June 26, 2019 By: Richard Humphreys — Construction is progressing with Ban Rakat Club’s new Ballyshear Golf Links course near Bangkok, Thailand, designed by Gil Hanse and inspired by Long Island’s famous lost course, Lido, designed by Charles Blair Macdonald and Seth Raynor.
The Ballyshear layout will be Hanse’s first in the Bangkok [area] and is on track to open for play in early 2020.
“For my firm, this project is very exciting and special,” said Hanse. “This is our first project in Thailand. It has also provided us with the opportunity to design a golf course on a very unique piece of land – deploying a philosophy that relies heavily not just on the history of this game, but its strategic history.
“The design of Ballyshear is based on the principles and philosophies espoused by two giants of vintage course architecture, Macdonald and Raynor, who made their marks by replicating in America specific golf holes from classic Scottish links – the Redan at North Berwick, for example. The Alps at Prestwick. These holes represent our inspiration and aspiration at Ban Rakat – just as they inspired Macdonald and Raynor at hallowed grounds such as The National Golf Links of America, Chicago Golf Club, and specifically Lido Golf Club.”
Lido Golf Club on Long Island was designed and built by Macdonald and Raynor in 1918, before being abandoned during World War II. Dr Alister MacKenzie also contributed to the layout, having won a design contest for its eighteenth hole, held by American magazine Country Life.
Hanse’s Ballyshear layout includes a ‘Dog’s Leg’ par-four second, based on Raynor’s design for the sixth at the Lido club, and a par-five Channel hole with a split fairway, inspired by Lido’s fourth. Other famous template designs – such as Cape, Biarritz, Redan and Short holes – will also feature at the Bangkok course.
“The serendipities surrounding the Lido Golf Club are legion, but it’s our design model at Ballyshear because its terrain so resembles the terrain here in Bangkok,” said Hanse. “As a result, the character of this golf course will be like nothing else in Thailand.”
Construction began in January 2018 on the site of the former Kiarti Thanee Country Club, who were approached by Yokohama International Golf Club – a Japan-based golf development and club operations firm – to redevelop the property.
“We approached the owner of Kiarti Thanee with the idea to create something entirely new in the Bangkok market and it’s our strong feeling that Ban Rakat Club and Ballyshear Links will do exactly that,” said Takeyasu Aiyama, chairman of Yokohama International.
“Gil Hanse came with the highest of recommendations: Bill Coore, who led the redesign of our West course at Yokohama Country Club, recommended Hanse for the Ballyshear project and introduced him to us.
“The Ban Rakat Club project will perfectly showcase Hanse’s skill and expertise, while introducing his work to an Asian audience for the first time. What’s more, vintage design projects such as Ballyshear have never before been undertaken in Thailand. In these and other ways, Ban Rakat Club will bring something completely unique to the market.”
Ban Rakat Club will also feature a new clubhouse from architect Kengo Kuma, designer of the Japanese National Stadium in Tokyo.