Hua Hin, Thailand
As a remote golf and family vacation spot, I don’t know that I have seen anything better than Black Mountain. It was founded by Scandinavian entrepreneur Stig Notlov. Formerly a successful businessman in the hardware industry, Stig developed Black Mountain in his second career having frequented Thailand regularly and always dreaming of building his own world class golf facility. Purchasing land in Thailand is not a straightforward forward process, and after a number of legal challenges the East and North, courses were finally laid out in 2007 by Phil Ryan of Pacific Coast Design.
The original 18 holes are cut from a hillside valley providing holes of every variety. The water features are spectacular, none more so than the wall fronting the 11th green (Hole 2 on the North). This is possibly the best par 3 I have played anywhere in the world. Two-thirds of the green is surrounded by water with an elegant masonry wall shaping the green and bunkers sitting at the rear and right of the green. The putting surface is well undulated with a tier running through the center. There is no bailout area. The best result you can hope for when missing this green is finding either of the two bunkers, otherwise you’re in the soup and taking a penalty. The 11th is considered the signature hole at Black Mountain and it is no surprise as to why. The property boasts a third full 9 holes and the best 9-hole par 3 course I have ever played (pictured). The property has a significant number of luxury villa accommodations, spanning almost the length of holes 10-12 on the hill side of the property. Amenities and activities include a water park, tennis, gym, wakeboard park, beach volleyball and exquisite food. If you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia and Thailand is on your radar, be sure to check this place out. I guarantee you will not regret it!