Mission Hills Golf Course

Phuket’s first 21st Century championship course lies on the scenic north-east coast. A nine-hole night golf course, due to open in early 2005, is also close by in the foothills. The courses are 10 minutes’ drive from the airport and 30 minutes from Phuket City.

Mission Hills has been carved from rubber plantations and sits among Phuket’s environmentally-friendly mangroves. Great expanses of white sand beach bunkers have been added to contrast with the translucent blue hues of the ocean and the vibrant greens of the Sea Isle grassed fairways and putting surfaces.

It is accurately described as a piece of living art, the kind of pastiche that Vincent Van Goh would have created given half a chance and a love of a long drive. The ocean views are delivered at a price: water comes in to play at seven holes. The sea breezes also are a regular feature. What time of day you choose to play can turn a following zephyr into a stiff headwind.

If you are looking for a sea facing picture postcard golf course to play while in Phuket, the Jack Nicklaus designed course at Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa in Phuket is the one to play. The golf course sits among mangrove forests on the scenic north-east coast of Phuket. The course has incredible ocean views from almost every hole and even includes several ocean holes playing out over the Andaman Sea like you sometimes see on the televised PGA tournaments.

Large white sand beach bunkers contrast with the translucent blue hues of the ocean waters and the vibrant greens of the Paspalum Sea Isle 1 grass on the fairways and Paspalum Sea Isle 2000 grass on the putting surfaces. The ocean views come at a price, as water comes in to play on seven holes and the prevailing sea breezes make play at certain times of the day very tricky.

Jack Nicklaus designed some distinguishing features at Mission Hills Phuket. The top holes include the par five 2nd hole requires two well-placed shots to give the golfer a reasonable third shot into the island green. Also, the 4th which is the first of the ocean holes, and a medium-length par three with spectacular views across the sea. The putting surface is an island of grass in a sea of white sand.

The par 4, 5th hole plays to an island green from an island tee. A huge sandy waste near the beach with a strong elevation change that runs through the middle of the fairway also adds to the excitement of the hole.

The signature 12th hole and handicap 1 is the longest par 4 on the golf course, measuring 481 yards from the black tees! To reach the green in regulation and make par, two big straight hits are required, or an accurate one-chip and one-putt for a shorter hitter. The tee shot needs to carry well above 250 yards from the black tees, and land on the left hand side of the fairway,. This will give the shortest and best angle in to a well guarded green.

The difficult green is protected by a lake down the right hand side and a deep hollow to the left, penalizing those bailing out to stay away from the water. If you are fortunate to land your second shot safely on the green, or close by, you should walk away happy with a par, or even a respectable bogey. Whatever the outcome, take your time on this most difficult hole and appreciate the breathtaking ocean view by the green and panoramic mountain peaks in the distance.

Mission Hills is kept in pristine playing conditions. Fairways are lush carpet grass and greens roll fast and true. Individual golf buggies are included for all players and you can choose to drive, or if you prefer to walk, your caddie can easily handle this role. Tee times are strictly adhered to and good on course marshalling is a big plus for those golfers visiting Phuket who want to be assured of smooth four hour rounds, even in the most crowded high season. For these, and all the other points mentioned, the Jack Nicklaus signature course at Mission Hills is one of the two best courses in Phuket and must be played by all Phuket golf visitors.

Service both on the golf course and at the accompanying spa and resort is first class. You can even order snacks to be delivered to you on the course as you play. Afterwards the spa facilities and well stocked club house restaurants are always available for those golfers having the time and wishing to make their round at Mission Hills into a full day’s total golfing experience!

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