The EGA or to give its full title The East Coast Golf Course Management Association actually started over twenty years ago, where they had 5 star , 4star and 3 star golf courses then. The idea was to get together the seven clubs giving them more impact to encourage golfers to come to Thailand.
In those early days it was more of a social networking group and gradually it became more of an information giving operation, covering the percentage of foreign golfers, the problems with their courses and looking at budgets etc; The owners were happy and more clubs joined so today the EGA is one of the largest and most active courses in South East Asia.
Thai Mike Mesommonta who originally graduated in the States, has now been at the helm of the EGA and its President for almost 18 years. Not only is he the GM at Burapha Golf Club, a very busy 36 hole club in Chonburi , but also spends up to 50% of his time running the EGA.
Over those 18 years he is very proud to say that firstly they have improved the working conditions for the thousands of caddies working in the Thai golf industry. Also the Association with its various incentives has definitely increased the number of rounds of golf in the region with over 1 million rounds played in Pattaya alone! By advertising together the 26 members are making a bigger impact especially overseas.
The EGA is also a major events organiser, which started nine years ago with their Pattaya Golf Festival, which has now grown into the Thailand Golf Festival with over 3,470 local and international players competing. Prizes galore and discounted green fees has made this a big hit with the EGA members and the golfers alike.
Recently they launched the Singha Amazing Thailand Par 3 Championship held on 18 holes at Burapha. Available to young and old, male or female golfers, it was a huge success, so that in 2016 the championship will include rounds at St Andrews 2000, Laem Chabang, Siam Country Club and Burapha. Each course sets up new tee boxes on the side of the fairways where there are slopes and the events take place on week days. In 2015 they held three rounds and over 144 took part in each round, bringing in welcome extra revenue too.
The EGA’s most unusual event though has to be their Singha Amazing Thailand Caddie Championship. It started back in 2009 as a local event for Pattaya caddies who play golf to compete, and learn more about the game.
Move on to 2016 and over 900 Thai caddies are competing across the country in regional events, where the top 120 will play alongside caddies from other Asian countries including China, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam.
Quoted by the Golfing World TV show as the most colourful tournament they have ever covered, this year’s final will follow the footsteps of the LPGA stars, as it is being hosted at the famous Old Course at Siam Country Club.
Not only does it improve the caddies enjoyment and understanding of the game of golf, but the dream of the EGA is that maybe that one of the caddie finalists will move onto to join the LPGA tour.
For more information check out their website www. egathailand.com