With a growing number of courses across the country, Myanmar is quickly becoming a regional golfing destination. There are a dozen courses in the business capital of Yangon alone, and more on the way, meaning golfers are spoilt for choice. While locals may be known for their down-to-earth mentality, they show real enthusiasm once they are out on one of the “Golden Land’s” many courses. Relationship building is considered an important part of doing business in Myanmar, and getting in a round of golf with your partners can help to cement the bond. This reason alone has prompted many new arrivals to pick up the game, and there is plenty of help available for them locally, with Yangon home to several PGA professional coaches and driving ranges.
A Vital Part Of Life
Brought to Myanmar’s shores by British generals, the ancient game has become an integral part of local society. Newcomers can easily immerse themselves in the social golfing scene by taking part in one of the many annual competitions, which may be hosted by the private sector, or more commonly, a government ministry. The course also provides a place to speak confidentially, and has for some time been an important venue for decision-making for business and military personnel.
More well known for its pagodas and beautiful scenery than its birdies and eagles, Myanmar has several international-standard golf courses. One of the more popular is Pun Hlaing Golf Club, owned by local entrepreneur Serge Pun. Home to an 18-hole Gary Player-designed course, which offers a range of hills, ravines, bunkers and lightning-fast greens, the resort is surrounded by luxury mansions, while the clubhouse offers fine dining and a spa.
Not to be outdone, Yangon Golf Club (YGC) is over a century old and has hosted many Asian PGA tour events. It gives its players a unique feel amidst its giant rain trees and lush fairways.
Another course with a proud history is Myanmar Golf Club, which is situated near the city airport. Its elevated greens make it a popular choice during the rainy season, and like YGC, the club gives its players a real taste of Myanmar culture, with its colourful caddies and traditional cuisine.
Royal Mingalardon is one of the newer clubs in the country, littered with palm trees and fairway bunkers and an impressive two-storey clubhouse. Its par-72 layout presents an interesting challenge for even the lower handicapper. Meanwhile, Yangon City Golf is arguably the busiest golfing location in Myanmar.
Established in 1994, the course is 25 minutes from the city centre and is home to two 18-hole courses that together stretch out for more than 14 km.
The club of choice for government staff in the administrative capital of Naypyidaw is Royal Myanmar. Its immaculate design and layout was host to the 27th South-east Asian Games golf event, which saw Myanmar win three silver medals.
A Regional Golf Spot
With a wide variety of appealing options to choose from, it is no surprise that a growing number of tourists are jetting across to the pagoda-filled countryside of Myanmar to get a round in. With the cost of a round ranging from as little as $20 and peaking at $90, Japanese, Singaporean, Thai and Korean visitors are becoming ever-more common, filling tee-off times in the country. With neighbouring Thailand poised to surpass Spain as the world’s leading golf tourism destination, Myanmar is well positioned to capitalise on the growing trend of golfing vacationers.
Traditionally been known for its natural beauty as well as its welcoming people, Myanmar is fast becoming a golfing hotspot within the region. Given the ongoing expansion of the economy, the multitude of improvements to tourism infrastructure, the growth of inbound flight operators and the number of resorts being built that are set to include high-quality 18-hole golf courses, it looks certain that the centuries-old game will continue to play a key role in the business and social life of Myanmar.