In recent years, Koh Samui has really started to establish itself as a popular golf destination. The golf scene in Thailand is thriving and the country now boasts a large number of world class golf courses, which people travel from all over the world to play on.
Koh Samui is now as highly regarded as other areas of Thailand which are synonymous with golf, such as Bangkok, Phuket and Hua Hin.
A number of quality golf courses can be found on Koh Samui and combined with the stunning location and natural beauty of the island, as well as Samui’s popularity as one of Thailand’s leading tourist destinations, it is easy to see why more and more people are choosing to visit Koh Samui in order to play golf.
Just imagine, playing a couple of rounds of golf surrounded by stunning panoramas of Samui’s beautiful turquoise seas and golden beaches, doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Regardless of whether you are a golfing enthusiast or just want to visit a driving range as a way of escaping from the beach for an afternoon then there are more than enough courses to keep you occupied during you stay on the island. All of the courses on Koh Samui are kept to a good standard and are sure to be challenging for everyone from novice golfers to experienced pros.
Koh Samui’s golf courses tend to be popular all year round, particularly with expats that live on the island.
However, arguably the busiest time on Koh Samui’s golf courses is during the high season, which is normally from the end of December to April. During this time, the islands courses are not only popular with expats and Thai’s but also with many foreign visitors and at times this can cause play to be slower than normal.
During the low season, it could be the case that you might not even see another person on the course, apart from your golfing partner or caddie.
If there is a hold up in play, it is important to try and be patient as there are always places to stop and take on board refreshment to sit and admire the spectacular views and scenery of the surrounding area.
Koh Samui Golf Useful Info
Before you take to any of the golf courses on Koh Samui, you should be aware, as with many golf clubs, there is a dress code for both men and women.
Men are expected wear to golf shoes, socks, tailored long trousers or smart shorts and a short sleeved shirt with a collar. Items of clothing/footwear that are not permitted include denim jeans or shorts, gym shorts, running shorts, football shirts and shorts, vests, round neck t-shirts, flip flops, sandals or any other non-golfing shoes.
Women are also expected to wear golf shoes, smart shorts or trousers, a blouse or a short sleeved shirt with a collar. Clothing such as football shirts, mini-skirts, leggings, denims and non golfing shoes are not permitted.
Certain golf courses on the island insist that each golfer must be accompanied by a caddie. The main role of the caddie is to drive the golf cart, assist with club selection, filling in divots and raking bunkers.
Some of the caddies on Samui speak English to a fairly good level. However, many do not, so it is important that you are patient in order for them to be able to assist you during your game. Above all, your caddie will be polite and friendly, therefore you should treat him or her as such.
With regards to paying for the caddie, a fee is paid directly to the golf course. However, the caddie may only actually receive a small percentage of this. Therefore, it is customary to tip your caddie about 300 Baht after you have finished playing a round of golf.
Golf Club Rental
All of the golf clubs on the island provide golf club rental, which can cost anywhere between 800 and 2000 Baht per set, for 18 holes, depending on the golf course. If you are a serious golfer then it is highly recommended that you bring your own clubs as some of the rental clubs might not be up to the same standards as you are normally used to. Also, some golf clubs will only have a limited selection of clubs for rent and on busy days, there might not be any spare clubs available.
Santiburi Samui Country Club
Arguably Koh Samui’s finest golf course, this 18 hole, 6930 yard, par 72 championship course is located in the hills of Maenam and has been beautifully designed to be in harmony with its natural surroundings. Due to the location of the course, golfers are presented with a number of different challenges from tricky uphill and downhill slopes to long, winding fairways, where mountain creeks, cliffs and even coconut trees all come into play.
The views from the course are nothing short of magnificent, making the Santiburi one of the most picturesque courses in Thailand.
The Santiburi Samui Golf Course also has a driving range that has capacity for 25 people and a practice green to help you sharpen your skills before teeing off.
The club house at the Santiburi is also very impressive and provides all the comfort and luxury you will need after a long day on the golf course. Inside you will find a fully equipped locker room, banqueting facilities as well as luxurious restaurant, complete with stunning panoramic views.
The Santiburi Golf Course has previously been chosen to host a number of major tournaments including the 2006 Bangkok Airways Open, as well as the Queens Cup in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The course has also featured in the Asia Tour of 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
It should also be noted that children under 12 years of age are not allowed on the course.
Green Fee: 1700 Baht (9 holes), 3350 Baht (18 holes)
Caddie Fee: 150 Baht (9 holes), 250 Baht (18 holes)
Golf Cart: 400 Baht (9 holes), 750 Baht (18 holes)
Club Rental: 700-2000 Baht
Driving Range Balls: 100 Baht (30 Balls)
Shoe Rental: 200 Baht
The Royal Samui Golf and Country Club
The Royal Samui Golf and Country Club is located on the mountainside between Chaweng and Lamai and is home to two spectacular 9 hole courses, which offers stunning views of the island. The course itself is one which players of all abilities will enjoy, with its breathtaking drops in elevation; there is little or no opportunity for error here.
