Sports Bag: The Phoenix Rises

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Since last November 1st when the new owners of Phoenix (what is now known as Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club) implemented a new price structure for both guests and members, the attendance at the course has diminished dramatically.  Many members who preferred to walk decided not to bow to the demand of having to pay for a cart, as well as an annual subscription fee on top of a ‘play as you go’ maintenance fee remaining in place.

Now some 3 months down the line quite a few members have conceded to the new price structure and paid the annual fee, along with the other fees and are now back playing at the course of their choice.  I say of their choice simply because many members are still boycotting the club but playing at other courses, not out of preference but because of financial reasons.  No doubt some will disagree with this statement but basically that’s all it comes down to.

There is hope that there will be some concessions by the management (some have already been put in place), however this is 2014 and things have changed from when we were getting top class conditions for very little.  Financial changes (for the worse) are inevitable as time goes by.  Sounds like a cue for a song!

There are many ideas and much speculation with regard to what may happen but at the end of the day only the new owners and management (maybe) know exactly what their agenda for the future is.

Some changes have taken place regarding the course over the last six months, including a complete overall of the Ocean course where many bunkers have been changed or removed, but with many new ones being introduced.  Many of the big bushes have been removed and also many trees so as to thin them out a little and allow the sun to get through to the ground, which in turn promoted better growth of grass.

Luckily when all this work was being carried out the greens were not included within any maintenance work and are still superb in all aspects.  However, much of the other work carried out has not had enough time to settle in and the general condition of the Ocean course is still a little below its best.  Putting far too much sand in the bunkers has proved to be disastrous with little or no chance of playing normal bunker shots (especially the longer handicapper).  In conclusion, regarding the Ocean course it is still by far the best nine holes (visually) with many splendid views and a good variation of layout.

The Mountain and Lake courses were not touched during the low season and they too have problems with areas off the fairways with little growth of grass in between the trees.  Some tree felling is now taking place to remedy this problem and eventually this problem should be eradicated.

Sadly the greens on both of these courses have deteriorated significantly, and whilst we are in the middle of what is called the high season, renovation work has been carried out on the greens with much hollow tyning and sanding, which has been quite annoying when you consider that the greens of Phoenix have always been some of the best in the area for many years.  However it looks like this is coming to an end and the greens should now receive the benefit of this work and improve dramatically.  Rain is required though as the course is very dry off fairways at present.

So, for what used to be a frustrating time of the year with too many tourists causing major delays at every drinks hut we now have the beauty and comfort of getting round the course in approx 3 to 4 hours maximum, depending on the size of the group playing.  Even if you are a two-ball it seems the etiquette is better and four & five ball groups are standing to one side to let smaller groups play through.

To this end it seems that with a little help and some common sense from the owners and management of Phoenix, playing conditions should improve for the future.

It is noticeable that many members are now creeping back and succumbing to the fees demanded purely because this is where they wish to play.  Some representatives from all major members groups are now evident at the course but in fairness in a minority of numbers.

As some of you may be aware, I formed the Phoenix Members Golf Society group some five years ago but over the last 3 months this society has now disbanded over the problematic issues caused by the new ownership of the course.  At present only a small amount of the original society are interested in playing at Phoenix and we would very much like to increase these numbers to about 8 to 12 in number maximum.  This will ensure very little in the way of logistical problems, with a quicker time scale to complete any game.

No group name will be adopted and we are just looking for the right people with the right attitude to the game to join in, for what may be “a decision on the day as to the format of play.”

Obviously it would seem that members will be the majority of people interested in this idea but non-members will be welcome, bearing in mind the visitors fees that exist.  These are 2,500 baht green fee, Monday to Friday (3,000 baht weekends), 600 baht for a compulsorily cart (one person only) and 350 baht caddy fee.

As members we can offer a discount of 30% off the green fees (only) by signing you in as a member’s guest.  This reduces the midweek fee to 1,750 baht plus the other charges.

If anyone is interested please contact me on 087 091 7565 or email, mikegerrard1944 @gmail.com.

At present we are playing every Monday and Friday, at around midday, but with the introduction of new names, new ideas can be adopted and everything is negotiable and changeable.

Mike Gerrard.