Until a decade ago, golf in Cambodia was essentially nonexistent. Now, perhaps owing to the Prime Minister’s affinity for golf, along with private-sector foresight regarding imminent ASEAN unification of the region in 2015, Cambodia is aggressively on track to catch up with other SE Asian countries in its inventory of golf venues. Complementing the fine Cambodia golf courses are a good choice of Cambodia hotels and our popular Cambodia golf packages. And just for the record, Mr. Prime Minister’s handicap reportedly is a respectable 15.
Research reinforces that international golf travel decisions can be motivated by proximity to cultural touring opportunities and Cambodia is seeing its UNESCO World Heritage destination of Angkor Wat at Siem Reap continuing to make headway as a popular golf destination. But golf appeals to more than vacationers. Business travelers often include a round or two with business associates when on the road and Phnom Penh golf courses see their fair share of international guests along with resident expat executives. The capital city is not only the seat of public and private sector business in Cambodia; it is also the primary arrival point for inbound leisure travelers.
Phnom Penh has three 18-hole golf courses on its outskirts with more golf development on the way. Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club is only five miles from the capital city and, being the most convenient course to Phnom Penh, it is the favorite of key dignitaries and executives. Cambodia Golf & Country Club is located about 20 miles out of town in a picturesque setting and is a Taiwanese and Japanese joint development. Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club is a private golf club designed by Jack Nicklaus just north of the capital city. It is part of the impressive Grand Phnom Penh International City master development.
Siem Reap, the home of the World Heritage sites at Angkor Wat has three fine courses open, and has hosted the Asian Tour Johnnie Walker Classic and Cambodian Open events in their highly successful cultural tourism destination. Early in 2007, Sofitel Phokeethra Country Club opened at Siem Reap to good reviews by guests visiting the World Heritage destination and was the venue in 2009 for the Johnnie Walker Classic and in 2010 they hosted the Cambodia Open. Within a year of the Phokeethra launch, the Nick Faldo designed Angkor Golf Resort opened in 2008 and began welcoming golfers to what many think is not only the finest course in Cambodia, but also one of the best in the SE Asian region. The following year, 2009, Siem Reap Resort Golf Club debuted to approving patrons and elevated Siem Reap to a full-fledged golf destination.
On The Horizon
Golf projects in the planning and development stages show the ambitious nature of Cambodia in claiming its place among SE Asia’s esteemed golf destinations. Some previously announced projects have changed status, so if you don’t see it here its status is uncertain.
Phnom Penh – Most notably on the future horizon are 1) Vattanac Golf Resort, a Faldo luxury resort with two 18-hole tracks just outside Phnom Penh; 2) 27 holes just outside the city at LYP Resort & Golf Club; and 3) halfway between Phmom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, Cambodia Vietnam Friendship Golf Resort is slated with nine of its holes in Vietnam and nine in Cambodia. On the par five 18th, you will tee off in Vietnam, hit your second shot into Cambodia, and play your third shot to an island green bisected by the border. Makes one wonder, if they ever have a tour level tournament there, would the winner pay taxes based on where the hole was cut on that last green?
Sihanoukville - O’Chhuteal Beach Resort, featuring a golf course and casino, is in progress with a build-out of a nine-hole course already in place. Ream Resort, located between Sihanoukville and Kampot is under way with the first phase to include a driving range, followed by an 18-hole golf course.
Ream National Park – Marriott Hotel Group is working on a course development project near this national park with construction scheduled to begin during 2013.