Asia features some of the most amazing golf courses in the world, and golfing at one of them is a rare treat that will be remembered for a lifetime. Many of the courses have been designed by world-class players, and feature plush surroundings and comfortable amenities, and are set in some of the most incredible resorts in the world.
Here are a selection of Asia.com’s favorite ten Asian golf resorts.
1. Phuket, Thailand
Luxurious and Learner-Centered
If you’re a golfer and you’re in Southeast Asia, you can’t pass up a trip to the island of Phuket in the Kingdom of Thailand. The Laguna Phuket Golf Club, part of the Laguna Resort Complex, is surrounded by five-star hotels and all the pampering you normally associate with a visit to Thailand. If you can pry yourself away from the warm beaches, take your clubs and go on to the 18-hole course. The par-71 golf course is suitable for players with any level of proficiency, from beginner to Tiger Woods-level expertise.
2. Bali, Indonesia
Variety and Vegetation
Nothing says “tropical vacation” like Bali. The mere mention of this tropical paradise conjures images of palm trees and exotic women dancing on the beach. Where better to start your golf vacation than at the Bali Golf and Country Club? The course delivers an incredibly varied terrain, starting out on a gentle hillside and wandering through a jungle-like course surrounded by tropical greenery, and finally terminating right along the beach. Don’t be surprised if you encounter some colorful tropical birds as you make your way through this highly-ranked course. After the game, you’ll find a relaxing spa facility, along with a traditional open-air restaurant featuring both local cuisine and international fare.
3. Brunei Darussalam
If you’re accustomed to doing business in Brunei Darussalam, then you’ve gotten accustomed to a bit of elegance. The Empire Hotel and Country Club offers a world-class, championship golf course and some of the most lavish accommodations that you could ever imagine. Carved right out of natural rainforest surroundings, the resort and golf course offers an incredible view of the ocean and lush gardens. The first nine holes of this course stand on high ground giving you a majestic, sweeping view of the ocean, but just wait until you get to the 15th hole—perhaps the most beautiful site that any golfer has ever seen, which runs right along the beach. Greens fees are surprisingly affordable, and the course is floodlit for night playing. The hotels are a study in measured elegance and old-world comfort, and you’ll find a wide range of restaurants and cafes, and you can even go straight from your English High Tea in the Lobby Lounge, to a traditional Cantonese dinner at the breathtaking Li Gong restaurant with its elegant landscaped waterfall.
4. Nanjing, China
Five Star and French Fusion
Everyone in Asia loves the game of golf, and the Chinese are no exception. In Nanjing, the Sofitel Zhongshan Golf Resort, located near the legendary Purple Mountain, delivers five-star luxury. The 27-hole course was designed by Gary Player. The resort itself is the first five-star resort in Nanjing, and it lives up to its rating. Visitors are treated to luxury and leisure at every turn, with well-appointed and comfortable rooms, and a full-featured spa for relaxing after a long day out on the course. You can enjoy French and fusion cuisine at one of the three excellent restaurants at the resort. The staff is attentive and friendly, and if you don’t speak Mandarin, you’ll have no trouble finding a staff member to help you out in English.
Singapore Island Country Club.
Over 100 years old, this venerable resort boasts four 18-hole golf courses, including the championship Bukit course that has played host to numerous world-class golf events over the years. The Bukit course features a somewhat untamed appearance, making play a wonderful back-to-nature experience. The course features thousands of fully-grown tropical trees—and you are likely to see a few monkeys here and there attempting to play through. Watch your golf balls and bags, they like to snatch things from unsuspecting humans! There are ten delightful places to eat at the country club, with an array of any type of cuisine you like. Traditional Chinese fare is available at the Bukit Room, and you can also find Western menus and comfortable theme cafes with a wonderful array of local food. And if you’re escaping the snow in February, don’t forget to attend the famous Lo Hei Ball at Hong Yuen.
6. Sarawak, Malaysia
Golfing in the Jungle
For a truly fascinating jungle experience, you can’t miss the Hornbill Golf and Jungle Club in Sarawak. Situated right in the middle of the rainforest a thousand meters above sea level, this fascinating place doesn’t attempt to shield visitors from its exotic locale; instead, it embraces the rainforest and highlights its natural features, while at the same time delivering the ultimate experience in relaxation and spa therapy, and world-class golf. The rugged mountain terrain makes the course exceptionally challenging. Visiting the Jungle Club is a unique experience like none other. The Jungle Spa brings the ultimate in relaxation and special treatments for the mind and body, and you’ll be sure to enjoy the exotic local cuisine at the Annah Rais Café.
7. Phan Thiet, Vietnam
Sauna, Spa, and Sun
Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling and fascinating sea of humanity and culture, but outside the city and along China Beach, the countryside takes a decidedly rugged turn. Three hours from Ho Chi Minh you’ll find an elegant and friendly oasis at the Novotel Ocean Dunes and Golf Resort. The first international resort in Vietnam, the club represents the new direction of Vietnam as it embraces tourism and foreign visitors to their little paradise. The course, a par-72 set, is often rated as one of the top courses in all of Asia. Novices and professionals alike will appreciate the course at Novotel, with each hole bringing special and unique challenges as well as breathtaking scenery. Don’t forget to take some time for the spa, with private saunas and relaxing massage, and when you’re done, take a leisurely stroll along the scenic beach.
8. New Delhi, India
Longhand and Layout by Arnold Palmer
Golf is immensely popular in India, so no top ten list is complete without a mention of the DLF Golf & Country Club in New Delhi. Consistently ranked as one of the best in the country, DLF is actually located in the private sector development of DLF City, just on the southern border of New Delhi. It is convenient to many workplaces as well as several elegant hotels and resorts. The course layout, designed by Arnold Palmer, is challenging and quite unique. The stunning landscape combines the well-manicured tradition of modern golf courses with the natural environment, and the course is well-suited to both beginners and professionals.
9. Fukuoka, Japan
Osamu Ueda’s White and Green Imagination
Many golf clubs and resorts in Japan have a strict dress code, and because of the shortage of space, fees can run high. Nonetheless, it is a popular sport in the country. The Koga Golf Club has been host to the Japan Open Championship. Originally a nine-hole course, it was redesigned in 1956 by design master Osamu Ueda, and now features 18 holes. The attractive course with white sand and tall pine trees faces the Tsushima Strait.
10. Cheju-Do, South Korea
Tee-Off, Tea, and the Sea
The Pinx Country Club in South Korea is a 27 hole course, with an 18-hole private and 9-hole public section. This renowned club is elegantly and scrupulously maintained, and is host to the Korea-Japan tournament annually. Pinx is a world-class course with a gorgeous sea view. The clubhouse is an architectural delight as well, and combines nature with art for a delightful experience when you’re finished with your game. A traditional teahouse and a well-run restaurant are both available, along with a sauna and a banquet hall for large meetings.