Hole by Hole
HOLE 1, PAR 4
Risk and reward choices are presented from the very first tee. Conservative players should aim tee shots to where the fairway is widest and flattest leaving a 160 yard approach. The green is set below the level of the fairway shortening the distance by at least one club.
Confident players should take aim with a driver at the green center. At this distance the fairway is narrower and slopes considerably down toward the green. For those comfortable with sloping lies, the additional roll gained can result in far shorter approach shots yielding more birdie opportunities.
Avoid the bunkers in the left of the fairway as you may be blocked out from hitting at the green by trees. A par here is a good start.
HOLE 2, PAR 5
A three shot par 5 for all but the longest of hitters due to the very large trees that guard the entrance to this green. The further left your tee shot may open up the gap to the green but most players would be better served hitting up the centre of the expansive fairway and then playing a mid-iron to their preferred pitching distance. The caddies will suggest aim at a banana tree in the distance but anything left of this is also fine.
At 100+ yards from the green the fairway is flat but as you get closer it slopes slightly downhill to a raised green. Hit the fattest part of the green to give yourself the best opportunity of making par or better.
A definite birdie chance with careful planning.
HOLE 3, PAR 3
A precise iron shot to a virtually Island green set over a wasteland of eroded ridges and gullies formed from years of storm water run-off over tin mine tailings. Take note of the distance to the front and make sure you get over the wasteland as balls are often lost or plugged in here.
The green is divided into 3 distinct sections with only a grass swale offering an element of safety at the back right of green.
The sheltered green setting means swirling winds and tricky club selection; look to the clouds and tree tops for signs of true wind direction.
HOLE 4, PAR 5
Another par 5 that is a genuine test and only the longest hitters will be able to reach the green in 2. The only real danger here is with the tee shot missing the fairway so the safest play is a fade into the generous fairway and hit your second to your favourite pitching distance.
A huge depression with a large bunker is on your direct line when looking straight at the green for your second so a long running draw second shot will be needed to reach the green in 2.
Be wary of anything left on your second as it will end up in a depression and the rough in here can make stopping the ball on the green impossible. There is plenty of room to the right which is deceiving as you can’t see the raised fairway when playing your second.
This is the smallest green on the course and slopes back to front. Competent pitchers should be able to get it close and birdie is definitely in the cards.
HOLE 5, PAR 4
The first of 2 very demanding Par 4’s. A straight drive here avoiding the tree that encroaches onto the left side of the fairway will yield more run as anything off to the right should still find the fairway but is likely to pitch onto an upslope severely affecting distance
Drives into the depression on the right are hit and miss on a playable lie.
A mid to long iron is then required to find the centre of this green. Be sure to check the wind as many shots come up short here and there is ample room at the back of this green.
The green is broken into 3 sections so ideally your second shot should find the relevant section or you will have a more difficult putt.
HOLE 6, PAR 4
Length and accuracy are required to navigate this tee shot as the fairway is split in 2 by a bunker with heavy rough around the edges. From the tee it looks as if the bunker is sitting left of the fairway bit there is plenty of room to the left of it and this line is preferred as longer hitters may get more roll if they carry the rise and the rough on this side is preferred over the right side of the fairway. Any drive leaked to the right will result in a lost ball or a chip out.
A precise second shot to a narrow green is required with many players unable to find this green in 2 strong hits so laying up may be an option to consider avoiding all the trouble on the right.
Leaving a short pitch for your third may be a good option for some people and could yield a par as the green is not too tricky.
HOLE 7, PAR 3
A fairly unintimidating tee shot to a large green. What you see is what you get here.
For the safer shot take aim at the centre even when the pin is long left as there is a lot of trouble for shots going left.
Anything that goes into the large lake remember to choose the designated daily Drop Zone. If you do go into the lake you have a decision to make. Do you reload or play a tricky pitch over the water and the bunker or reload for 3 from the tee playing a longer but less intimidating shot? Check which drop zone is in play before you decide.
Anything hit right of the green will find the bunker or some deep rough providing a tricky pitch back up to the green surface.
At nearly 30 yards wide best to take enough club to get to the centre even with the pin at the front as putts back are relatively simple.
HOLE 8, PAR 4
Risk and reward choices again with water on both sides of this a very narrow green.
Hitting to the narrow part of the fairway while aiming at the green presents an easy chip. The safe route off the tee is to play straight to a very wide landing area leaving you less than 100 yards across water to a green that looks like it is sitting in the water it is so close.
Pitches from here are best aimed a little left of the centre of the green allowing for a slightly greater margin of error. Shots from the greenside bunker are treacherous and this is a very tricky green especially when putting or chipping toward the water. Best to be on the green below the hole.
HOLE 9, PAR 4
This tee box provides a great opportunity to witness the tin mine scarring up close.
Although this fairway looks generous, anything right of centre may be blocked out by a large mound that sits short right of the green. Anything hit right will present a real challenge getting the ball onto the green with many choosing to chip the ball back up the fairway to avoid the possibility of a big score. The best angle of attack is from the left side of the fairway and get it down there as far as you dare.
