An excellent and quirky new addition to the range of golf options in Chiang Rai looks set to give the more established courses a run for their money.
The latest course to open in Chiang Rai, the locally-designed Happy City Golf Resort unusually features 29 holes; this is no mathematical mistake however, as in addition to the three nines (Mountain Breeze, Lakeside and River) there are 2 maintenance holes which can be switched in or out to allow for course improvements without disrupting play.
There are plenty of panoramic views of the surrounding mountains to be enjoyed as you negotiate your way round the paspalum fairways and bermuda greens that keep your putts running true. From elevated tees you can usually pick out the hazards on the winding fairways although there are some nasty surprising lurking over the brow of a hill or round a dog-leg so you can land unexpectedly in trouble when you first play here. Some tough approach shots over water really test your accuracy, and the greens have bedded in quickly and run pretty fast. There are a couple of par-3s that stand out in the memory - the enormous green of the 7th is the shape of the Korean peninsula, and that of the 16th modeled after the map of Thailand. Further quirky touches can be found in the kiosks, one that looks like it comes from the Flinstones and the other a windmill straight out of 17th century Holland.
From the newly opened clubhouse you can take in the action on the tees at the 1st and 11th and the greens for holes 10 and 20 while you relax with a cool drink. There's other facilities in the form of an oriental spa and sauna, driving range, golf academy and practice green. It's early days yet, but this new kid on the block looks like giving the more established course in Chiang Rai a run for their money.