October 28, 2021 By: Jason Lusk — Ballyshear Links — Gil Hanse’s take on the classic Lido Golf Club that was paved over decades ago in Long Island, New York – has opened just east of Bangkok at the freshly redeveloped and private Ban Rakat Club.
The original Lido was designed in 1914 by C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor – with an 18th hole inspired by Alister MacKenzie’s entry in a course-design contest. It featured many of the classic template holes, such as the Redan, Biarritz and Punchbowl. Considered by many to be among the finest courses in the world, the Lido was plowed under to accommodate a U.S. Navy base in World War II.
Hanse, one of the top U.S.-based golf architects of the past 20 years, has reinterpreted the Lido’s 18 template holes in Thailand, utilizing the same order of holes except switching the second and sixth holes.
This isn’t the only recent course development to pay homage to the Lido. Architect Tom Doak is building a more-exact replica of the Lido at Sand Valley in Wisconsin, which recently was grassed with plans to open in 2022. That version intends to rebuild the original Lido layout as closely as possible with a giant assist from historian Peter Flory.
The Thai version, Ballyshear Links, was constructed on the site of the former Kiarti Thanee Country Club after members lobbied for a new course on the site about 20 minutes from Suvarnhabumi International Airport and less than an hour from Bangkok’s city center. The focus on classic architecture templates will be a fresh look in Thailand, which has become a golf hot spot for many players from Asia, particularly South Korea and Japan.
“They (the members) sought to bring something completely new to the marketplace,” said Takeyasu Aiyama, chairman of Yokohama International LTD, the development company behind the project. “… There is risk to our approach, naturally. However, we are determined to create something unique in the marketplace and accept the risk. …
“Gil Hanse has created for Ban Rakat Club a vintage-style course that all the members – and their guests – will love. We are certain of that.”