BLACK MOUNTAIN IS A TOWERING SUCCESS


If the finest golfers from Asia and Europe have any complaints about the rough at the spectacular Black Mountain Golf Club when they do battle in the Royal Trophy, they should have seen it four years ago.

Back then the Thai course was still a combination of dense jungle and pineapple plantations. But a Swedish holidaymaker had seen the potential for a great golf layout when he visited the area 18 months earlier – and his vision quickly became a stunning reality.

The speed of construction was truly staggering. An army of 400 workers toiled around the clock, using 200 trucks and 80 excavators, to get a world class golf club built in double quick time. Three huge lakes were dug, and filled with three million cubic litres of water, while many existing creeks and their rocky borders were also incorporated into the new design.

Black Mountain Golf Club opened to great acclaim in 2007. It was hailed as the best new course in Asia, and within a year it was voted as one of the best six courses in the entire Asia Pacific Region. In 2009 it was up to fourth place, and had won the award as the Best Championship Course in Thailand. This year at the Asian Golf Summit held in Bangkok, Black Mountain re- affirmed its position to the Asian golf elite – being voted one of the three best championship golf courses in the entire region.

The Club takes its name from the huge black rocks dotted around the mountains that overlook the course in the Hua Hin region.

Building a new course there carried a certain risk – Hua Hin was already regarded as a golfer’s paradise, with nine other clubs vying for attention, including some of Thailand’s best-loved courses. But the combination of a dazzling backdrop, a terrific design from Phil Ryan, superb conditioning and top quality facilities proved an instant winner. And in 2009, Black Mountain became the first Hua Hin course to host an Asian Tour event.

The Black Mountain Masters was so successful that it was elevated in stature in 2010, and became the final event of the Asian Tour schedule. It proved a fitting venue for the climax to a great year of competition in Asia – and whetted the appetite for a fascinating shoot-out between Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki’s young and extremely powerful Asian Team and Colin Montgomerie’s star-studded European line-up.

That field will include Swedish ace Johan Edfors, who showed how impressed he was by the course after winning the first Black Mountain Masters – he immediately celebrated by buying one of the luxurious villas on the property, which also features superbly furnished condominiums.

Another regular visitor is England’s Simon Khan, like Edfors a touring professional attached to Black Mountain. Khan was unable to claim a place on Montgomerie’s hotly-contested Royal Trophy team list despite winning the European Tour’s showpiece event in 2010, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth – a sign of how difficult it is to break into any European Team.

He commented: “I would have loved to have been part of the Royal Trophy over a course I know and love so well. But let’s face it; the competition for places in both teams is incredibly hot.

“I think Black Mountain will prove a great host venue for the Royal Trophy. The reachable par-fives and the sprinkling of short par-fours will make for fantastic match play golf, and the closing holes are bound to supply plenty of drama.

“My connection with the course began when I was talking to another English player, Simon Yates, about golf in Hua Hin, as I’ve been coming here for nearly ten years to relax and work on my game when the European season takes its winter break. He said I should try out this new course, Black Mountain, and I was immediately blown away by the facilities and the standard of everything connected with the Club.

“Course conditioning can sometimes be a problem with some Asian courses – but Black Mountain is one of the best conditioned courses I have ever played on.

“I’d love to keep the connection going if the Royal Trophy stays at Black Mountain, by making the European Team sometime in the future. In the meantime, I’ll be following the matches as two great teams battle it out on a great course.”

“Black Mountain is a fantastic venue for the fifth edition of the Royal Trophy;” said Lincoln Venancio, Managing Director of the Royal Trophy.

“The golf course is outstanding, the facilities are superb and the staff is extremely cooperative and well trained. We are all looking forward to seeing Europe and Asia compete for stewardship of the Royal Trophy at Black Mountain;” concluded Lincoln Venancio.

The Royal Trophy is organized by the Sports Authority of Thailand and Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd. The Championship is promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited.

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