Situated a short 45-minute drive north from Phnom Penh’s international airport, the course at Garden City Golf Club is an IMG-managed facility that opened for business in 2013. Stretching to 7,361 yards from the tips, the layout is set within a generous 240-acre property that was formerly used for rice production.
Due to the generally flat nature of the landscape, a number of man-made lakes were excavated so that the fill could be used for shaping fairways and green surrounds. Palm-lined holes have been turfed with Seashore Paspalum and generously proportioned putting surfaces are carpeted with the same warm-season grass.
Highlight holes include the 439-yard 6th, where there’s an aquatic threat down the entire left side of the fairway then more water appears to the front right of the green. On the back nine, the 176-yard 15th plays to a double green that’s surrounded on three sides by sand and water – and the player with the honour on the tee gets to select which of the two pin positions is in play.
I finished playing all four courses in Phnom Penh a week ago. Garden City Golf Club is the best course in Phnom Penh. It is a beautiful parkland course on a flat terrain, featuring large, undulating greens and strategically placed bunkers and water hazards. There are a lot of good holes on the front 9 such as the 564-yard par 5 2nd, the demanding 439-yard par 4 6th, the unique 604-yard par 5 8th and the challenging 444-yard par 4 9th. All of these holes offer players risk/reward options. On the back 9, the dramatic green of 176-yard par 3 15th is surrounded on three sides by a lake.
The course conditioning from the use of Seashore Paspalum turf is superb, I felt as if I was walking on carpet. I have played around eight hundred great courses in Asia and the quality of Garden City’s fairways are perhaps within the top 5 in Asia. The greens conditioning is very good too, while thoughtful planting of shrubs and trees help to create an engaging golfing experience. The adjoining hotel is nice and comfortable with spacious rooms and great golf course views. The Thai course architect also designed reputable courses such as Suwan G&CC and Sea Pines GC in Thailand.