Sea Pines Golf Course (also known as the Army Golf Club II) is set along the Gulf of Thailand in the Suan Son Pradiphat (Sea Pine Tree Garden). The Hua Hin golf course has been creatively set within a large tract of land, which was originally owned by the Royal Forestry Department before being taken over by the Royal Thai Army under the rule of Field Marshall Sarit Thanarat, who served as prime minister of Thailand during 1957-1963.
The majority of the Sea Pines area is comprised of bracken pine trees and is enriched by the beauty of oceans and mountains. The army originally developed the site as a form of retreat for serving soldiers and veterans and their families.
The Sea Pines course design and layout have been developed to provide golfers with a wide variety of challenge. Depending on wind conditions, the course can play from relatively easy to very difficult. The course is designed with six holes lying on the beachside and the lies towards the mountains divided by the railroad.
The dogleg, par-5 12th hole is one of the most challenging, as the design affords it protection in the form of fairway bunkers and a water hazard along the right-hand side. Moreover, a small bunker located towards the middle of the fairway, creates a dilemma – go for a driver from the tee, or ‘play it safe’ by opting for a ‘lay-up’ approach?
Down the stretch at Sea Pines the sea breeze comes in play and the three final holes are among the best in Hua Hin golf. the 16th is a dogleg par-5 that requires a drive to a narrow fairway down the hill to avoid water hazards on both sides. Golfers look down at the hole for their second shot with a panoramic view of the ocean and the mountains. The toughest part of this hole is the approach shot. A player has to decide whether to cut over the water/bunker onto the sloping green or take a safe route to the left side of the fairway.
The signature 17th is a par-3 which encompasses a spectacular ocean view background. The tee shot is all carry over water and is comprised of a wide undulating green that is well protected by beach bunker in both front and back. Any shot missing long or short will find the sand, so the rule here may be to attack the front pins but play to the center of the green otherwise. The 17th may also be play tougher depending on the wind and pin placement as this hole is played over a large lake onto a peninsula green.
The par-4 finishing hole is among the most difficult on the course A canal creates a major hazard that requires golfers to hit their drive over 220 yards in order to reach the fairway. A safe lay-up approach with a fairway wood is also an option for a solid par.
A modern clubhouse overlooking the Gulf of Thailand serves up some great Thai food. The municipal golf course is a good value. However, Hua Hin golf visitors must take note that Army officers and their guests have priority and others should be prepared to yield should their tee times overlap with Army golfers. Therefore, those on a tight schedule or in a hurry are advised to check on course crowdedness ahead of time or a play elsewhere.