Siam Country Club in Pattaya, Thailand, is in the final stages of construction on its fourth course, designed by Schmidt-Curley.
The club already has three layouts – Old, Plantation and Waterside. The Old course was designed by Ichisuke Izumi in 1971 and renovated by Schmidt-Curley in 2007 and hosts the LPGA Honda Classic.
The Plantation course was designed by Schmidt-Curley, and the Waterside course was designed by Brit Stenson of IMG. The new course, named Rolling Hills, is located in a valley at the foot of the three courses.
To collect water runoff from the massive watershed, a 25-acre lake was dug, averaging at 13 metres deep. “This generated a tremendous amount of cut that has been placed on the course, which was concentrated into one huge landform creating a dramatic change in elevation on the final four holes,” said Brian Curley.
“Most courses move dirt to frame holes with mounds, but here we chose to put the dirt under the golf to achieve elevation change not normally seen in courses in Thailand.”
The earthmove allows for the creation of dramatic spectator viewing in many key areas of the course, with the club’s intention of hosting a LPGA event.
“The site has a natural sandy base in some areas and this material is being used to create large sandy expanses with islands of native tropical carpet grasses. The holes often offer angles of attack that reward aggressive play, many have an abundance of centreline hazards that create strategy and visual excitement.
“Greens vary greatly with kick slopes, punchbowls, both perched surfaces and receptive feeder slopes, fall-away slopes to slightly blinded lobes, etc,” continued Curley. “The core golf course meanders over a large parcel with ample room for play and to create forests of trees as found on the Old course.
“The final four holes will create tournament excitement, beginning with the double dogleg par-five fifteenth, which features a 20-footdeep bunker complex short of the green that has two levels of railroad tie bulkheads planted with vegetation aptly named the ‘Wall of Death’.
“The par-three sixteenth plays from the highest elevation to a small but treacherous green, fronted by deep bunkering and surrounded by tight mow surrounds in a side and back swale that will propel missed shots away from the green, all within a spectator-mounded backdrop. The driveable par-four seventeenth offers a split fairway and grades that will reward balls hit precisely on line to the green but punishes tee shots leaked right with not one but three ‘devil’s asshole’ pot bunkers named the ‘Trident’.
“The eighteenth wraps a large lake and features a spine ridge in the landing area that will either feed the ball left towards the green or, right and away to a fairway lie but blind to the green, in effect a four-club difference. The green offers a strong feeder slope at the back and a distinct lower back lobe set in front of the clubhouse backdrop.”
The Rolling Hills course is set for a soft opening in late 2019.
Siam CC also has a fifth course in the works, the solo design debut for Toby Cobb, on a site east of the centre of the Thai capital, Bangkok. Clearing work began in January 2019. “It’s a sparsely treed parkland course on a links site,” said Cobb, who has previously worked with Coore & Crenshaw and Tom Doak.
This article first appeared in the April 2019 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.