Phuket is arguably one of the best regions in Thailand, not only for a golf holiday but a general stay
Thailand is a great country to visit for golf, with a fantastic choice of world class golf courses throughout to enjoy. Having become a popular place to visit for tourists, the infrastructure has also greatly improved in recent years, meaning it is as easy as ever to get around the country and enjoy everything it offers, including its superb golf courses and facilities.
Arguably one of the best regions in Thailand, not only for a golf holiday but a general stay, is Phuket. Located in southern Thailand, on the west coast facing Andaman Sea, Phuket is an island connected to the mainland by a series of road bridges. Measuring 48 kilometres in length and 21 kilometres wide, Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and is therefore able to hold a larger selection of accommodation, entertainment and golf courses. In fact, there are ten excellent golf courses, all within easy reach of central Phuket and this makes it the perfect place to plan a golf holiday.
If you are considering a golf holiday to Thailand or Phuket for the first time, you should know you will be following in the footsteps of one of the greatest golfers of all-time, Tiger Woods. The 14-time major championship winner famously won the 1998 Johnnie Walker Classic on the Canyon Course, at Blue Canyon Country Club, an event which thrust Phuket into the eyes of the golfing world. Blue Canyon is not the only golf club to have hosted a big professional event and Laguna Golf Phuket had the honour of hosting the 2009 Thailand Open, which was a huge success. In addition, some of the famous golf course designers have had a hand in producing some Phuket’s best golf courses. Mission Hills Phuket Golf Club Resort and Spa features an 18-hole golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus. The Golden Bear won a record 18 major golf tournaments and has had a hand in designing some of the top golf courses around the world. However, not all the golf courses in Phuket are new developments, some can be traced back to the early 90’s, including Phuket Country Club and Tublamu Navy Golf Course, which as the name suggests, is operated by the Royal Thai Navy. Therefore, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to golf courses in Phuket and you could easily spend two weeks in the area and still not play every course.
Coupled with the great entertainment, wide range of accommodation, lovely beaches, interesting sights, stunning scenery and delicious food, Phuket is the perfect place to plan a golf holiday.
However, before finalising any details, it is important to understand how the different times of year can affect when you should be playing golf in Phuket. There are several factors which come into play when booking a golf holiday in Phuket, such as the climate, the cost of accommodation, green fees and the numbers of people on the golf coursee. So, what is the best time to play golf in Phuket?
Weather in Phuket
Perhaps the two biggest considerations when considering the best time to play golf in Phuket is the weather and the cost of accommodation.
Let’s deal with the climate first, as this should be your major consideration when planning a golf holiday to this region of Thailand.
For those living in the northern hemisphere, there are usually four different seasons during the year, being spring, summer, autumn and winter. However, in Phuket and Thailand as a whole, this is not the case, so do not book a golf break to Thailand based on the four seasons if you are travelling from Europe or North America. Due the fact Phuket is in a tropical region, it is warm all year around, so you never have to worry about problems like the golf course being frozen or snow putting an end to your round, this will never happen, whatever time of year you play. However, there are three distinct seasons in Phuket which you need to be aware of when planning your golf holiday. The first is what is known as the ‘dry cool season’ and this usually occurs between December and March. Based on weather alone, this is thought of by many to be the best time to play golf in Phuket. The weather, in terms of wind is very calm and the temperatures, although cool by tropical standards, tend to sit in the mid to late 20’s, which is pleasantly warm for those coming from the northern hemisphere, especially during the winter months. Rain fall is also at a minimum during this time of year, which means you never have to worry about wet weather ending your golf plans for the day or floods making the courses unplayable.
So, in terms of the weather, December to March is the best time to play golf in Phuket. However, the flipside is the fact it means a lot of people will be planning their holiday during this time of year. You will find more people on the beaches and golf courses of Phuket between December and March than you will at any other time of the year. Therefore, you will want to try and book your tee times in advance, to make sure you have a round of golf guaranteed because if you do not and turn up to the course, especially the more popular ones, hoping to walk straight onto the course, you will be left disappointed. Green fees are also more expensive this time of year because of the climate and the number of people who want to enjoy a round of golf, so you must be prepared to pay the maximum price. Having said that, by European and American standards, even during the high season in Phuket, golf prices remain very reasonable and you will not find anything which is outrageous, even at the top golf clubs.
With green fees going up, accommodation follows suit as the hotel owners know this is the time of year many people want to come to Phuket for a golf holiday. Again, in most cases you should not find the prices to be astronomical, even at this time of year but a combination of hotel prices and green fees may be a little more than some people are wanting to pay, so keep this in mind. There is also plenty of budget accommodation available in Phuket and good food can be found at decent prices, so there is no reason for anyone to be outpriced at this time of year. It all depends on what standard of living you would like to experience when playing in golf in Phuket. To put it simply, if you can afford it, the best time to play golf in Phuket is the cool dry season, between December and March.
