Thu, 25 May 2000

Airline opens Bangkok's golf courses to Indonesian golfer

JAKARTA (JP): A new and unique golf holiday package was announced by Thai Airways International (THAI) on Tuesday. It enables Indonesian enthusiasts to play at Bangkok's exclusive golf courses while entertaining the family with fantastic tours of the city.

The uniqueness of the program is that it caters not only to golfers but also to their non-playing family and friends, said Thai Airways general manager for Indonesia, Agkarajit Panomwon, when launching the tour called THAI's Amazing Family Golf 2000.

"Any sporting holiday can be a disaster if not everyone is into the swing of things and Golf 2000 avoids that by making sure there are plenty of options off the golf course for spouses and children," he said.

He said that in the 4-day package, available from July to December 2000, golfers have the choice of playing at no less than five superb courses. While the sport's enthusiasts are out on the course, non-golfers will be offered a wide selection of optional sightseeing trips.

In Thailand, with its 200 courses, golf tours are not new and one of THAI's own golf programs called 'Amazing Golf in Thailand' last year drew almost 500 participants from Indonesia.

Agkarajit said he is optimistic that the family-attentive "Golf 2000" will attract more than 1000 golfers with their families in view of the fast recovery of the Indonesian economy.

His optimism is also based on positive reactions from executives on golf courses at a meeting here last week. The get- together was attended by representatives of several Jakarta and Bogor golf clubs, such as the Imperial, Damai Indah, Senayan, Pondok Indah, Sedana, Rancamaya and Gading Raya.

He said the hazards of Thai golf courses are known to be very challenging. But less challenging is the fact that this unique program is only priced at US$ 555 for accompanying non-golfers and US$ 867 for golfers - the same amount required for a similar golf tour to Bali.

The package offers exceptional facilities and services for players and their families: air tickets, luxurious hotel, fantastic culinary delights, exciting tours and marvelous golf courses.

World's top

"Golf 2000" provides non-playing visitors with a chance to discover the best of Bangkok and its nearby attractions with a choice of half and full-day optional tours, visiting must-see sights such as the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the ancient capital of Ayutthaya.

Golfers will be taken to Bangkok's top courses for tournament play at three of five different courses. The golfers can choose rounds on the first two full days of the program, while the competition culminates on the final day with everyone playing at the Rose Garden.

Voted one of the world's top 20 golf courses by Golf Magazine, the Rose Garden is recommended as the top all-around place to play. The course is not the most difficult, but it certainly is the most attractive. Playing its narrow fairways and demanding greens while avoiding lakes that are magnets for errant balls, provides golfing enthusiasts with great tales to share with the group back home.

For the first two days, golfers may choose to test their skills at any of four other fine courses - the Navatanee, Rajpreuk, Laern Chabang or the Thai Country Club. All the courses are international standard designed by famous golfers like Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

Each has its own characteristics and challenges to ensure a satisfying game. The Rajpreuk course, for example, is normally open to members only, and so "Golf 2000" provides a rare opportunity for the visitors to play at what is one of Bangkok's most exclusive courses.

Although golf was a popular pastime in Thailand for much of the last century, the last decade witnessed the largest increase in the number of golf courses. Of its 200 courses, 36 can be found near Bangkok and the rest scattered in or around tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Kanchanaburi, Phuket, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai.

"THAI's Amazing Family Golf 2000" program will occur in 12 series starting July 23 and ending on Dec. 17. Interested golfers can contact any leading tour operator in Jakarta to learn more about the offer. (yan/ivy/rsl)