No caddies are currently available at the Royal Samui, therefore, you will need to be careful when it comes to club selection, particularly on those tricky changes of elevation. Because there are no caddies available, you are responsible for driving the golf car yourself, but that is half of the fun, right?
The course here tends to be very popular amongst local and touring golfers as the club is normally a little more laid back in its rules and regulations compared to other courses on the island. For example, providing you are wearing the appropriate shoes, the dress code at the Royal Samui isn’t quite as strict as it at other courses. There is also more of a family atmosphere here and children of all ages are welcome.
Whilst this course might be lacking in some of the extra facilities that are on offer at the Santiburi, the Royal Samui can be an excellent choice if you just fancy a relaxed game of golf with your friends.
Green Fee: 1300 Baht (2 x 9 holes)
Caddie Fee: N/A
Golf Cart: 800 Baht (2×9 holes) – cart hire is highly recommended
Bophut Hills Golf Club
The course at Bophut Hills Golf Club is relatively small when compared to the other courses that can be found on Koh Samui, most notably the The Santiburi Golf Club and The Royal Samui Golf Club. The longest hole at Bophut Hills is approximately 163 yards. However, the greens of this 9 hole course are kept to championship quality and should still be challenging for players of all levels.
Bophut Hills also provide caddies to assist you during your game and there is also a reasonable selection of quality clubs available to rent. The clubhouse at Bophut Hills is complete with a well stocked bar and a good restaurant, which is the perfect place to have a couple of drinks and something to eat after you have finished your game.
It is advisable to contact the club directly for the latest information on green fees. However, at Bophut Hills, you can expect to pay somewhere in the region of 1500 Baht, which includes caddie fees and club hire.
Samui Golf Club and Driving Range
Located high up in the hills overlooking Bophut, the Samui Golf Club offers great views in an unspoilt tropical setting. However, the name ‘Samui Golf Club’ is actually somewhat misleading as all you will find here is a driving range and putting green and not an actual course.
The driving range itself covers some 250 yards and the putting green is a good place to practice if you have a couple of hours spare in the afternoon. Golf tuition is also available in English and German and normally costs about 1000 Baht for one hour. There is also a relatively good golf shop on site too.
Club Rental: 700 Baht (Including 100 balls)
Balls: 100 Baht (for 100)
Glove Rental: Free
Address: Samui Golf Club and Driving Range 123 Moo 1, Bophut
Tel: 077 245 236
Lamai Driving Range
Located on the main Samui ring road, just past the post office, Lamai Driving Range offers a good location for you to get some practice in. Club rental starts from 50 Baht and 50 balls can also be hired for 50 Baht.
Address: Lamai Driving Range, 22/6 Moo 6, Lamai
Tel: 081 090 7213
Mini Golf International
If you are looking for something that is a little more fun, less competitive and something that the whole family can enjoy, there are 3 ‘fun’ golf courses/sites which can be found on Koh Samui.
Mini Golf International, which is located in Choeng Mon is officially Thailand’s only professional mini golf course, as recognised by the World Mini Golf Federation. The course itself has 18, 12 metre concrete tracks, which are fully flood lit, enabling you to play at night.
For those that visit Mini Golf International you will also find a bar and cafe that serves a wide range of beers, soft drinks and snacks.
9 Hole Crazy Golf
A great way to spend a couple of hours is to visit the crazy golf course in Chaweng, which is located next to Gringos Cantina, just behind The Islander pub. Fun for all the family, the course is open from 11am to midnight, with discounts available for children between the hours of 11am and 6pm.
There is also a full bar service and lunch available from 1pm. Ice cream and soft drinks are served all day.
The great thing about crazy golf is that no experience is required and it is something that all the family can take part in and have some fun!
In order to find 9 Hole Crazy Golf, look out for the signs in central Chaweng, across the road from Pizza Hut.
Samui Football Golf
If you are looking for a completely different take on the game of golf then you should check out Samui Football Golf over in Choeng Mon.
Open daily from 9am to 6.30pm, this challenging, yet fun course combines football and golf and is suitable for all ages. Instead of using regular golf clubs and balls, the course has much larger holes and uses footballs instead of golf balls.
A unique experience, you are sure to be laughing out loud when playing a round at Samui Football Golf. The first of its kind in Asia, this 18 hole course is set amongst one of many of the islands coconut plantations where you can enjoy the swaying palms, relaxing shade and cool breeze.
No experience is necessary to play this game, just make sure you are ready to have fun and come with a smile!
Previously recommended on the Lonely Planet website, Samui Football Golf will provide you with a golfing experience like no other.
Address: Samui Football Golf, 24/119 Moo 5, Bo Phut (near the near the Imperial Boathouse Hotel in Choeng Mon)
Tel: 077 248 084 or 089 771 7498 (mobile)