Operated by the MBK Group, a Thai conglomerate that specialises in hotels, shopping centres and other real estate developments, the mountain course at Red Mountain Golf Club is an exhilarating test of golf that was one of the first projects undertaken by the Morrow Tikkanen design company in 2004.
Situated in the heart of Phuket, next door to another MBK course called Loch Palm, the fairways at Red Mountain twist through the site of an old tin mine, with holes routed to take full advantage of dramatic rocky escarpments, thrilling elevation changes and deep flooded ravines.
Particular care was taken during construction to provide adequate drainage, ensuring the course remains in play even after heavy rainy season cloudbursts. With many of the holes literally carved from the native jungle vegetation, one or two of the fairways are tight in places so course management is all-important here.Feature holes include the par five 2nd (where the fairway narrows as it swings right towards a hidden green), the short par four 8th (which has water lying in wait on either side of the fairway) and the simply stunning par three 17th, played from a tee box perched 150 feet above the green.
Red Mountain Golf Course is centrally located in Phuket, 30 minutes from Phuket International airport, and just 15 minutes away from the world famous beach areas.
The course is part of the Tin Mine Golf & Country Club, and is a Jonathan Morrow and Al Tikkanen design.
From the 16th century until the early 1990's, tin mining was a major source of revenue for Phuket, and the site of the Tin Mine Golf & Country Club was once the site of Phuket's largest open-cast tin mine.
Now the Country Club includes a gated residential estate, a variety of sports and leisure amenities, and two pretty decent golf courses.
The first of the golf courses was Loch Palm which opened in 1993, but the game changer is Red Mountain Golf Course which dates from 2007.
Sculpted into the rugged rock terrain, Red Mountain GC is a quality design in magnificent surroundings.
Fairways twist this way and that, and are framed by bright red rock cliffs, thick jungle, and spectacular views.
I love the way the course is routed- with each hole distinct from another- and unseen until you are on the tee.
Each hole grabs your attention and holds it until you putt out- and then another chapter in the book opens up on the next tee- it has you totally absorbed in the moment, but at the same time eager to see what is around the next corner!
The variety in the course is impressive. The designers have used all of the resources the site offered, with plenty of water hazards, and significant elevation change adding to the drama. But the course is not at all tricked up - just solid, strategic design in spectacular terrain.
Don't even think of walking this course- the combination of warm humid days and the ups and downs of this routing make walking an unattractive proposition.
There are so many good holes at Red Mountain, it is hard to single out favourites. But the first hole with its dramatic red cliff backdrop certainly sets the scene, and the driveable par four, sixteenth hole, and the 'drop shot' par 3 seventeenth have stayed in the memory banks!
Combine Red Mountain with Blue Canyon, Laguna Phuket and Loch Palm for a legitimately quality golfing destination.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Red Mountain opened in 2007 and maybe the most dramatic golf course you will find in Phuket. It has a true jungle feel and one of the tightest layouts I played in Thailand. Built on the site of a former tin mine, this course offers extreme elevation changes with magnificent views.
The opening par-4 is visually stunning but somewhat intimidating. The distinct Red Mountains form the backdrop where your tee shot must be straight on this key-shaped hole. The longer you hit it the narrower the fairway becomes. In my opinion you should leave your driver in the bag and take your chances with a longer approach.
The second hole is only 455 yards (white tees) but this par-5 is all uphill. No matter how big of a drive that you can muster, you will not be able to see the green on this severe uphill dogleg right.
The most strategic hole on the front nine is the 8th. This downhill par-4 is only 275 yards (white tees) but features water on the left and right with a narrow landing area. This might be the ultimate risk/reward challenge for long hitters.
The 14th hole is my favourite par-3. At 160 yards (from the whites) you need to tee off over a pond on the right and still avoid the two greenside bunkers on this peninsula green.
The final three holes are some of the strongest you will find anywhere.
#16 is 275 yards all uphill to a narrow landing area. Stay left to avoid the fairway bunker and large slope. The elongated raised green is angled so make sure your approach shot is not left or it will funnel down a swale to a greenside bunker. The 16th green is the highest point on the course with magnificent views of the valley so take the time for a photograph.
#17 is definitely the signature hole here as your tee shot is 30 meters straight down hill. By now your caddy can pick the club you should use on this majestic par-3.
The 18th hole is a downhill par-5 that requires you to stay short of the pond and creek off the tee. From there you need to stay left of the large pond that runs up the rest of the hole and still avoid the three greenside bunkers.
