Turf color, consistency, and the oldest course in Thailand

Last month I made a trip to Hua Hin and visited two of the fine golf courses there—Royal Hua Hin GC and Banyan GC.

fairway color at Royal Hua Hin GC All kinds of colors through the green at Royal Hua Hin GC in May

Hua Hin has one of the driest climates in Thailand. The courses there, and the hills around them, change in color throughout the year.

hua hin green Royal Hua Hin GC in June

The “Royal” is right in the middle of town, adjacent to the train station. The train station itself is a tourist destination.

Hua Hin Train station The train station in Hua Hin, Thailand, as seen from the golf course parking lot

The course, as I understand, is owned by the government’s railway department. The course was laid out in 1924, and you can read about it at the Golf Asian site. They write that A.O Robins, the course’s designer, “was a Scottish railroad engineer.”

The hills around Hua Hin change color with the seasons, depending on how much rain has fallen. There is plenty to do besides golf. Fancy a winery visit? On an elephant? That can be arranged.

elephant rides at winery in Hua Hin Riding elephants at the Monsoon Valley winery

Back to the golf, when one walks from the clubhouse to the first tee, this prayer tree is on the right.

Prayer tree near the first tee at Royal Hua Hin GC

Even though the course is in the middle of the town, it sits on a piece of land between the railroad tracks and a mountain. It feels like walking through a park.

Bougainvillea abutting a bunker at the Royal Hua Hin GC

The land in Hua Hin is rolling, too. There are wonderful ground contours. Walking the course is a pleasure, with gentle uphill stretches, an equivalent amount of downhills, big trees for shade, usually an ocean breeze, and tons of birds in the trees and flying through the air.

Ground contours at Royal Hua Hin GC, and a temple in the background

Speaking of flying through the air … I made a birdie and tried a new pose for my birdie dance photographs. A lot of people are saying this is the best one ever.

Introducing a new birdie dance at Royal Hua Hin

Of course the Royal is not the only course in town. There are a lot of golf courses in this popular holiday and retirement area.

One of my favorites is the Banyan GC. Colors there change even more dramatically than at Royal Hua Hin. That’s because the Banyan is set into a valley, surrounded on three sides by forests. Those forests range from green to orange to brown to yellow, depending on the light, and depending on the season.

View from the tenth tee at Banyan GC in May

The playing conditions at Banyan GC are superb, with native manilagrass fairways and smooth Tifeagle greens. When it is dry, it seems the ball can run forever.

I found the fairway on this hole at Banyan GC

After you’ve played golf, and have checked the colors of the grass, you can also check the color of the sky at sunset, and the colors at the beach.

A mango shake at sunset in Hua Hin