11 October 2009

Scenic Seaside Golf at Phokeethra Krabi

Text and Photos by Lee Lai Heng

When I stepped onto the tee of the first hole, a vista of lush greenery and sparkling azure sea opened up before my eyes. I closed my eyes for a second, drinking in the fresh breeze from the Andaman Sea that playfully twirled my hair, while the applause of waves when they meet the white sandy beach greeted my ears…Fantabulous: I must be in paradise... :-)

Actually, I was at Phokeethra Golf Krabi, a stunning nine-hole layout located adjacent to the luxurious Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort. Situated on the edge of the beautiful Klong Muang beach and extending towards the foot of the Naga Head Mountain, Phokeethra Golf Krabi offers not only exciting golf but also breathtaking mountain and sea views. This par-28, 1,367-yard walking course winds its way through lakes and streams as it climbs along a hillside slope, becoming progressively complex and interesting. Along the way, you’ll find lots of water hazards, ambushing bunkers and tough putting surfaces. Although this is a nine-hole challenge, believe me, it really does test your accuracy and skills!

HOLE 1: par-3, 120 yards (white), 113 yards (red)
The opening hole, according to the scorecard, is the easiest with an index rating of 9. From the tee box, it’s a pretty straight journey to the green, but after that you will face a real challenge, as the whole putting surface contains hard-to-read, tricky amounts of break. You will definitely need accuracy here.

HOLE 2: par-3, 89 yards (white), 83 yards (red)
The tee box of Hole 2, the shortest hole of the layout, is the nearest to the beach. If you are also a sea person, like yours truly, you’ll definitely get distracted by the inviting sights and sounds of the Andaman Sea. My advice: forget the sea for a while and concentrate, since wind is a factor here and you will need accurate approach shots, as the crowned green causes ‘fractionally off’ approaches to fall away from their target.

Hole 3: par-3, 135 yards (white), 110 yards (red)
The picturesque Hole 3 presents a formidable test, as a shiny lake sits in front of its charming green. Choose your club wisely on this index-3 hole, as you not only need to carry the water, but also keep the ball on the putting surface. Three bunkers stood at attention, ready to catch those who overshot. Once on the green, however, take some time to admire the view: it’s certainly worth it!

HOLE 4: par-4, 265 yards (white), 245 yards (red)
The longest hole on the course gives you a chance to show off your driving power. Also the second toughest, this dogleg-right challenges you to cross a stream before you can arrive at its elevated green, with the Naga Head Mountain as its backdrop. Do watch out for its gradual elevation, which can make you feel as if you’re putting for the first time.

HOLE 5: par-3, 152 yards (white), 142 yards (red)
After battling Hole 4, you’ll arrive at this beautiful uphill test. Water crosses the front of its fairway, while the lush Naga Head Mountain presents an impressive ‘wall’ on your left. Go straight forth and you should land safely on the green. If you go slightly left, a bunker catches you. If you go slightly right, another bunker awaits! If you’re on and you think you’re safe…well, think again. The contoured and rolling surface of this uphill green requires a large amount of accuracy, guaranteeing you a real putting challenge.

A delightful flight of stone steps will lead you down from the green of Hole 5 to the tee of the sixth.

HOLE 6: par-3, 157 yards (white), 151 yards (red)
Enjoy the view as you descend the stone steps connecting the two holes, but do start planning for carefully evaluated ball placement – you will need that in order to succeed on this downhill hole. A vertical drop of more than twenty feet can trick the eye, so choose your club carefully. And remember to be wary of the three majestic bunkers guarding the green on each of the three sides.

HOLE 7: par 3, 149 yards (white), 132 yards (red)
Before you tee off from the seventh hole, look up and behold the magnificent seaside view before you. Then, with this splendid image still in your mind, swing away and keep up that happy mood. Why? Well, water and bunkers protect half of its green so this is a real ‘risk and reward’ challenge: it’s your gamble! And you should know that the pin is on the right of this green…that makes life more interesting, doesn’t it?

HOLE 8: par-3, 130 yards (white), 120 yards (red)
Bunkers aplenty here on Hole 8! These sandy contraptions and the swaying trees combine to present yet another optical challenge, as your approach shot may seem shorter than it really is.

Once you’re through to Hole 8’s slightly downhill green, you’ll be faced with another interesting putting test. Good putters should have an added advantage here.

HOLE 9: par-3, 170 yards (white), 162 yards (red)
The expression ‘save the best for last’ rings true here. The last hole of the layout, which is also the course’s longest par-3, is branded with an index rating of 1. With the Andaman Sea behind you as you tee off, wind might help carry your shot over the water guarding the right side of the green and the bunker sitting right in front of the green. If you manage to clear these major hazards, don’t get too excited. The complex deck green also ensures a tricky putt if you finish on the wrong level!

And the Bottom Line is...
Play this relatively short layout once and I’ll bet you’ll return to the resort with a shake of the head, a smile across your face and a burning desire to replay it. Even writing this review made this writer want to hop on a plane and fly to Krabi right away, just for another go on this course! :-P

A magnificent view of the Sofitel Krabi Golf & Spa Resort from the green of the 9th


  1. beautiful pics. thanks, lee lai heng for the review.

  2. Hi,Lee,good review :-) Thanks!

  3. Hi Eugene and Cyril, thanks for your kind comments! :)