The home of Golf in Thailand – Royal Hua Hin Golf Course approaches a centenary

The Royal (& ‘nearly ancient’) Hua Hin Golf Course; Thailand’s First!
The Royal (& ‘nearly ancient’) Hua Hin Golf Course; Thailand’s First!

There is evidence that golf was played at the Royal Bangkok Sport’s Club Golf Course in 1906, however opening in 1924, Royal Hua Hin is accredited with being the Kingdom’s first ‘real’ golf course with a justifiable claim to being Thailand’s ‘Home of Golf.’

One of the reasons for the course being built was that during the 1920’s Hua Hin’s popularity increased as the railway line from Bangkok was completed and Klai Kangwon Palace became a Royal summer retreat. A Scottish Railway Engineer, Mr. A.O Robins, working on the railway line, is accredited as the Course designer.

Visitors, including non-golfers, often take the time to browse the walls of the Club house to take in some real golfing history. One 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.

The King’s younger brother was assigned to supervise construction as Patron of the Thailand Golf Association. The Course was completed in 1928 during his reign as King Prajadhipok (Rama VIII).

The original clubhouse has been preserved next to the 10th tee and the 18th green overlooked by the current premises, 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, an arrangement that continues to the present date.

Royal Hua Hin is located as close to downtown Hua Hin as you could imagine, with only the new dual track railway Line and current station separating it from the City Centre. It’s quite possible to walk from hotels nearby. It’s also possible to be disturbed on the first tee by amplified announcements from the station, however this just adds to the charm of the Course. As soon as you have commenced your round it becomes very quiet with only the sounds of nature audible.

The Course wanders through tree lined fairways with gentle contours as an easy walk, always with Hin Lek Fai as the western backdrop. Some of the trees are huge and very old, often extending their limbs and foliage to narrow shot options. Many trees are hundreds of years old and may have their horticultural names affixed to them.

Topiary trees featuring throughout the course are maintained by gardeners who also take care of the nearby Centara Resort & Spa topiary gardens.

It would be futile to compare Royal Hua Hin with Regional Courses such as Black Mountain, Banyan, Majestic Creek or the other contemporary resort style courses in the region that are recognised as amongst Thailand’s best. This Course does not pretend to offer that sort of experience but something quite different. Perhaps like trying to compare an old Scottish links course with Pebble Beach. One is not necessarily better, just different.

The unique royal history and scenic location means this golf course really is one of the region’s most treasured historical attractions, with a centenary celebration coming soon for Thailand’s home of golf.