Most golfing regulars consider the golf course a “sanctuary”. This has many different meanings. For some, it’s the only time to get some time away from the kids, spouses, work and is one of the few places drink, smoke, drive and exercise all at the same time. For me, I’ve been fortunate enough to golf on someone of the finest golf courses on the west coast of the US, such as Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, and Kapalua. I consider those mainstream and quite frankly, overpriced and overhyped but at least mere mortals have access to them, unlike courses such as Augusta National, Cypress, and Olympic Club. There are so many golf courses around the world that are just as “stunning” for half the price. It just takes since some looking around and while you are at it, what better way to see the world than travel to new destinations to not only experience the culture, the food, but also the golf? This is why i like Asia Golf and golfing in Asia.
Of all the continents to golf, I would say that Asia is the best destination. The combination of the warm weather all year round, the abundance of golf courses, and the fact that golf is still considered a luxury pastime will guarantee any avid golfer a memorable experience. Every course that I have ever played there rivals some of the best courses in the US. Here’s a showcase of some of my experiences of Asia Golf
What makes Asia golf different? First off, you get to have a caddy who will do everything from drive your cart, carry your bag, clean your ball, find your ball, place your tea, line up your put, fan you while waiting, pick fruits off trees for you to eat, or give you a back massage. It’s a pretty interesting experience, as most people never have played with a caddy before. In Thailand, you can go as extreme as having 4 caddies for one round. One to carry your clubs, one to carry your chair that they put down anytime you aren’t moving, one to carry your umbrella, and one to drive the cart. This kind of service is typically reserved for douche bags and Thai generals, so if you fit mold of either of the two, I recommend you to try it out, but keep in mind you will have to pay 4x caddy fee and tip! From my experience, having a caddy is not quite like you see on television, where they caddy is throwing out all these different numbers to every possible landmark on the golf course. In Asia, it’s more like the caddies are there for moral support, since each course has so many caddies, you never know which one are good or bad unless you play the course hundreds of times. The general rule of thumb is that the younger and better looking caddies usually don’t know the greens and yardages as well, where as the older caddies do, since they have been working for a lot longer. Also, their English tends to be better, as most don’t speak english and only know golf terms. I personally find the younger caddies just to distracting, as would rather focus on scoring a low as I can.
So how do you get these amazing destinations and set up tee times? There are two ways that you can do it. One, which is to go through a golf tour company like Golf Asian who will have full service packages that will pick you up from the airport and provide all the tee time booking and transportation also. That is more like the 5 star experience, as it is quite expensive. What I would recommend you to do is to book it through the hotel that you are staying at. All hotels will have someone who can call the golf course and book the tee times and they all have private drivers that will drive you to the golf course. You can call or email ahead of time to the hotel you are staying to set everything up. You could even take a taxi if the courses are close enough.
Here’s some Pro tips that I have gathered from my Asia Golf experiences:
- If you want to look respectable, bring a staff bag. Every big timer in Asia has one. No one has the carry bags because, no one has to carry their own bags!
- When speaking to the caddies, remember that english isn’t their native language and remember to S-P-E-A-K S-L-O-W-L-Y and not use complex words. In exchange, take the opportunity to learn a couple native words, so you can show them off to your golf crew at home.
- If you really like your caddy, you can always reserve her/him the next day. Just remember their caddy number and go up to the caddy duty manager to arrange it for your next round.
- Make sure you utilize the locker rooms. They are always of high quality and most have someone there to clean your shoes, and sometimes have steam rooms, jacuzzis, etc.
- Tipping is required and is the main source of income for the caddies and tip is usually in the 20-40 dollar range. Err on the higher side as it’s still cheaper than anywhere else.
- Try to play early in the morning. The view, lighting, and the serenity is amazing, plus you can get back to town and still have a full day to go explore. Rounds are using around 3-4 hours max.
- Be careful when flying the smaller airlines, since most will charge an oversize baggage fee which will make it the same price or more expensive than flying a major airline like Vietnam Airline or Thai Airways, especially if you have status and get 2 free check in bags.
- Bring an umbrella – It gets quite hot out there on the golf course and the caddies will hold umbrella over your head the whole time to keep you cool.
Feel free to message me if you need any help getting it set up or would like some recommendations on Asia Golf.
Until next time… hit ‘em straight!
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