As the Nordic Group of investors developed the Black Mountain resort, it seems only appropriate that Swedish player Johan Edfors won the first professional tournament held on the course – the 2009 Asian tour-sanctioned Black Mountain Masters.
Situated close to the beach resort of Hua Hin, a long-time vacation spot of the Thai royal family, the East and North nines form the original 18-hole layout at Black Mountain Golf Club, which Phil Ryan of Pacific Coast Design laid out in 2007 to cater for championship and resort-style golfers.
The main course sits within a mountain valley where creeks have been incorporated into the design and distinctive native red grass frames many of the holes. Aquatic hazards are plentiful, the most memorable of which are the lake surrounding the island green at the par four 4th and the waterfall to the left of the green at the short 11th hole.
Many think the East's long par five 6th is the signature hole at Black Mountain. Played from tees benched into a hillside, it’s downhill all the way to a putting surface that sits behind a sizeable lake. Only the foolhardy will risk going for the green in two over water, sand and trees – much better to avoid these dangers by following the safe route to the right of the target.
In February 2015, Black Mountain hosted and presented the inaugural Thailand Classic, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. In preparation for the event the course was toughened by firming the greens and growing the rough. Australian Andrew Dodt won the tournament after graduating from Qualifying School in November 2014. Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and fellow Aussie Scott Hend finished one shot back.
At the end of 2016, a new nine called the West course opened for play.
Black Mountain GC was designed by Australian Phil Ryan from Pacific Coast Design and opened for play in 2007.
The site was formerly pineapple plantations and jungle and is located about 25 minutes west of Hua Hin.
Not surpisingly the course is surrounded by black granite rocky mountains.
I have played a number of Phil Ryan courses in Australia ( Eagle Ridge, Sunshine, Patterson River), but found little resemblance among them to Black Mountain.
Clearly the budget makes a huge difference, and the terrain has plenty of interest. Ryan has managed to develop Black Mountain into a course which has captured the imagination of both the punters and professionals alike.
In 2016 Phil Ryan converted the Black Mountain par 3 course to become the third championship nine at Black Mountain.
The Original 18 holes became the East & North nines, and the newer nine was called the West Course.
This report relates to the East & West courses
Black Mountain is regarded by some as the best course in Thailand, and in 2012 was rated by US Golf Digest Magazine as one of the Top 100 Courses in the world outside the USA.
And in 2014 Black Mountain hosted The Thailand Classic, the first European Tour Event to be held in Thailand.
Together with the Banyan GC, Black Mountain has put Hua Hin on the golfing map.
Add Jack Nicklaus' Springfield Resort, Majestic GC, Seapines GC and others and Hua Hin is a genuine golfing destination...
While Black Mountain has proven to be a worthy test and a popular destination for tour players, it is nevertheless quite playable for the average golfer.
The thinking golfer will plot his or her way around the course, laying up, and playing to the heart of the greens where in doubt.
The course does not play particularly long, but trouble in the form of water and bunkers need to be negotiated on many a hole.
Players will not forget the water carries, and the heroic shots they needed to play, but in most cases alternate options are offered.
Good decision making and reasonable control will result in good scoring.
There are plenty of postcard moments around the course with significant elevation change adding to the drama.
Most importantly the course is fun to play.
The routing is a little up and back in a few places, and the course gives the impression of being created rather than being 'natural', but the finishing is dramatic with stonewalls and creeks, and lakes and bunkering all contributing to the drama of the setting.
Black Mountain also has a modern clubhouse with dining and all facilites,.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Black Mountain Golf Club is a 27-hole championship layout. The East and North nines were ranked #59 in the 2018 issue of Golf Digest’s World Top 100. This is first golf course in Thailand to be nominated with such a prestigious honour. Golf Digest also just ranked Black Mountain as the third ‘Best Golf Resort in Asia’.
Built at the base of a large dormant volcano, the scenery here is spectacular with a rolling terrain and plenty of elevation changes as you meander through the valley of the mountains. There are eight lakes and two streams to content with. Water is evident on 14 holes, but the fairways are wider and easily accessible. The greens are fast, and the sand is deep and soft.
The East/North combination can be stretched out to 7,591 yards but the Pro tees are 7,253 yards with a course rating of 75.5 and an enormous slope of 146. Make sure you pick the proper set of six tee blocks that will be best suit your ability or else you will be in for a long day.
Some of the more memorable holes begin with #2 of the East Course. This par-5 starts off with a downhill drive and then plays uphill the remainder of the way. A large pond and two bunkers can come into play off the tee while a creek in front will deter you from trying to reach this in two. The putting surface has an amphitheatre-type stone wall forming the backdrop with two enormous bunkers guarding it. Very picturesque.
The 4th is a short but difficult dogleg left, par-4 where you need to layup your tee shot before the water, leaving you with a short approach shot to an island green featuring two large bunkers.
The 6th hole plays all downhill. Your second shot needs to stay right to avoid the pond that is about 50 yards short of the green on this button hook par-5.
With all of these accolades you know you are in for a great day of golf.
