After a challenging two years, the golf community at Black Mountain continues to grow

Pictured: Asian Tour Commissioner and CEO Cho Minn Thant (left), Harald Elisson, Black Mountain Golf Club Hua Hin Managing Director (Centre) with Thailand’s 14 year old golf prodigy Ratchanon ‘TK’ Chantananuwat (right).

Hua Hin Today spoke with Black Mountain Golf Club Managing Director Harald Elisson about the recent hosting of the International Series Thailand tournament, the challenges faced during COVID-19 and the growing golf community at Black Mountain.

In March, Black Mountain Golf Club hosted the inaugural International Series Thailand event.

The tournament, which took place between Mar 3-6 was the first in a new series of Saudi-backed golf tournaments, fronted by former world number 1 Greg Norman and LIV Golf Investments.

The first event in the series took place in Thailand, with Black Mountain chosen as the host.

The series, which is regarded by some as heralding a “new era for Asian golf”, will see further stops in Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Middle East, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

The series ended in victory for American golfer Sihwan Kim who shot a nine-under-par 63 in the fourth round of the tournament to take home the $270,000 prize.

Kim, who broke the course record on day one, shooting a 10-under par 62, took on Thailand’s great hope for the future, Phachara Khongwatmai in the final round, with the 33-year-old winning by two strokes.

“We have always had a really good relationship with the Asian Tour and to host the first International Series Thailand has been really exciting”, Harald told Hua Hin Today.

“The International Series really elevates golf in this region in every sense, including for the players and fans but also for Hua Hin.

“We would love for the International Series to become a yearly event at Black Mountain, which would also help to further establish Hua Hin as a truly international golf destination”.

The hosting of the International Series was a positive after what has been a challenging two years for Black Mountain.

Harald explained the pandemic essentially resulted in the loss of two high seasons for the golf course.

But amidst the challenges of the pandemic, there has been some positivity.

Black Mountain Golf Club and its resort villas are SHA+ certified and approved accommodation for people entering Thailand as part of the Test & Go program.

While this brought a slight increase in people visiting, Harald says it was mainly returning expats rather than the “two week tourists” who were staying at Black Mountain.

“I think a lot of people are really eager to come back to Thailand but we have not yet seen the return of tourists to the same levels as we saw before”.

While golf remains at the core of Black Mountain, the resort includes over one hundred villas and a water park, while the Hua Hin International School is also located on site.

“Actually, where we have seen some of the biggest changes during the pandemic is with our properties”, Harald says.

“There are approximately 150 properties at Black Mountain, we keep growing all the time”.

“Even during the pandemic we saw an influx of people buying.”

Harald says that the demographic of people buying property at Black Mountain has changed from when the golf course opened in 2007.

While Black Mountain remains popular with retirees and people buying second homes, more families with young children are also buying properties there.

Harald says that the location of Black Mountain makes it popular with families.

“People who move here are moving to live permanently in Hua Hin and we are starting to see more people who are family oriented, which for us is great because we have the international school nearby and also the water park.