Top 5 Golf Courses of Cambodia and Laos 2017

25 January 2017 Respond to this article

Top 5 Golf Courses of Cambodia and Laos

We extend our Southeast Asian rankings in the adjoining countries of Cambodia and Laos

Cambodia

Cambodia’s still very much an emerging Southeast Asian golf destination. In a country of fifteen million people which has taken four decades to recover from the genocide carried out by the 1970s Khmer Rouge government (when an estimated two million residents were killed during a brutal 5-year period), it’s astonishing that golf exists at all in a nation with such a troubled recent history.

Top 100 Golf Courses has featured a couple of Cambodian courses for a while now, but we feel it’s time to shed some light on a few other recently constructed top-end facilities that have opened for business so we’ve created a new national Top 5 chart to showcase a handful of the best layouts available in and around the country’s two main golfing hotspots, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

There are still only 500 players registered with the Cambodian Golf Federation so golf is still seen by many as largely the preserve of visiting foreign tourists and businessmen. Still, it helps that the Prime Minister is a reasonably proficient player himself and somebody who sees the value in having his administration help developers provide a golfing infrastructure that enhances the overall tourism product.

Angkor Golf Resort

Our number 1 Cambodian course remains the Nick Faldo design at Angkor Golf Resort situated close to Siem Reap International Airport. Unveiled in 2008, the course is carpeted in Seashore Paspalum, allowing consistent, all-year round playing conditions from tee to green. Measuring 7,279 yards from the back markers, it hosted the Handa Faldo Cambodian Classic on the Asian Tour four years after first opening.

Phokeethra Country Club

Two other ranked courses are located within a short drive from Angkor. To the east, at number 2, Siem Reap Booyoung is a big-budget venture that’s undergone several changes of ownership since debuting in 2009. To the west, at number 3, the course at Phokeethra Country Club has been in operation since 2007, when the Cambodian Open was also contested at the club the same year.

All three layouts are similar in that a lot of soil was shifted to shape a landscape that’s largely level, with substantial water hazards now featuring at most of the holes. There’s also plenty of sand to contend with and no doubt, in time, the many thousands of trees that have been planted will play their part in the defence of the courses as they continue to fully mature.

Positions 4 and 5 in the new national chart are occupied by a couple of courses that lie within easy access of Phnom Penh city centre: LYP Group’s Garden City (at number 4) is another all-paspalum grassed layout that’s currently managed by IMG and Grand Phnom Penh (at number 5) is a Nicklaus Design track which acts as the sporting focal point in a big residential and commercial project to the north of the capital.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Angkor Golf Resort No change
2 Siem Reap Booyoung New entry
3 Phokeethra Down 1
4 Garden City GC New entry
5 Grand Phnom Penh New entry

To view further details of the Top 5 Golf Courses of Cambodia click the link.

Laos

Lao, or Lao People’s Democratic Republic to give the nation its full title, is a landlocked country in the middle of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula, bordering Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and China. Lao’s been under communist rule since the mid-1970s but it’s gradually beginning to adopt a more outward looking approach, as evidenced by its membership of the World Trade Organization in 2013.

Tourism is scheduled to account for around US$1.5 billion of the nation’s annual income by 2020 as visitor numbers continue to grow (around 4.5 million international visitors are estimated to have arrived last year) with temples, trekking, wildlife trails and World Heritage sites all presenting themselves as obvious attractions. Still, there’s no doubt that new golf facilities also have a role to play in boosting the intake of potential visitors.

As with Cambodia, Top 100 Golf Courses has listed a pair of Laos courses for a few years now and we think it’s about time people were made aware of a few other high class golf facilities that have recently thrown their doors open to the public, allowing the formation of our new Top 5 chart for Laos - admittedly, that represents more than half the total number of courses in the entire country but we certainly think they’re all worthy of national recognition.

Luang Prabang Golf Club

And so, new at number 1, the heavily-wooded course at Luang Prabang Golf Club is now our top track in Laos. Hewn from thickly forested terrain, this 6-year-old layout sits close to the Mekong River in a mountainous region where every hole on the course is played in almost total seclusion. An eminently walkable course with only moderate changes in elevation, it’s one for true golfing nature lovers.

Three hundred kilometres to the south, just outside Vientianne, the lakeside course at Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort drops down one position to the runner-up slot at number 2. Long Thanh-Vientiane On the other side of the capital, Long Thanh-Vientiane Golf Club also falls one place to number 3, with this course being the first of two 18-hole layouts planned for a massive residential development that’s due to open in 2020.

A new entry at number 4, the three nines at SEA Games Golf Club were constructed specifically for the 25th edition of the Southeast Asian Games in 2009 and our final newcomer at number 5 is the layout at Lao Country Club (formerly known as the Youth Garden Golf Course) which recently underwent a substantial renovation to bring the course up to modern resort standards.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Luang Prabang New entry
2 Dansavanh Down 1
3 Long Thanh-Vientiane Down 1
4 SEA Games New entry
5 Lao CC New entry

To view further details of the Top 5 Golf Courses of Laos click the link.

If you’ve any strong views on either of our updated Asian rankings then please get in touch with us by using the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of this page. We always welcome feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, so don’t hold back on sharing your thoughts.

Jim McCann
Editor
Top 100 Golf Courses