Dave Finn is a 5-time award winning golf travel writer and photographer from Canada. To follow his adventures, visit www.golftravelandleisure.com
Black Mountain along with Banyan has been the driver of golf tourists to Hua Hin for a while now. On an overall level, it's difficult to go wrong with Black Mountain. While I relate to some of the reviews here in terms of comparison to the courses in the US, UK and Australia etc, it's another thing to see what Black Mountain does for golf in Hua Hin or Thailand for that matter. It's a first rate facility when it comes to the golf experience - the course condition, some of the views on the course and the settings are fabulous. There are some challenging holes and some shot making too involved. Yes, there is criticism of it being contrived - which i agree to, perhaps more could have been done with the hilly terrain - instead of those straight holes going up and down. But, I still would not fault it for the overall golf experience. Would I go all the way to Thailand to play this course? perhaps no ! Would I play this course if I were visiting Thailand anyway ? - perhaps yes ! Would I play this course if I were in Hua Hin or its vicinity ? - definitely yes.
Excellent course in Hua Hin, in excellent condition, great variety in holes with changes in elevation. In a different league to other courses in the area. Lots of bird life, with good variety of shrubs and trees. Lots of water, and fast greens, so bring your A game. Nice clubhouse, clean and modern, reasonable prices with good food. Green fee £100 and cart/caddy £25 pp so not cheap but definitely worth it. Round took 3:40 minutes, not the dire 5 hours predicted.
Black Mountain is expensive and as far as I am concerned not worth the money. As another reviewer says the design is imposed on the terrain. I am not a fan of « contrived » golf courses.
It is very commercial and you better be on time for your Tee time and if less than 4 expect to get someone puched in to play with you. Pressure continues on the curse to play fast which is OK by me but you cannot play faster than the group in front and it is all Fourballs.
A good course in very good condition but nothing special. There are far more interesting courses in Hua Hin and Thailand DAVID LAIRD
In the short time that Black Mountain has been opened it has been the host location for both European and Asian Tour events. In addition, to the staging of professionals golf event the 500+ acres is all encompassing resort with a wide range of different activities meant to attract families.
How good is the golf?
The course has its moments but the architecture is not compelling when viewed from a global basis. Clearly, in Thailand the facility is seen as one of the best and much of that has to do with the totality of the experience when there. Customer service is certainly present with all the related trimmings.
The course plays up and down a hillside for the bulk of the round. There's ample space off the tee but the fairways are basically cut in a straightforward manner. The bunkering is quite ornamental -- often more cosmetic than strategic. The putting surfaces are also extremely large in many instances but the wherewithal to provide internal contours that can add a good deal more to the shotmaking side is the exception rather than the rule.
Black Mountain is also overly shaped -- in many ways the design is superimposed on the terrain -- standing apart and not blending in easily.
The turf quality is clearly above average although I personally am not a fan of seaside paspalum given its inability to provide much bounce for the golf ball. Nonetheless, the turf gives splendid coverage and emerald green color.
A few of the holes do standout. The uphill 5th is a demanding long par-4 hole not just because of the elevation climb but also because off the way the green is angled and protected. The par-4 7th is an interesting hole -- dog-legging right and the golfer seeking a bold play can attempt to cut the corner and if successful have a short approach into the green. The downhill par-4 9th concludes the outward half of holes and is an able end to the side.
The outward half is bolstered by the long par-3 11th -- where water is clearly an issue to avoid. The par-4 15th adds a strong contribution -- playing uphill through a narrowing fairway and elevated putting surface.
Black Mountain clearly is in the upper echelon for Thailand golf. However, for those coming from vast distances where the depth of course architecture is quite deep -- Black Mountain is simply sufficient for what it provides. If Black Mountain were placed in any competitive golf arena such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or Australia -- it would simply be a face in the crowd given the rich diversity of architecture that exists in those respective jurisdictions.
Vintage golf architecture is about getting all the small details in place - striking a clear chord of emotion when the round is done. At Black Mountain my emotional connection to the course was nothing more than the completion of one activity in search of another. Given the site and all the fanfare leading up to my time there -- I was hoping for far much more.
by M. James Ward
I agree entirely with your comments. All too commercial and artificial. I preferred Sea Pines in Hua Hin.
The Black Mountain Golf Club is a desert-like course that has many beautiful features including its lakes. Despite its beauty, the course is very challenging and consists of quite a number of large bunkers and strongly undulated fairways. The course is surrounded by a nice natural landscape. The small problem to play The Black Mountain is the simplicity of its layout which lacks a variety of holes. Out of 14 par 4s and 5s, Hole 1, 2, 9, 12, 13, 15 and 17 are straight or almost straight holes. The fairways of holes 10, 15, 1 and 9, as well as holes 4, 5 along with holes 12 and 13 are parallel to one another respectively. Overall, players are more impressed by the views and well-maintained fairways and greens. The course was built between several mountains and has astonishing views of a series of black rocks.
The par 5 639-yard 6th is a downhill par five with a dogleg that first bends slightly to the right, then to the left. This hole plays much shorter than the real yardage. Long hitters will need to make a decision to either hit their ball over the water or to take the safe route to the right. The green is deep and slopes from back to front. The par 3 232-yard 11th is the signature hole. This long and downhill par three has a body of water that surrounds the green on its front, back and right sides. There is a waterfall on the left side of the green. Although this waterfall doesn’t come into play, the presence of such a natural feature helps enhance the aesthetic beauty of this hole.