Hua Hin, named last week as 2014 golf destination of the year for Asia and Australasia, is to host its own version of the world’s largest and most successful amateur tournament for club golfers aged 35 and over.
The Centara World Masters Golf Championship, to be held at four courses near Hua Hin from June 15 to 21, 2014 is expected to attract more than 600 golfers from around the world.
The tournament, which will be played in 15 age and handicap divisions, will adopt the same format as the Mitsubishi World Masters, an amateur event that has been held on the Gold Coast in Australia for the past 18 years.
Peter McCarthy, the principal of Go Golfing, who has conducted the tournament in Australia since its inception, has teamed up with Golfasian, the Bangkok-based inbound golf tour operator, and Centara Hotels and Resorts to create the event.
The tournament will put major focus on Hua Hin as a golf tourism destination after being named last week as Golf Destination of the Year (Asia and Australasia) at the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators annual convention, held in Spain.
Pattaya won the same award in 2012. Hua Hin and Pattaya are the only two regions, other than countries, to receive the accolade.
Hua Hin has seven golf courses, including two of the best in Thailand – Black Mountain and Banyan that were opened in 2008 and 2009 respectively. In the past five years Hua Hin has become one of Asia’s most popular golf tourism destinations. Royal Hua Hin Golf Club established in 1924, was the first golf course in Thailand.
The Centara World Masters, to be held at four leading courses, is open to golfers aged 35 and over. The four-round stableford tournament will be played in 15 age and handicap divisions that ensure golfers of a similar age and standard play together. Prizes valued at more than $30,000 will be given away at the final night gala dinner.
The tournament is open to all amateur golfers aged over 35 with an official handicap.
“The Mitsubishi World Masters has been such a huge success in Australia, attracting players from all around the world, that we wanted to take the format to Asia,” Peter McCarthy said this week. “Hua Hin is a perfect golf destination, with great courses, beaches and other attractions.
“Black Mountain has been named best course in Thailand for each of the past three years and is an awesome golf experience. Banyan was named best new course in Asia in 2009, has been in the top three in Thailand for several years and its clubhouse was voted best in Asia for 2013 and again, just two weeks ago, for 2014.
“The other two courses where the tournament will be played, Majestic Creek and Imperial Lake View, are beautifully presented and highly enjoyable layouts that will please all participants.
“People like these events because they are much more than golf tournaments,” he explains. “There are lively social and entertainment events every night. In Hua Hin, international acts will be a highlight at the welcome and farewell celebrations, while Thailand’s biggest 19th hole will move each night to stunning rooftop, beach, and poolside settings. A decadent farewell dinner will cap off the fun-filled week.”
Accommodation will be at the Centara Grand Beach Resort and Banyan Resort, Hua Hin. Packages are now available, with a $100 discount for bookings made by December 31. Pre and post golf tours in Thailand can also be booked.
The major sponsor, Centara Hotels and Resorts, has 20 properties in major tourism centres of Thailand, including Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Phuket, Krabi and Chiangmai.
Centara’s senior vice president of sales, Chris Bailey, said as a global sport with huge awareness and followers, it made perfect sense for Thailand’s leading hospitality company to be aligned with the amateur golf tournament. “It allows us to showcase our range of products and services not only in Hua Hin, but throughout Thailand with the pre and post touring programs.”
Other sponsors include Thai Beverage Public Company Limited, the brewer of Chang beer, Coca-Cola (Thailand) Limited, Thai Airways and Golfasian.
The principal of Golfasian, Mark Siegel, said Thailand had emerged in the past decade as one of the world’s top three golf destinations and is now welcoming 750,000 foreign players a year.
“You don’t just get great golf in Thailand, you get a memorable holiday experience,” he said. “The record speaks for itself – foreign golfers come back again and again.
“The Centara World Masters will give golfers a great insight into golf in Thailand, especially those who also take a pre or post-tournament tour option.”
For more details, visit www.ThailandWorldMasters.com
Photo: Black Mountain Golf Club, one of four courses that will host the Centara World Masters in June 2014.