Severiano Ballesteros Sota, well known to the world of golf as ‘Seve’, designed the championship-standard golf course at the Mountain Creek Golf Resort and Residences at Sikhio, Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast of Thailand. The 27-hole course is part of a well planned housing development and resort that includes a five-star hotel, a host of leisure and recreation facilities, spa, housing estate, outdoor concert zone, sauna room, massage room, swimming pool, shopping centre, etc.
The 10-billion baht (USD 326 million) project was launched by Mountain Creek Development Co., Ltd., a company under the umbrella of one of Thailand’s fastest growing conglomerates – PM Group.
Led by PM Group Chairman Mr. Prayudh Mahagitsiri, a team of executives from Mountain Creek Development visited Seve in Spain and signed the strategic design contract with his firm Trajectory. Soon, Trajectory architects readied the course design documentation. A couple of months down the line, construction of the golf course, along with several facilities, began and was completed in a record time of 18 months!
The massive project encompasses a huge expanse of land measuring 1,750 rai (about 692 acres) abutting the scenic Lam Takhong Dam. The area is full of thick forests, hilly terrains, undulating highlands and rolling valleys intermittently dotted with numerous creeks, shade trees and peculiar but natural rock formations, some of which aged over 100 years!
Envisioned by Mr. Prayudh, Seve came up with a rough sketch of an environmentally friendly golf course that’s not only beautiful but truly challenging! Subsequently, three partials of nine holes each were meticulously planned and developed without causing any kind of damage to the environs. The three partials were aptly named Highland Course, Creek Course and Valley Course, representing their unique physical characteristics and conditions.
Apart from affecting playing strategy, the winding creeks that crisscross several holes provide for natural drainage of the course. A dazzling Club House serves as the centre axle from which the holes of each of the partials start and finish. There are also three large self-contained lakes to store and supply water to the whole complex and add to its scenic charm.
This championship course is designed for low handicapped players as well as weekenders alike. Players can choose to start off from 5 tees coloured black, blue, yellow, white and red. With doglegs that require blind shots and rewards and punishments evenly distributed on every hole, the course is designed to test both playing skills and course management tactics of all players.
The mega project is being built in four phases of which Phase I, with the golf course, 5-star hotel and several other facilities, has been completed.
Mountain Creek Golf Course is the one and only course in Thailand designed by the former world No.1 and the winner of five Majors which, according to him, is his ‘masterpiece’!
Explaining about the uniqueness of the Mountain Creek’s design, Seve has said: “Mr. Prayudh asked me to design a course for golfers of all skill levels while ensuring that its layout perfectly integrates with the environment without causing any adverse impact on the flora and fauna. He wanted the design to make possible both for beginners as well as the staging of international events for professional golfers to play. Advised by him, we have seamlessly incorporated the natural winding terrains, meandering creeks, mature trees and dramatic elevation changes into the design of quite a few holes. I am happy that the end product would be something truly incredible! Our aim was to create a facility that offers natural and sustainable golf. And Mountain Creek would serve as a practical example of what I understood by natural, sustainable and eco-friendly golf.”