We all know Tiger Woods is part-Thai. But what's the golf scene like in Thailand, the lush and beguiling land where his mother, Kultida, was born? To promote the country's finest courses, a group of premier golf properties and hotels has partnered with a tour operator and the Tourist Authority of Thailand. The consortium, called Golf in a Kingdom: The Thai Golf Experience, can help you map out an itinerary stretching from Chiang Mai, in the cool, mountainous region of the north, to the seascapes of Phuket and Koh Samui in the south. And by "experience," they mean not just golf but also cultural immersions like visits to Buddhist temples, ethnic villages and the teeming city of Bangkok.
Long a popular destination for Asian golfers, Thailand has more than 250 courses. Some of them, alas, are "American-style" layouts that could be in Florida or humdrum spots in the Caribbean. But others, such as Santiburi Samui Country Club (above), set into coconut groves at the foot of a mountain, offer a distinctly Thai adventure. The many charms of Thai golf will be on full display when Bill Clinton arrives this week--with clubs in tow, it's expected--to accompany Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting on the island of Phuket. For a deeper sense of golf in Thailand, check out this story (which I played a hand in) from Travel + Leisure Golf.
Gallery: The Thai Golf Experience