Mr.Suwat Wangkiat ; Director of Phunaka Golf Course

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Director of Phunaka Golf Course

Suwat Wangkiat   Mr. Suwat Wangkiat
Director of Phunaka Golf Course

When golfers hear the name “Jon Morrow” the Red Mountain Golf Course most likely comes to mind, but it’s not the only golf course he has designed in Phuket. For most Thai businessmen and professionals a golf course of international standard is their first priority. That’s why Jon Morrow was asked to design Phuket: Phunaka, a course which has brought a different dimension to golf in Phuket. had a chance to talk with the Managing Director of Phunaka Golf Course, Suwat Wangkiat who graduated from Prince of Songkla University Hadyai Campus with a degree in Electronic Engineering.

“I worked for Thai Takenaka International Ltd. controlling the set ups for the electronic and water supply systems before I moved to TMB Bank Public Co., Ltd. where I stayed for 6 years. Afterward I headed back to my Phuket home and have been in the property business ever since.”

Suwat continued ‘In 1988 when I built a 3-floor commercial building in Karon comprising of 115 units, each unit only cost 800,000 THB. But these days if you asked for the same unit each would cost at least 8 MB. The property market doesn’t stand still.”

He has been associated with many projects both in Phuket and Bangkok. “I was involved with the building of The Islandia Park Resort in Karon in 1991. Then I went north to undertake projects in Bangkok” he commented. In 2004 he started Sinsukthani; a company building two different styles of contemporary houses with each being available in either a single or a two storyed version.

Suwat Wangkiat

Now as a result of his love of golf he has taken another step on a different career path: the 9-hole Phunaka Golf Course which, due to their countries strong currencies is largely funded by investors from Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.

“My initial intention was to establish an 18-hole golf course but due to expropriation, we were only left with 180 rai” he stated. So he allocated 130 rai to a 9-hole golf course and the remaining 50 to a 300 yard driving range. The 9 hole course is “A Night Golf Course”, the first and only one in Phuket. It is designed to suit those who work during the day but still wish to play golf afterwards and also attracts ladies who do not want a suntan!
“Phuket now has 6 golf courses including Phunaka, and most golfers want to play on each course so I don’t see Phunaka as being in competition with other courses” Suwat observed. “We launched it to support the ever increasing market for golf and make golfing options more interesting.” Every golf course has its own challenges and though Phunaka has no big trees for golfers to avoid, the grass and the wind are both challenging.

Suwat then revealed he plans to begin building 250 condominiums next June. Many of his customers come from Korea and Japan. They arrive on Friday evening, play night golf and spend Saturday and Sunday morning playing day golf before flying back on Sunday evening. “We want this place to be a relaxation complex so we will provide them with a place to stay and a course on which to play all in one spot” he said.

He also wants to develop the golfing potential of the region’s young by establishing a golfing school. “It would be great if Phuket had a golf school. It’s situated in a perfect location so when parents come to Phuket on business, they could send their children to golf school, to improve their swing. Right now there are so many direct flights from foreign countries to Phuket. I think a golf school would be a good business opportunity” he said.

He told us if Phunaka Golf Course and condominium complex is successful he’ll immediately begin his next project. “Many of my customers especially from Scandinavia used to ask me why didn’t I build a hotel or resort in a pretty spot I have in Karon. So when the time is right, I obviously must satisfy my customers’ demands again” he joked.

He’s always busy but when he has free time, of course, he spends it playing golf. “I have been playing golf for approximately 24 years. I don’t play seriously, I play because I love the game. I’m lucky that my hobby and business ultimately are the same,” he added with a smile. “My family live in Australia, in Sydney, but when we have time, we play golf together here at Phunaka.”

Today Suwat is a professional in the property business and a golfing amateur. Perhaps in the future he may become a golfing professional! thanks Suwat for a very interesting conversation and wishes him and Phunaka all the best for the future.

“I’m lucky my hobby and my business ultimately are the same”

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