Phokeethra Country Club in Siem Reap has been temporary closed this raining season for some major renovations that will give players a new level of golfing experience at the former host of the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open. We went to have look around the course where the people are working hard to ensure that it will be ready for reopening at the beginning of August.
Work began at the course that won the 2017 Best Course in Cambodia Award in early April of this year. The project scope include some redesign and reconstruction of eight greens and re-grassing of all eighteen greens with a new type of Bermuda grass.
Previously, many of the greens offered a limited number of hole placement options due to the slopes in combination with their size. Phokeethra`s management also felt that the two halves of the course were not balanced with the front nine being very tough and the back nine being less challenging.
“At first we were thinking to change a few holes on the back nine to make it more balanced, especially 16 and 18 so that the finishing holes are a bit more challenging. But after some discussion with renowned designer Khun Weerayudth to redesign selected holes for better balance and an enhanced playing experience, we decided to change almost eight greens, ” said Fabrice Ho, Phokeethra`s Golf Manager.
The current undergoing renovation works show significant alterations to the size and sloping of the greens. This is with the aim of improving player enjoyment and enabling a wider variety of hole placements. Making rounds more challenging while fair for golfers of all skill levels.
Fabrice explained that the Bermuda greens offer various maintenance benefits and will lead to faster greens than what we were used to at Phokeethra. Players can expect green speed to be around 9.5 to 10 on the Stimpmeter starting from the end of this year and reaching the speed of 11 to 12 during events. Speaking of events, Fabrice told us that we can expect a great variety of compelling events from Phokeethra Country Club when the course is reopened.
Improvements to the drainage and irrigation system have also been made with the aim of enabling easier turf management. Also, the lower lying areas of the fairways are being raised to tackle the problem of flooding during raining season, making it an enjoyable course with great playing conditions all year round. The cart path will be completely renewed while the clubhouse is going through some lay out changes. A better and more stunning view from the clubhouse onto the 18th green has already been created.
“We expect to stay the best course in Cambodia and one of the best in South East Asia,” Fabrice concluded.
We feel that these renovations are valuable for the golf industry in Siem Reap as it helps to provide an even higher standard and contributes to the development of golf in Cambodia. Cambodia Golf Today will bring you a full report of the finished course in our next issue in early August.