Only a lack of maintenance prevents this stunningly located and tough course from being pretty much perfect.
Located in the forested mountains an hour south of Chiang Mai, Gassan Khuntan Golf & Resort is without question the best (and most challenging) of the three major Gassan courses. With the waterfalls and the famous railway bridge of the Doi Khuntan mountains providing a stunning backdrop, it's easy to be distracted from the substantial challenges that the course itself has to offer. With its sharp dog-legs, island greens and deep bunkers, this is a layout to match any world class championship course, and thus not one for the feint of heart. To give you a flavour, the island green on the 163 yard par-3 5th would be tricky enough to land on were the landing zone not substantially reduced by greenside bunkers that practically ensure dropped shots should you end up in one; at the standout 9th, water running down the entire left hand side of the hole makes for a nervy tee shot to a frighteningly narrow fairway featuring bunkers on the right. If you can avoid these dangers, the approach to a sand-protected elevated green is equally tough. At least on these two holes you can see where you are hitting - there are plenty of blind tee shots where you must rely on the thankfully knowledgeable caddies to guide you.
While it is green and lush during the rainy summer months, the course itself suffers during the dry season when a more comprehensive maintenance programme would be of benefit.This is perhaps the one issue detracting from what is otherwise a hugely enjoyable, if tough course. The large clubhouse is a pleasant place to be, featuring spacious locker rooms with a grand feel and a restaurant that makes best use of the spectacular views over the course. While there has been the odd complaint about caddies lacking knowledge of golf etiquette, this was not something we experienced and it is certainly not a complaint that could be leveled at the friendly and helpful staff in the clubhouse and the 63-room hotel. If a little more care was spent on maintaining the course over the dry months, it would be possible to recommend a round of golf at Gassan Khuntan Golf & Resort without reservation.
Like the sound of this course? Secure a tee time and take advantage of the discounted green fees on offer by adding Gassan Khuntan Golf & Resort to your Chiang Mai golf holiday package.