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Thongchai’s Thai Practice Regime Pays Off

July 9, 2014 Golf Tourism No Comments Email Email

Thailand’s top ranked golfer, Thongchai Jaidee, who finished equal second in last week’s Alstom Open de France after winning the Nordea Masters in Sweden a month earlier, attributes his success in Europe this season to a practice regime that includes winter training at his home course, Black Mountain in Hua Hin, Thailand. 
Even though he admits he “hates the cold” and says he plays worse in cold weather, Thongchai has adapted successfully to Europe’s fickle early summer with two great performances. As a result, his world ranking has risen to 34 leading into the British Open.
Thongchai spends much of the northern winter at Black Mountain, where minimum daily temperatures rarely fall below 20 degrees Ceisius – more than the maximum temperatures on the final two days of the Alstom Open  de France in Paris last weekend.  If he hadn’t faltered in cold, wet conditions in the early part of the final round, when he was five over par after four holes, Thongchai would have claimed his 18th professional victory but he fell just one shot short.unnamed (12)

Nevertheless, his training regime has paid off handsomely. Thongchai has now won more than one million Euros on the European Tour this season and is currently eighth in the Race to Dubai standings, in which the top 60 players are eligible for the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in late November.

“I want to win more in Europe, so I have to be well prepared,” Thongchai said after his victory in Sweden in early June. “It is good to train when the winter winds blow in Thailand, because they prepare me for the European weather, but without having to freeze.

“Black Mountain is perfect to recharge my batteries before the season starts in Europe. The weather is comfortable and I stick to a healthy diet. As the food in Thailand is healthier than in Europe. It makes it easier for me to keep myself in shape.”

He says his family also appreciates the facilities – including a water park and par-3 course – that Black Mountain offers.

Thongchai beat Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher in a playoff to win the Nordea Masters and last week tied with America’s Kevin Stadler for second place in Paris behind Graeme McDowell, earning 250,000 Euros for the performance.

As the only three-time winner of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, a typical day in Thongchai’s training regime begins early on the golf course at Black Mountain and often ends in the resort’s gym in the evening.

“When you are at this level, golf becomes your entire life,” he says. “I usually head out to the course in the morning, but I don’t follow a particular program, even though I plan each day in advance. Sometimes I go the driving range to perfect my long game and sometimes to Black Mountain’s par-3 course to improve my short-game. I adapt my day depending on what I need to practice.”

Thongchai began his golf career as a 16-year-old caddie in his hometown of Lop Buri, northeast of Bangkok. His first golf club was a bamboo-shafted iron. As a young man, he joined the army where he represented Thailand in skydiving during the Asian Games in Bangkok in 1998. The army gave him the opportunity to play more golf and Jaidee did well as an amateur.

His golf breakthrough came at 34 when he won the Carlsberg Malaysian Open in 2004. Jaidee has 17 professional victories (six on the European Tour) and has played all over the world, but says Thailand’s courses – and Black Mountain in particular – remain his favourite.

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