There are many ingredients that go into the mix of conjuring a great golfing holiday destination. An abundance of outstanding courses, affordable green fees and available tee-times are pre-requisites. Throw in good weather, fine food, comfortable accommodation, warm hospitality and service with a smile and you can be sure you're on to a winner. As droves of Hong Kong residents who celebrated Lunar New Year in Thailand will attest, the Land of Smiles boasts all the above, and a whole lot more. It's little wonder, therefore, that the kingdom continues to increase its market share of tourist golfers - not only from Hong Kong and the rest of Asia, but also from around the globe. It's not a situation that has been arrived at overnight, but one that has evolved since Thailand's frenzied golf course construction boom of the mid-1980s. An aggressive marketing campaign by the Tourism Authority of Thailand has helped to spread the word. So, too, has the country's successful staging of the region's premier professional event, the Johnnie Walker Classic, in 1992, 1994 and 1998. And then there's the 'Khun Tiger' factor with the world number one's Thailand connection (Woods' mother is Thai) also contributing to the surge of incoming golfers. Such is Thailand's stature as a haven for golfing tourists that it was among six nations recently nominated for the Emerging Golf Destination of the Year at the Hertz International Golf Travel Awards 2000. It's not just the quantity of the country's courses, which have now topped 200, but also the quality of them that has earned Thailand a reputation as Asia's most attractive golfing playground. From Pattaya to Phuket, Bangkok to Hua Hin and Chiang Mai to Kanchanaburi, Thailand is blessed with courses of world-class standard. In terms of value for money, they are hard to beat, too. To a large degree this is a direct result of the economic turmoil that swept the country in 1998. Indeed, according to Frank Gilbride, managing director of a company specialising in arranging golfing packages and tours to Thailand, the recession has had a hugely positive influence on the golf holiday industry. 'Before Thailand went into recession, the US dollar was worth 25 baht. For a while, it went above 40 and even now at around 37 baht to the US dollar it's an attractive rate for anyone planning a holiday,' he said. 'Although Hong Kong and Singapore are continuing to send large numbers of golfers to Thailand, the largest movement of golfers is now from northern Europe. 'Thailand as a golfing destination has been better promoted over the past few years and European golfers are now aware they can get great value for money over here. 'Thailand's golfing potential has been 'discovered' and the courses offer an exciting change to the more traditional golfing destinations in Spain, Portugal and the United States,' said Gilbride, whose words are backed up by figures. During 1998, his company sold 5,800 green fees in Thailand. That number rose to more than 9,000 last year and he is anticipating breaking through the 10,000 barrier in 2000. Returning from a golfing tour of Bangkok, an England-based golfer was moved to write to a golfing publication to express his delight at the experience. 'I have had the greatest of pleasure in taking two golfing holidays in Thailand and I have yet to find a bad course. 'Most are very good. The others are excellent,' he said.