Phuket, Thailand: Laguna Phuket, the Thailand tourist island’s only fully integrated resort, has laid out its ambitious future plans for the Singha Laguna Phuket Open.
Although only in its second iteration this year, the All Thailand Golf Tour event – to be held from May 10-13 – is guaranteed a wide following in Thailand and Southeast Asia through television coverage.
But Ravi Chandran, Laguna Phuket’s Managing Director, and Paul Wilson, Assistant Vice President and Director of Golf, have bigger long-range plans.
It is their aim for the event to become, eventually, as internationally well-known and inclusive as Laguna Phuket’s acclaimed annual triathlon and marathon events.
In particular, they want to develop the professional golf tournament into a week-long celebration of golf that involves amateur players of all levels and abilities enjoying the facilities at the venue which is a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
This will mean extending the current programme of a Pro-Am on the Wednesday before the tournament and a ‘play like the pros’ round on the day after its conclusion to a range of individual and team golf events for amateurs, spread over a week.
“The Laguna Phuket triathlon, which this year celebrated 25 years, and the marathon, being held in June for the 13th year, are highly-recognised events that attract thousands of participants and spectators from around the world,” said Chandran.
“They have helped make Phuket an international sporting hub, with Laguna Phuket as the centrepiece. We believe the Singha Laguna Phuket Open can become equally well-known among golfers and be the third mantle in the island’s and resort’s sporting calendar.
“Many people remember the 2009 Thailand Open, held at Laguna Phuket. Last year we successfully recaptured the interest from that event and this year, as Phuket’s only professional golf tournament, we aim to build on it further. The relationship with Singha as joint title sponsor is an excellent fit and we hope this also extends long into the future.”
Wilson said the golf tournament can be expanded in coming years to include individual amateur and team events, similar to those organised around the triathlon and marathon.
“There are numerous short-distance, team and other activities associated with the triathlon and marathon,” he said. “The full distance of both events attracts elite contestants and serious competitors from all over the world. But there are other shorter and less intense variations for people of all ages and abilities and we believe the golf tournament can be extended in a similar way.”
He said last year’s tournament resulted in increased tee-time bookings among locals and golfers from Thailand and the region and he expects the 2018 event will produce a similar uplift.
“The professional tournament is definitely raising our profile,” he added. “We believe we can capitalise on this growing interest in many ways, both around the time of the event and at other times during the year.”
The 2018 Singha Laguna Phuket Open, with a THB2 million prize pool, will have a full field of 156 professional and amateur male participants. As a joint-sanctioned Asian Development Tour event, it provides a pathway for aspiring golfers to develop their careers regionally and internationally.