Between April and May, you will find the hottest conditions of the year in Phuket. The fact April is the month of the Songkran water festival, which celebrates the Thai New Year and sees everyone throwing water over each other, goes some way to underlining just how hot the weather can be at this time of year. Taking part in the festival is a tremendous experience and great fun but whether you want to be out on the golf course, is a different matter.
Temperatures often reach 40 degrees by mid-day and while this may be OK for lying on the beach or swimming, it does not lend itself to playing a round of golf. Having said that, the temperature does not sit at this level and there will be days when the temperature is in the early 30’s or dips just below and this makes for good golf playing conditions. You will need to have plenty of water in your bag and keep hydrated at all times when playing golf in Phuket between April and May. The plus side of booking a golf holiday to Phuket in April or May is the reduced cost of green fees and accommodation. As this is the start of the low season, many golf courses are lowering their prices to tempt people onto their courses and some great value rounds can be booked, even at the top-rated golf clubs such as Red Mountain Golf Club, Mission Hills Golf Club and Blue Canyon Country Club.
Furthermore, between April and May the price of accommodation drops and you can find some excellent deals. If you are on a budget but would like to stay at some of best resorts, this is a good time to do so, as they become more affordable and rooms are easier to find. If you are planning on a golf holiday to Phuket and would like to stay at a golf resort, such as Mission Hills, April and May is a good time to do so, as prices will be down, as will the number of people on the golf course and using the facilities.
Therefore, if you do not mind having some days with the weather reaching 40 degrees, which may mean you will struggle to play a round of golf, April and May are a still a good time to visit Phuket for a golf holiday. In fact, if you have a set budget and enjoy hot weather, the months of April and May is the best time to play golf in Phuket. Just be aware during the Songkran festival, which takes place on the 13th, 14th & 15th of April as hotel prices can shoot up.
The third distinct season in Phuket and one you need to be aware when booking a golf holiday to this region of Thailand is commonly known as the rainy season. This tends to take place between June and October and if you hear people talking about the monsoon season in Phuket, they are talking about this rainy period. However, much like the weather in any other country in the world, this is not set in stone and between the months of June and August, it is possible to see a mix of sunny and wet weather, which makes it an enjoyable time to visit and although it may not be considered the best time to play golf in Phuket, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying a few rounds of golf at this time of year. If you are considering booking a golf holiday between the months of June and October, be aware the worst of the wet weather tends to strike in September and October but even then, you would be considered unlucky to have long, persistent days of rain which stop you from going out and having fun, especially on the golf course. In fact, even after heavy rainfall, many of the golf courses remain open and the water drains very well. So, even if some activities in Phuket may not be available, the opportunity to play a round of golf remains open.
These few months are considered the low season in Phuket and this is matched by the prices of accommodation and green fees, as the hotels and golf courses aim to tempt people to the region. You can find some great bargains now and if you want to save money the months of June to October is the best time to play golf in Phuket. Despite the wetter weather conditions, the temperature remains hot and the rain can be a refreshing experience, cooling you off nicely during a round of golf.
Hotel rates are often cut in half compared to the high season of December to March and the crowds are significantly smaller, meaning you will be able to stroll around the town easily and enjoy playing golf without the pressure of several groups waiting to tee off behind you. There can be several days with no rain at all and you could find yourself on the golf course all week, without having to avoid a single downpour. However, you must be aware that there is a good chance it will rain during your golf holiday in Phuket if you book between June and October and you should come prepared for the wet weather. Make sure you pack the necessary equipment in your golf bag for wet weather play, including a breathable waterproof jacket and trousers. You do not want to take anything which is too heavy because the temperature is still going to be hot and you will get very warm in a standard waterproof jacket so it must be light and keep you feeling cool. An umbrella is also a good item to have with you but if you forget to bring one, they are usually available at the golf courses in Phuket, so you will remain dry if you are caught in the rain around the course.
Essentially, to enjoy a golf holiday in Phuket between June and October, you just need to be prepared for some wet weather. If you arrive having accepted you will see rain during your stay, you will not be disappointed when it comes and you can continue to enjoy your golf at the many fantastic golf courses in the region. Therefore, if you do not mind the wet and are looking for a bargain golf holiday in Thailand, June and July is the best time to play golf in Phuket, as these are the better months within this five-month period.
So, when looking for the best time to play golf in Phuket, there are several factors you must consider before booking your golf holiday. If you want to play during the best weather, which is between December and March, you should be prepared to pay the highest prices, for both accommodation and green fees. If you are happy to play golf in very hot temperatures, April and May are the best months for you, with prices dropping during this period and fewer people on the golf course. For those who do not mind wet weather and are happy to forgo the potential for other activities in Phuket, anytime between June and October are good months to visit Phuket for a golf holiday. The prices will be at their lowest and crowds will down but you must be prepared for regular periods of rain and accept it is going to happen. You may get lucky and if you do it’s great but do not bank on it and be ready to get wet.
In summary, everyone is different but if you want guaranteed good weather and the greatest amount of undisturbed time on the tremendous courses, December to March is the best time to play golf in Phuket.