The Royal (& ‘nearly ancient’) Hua Hin Golf Course; Thailand’s First!
In 1834 King William IV agreed to become Patron of the Club and the Society of St Andrews Golfers became The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Scotland. The R & A built the New Course in 1895. Accordingly St Andrews is considered to be the ‘home of golf’ and revered by golfers worldwide.
In Thailand there is some evidence that golf was played at the Royal Bangkok Sport’s Club Golf Course in 1906 as accounting records show green fees stood at 74.17 THB. However Royal Hua Hin is accredited with being the Kingdom’s first ‘real’ golf course. Not as ‘ancient’ as St Andrews but no less ‘royal’ The history of this Course states that construction commenced in 1919 however it is also stated that royal permission for the construction was given in 1923. However the ‘official’ version is best presented by the course itself with many photos in the Clubhouse to verify events. One very ‘grainy’ photo shows the inauguration ceremony of the initial nine holes presided over by His Majesty King Vajiravudh the Great (Rama VI) on June 28th 1924.
Thailand’s golfing history on display in the clubhouse The King’s younger brother was assigned to supervise construction and was also the Patron of the Thailand Golf Association. The Course was completed in 1928 during his reign as King Prajadhipok (Rama VII). HM King Rama IX is also pictured on a practice putting green although This was not taken on the course.. One of the reasons for the Course construction was that in the 1920’s Hua Hin’s popularity had increased as the railway line from Bangkok was completed and Klai Kangwon Palace became a Royal summer retreat.
The Royal waiting room is behind the First Tee
With the Railway Station almost on the course it’s not hard to imagine golfers, including Members of the Royal Family, disembarking from the train golf bags in hand. One of the features of the Railway Station remains the Royal Waiting Room used to welcome the King and his Court when visiting town. A Scottish Railway Engineer who was working on the new railway line is accredited for the Course design. He is described as Mr A. O Robin (also referred to elsewhere as O.J. Robin and A.O Robins).
Little other information is available about Mr Robin. Perhaps he was familiar with the R & A or perhaps his name was ‘A’ for Andrew, as in Saint Andrew’s, but that’s just a guess! The original clubhouse has been preserved next to the 10th tee and the 18th green with the current premises being completed in 1985 along with some other ‘modernisation’ of the Course. This coincides with the Boon Rawd Brewery (Singha Beer) assuming management of the Course which remains to the present date.
GM Senior Captain Chao Pobtasnapong (Rtn.) on the clubhouse balcony overlooking the original clubhouse About The Course It would be futile to compare Royal Hua Hin with other contemporary resort style courses that are recognised as amongst Thailand’s best. This Course does not pretend to offer that sort of experience but something quite different. Perhaps a bit like trying to compare an old Scottish links course with Pebble Beach, one is not necessarily better, just different. Although you are playing right next to the city, the atmosphere is very tranquil. The Course wanders through tree lined fairways with gentle contours, an easy walk. Some of the trees are very old and large, spanning between the fairways and often extending their limbs and foliage to narrow your shot options. Many trees are over a hundred of years old and have their horticultural names affixed.
Hua Hin town behind the Royal Hua Hin final holes and club house
At the Western end of the Course a backdrop of the nearby Hin Lek Fai hillside comes closer and some panoramic views towards the ocean add to the scenic experience. Location Royal Hua Hin is located as close to the City of Hua Hin town as you could imagine with only the railway line and station separating it from the city centre. Even if you can’t play, a visit to RHH will give you a real taste of Thailand’s golfing history. Royal Hua Hin Golf Course Tel: +66 (0)32 512 475.