Most expats and foreigners who head to Cambodia never thought of the country as a golfing destination. In fact, many associate Cambodia with temples with great architecture and turbulent history. The image of the country has majestic golf courses is far from a foreigner’s mind. Yes, the country has magnificent buildings blending with rice paddies, tropical wilderness, mountainous areas, and great golf courses too.
Why Play Golf in Cambodia?
As mentioned, playing golf is always not the top activity that comes to mind when foreigners head to Cambodia. However, playing golf is quite ideal because of the country’s weather. Since Cambodia has two distinctive seasons, it is easier to predict the best times to play. In fact, it is possible to play golf in the country all year round.
Best Golf Courses in Siem Reap, Cambodia
When landing in Siem Reap, three amazing golf courses already await avid golfers. This includes:
Siem Reap Booyoung Country Club
Located just six kilometres away from the town of Siem Reap is the Siem Reap Booyoung Country Club. It is the third international golf course opened in Angkor War. The 18-hole golf course has 7,114 yards and features Kentaro Sato’s design.
The golf course already hosted several high-quality tournaments and welcomed the Cambodian Prime Minister himself. The golf course’s fairways are quite generous giving avid golfers five sets of tees to play choose from. The first and tenth holes are par-5s whilst the more difficult par-4s are reserved for the 9th and 18th holes. The golf course has several creeks scattered across the area beautifully blending with the greenside bunkers that help golfers concentrate as they take their shots.
Siem Reap Booyoung Country Club also has split fairways that offer players the chance to take a risk of play it safe.
Phokeethra Country Club
Spanning an area of 7,145 yards, the Phokeethra Country Club offers avid golfers the best golfing experience whilst staying in Cambodia. The course is well kept and is always in tip-top condition that features large rolling fairways and expansive greens. Nestled about five kilometres away from the Siem Reap Airport, Phokeetra Country Club is a must-visit for avid golfers. The country club has previously hosted the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic and the 2010 Cambodian Open. Managed by Sofitel, the golf course showcases Cambodia’s history and culture with its restored Roluh Bridge between the 9th and 10th tee. The 18-hole golf course also has bunkers and lagoons which make the game pretty challenging especially its position on the 17th and 18th holds. The 18th hold features a double carry over water that ends on an island green.
Aside from golf, guests can also experience hotel-quality services and facilities that will truly make your stay unforgettable.
Angkor Golf Resort
Run by IMG and designed by Nick Faldo, Angkor Golf Resort exceeds expectations. Everything in the area is in excellent condition that will make you think you are not in Cambodia at all. Many refer to Angkor Golf Resort as the best golf course in Cambodia and it is not hard to see why. Only 15 minutes away from the heart of Siem Reap, this golf course received blessings from the local monks when it opened to the public in 2007. This is a pretty challenging course requires good concentration and strategy to maintain a low score that’s why beginner golfers almost always stay away from. However, every one of all abilities is welcome to play.
The golf course has strategically placed water hazards and bunkers with undulating greens that may surprise golfers but it also offers loads of scope for huge hitters particularly at the par-5 16th hole, which spans 588 yards. The 16th hole is often regarded as the most challenging on the course as water comes into play as it approaches the green. The par-4 18th hole, on the other hand, is often considered the best finishing hold in the country, with water trailing down the left of the dogleg fairway, giving golfers a great finish.
Best Golf Courses in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
If you are arriving in Cambodia via Phnom Penh, you can choose from four of the country’s best golf courses. This includes:
Cambodia Golf and Country Club
Located about an hour’s drive from Phnom Penh, Cambodia Golf and Country Club is the oldest golf course in the country. Designed by Seiichi Inoue, the golf course was opened in the country in 1996. It features expansive fairways lines with sugar palm trees and other native greenery. The course is mostly flat noticeable towards the front nine holes. The elevation changes towards the next nine holes. Golfers can also notice that the greenery from the first nine holes are huge and goes to become smaller as they approach the latter nine holes, which ultimately changes the scenery. The country club also has a stunning French-style clubhouse where guests can get some refreshments and catch up with friends, family, and colleagues.
Garden City Golf Club
Opened in 2013, Garden City Golf Club has already made a big name in the golfing industry by being named the Best Golf Course in Cambodia at The World Golf Awards 2019.
It is one of the best-managed golf courses in the country located about 25 minutes away from downtown Phnom Penh. It features an 18-hole course that spans 7,361 yards designed by Weerayudth Phetbuasak from abandoned rice paddies. The area was moulded and shaped to become a golf course that features greenery, mounds, and water hazards. Whilst the course does not feature many rolls on the fairways so golfers may want to practice extra caution when they cannot hit the ball long enough since it can be pretty challenging.
The most memorable part of the course is the par-3 15th hole since it has a double green. This means the first golfer to tee off has the freedom to choose whether the island green or the mountain is in play. However, golfers can still play an accurate shot whichever they choose because both sand and water surround the areas on three sides. The golf course is available for play for all levels of golfers from beginners to professionals.
Grand Phnom Peng Golf Club
If you are looking for an international-grade golf course to play on, Grand Phnom Penh should be your destination as the place is designed by Jack Nicklaus. Only 15 minutes away from the Phnom Penh International Airport, this private members club offers 7,914 yards of long and wide fairways.
Golfers are often challenged by the wind when driving their balls since the area is a bit open and exposed. The par-3 16th hole has a 231-yard tee shot to the green that goes over the water edge whilst the par-4 12th hole is short with a 365 yard requiring players to use a wood or hybrid club.
The Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club offers more than just world-class golfing experience as guests can also expect five-star services and facilities.
Betting on Golf in Cambodia
Sports betting in Cambodia for foreigners are legal. Only locals are prohibited by the kingdom to participate in any gambling activities. So if you want to spice up your game with your friends, you can bet on golf. Your agreement on the bets depends on what you and your colleagues prefer. You can bet on a winner take all for the player with the lowest score.
However, if you prefer betting on golf online, it would be best to look for a sportsbook. There are dozens of online bookies that accept players from Asia. Before making a bet, make sure to check the odds first. It is rare for golf to have money lines shown so you have to be wary of the bet you are making. You should take into consideration the odds and the bookies’ take.
It is also important to take note that odds do not reflect the bookies’ forecast for a particular player. It is factored in but most of the time, the number reflects the public’s movement and investment on a particular player or team.
When betting on golf, it is always best to divide your bets among four to six players. This way, you will not lose so much of your money. Also, it may be crucial to check the weather forecast during the tournament. Do not place your money on someone who is known to have a hard time during unfavourable weather conditions.