Laguna Phuket

Phuket, THAILAND

Story & Images by Sam Gole, Discover Golf Magazine

Nestled amid 1,000 acres of tropical gardens on the pristine shores of the Andaman Sea, Luguna Phuket Resort lays claim to be Asia’s finest destination resort. And that’s a well-supported contention judging by its masses of visitors, as I recently found out while enjoying a few days on the holiday island haven. And, as I also discovered, the popular resort features Laguna Phuket Golf Club—a ‘new look’ 18-hole championship golf course that recently received a thorough Paul Jansen makeover. Conveniently located on Phuket’s West Coast, Laguna Phuket Golf Club is just a 30-minute drive from Phuket International Airport.

Measuring a modest 6,143 metres from the tips, the par-71 golf course was officially reopened on January 11 after undergoing its considerable 18-month renovation. The superb Paul Jansen redesign came 22 years after the course was first opened.

Jansen, a Canadian-based golf course designer who worked with Nick Faldo to create Laguna Lang Co in Vietnam, has given Laguna Phuket a facelift that looks set to make it one of the leading courses in Thailand.

In making changes to the original course, Jansen said he wanted to create a story full of adventure. He wanted golfers to explore the property and discover its many outstanding features. He also said he had sought to create interest and memorability in the redesign. And after playing my way around the revitalised layout, I can attest, when it comes to Laguna Phuket being very playable, enjoyable and yet truly challenging, Jansen’s layout is certainly on the right track.

At a tickle over 6,100 metres, Laguna Phuket is a relatively short course by modern day standards. However, to score well will require good course management. By declining the temptation to dramatically extend the length of the original layout, Jansen has ensured this thinking person’s course will be a delight to play for golfers of all abilities—it’s a feature that has been lost in many modern designs.

The layout includes a wealth of sparkling lagoons, undulating fairways and contoured green complexes.

The new landscaping provides golfers with two distinct scenic experiences with lush tropical foliage on the front nine, while the back holes feature coconut groves and sand bunkers. Wherever you go, the Phuket mountains provide a picturesque backdrop. And to provide a local essence, there are also traditional Thai fishing boats beached in some of the lagoons.

To give you an idea of the Laguna Phuket golfing experience, we’ve featured five cracking holes on the pages to follow. So, let’s tee off with a closer look at the opening hole.

Hole 1
Laguna Phuket opens with the standout 362-metre, par-4 hole. It’s a wonderful introduction to the front nine—be sure to take a moment on the tee to take in the views over the large body of water.
This medium length par 4, with its generous fairway, requires an accurate tee shot to avoid being stymied behind the large Banyan Tree up the right side of the hole.
Beware of the water hazard, which hugs the entire right side of the hole and comes more into play the closer you get to the green.

Hole 3
The 293-metre, 3rd hole is a ripping risk/ reward par-4 that offers a multitude of route options. Go for the green or hug the water edge to maximise the reward. Those less daring can choose to carry the bunker for a short, albeit difficult, second shot. Short of the large fairway bunker leaves a long shot to a less receptive putting surface from this angle.
On the tee, make sure to appreciate the wonderful mountain backdrop that frames most of the hole.

Hole 7
The shortest of the Par 5s on the golf course at just 485 metres in length offers a great opportunity to score well—but to do so you need to stay high and dry. A tee shot over the fairway bunker will put you in a position to best attack the green for your second shot. Use the slope, off the bunker on the left side of the green, to propel your ball towards the target. There is fairway area behind the green so don’t be timid with your attack and remember you have the greatest opportunity to score well by taking on the greater risk.

Hole 10
The back nine starts with a bang. This short yet strategic Par 4 plays towards a large water body that hugs the backside of the green complex.
Laid out over undulating land with trees that encroach at the landing area this hole is visually very impressive but more difficult than the length suggests.
The green is mostly visible and best attacked from the left side of the fairway—but beware the large fairway bunker. Long is wet so be sure to choose the right club.

Hole 17
Shaded by native Casuarina woodland, Laguna Phuket unveils a classic long and challenging hole at the 17th. The 395-metre, par-4 offers many options off the tee.
For the best results aim to hit over the fairway bunkers that encroach into the play areas. If you opt to play away from the water and short of the bunkers then expect a difficult second shot to a green guarded by trees and sand. The green surface and surrounds are well contoured so use great imagination and creativity in order to find the target.

Laguna Phuket Resort—Asia’s first fully integrated destination resort—enjoys unrivalled access to the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea at Bang Tao Bay. The contemporary beachfront resort includes six hotels—Banyan Tree, Angsana, Dusit Thani, Holiday Club, Outrigger Beach Resort and Outrigger Resort & Villas. Angsana Laguna Phuket features vibrant and stylish rooms and facilities designed for the dynamic cosmopolitan traveller. Banyan Tree Phuket is an oasis of peace and tranquility. Built in harmony with nature it has earned the honour of being voted the ‘World’s Best Spa Resort’ by readers of Condé Nast Traveller. Dusit Thani features unique neo-colonial architecture underpinned by modern Thai style warmth in all the guest rooms. The Holiday Club is centrally located amid the tropical surrounds of Laguna Phuket overlooking the Golf Club’s scenic fairways. Outrigger Beach Resort is an absolute beachfront property that will suit both families and couples. Guests at any of the hotels in Laguna Phuket enjoy access to a range of world-class facilities, including spas, restaurants, bars, boutique shopping and horse riding. Everywhere within the Laguna Phuket Resort is easily accessed within minutes by complimentary shuttle boats and buses.

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