Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat is relishing competing on home soil once more and tackling one of the most extraordinary holes in golf.
While the famous “island green” on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is not truly an island as players reach it via a narrow path, Amata Spring Country Club’s 17th hole really does boast a green accessible only by boat.
The spectacular par three is 40 yards wide and 40 yards long and can be lengthened or shortened using underwater pulleys.
“Amata Spring is one of the best golf courses in Thailand,” Aphibarnrat said ahead of the Thailand Classic. “If you come to visit and don’t play golf here, you miss something, same as if you didn’t have pad thai in Thailand.
“Everyone wants to play here, especially the 17th hole, the island green, it’s iconic. You just want to be dry, hit it on the green and keep yourself away from the water.
“I have a little tip for all the players this week – the most important thing in Amata Spring is the boat. Because without the boat, you can’t complete the round. Nobody is going to swim over.”
Aphibarnrat has won four times on the DP World Tour and reached a career-high of 29th in the world in 2018, the year of his most recent victory.
The 33-year-old has slipped to 321st in the standings and admitted to struggling with feelings of loneliness while competing on the PGA Tour, but has been buoyed by the DP World Tour’s return to Thailand for the first time since 2016.
“It’s really difficult for me to describe how happy I am right now,” he said. “To be practicing, playing, in front of my home country, the fans, I really enjoy it.
“The last six months I’ve been going in the right directions, working on the swing and at home with my mentality on the golf course. I think because I moved back on the DP World Tour, I feel more comfortable. It’s like home and all the players are like family.
“I’m playing good and to win in my home country, with home fans would be the best. I hope this event will be in Thailand for another 10 years so I have 10 more chances to win in this place.”