Known to the pros as 'The Beast of Samui', this is a tough course and those with a handicap above 18 or so could end up having a long day of it.
The first 18 hole golf course to grace the beautiful island of Samui and host of the 2006 Bangkok Airways Open, the Santiburi Samui Country Club remains the only place to play a championship golf course on this lush, tropical island. Set amidst the hills, waterfalls and coconut gardens of northern Samui and offering panoramic views of the beach and nearby islands, it is as spectacular as it is challenging. The narrow fairways follow the natural contours of the hills and with multiple elevation changes that place a premium on accuracy rather than distance - on several holes the slopes can carry your ball as far as any driver could hit. For example, the standout 17th is a par-5 reachable in two thanks to being downhill all the way; choosing the right club for your approach, whether it's your second of third shot, is tricky. If you can avoid the water that features on 13 of the holes, you will find the well manicured greens to be in great shape thanks to the lightning quick Tifeagle grass. The tiers found on some of them are reminiscent of (and as tricky to master) as those at Augusta, so it's often a good idea to trust your caddy's reads. The massive elevation drop between 17th tee and 18th green offers some spectacular shots and makes you grateful you are using the compulsory golf cart.
After freshening up in the comfortable changing rooms, it is genuinely worth sticking around for a meal in the restaurant. It's not that the food is particularly amazing (it is decent enough), but because from the terrace there is one of the most spectacular views in Thailand. Go see for yourself.
Like the sound of this course? Secure a tee time and take advantage of the discounted green fees on offer by adding Santiburi Samui Golf to your Samui golf holiday package.