green contours are mainly vanilla in character with just a few of compelling nature. The land does have some movement of note -- especially on the back nine. The overall routing is done well -- not repetitious with player adjustments always front and center.
Like many courses in Thailand there is no ground game option of note. The game is primarily played through the air.
Banyan has enough moments to keep one's interest engaged. And, as I said at the outset, the management makes sure the experience is one to enjoy from the moment you arrive with a range of quality amenities within the clubhouse itself.
The grounds are also especially attractive to the eye. From the standpoint of how a course ":looks" -- Banyan delivers.
However, for those who consider themselves architectural mavens the architecture side will be nothing more than a mixed bag. Place Banyan in the States or the UK and its overall score for me drops to no more than a 4 rating.
Given the competition among Thailand golf offerings, Banyan clearly is among the most comprehensive golf experiences one can enjoy. The 75-course rating speaks to that as well as the 137 slope when played from the championship tees.
Those venturing to Hua Hin should certainly schedule a round when in the region.
My best course pick of Thailand. An outstanding, natural course. This course has every challenge imaginable but you will no doubt appreciate the lengths they go to, to look after the course.
The pub and clubhouse are amazing to sit and relax after the game
Banyan GC is a well maintained and picturesque course set in rolling hills only 20 minutes drive from Hua Hin.
Designed by Pirapon Namatra from Golf East, the course opened in 2008, and is set in undulating pineapple fields surrounded by mountains, with some distant ocean views.
The course was voted best new course in Asia Pacific in 2009.
Banyan GC is a fair test of golf with gently rolling greens and generous landing zones, and is most enjoyable to play..
The holes are varied and strategic. The architect consistently employs water, trees & bunkers to demand decisions from the golfer.
Holes 7, 8 and 14 have a creek crossing the fairway and decisions need to be made to ensure you plot your way safely to the green.
You may need to rely on your caddy to decide whether to lay up or not....
On other holes like the 10th and 13th holes, a beautiful old Banyan tree will define the hole.
The back nine is slightly stronger than the front, with tighter fairways and landing zones, more undulation, and generally more interesting terrain.
In my view, the best holes on the course include holes 5 & 8- they require a decision as to whether to lay up or to carry the water..
Other good holes are the picturesque uphill 10th hole, the signature par 3 fifteenth hole, and the tight 16th hole.
The unique contemporary Thai style clubhouse provides all facilities required by the travelling golfer, including a nice pro shop and quality dining options.
Combined with Black Mountain GC, Banyan GC forms the backbone of a quality golfing trip to the Hua Hin area.
Depending on the length of your stay I would be tempted to play both Black Mountain & Banyan twice.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Another course that I would not mind playing over and over. I like it when you have to make club selection considerations off the tee instead of just going with the driver, notwithstanding my short hitting.... At Banyan there is a fair bit of that. Starting with the 1st hole- where you have a very narrow space in which to land if you go with driver, a long iron or a hybrid may be the right club to stay in play. Elevation changes are the name of the game at Banyan, especially on par 3. There are some short par drivable par 4, but they dont come without a fair amount of risk...the toughest thing for me at Banyan has always been reading the greens right, although over a few rounds I have got better with it...First timers will be happier if they have experienced caddies to go along. The whole setting is spectacular and you cant miss the beer at the verandah. Must play golf course in Thailand. To read more about Banyan and other golf courses in Hua Hin visit my blog
Banyan is a good golf course which is presented in very good conditon but I found it to be very expensive for what it is. It is a course that is somewhat predicatable and clearly done by an architect who did not take any great risks. The par 5’s are the best holes on the course.
The clubhouse is pleasant and very welcoming. The buggies are in good shape and the caddies were very good.
I thoroughly enjoyed my round as I was playing well but putting badly (this was not a reflection on the greens which were excellent).
I would recommend going and playing Banyan at least once and then decide if you want to pay that much to go again. It costs the same as Black Mountain but is better value and less commercial. They did not seem to be proposing twilight greenfees. DAVID LAIRD
Banyan Golf Club was built amongst a pineapple plantation with some of most spectacular mountain views. The designer has made full use of its natural terrain, most of which is remained in the course. It is not so difficult to play from the front tees due to thr shorter distance while very demanding to play from back tees as lots of water hazards, bunkers and the other traps will come into play. The front 9 is exceptionally good. Most greens are wide but not deep, so approach shots should be of the right distance.
The par 4 377-yard 5th is a dogleg to the right, short par 4. The tee shot is downhill and the fairway slopes from right to left, so a bunker on the right corner 250 yards from the tee will come into play. The approach shot is over a stream. The green is smallish sloping from back to front. The par 5 546-yard 8th is a slight dogleg to the right. The second is over a creek and uphill. Four bunkers are strategically placed in the landing area of the second shots. The wide green wide is double-tiered with a higher left side.
The green is not deep, so an accurate wedge shot is required on the third shot.
The par 3 147-yard 15th is a signature hole. The hole is not long or difficult and offers players picturesque views of the spectacular ocean to your left and the valley and mountains to your right. From the elevated tee you will slightly hit down onto the shallow but wide green. When the pin position is on the left, the difficulty level will increase as the green become narrower toward to the left, perhaps only some 10 yards in depth, and the bunker in front of the green is in play.