LPGA's best start the year at Thailand's Siam C.C.
Ever since the PGA Tour season started last month, I've been dreaming about the warmer months ahead and the chance to go out and make some birdies. It's been torturous to watch the pros jet from one golfing paradise to another, and it's even more painful to read their gloating tweets and see their cell phone pictures sparkle from places like Kapalua and Pebble Beach.
But this week could send me over the edge when I watch Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Yani Tseng and all of the other top LPGA players tee it up at the Old Course at Siam Country Club in Pattaya, Thailand ($90-$107, siamcountryclub.com).
I was fortunate enough to play a few rounds in Thailand last October, and as I read the tweets from the players it makes me want to tap into the savings, drop the dog off at a friend's house and book the next flight to Bangkok.
Part of the reason was the fun I had playing the Old Course at Siam Country Club. Opened in 1969 and recently renovated by Schmidt-Curley Design, the Old Course offers generous fairways, 101 bunkers and several elevated greens.
The course looks pretty flat, and is easily walkable, but it subtlety plays downhill away from the clubhouse and gradually goes back uphill. Along the way there are fun challenges like the 373-yard, par-4 second hole that requires a drive over a bunker for a good look at the elevated green. And the 220-yard eighth hole is a tough par 3 that plays over water to a green guarded by two large bunkers on the right and a smaller trap on the left.
The closing three holes are no pushovers and should make for an exciting finish to the first LPGA event of the year. From the tips, the par-3 16th plays every bit of its 231 yards to a tough, two-tiered green. The short par-4 17th will be tricky for the longer hitters, as water comes into play the farther they try to hit their tee shots. And the threat of bunkers comes into play on every shot along the dogleg-left, par-5 18th.
If you're staying in Bangkok, Siam C.C. is only about 75 minutes away, which makes for a good day trip. Another option is to stay in Pattaya for a night and play Siam C.C.'s other course, the 27-hole Plantation, host to the Honda LPGA Thailand in 2009.
(Photo: No. 9 at Siam C.C. Old Course)
For more information on golf trips to Thailand, visit golfasian.com.