|| Great Lake Golf and Country Club
||Rayong, Rayong, Thailand
|Comments from Brian Ewen, Stonehaven, Grampian, Scotland
| A lot of golf course designers tell us that they design courses that will suit all levels of golfer, but few seem to work out that way. Great Lake does. If this is typical of Nick Faldo's work, then I want to play more of his courses.
It really is a classic mix of tough, medium, and easy holes. The start is gentle with 2 shortish par 4's and a short dogleg par 5 in the first 3 holes. You are then met with the stroke index 1 hole; the 4th, a 436 yds par 4, is a cracker and very original hole, with water on the right off the tee. A decent drive is required both in length and accuaracy. The second shot is to a very narrow green with water on the left and bunkers and trees on the right. Your approach must be extremely accuarate to have any chance of par. Among the Pattaya golf societys, this is known as one of the toughest holes in the area and a par here will feel like a birdie, but in my mind it is an example that tough holes can be fun holes.
From here, the course continues in the same vein; a couple of par 3's across water in between some dogleg par 4's and par 5's are all a pleasure to play but beware the last 3 holes. The par 3 16th at 158yds seems easy enough but the way the green is sited, it is very difficult to judge the distance, the 17th is a 553yd par 5, which from the tee looks straightforward but the twist this time is bunkers, and loads of them, depending on where you are playing your second from, it can sometimes seem that there is only sand between you, and the green, in the distance. A good caddy here is essential.
The finishing hole is probably as tough as the infamous 4th but it does'nt seem to have the same score wrecking abilities, at 453 yds this is a tough par 4 that requires two really good hits, a good finishing hole.
Though the course has always been in good condition when I have visited it, go off the fairway and you could have any sort of lie, this is mainly due to the state of the Thai economy and the lack of funds to finish the surrounding areas. It is for this same reason that there is a small Temporary Clubhouse but it is certainly more than adequate.
If you are looking for an enjoyable game of golf in the Pattaya area, I recommend you give Great Lake a visit.
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