Red Mountain maybe the most visibly impressive in Phuket but the conditioning is certainly not up to par. The front nine was in better shape but on the back nine there were many bare spots on the fairway that have been recently sanded. Even though the bunkers were deep and soft, I found the greens to be shaggy.
There are a number of tee shots with forced carries to narrow fairways and you will definitely rely on your caddy to read these tricky and very deceiving greens.
The package rate is 7100 baht for 18 holes with cart and caddy + gratuities (around US$235 or 210 Euros) which I found expensive seeing that it did not include any food or beverages. The Pro Shop was sparse with little selection. Plus, there was no GPS on the power carts and no distances on the sprinkler heads, but they do have 100 and 150-yard markers.
Dave Finn is a 5-time award winning travel writer and photographer from Canada. To read about his adventures, visit www.golftravelandleisure.com
Played Red Mountain on two occasions and was not disappointed. Great course with large greens excellent bunkers and perfect fairways. The caddie i had was good and she was very forceful on the stunning 17 hole par 3 when I pull out a 7 iron and she grabbed it off me and gave me a 8iron and I hit it on the green close to the hole. My only concern is the pricing of this course as it is very pricey to play over $220.00 Aust to play with cart & Caddie plus tip. Club house was fine and pro shop was excellent when I played, but have not played there for some time. Is it worth playing Yes and for the average club golfer some words of advice don't play off the back markers as it is long and a couple of holes you will struggle to make the fairway and I play of 9 Handicap.
A very lovely course rolling through the jungle and offering some great panorama. Many holes are very lovely and the course maintenance is very nice. Greens were firm & fast.
The only problem for me to this course is the track itself.
Some very very narrow holes surrounded by the jungle will not allow any mistake. Short Par 4 where you have to hit two 7 irons in a row to catch the green....
Lovely scenic course with a very good set up but not the best design i've met.
After reading reviews, the base was its expensive but the best choice to play in Phuket. Well yeah its pretty with some good holes. But the totsl package is disappointing. The pro shop stock nothing really. the buggies have no cover at back for bags, considering it rains hear not right. have to hire umbrellas. pulled up no one to greet or take bags. caddies polite but golf knowledge limited, and you share a cart with them i want to play with my friends not the caddy. Seen played thanks but won`t be back
Thank you for your review and feedback on your experience after your golf at Red Mountain Golf Club.
Assumed that you played on February as this is the best month to golf in Phuket and the weather is good for golf, raining season in Phuket during June - October then if the golfer play during raining season the caddies will use rain cover to protect the golf bags, golfers who golf in Thailand often must have an own umbrella or if not bring the own set then the club give an option to rent for 1 time use for THB100.
Caddies in Phuket or other golf course in Thailand is not professional and the caddies work to provide accurate and helpful advice on the course, yardages and the target to hit the ball or basic information to get the ball near the pin, basic putting direction but to put the ball into the hole is by yourself.
Golf cart compulsory as it is mountain course and the caddies drive the cart with make sure that the golfer will enjoy the game and convenience to play and caddies take care or help the golfer to carry the clubs and clean it after hit the ball and also fill divots. This is the difference experience to golf in Thailand or Asia with caddies as not the same as play by your own at home course.
Caddies do hard work for 4-5 hours in the heat and minimum fee to pay with some tip that worth your money and just enjoy to golf in Thailand.
We played nine rounds of golf on a golf cruise round South East Asia. Red Mountain was probably the stand out course.
It was definitely a unique Asian experience with great golf holes winding between trees, lakes and cliffs produced by the tin mine. If you’re in the area for golf it’s a must play.
Red Mountain was an absolute treat to play. We decided to play golf on a whim when on a short trip to Phuket and red mountain seemed the obvious choice. We duly rocked up with fairly low expectations but we were blown away from the very first view of the course on arrival. The 18 holes that followed didn't disappoint, in fact even having played some of the world's best courses including Muirfield, Wade Hampton, Royal County Down and Monte Rei, the next few hours were without doubt some of the most fun I've ever had on a golf course. The track is situated in unique terrain, winding its way through the undulating landscape and lakes of an old tin mine. This unique setting not only offers the architect a phenomenal chance to shape some glorious holes through the terrain, but the incredible novelty of playing in such a unique setting made the whole experience that much more memorable. There were some sublime holes requiring delicate plotting around the various lakes and canyons. Some could argue that the course may be a touch 'gimmicky', for instance the par 3 17th must have a 300foot drop to the green so clubbing is a tad tricky to put it mildly. However in terms of pure enjoyment, this course is way up there. The excellent lady caddies made the day even more fun and if I'm ever back to Phuket, playing red mountain again will be one of my top priorities!