Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Pattaya Golf Country Club - Pattaya, Thailand

Plenty of Caddies ready for work


Located 45 minutes outside of Pattaya, Thailand is the run down Pattaya Country Club.  In a nutshell the service was good, the caddies knowledgeable, and the facilities were  clean but dated. The course is not maintained very well. Everything that had paint on it needs new paint. Every surface needs a power washing. It's almost like their grass trimmer was broken, because every man-made object in the ground needs trimming around it.

We paid about $45USD for greens feed, cart, and caddy.That's the low end for Thailand golf, and we found the reason why it's so inexpensive.

Driving Range

If you want to do any serious practice work on your game this is not the place to go. For starters, the range is 3 kilometers (that is not a typo) from the clubhouse. After checking in, I wanted to warm up.  It seemed like forever riding the golf buggy to the range. The balls were 40 baht for 40 balls. Quite reasonable, except the balls looked like they were gathered from water shots and hit a million times. At one point I wondered if I had cracked my driver because of the strange noise of a completely white unmarked ball.

Below is a summary of the Pattaya Golf Course in pictures:


Not good range balls

Range not maintained

Dated hole signs

Here's a shoe in an unraked  bunker. Does anyone think to clean up this course?

Broken sprinkler in the middle of the fairway

The clubhouse reminds me of Disney World architecture...old and dated from the 70's


Each golfer gets their own cart and caddy to drive it


Bunkers need maintenance


Fairways need help


Snack Bar

Hole markers are strange boxes that look cheap

 Although we had a good time at this course, the constant reminders that it was not up to standards left me thinking I won't be visiting it again anytime soon.


























Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Golf in Oman - Al-Mouj aka "The Wave"


Opened in 2012 Al-Mouj "The Wave" is a relatively new course in the Middle East. Scheduled to host its first European Tour Event next year this Greg Norman design is a beast playing 7,310 yards  from the tips.

This full service club has attendants to take care of your things, a decent chipping and practice area, and driving range albeit smallish in number of bays yet the range is 300+ yards.

Pitching and chipping practice area


Al-Mouj Clubhouse

The clubhouse has everything you need such as a pro shop and dining area, however it seems a bit cramped overall. Usually the Middle Eastern design has copious amounts of open space, but this clubhouse has a tiny lobby and the building is a bit maze-like.

The locker rooms are nicely done with plenty of amenities such as lemon water in a dispenser and towels for your hands. Everything looks great  except it's very small. A locker key is provided upon check in.

If there was a event or outing or busy day I can imagine it being very crowded, especially in the locker room.


Al-Mouj Golf Rates

While a weekend visitor rate of 60 Oman Riyals ($156 USD) is not cheap, it  compares favorably to other Middle Eastern golf courses that host European Tour Events. It's nice that the rate includes golf carts, range balls and access to the practice area.  

The carts have GPS, towels, and water. The GPS includes maps but omits the essential carry yardages to clear hazards and bunkers. This is a big problem, because on this type golf course with deep bunkers everywhere you need to play some position golf.

Al-Mouj Golf Course





A beautiful course along the Indian Ocean features the Hajjar Mountains in the background. Certified as an 'Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary' you can appreciate the natural elements of this course. 


Hajjar Mountain View

However, with the Muscat airport only kilometers away and planes flying low overhead approximately every five to ten minutes takes away from the tranquility of the course.



Airport next to the golf course with plenty of airplanes flying over


Additionally, there seems to be very little awareness of the Audubon status as talking to members as they didn't know anything about it or what it meant. There is no indication on the score card except for a tiny logo. It should be mentioned in the local rules about avoiding restricted areas designated by red stakes with green tops.


Red stakes with green tops indicate environmentally sensitive areas. The green tops were inexplicably painted red.



Golf courses with protected areas usually have red hazard stakes with green tops. This is an indication that you shouldn't go in those areas, even if you can see your ball. However, the green tops on the stakes have inexplicably been painted red.


This is a tough course, not for the beginner. Deep bunkers, plenty of water, and high winds can ruin your score quickly. As a high single digit handicapper I was able to avoid a lot of trouble, but I imagine high handicappers will struggle on this golf course.


The 5th hole is a 143 yard island green (see below) which was a lot more challenging than I anticipated. Into the wind, I rinsed a ball with a 7 iron and then managed the second shot on the green. Higher handicappers would have real trouble landing the ball on the green and holding it there.



5th Hole Island Green
The black tees were closed, and rightfully so with a course rating of 75 and slope 140 you should probably sport a 2 index or better to play those tees. With the strong winds and links type layout, half the holes were easier despite the long yardages and the other half play very tough.

