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Black Mountain Sets New Heights in Thailand

Black Mountain Sets New Heights in Thailand

Paul Myers

July 19th, 2013

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It took just five years for Black Mountain Golf Club near Hua Hin, Thailand to climb the ladder of golf course notoriety in Asia. Now, as it completes its sixth high season since opening in April 2007, the first course in Thailand to be named (in 2012) in the US Golf Digest list of the Top 100 Courses Outside the United States, has become a fully integrated lifestyle and leisure resort with golf as its centerpiece.

Whereas the championship course was virtually Black Mountain’s sole attraction when it opened, the complex now also includes a par-3 course, driving range, spa, water park and wakeboard park, condominiums and villas for sale and rent, a sports centre, restaurant, supermarket and bakery.

The orientation of the resort tofamily lifestyle and leisure activities has greatly boosted its profile and popularity among Thais, expatriates and overseas visitors.

“We are very much focused on making Black Mountain a family lifestyle and holiday destination,” says general manager, Harald Elisson. “With the opening of the water park and wakeboard park, teenagers and younger children are now well catered for. Non-golfers have the spa and sports centre, as well as our clubhouse and restaurant, and golfers have two courses to play with all the other amenities. It’sa win-win situation for everyone.”

The release of 16 newly completed pool villas into the resort’s rental pool is also a big plus for families visiting the resort. “It means families and small groups can stay on site in comfort and enjoy the great golf, the water park and everything else we have to offer,” Harald Elisson adds.

Turning Black Mountain into a destination resort makes it unique in Thailand and one of only a handful in south-east Asia. Few other golf properties in the kingdom have on-site accommodation, let alone the other facilities. And not many in the region can match the quality of Black Mountain’s golf course and amenities.

As good as it was from the outset, even the championship golf course has been upgraded. The first, ninth and 18th fairways have been lowered to provide full visibility from tee to green, while new bunkering on the ninth has improved its playability.

At any other facility, the latest investments would inevitably push green fees and other costs out of sight. But Black Mountain’s green fee is a very reasonable 3600 Thai baht (approx. SGD 143) for 18 holes, plus THB 600 cart fee and THB 300 caddie fee, a total of 4500 baht (approx. SGD 179) to play a course of this quality.

Offering some of the best scenery and conditioning on any golf course in Thailand, Black Mountain has collected a throng of awards since opening in 2007.

The par-72, 7550 yards tournament layout was named in 2009 at the Asia Pacific Golf Awards as the best championship course in Thailand.

In 2010, the year it hosted the Black Mountain Masters, Black Mountain was voted host venue of the year by players on the Asian Tour.

In 2011, it was named best course in Thailand and best championship course in Asia Pacific at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit Pattaya, the same year it hosted the biennial Royal Trophy between Asia and Europe, won by the visitors who will defend their title in Brunei this December.

In May 2012, Black Mountain became the first course in Thailand to make US Golf Digest’s list of the Best 100 Courses Outside the United States. The list, which includes only 14 courses in Asia, is led by legendarynames such as the St Andrews Old Course and Turnberry in Scotland, Royal County Down and Royal Portrush in Ireland and includes Valderrama in Spain, Noordwijkse and Kennemer in the Netherlands.

Black Mountain’s many awards have not gone unnoticed among discerning golf travellers who have made its hometown of Hua Hin, 200 kilometres south of Bangkok, Thailand’s premier golf destination.

The region has been made famous as the Thai Royal Family holiday destination since King Rama VII built a summer palace there in 1926.

Why is the course rated so highly? As with all great courses, it comes down to three key considerations: design, presentation and visual appeal.

Australian course architect, Phil Ryan, cleverly used the landscape to maximum advantage in creating the course near and adjacent to the distinctive Black Mountain hillside. The resulting elevation changes with playing challenges of both uphill and downhill holes – as well as some relatively flat – demand careful shot selection and execution.

When it comes to visual appeal, Black Mountain has few peers. The views on and off the course are stunning, especially looking west to the Burmese Mountains at sunset. Course conditioning and presentation is also first class.

Complementing the championship layout, the par-3 course, which opened last December, is regarded as the best inAsia. “You could take every hole, put it on a championship layout and it would fit fine,” said European tour player and Black Mountain ambassador, Johan Edfors of Sweden, after the course opened. “I can learn more in an hour playing one round here than from a day on the range.”

Meanwhile, Black Mountain’s new aquatic facilities – a large water park and adjacent wakeboard park – have provided new impetus and wider appeal for families.

With capacity for up to 1500 people, the water park is one of the biggest and most modern in Asia. The focal point is a 17-metre tower from which nine water slides “empty” their riders into a series of pools. A gently flowing “lazy river” winds its way around the park with numerous places for people to stop and sit on submerged benches.

The wakeboard park is one of only six in Thailand. A cable system pulls riders at 30 kilometres an hour and can accommodate up to eight wakeboarders at one time. The 800-metre-long area features two jumps and two sliders that give participants full opportunity to practice and show off their skills.

Meanwhile, the completion of new villas means families and groups of golfers can now easily stay on site.

During the coming high season, the resort’s two-bedroom villas can be rented for 4800 baht a night, with one night free for each 7-day rental. A three-bedroom villa rents for 6000 baht a night, also with one free day after seven days.

Featuring modern décor, large open-plan living areas, western kitchens and private pool, the villas are located next to the par-3 course and are a short distance to the main clubhouse.

“The pool villas are like a home away from home for people visiting Black Mountain who want to take advantage of the wonderful facilities,” says general manager, Harald Elisson.

As well as being available for rent, the villas are for sale from 5.995 million baht (approx. USD200,000).

For more information, visit www.bmghuahin.com

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