Second shots to this green often come up short as there is a false front 8 yards onto the green making access to the front pin difficult. Best to hit past the pin here leaving a makeable putt.
The back half of the green is very wide and is broken into 2 sections.
HOLE 10, PAR 4
A great par 4 to start the back nine demands a long tee shot to take advantage of the downhill slope and gain some extra run. For the safe play the fairway is 70 yards wide at 150 yards from the front.
It is imperative to keep the ball on the grass on this hole as anything hooked into the water requires a drop on a very severe slope so stay away from the left as the fairway bunkers are deep provides a real challenge to get to the green in 2.
Check the pin position on this hole as a back pin is easier to approach from the left or middle of the fairway. Anything from the right is a much longer shot.
From the middle of the fairway a second shot to a green that is set on an angle making it a narrow target
HOLE 11, PAR 4
A swale of rough sits in the middle of this fairway with the left hand side being significantly lower than the right. The play here is to the right of the swale providing a much easier shot to one of the course’s smallest greens with a false front that is 8 yards onto the green rendering the green size only 23 yards deep.
Drives on the low fairway will leave players with a restricted view and need to take on the trees and the single front left pot bunker.
HOLE 12, PAR 5
From an elevated tee, the ideal line is at the tree for all but the longest hitters as the fairway narrows considerably the more you chew off. Be very diligent on choosing the correct line and distance from this tee as the fairway is severely angled from the men’s tees.
Mis-hits to the right will either find water or be in deep rough on a sidehill lie. Hit it too far and you will be blocked out by a large tree on the left of the fairway.
Once in the middle of the fairway, decide whether to go for it over a tall tree strategically placed to catch anything thin or hit left of the tree to a large landing area leaving less than 70 yards to the front. The key to this hole is to keep the ball on the short grass. A good birdie chance for those with a competent pitching game.
HOLE 13, PAR 4
Considered by many to be the best par 4 on the course, the 13th requires a well-placed drive and a quality second to yield par.
A blind tee shot just left of the fairway obscured by a mound that sits directly in view is ideal and the closer you can get to the left hand side of the fairway will result in more run. Anything to the right side of the fairway provides a considerably harder second shot.
As with many of Red Mountain’s tougher approaches, the green entrance has been shaped to assist bold play. Shorter shots played away from the water will be contained and kick towards the green front, while safer shots landing pin high will tend to bounce away from the putting surface.
HOLE 14, PAR 3
The green on this hole essentially has 2 smaller areas separated by a mound that runs through the middle of the green.
The hole plays slightly downhill and with the pin on the bottom section provides a birdie opportunity. Missing the green short or left when playing to a bottom pin is a simple up and down. Missing the green long to a short pin and a tricky chip may await.
A different game to a top right pin with the landing area only 14 yards from safely over the bunker to the back edge. Anything that is struck a fraction weak seems to end up in the water when going at this pin. Keep away from the right edge as anything missing even a fraction right will find the water. The front right bunker is the best miss when playing this pin.
HOLE 15, PAR 4
This extremely narrow par 4 was built largely on the terrain just as it was left by the tin miners.
Although more penal in nature than most holes, there are still risk/reward choices. The fairway ascends what is a steeper slope than visually appears, through a series of terraces around 25 yards long. The more risk that is taken climbing these terraces on the tee shot, the more the green becomes visible on a shorter approach.
This is quite a narrow green with a false front so plan your second shot carefully. Contours on greens set adjacent to steep mountain slopes can be extremely difficult to read.
Note anything right of the fairway grass is a lost ball down a steep ravine.
HOLE 16, PAR 4
The 16th tee is the highest point of any golf course in Phuket and some 100 yards higher than the 14th green The hole is drivable for some, but the green and approach are very narrow. With its diagonal angle and deep bunker in front, this green is better approached with a full swing.
The tee shot requires careful aiming as the landing area sits at an angle to the tee. The ideal shot is a fade about level with the bunker on the right. The fairway is only 30 yards wide at the ideal landing point and narrower in other areas.
HOLE 17, PAR 3
Red Mountain’s most photographed hole and one that also varies in length from many tee and hole location combinations can mean an actual yardage very different from the scorecard. If you have slope assist on your rangefinder turn it on!
The 17th green sits at the bottom of a steep sided and forested valley 40 yards below the back tee. Swirling winds play havoc with shots hanging in the air longer than any you will probably ever hit.
A formula to accurately predict what club to select with this much drop is difficult. It may be best to take one or two clubs less than normal and keep the ball lower by taking just a little off your normal swing.
HOLE 18, PAR 5
Although narrow, fairway contours forgive slightly errant shots. The landing area plateaus and then drops off steeply beyond the single pot bunker left, rewarding those who can reach beyond this point with 40 extra yards of roll.
A small brook separates the driving fairway and the approach fairway. Water frames the right side all the way home while the ‘Red cliffs’ lurk menacingly on the left. For those looking for the safe play anywhere between the bunkers on the approach fairway provides the best place to attack the green from.