In particular, hole 9 is a par 4 playing 449 yards and with a 180+ yard carry into the wind could cause problems for a lot of people.



I loved the bunker design with the natural long grass on the perimeter gave it the un-manicured look. Bunker sand was consistent and nice. However, the bunkers are deep which means they are very penal and a bit difficult to step in and out of them.

I happened to visit when they are transitioning changing the back nine to be the front nine and vice versa.  There was very little signage on how to get to some of the holes and there was no indication on the tee boxes as to what hole you were looking at which resulted in a bit of a frustrating experience. In addition I was not warned of the switching of the back nine and front nine so it was doubly confusing!

Summary


As a relatively lower handicapper found this to be a very enjoyable course, playing a lot of holes near the water and pleasant surroundings. It was a more natural golf course, with very few houses or building structures on the land.


This is the type of course that is simply too hard for the beginner. A newcomer to golf may be turned off to the sport because of the forced carries and penal bunkers. Balls that go outside of the rough are usually lost in the long grass and bushes lining the holes.


The low flying airplanes and noise was a distraction and an annoyance. I wish the course promoted the Audubon more and raised awareness about this design achievement.





Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Remove advertisements on TeeTimeHelper



Although using TeeTimeHelper is completely free, we do run ads on the site. We are pleased to announce a couple of ways you can remove advertisements from TeeTimeHelper.

Pay to remove ads

Removing ads not only gives you a better experience, but it's also a great way to help us with our costs for running the site.

Now you can click on the link "remove ads for yourself and your group" under the advertisement itself. For only $9.99 per month you can remove all advertisements throughout TeeTimeHelper.

On top of that, you will become instantly popular with your group because you will get credit for removing the ads. For example, instead of the ad, you will see "Ads removed courtesy of John W.".


Link to TeeTimeHelper to remove ads

Another way you can remove ads for a particular golf course is to have them link to TeeTimeHelper on their homepage.

You can use the following HTML code:

<a href="http://www.teetimehelper.com">TeeTimeHelper - free golf group organizer</a>

Once this is done simple contact contact TeeTimeHelper and we will remove the ads!


Happy Golfing!
The TeeTimeHelper.com Team

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Golf tee time intervals analyzed

When setting up an event with TeeTimeHelper we estimated that the default interval between tee times was ten minutes. Now that TeeTimeHelper has been organizing events for over 5 yeas we sampled our data to find out what was the most common tee time interval.

Using a range between 5 and 12 minutes we sampled our database and created a histogram of number of events for each tee time interval from 5to 12 minutes.  Below is the chart of what we discovered:




It turns out that our initial default value of ten minutes was the most common tee time increment used on our site. The second most common tee time increment is eight minutes, with nine minutes coming in third.

Given that tee time increments can vary TeeTimeHelper automatically determines your tee time interval based on previous events you have organized. This means if you set up a tee time at 10:10 am and a second tee time at 10:08 TeeTimeHelper will remember this course setting  and will give you an eight minute increment in the future.

TeeTimeHelper also pre-fills your first tee time on subsequent events to save some keystrokes if you play at a regular time.

These little enhancements for setting up events will help the golf group manager organizer golf events faster.

Happy Golfing
The TeeTimeHelper.com Team


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Here's a tip your PGA Pro won't give you


PGA Pro's are great for giving golf advice. They listen to you, analyze your swing. Tell you what you need to do in theory. But sometimes you just need some down to earth practical advice. 

So, here's a tip which you WON'T get from your PGA Professional.  And if you have more tips like this please leave them in the comment section!



Always throw your club in the location you need to go!

Happy Golfing!

TeeTimeHelper.com

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Cut down the e-mail clutter with TeeTimeHelper.com

Rid your golf group of  tee time spreadsheets

Most golfers know what a hassle it is to be part of a golf group sending CC'd e-mails around and keeping tabs on what is going on. Too many e-mails!

And there's always that one person who hits "reply all" and sends the non-pc jokes you've seen a hundred times before.

TeeTimeHelper solves the spreadsheet problem, the cc'd email problem, and lets the organizer control what's happening with the golf event. Less e-mail for everybody is a good thing!

Now even more e-mail control for the golf event admin

We make it even more convenient for the golf event administrator to receive only the e-mail he wants to see. For example, the admin can get an e-mail for every RSVP or choose not to receive them at all.

But as usual, our rogue programmers took it one step further and added an option to receive e-mail confirmations for only those who RSVP "yes".

So, in other words the golf event organizer can choose the level of event confirmations he or she wishes to see.

Check it out at TeeTimeHelper.com

Happy Golfing!