Golf Courses in Bali, Indonesia
Course-by-Course Introduction to Golf in Bali Island
The Bali Quartro of Golf Courses
In 1997, Bali Golf & Country Club (Update 2014: Course now known as Bali National Golf & Country Club) was voted one of the Top 5 Best Golf Courses in Asia by Fortune Magazine. Together with Le Meridien Nirwana of Tanah Lot, Bali Handara Kosaido of Bedugul and Bali Beach Golf Club of Sanur, many believe, the ‘Gang of Four’ had Bali firmly on the world map of the best golf courses already.
Update (May 2008): One more for the road in Bali –
Just as we thought for once Bali is saturated with golf courses, and the Bali Quartro will fully service the golfing needs of this jewel of tourist paradise, there, amidst political heaves not uncommon to the Republic, emerges yet another golf club of a standard good enough to rival its existing cousins, if not better. Situated mid-way between the famous Kuta Beach and the cliff-top monkeys’ haven of Uluwatu just off the coast, the course is about half an hour from the former and next to the well-known sunset-dinner site of Jimbaran Beach. Because of its proximity to the various better known established areas, it is often referred to differently by different people. The locals call it Pecatu after the name of the beach there, the ever-surfing Aussies call it Dreamland for the hide-away isolated surf spots, the developer of the up-market housing project which is to be incorporated into the entire golfing estate calls it ‘Hole17’ for the villas will ring the hole on one side when completed and, the nudists would of course ‘barely say a word’ in a wishful and last ditch attempt to keep the place remaining secret despite the ever encroaching development. The Bali Times reported it had been officially renamed the ‘New Kuta Beach’ but without naming the authority responsible for it; and talking about authority, no scrappy notices were sighted on the➶
notice board of the many guest houses in Poppies Lane I, or II, either! But no worries mate, flag a bimo (local taxi), you’ll get there!
The New Kuta Beach Golf Club of Pecatu – This Ronald Fream-designed 18-hole Par-72 course actually sits somewhat aloof with the beach and the Indian Ocean down below and the steep hillside to the back. It runs to-and-fro along the coastline with some of the greens perched on cliff-tops providing spectacular views of the ocean, especially with the sun setting. Cross winds from the ocean appear the key to a good course management and score. The Par-3 175-meter Hole#6 features a very large island green on sand. Albeit, the strong cross winds often determine whether the landing will be too far from the pin or the green is still not large enough at over 1,000 square meters that the ball must find the sand. Another Par-3, the 190-meter Hole#8 has a long and narrow green with the only leeway on the right for a good pitch shot second if finding the green is again hampered by the winds and waters on the left not of much help. The tee-shot off the Par-4 365-meter Hole#14 is again another good test on reading the wind. Power and accuracy are also essential here too. A long carry-over the massive fairway sand bunkers is necessary for a good lay-up. The second shot plays downhill to a perched elevated green fronting the ocean further down below. If all else fails, you would still be well rewarded with a fullsome embrace by the delightful and spectacular view of the vast and open Indian Ocean.
If you like Bali, mate, you will definitely like it here!
An Update on the Update:
November 2008 – So the news is out: ‘Indonesia’s Richest Sporting Competition to Be Held at New Kuta Beach Golf Course February 26 – March 1, 2009’. And the competition is of course none other than the one co-sanctioned by the Asian and European Tours, the Indonesian Open which for the last four years has been held in Jakarta. Brace for the good time for golf in Bali!
Bali Beach Golf Club of Sanur, Bali – In 2006, the 9-hole golf course on the ground of the Grand Bali Beach Hotel in Sanur took a new owner and underwent a facelift. It was renamed Bali Beach Golf Club. The original Par-36 9-hole layout remains, but the greens and sand bunkers have all been replaced and rebuilt. As well, the tight fairways lined with shady mature rain trees are still intact to retain much of its original look of a flat course almost wholly under a canopy of lush green leaves. Filtered lights of the afternoon sun reflecting on the well trimmed grass provide good photo opportunities. If you are time-tight, try this course. Not only would it save you time, you just might find it challenging the way it doesn’t always appear to be.
Le Meridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort of Tanah Lot, Bali – The newest of the trio, Nirwana is a challenging course located at about 30 kilometers west of Kuta Beach at Tanah Lot. If Tanah Lot is so iconised by its seen-from-afar silhoutte-Hindu temple floating on a tiny island just off the shore, Nirwana is as much identified for its terraced rice fields setting. Skillfully crafted on rice paddies and rock out-croppings, this 18-hole Par-71 6,800-yard Greg Norman-designed master piece offers one of Asia’s most visually spectacular courses with fairways carved out of rice fields and streams traversing at some places. It also includes three holes played along the cliffs overlooking the south seas to Australia.
Of the most spectacular, the Par-3 215-yard #7 has to be the Signature Hole. Teeing off high overlooking treacherous rocks and foamy white waves below, the carry over must be long enough to reach the green way below on the extension of the rock atop which the tee box stands. Putting on the silky green tucked behind a pair of sand bunkers, the famed Hindu temple inevitably comes into sight just off the shore seemingly setting an ancient backdrop to a very modern game of golf. If the feeling weren’t so profoundly moving, it sure was somewhat sacrilegious at the least. Not surprisingly this hole was named one of the 10 Best Par-3s in Asia in 2004 by the Asian Golf Monthly magazine and Le Meridien Nirwana, The Best Course in Asia under the same award ceremony. Some say, the design of this course eclipses many of Norman’s master pieces in North America, but then Bali isn’t yet the Beverly Hills of golf in the eyes of the many influencials and the genius takes a bitter twist in the back seat. See it for yourself!
Bali National Golf & Country Club of Nusa Dua, Bali – After almost two years of upgrading work, this is the former Bali Golf & Country Club that many would be familiar with.
Bali Golf & Country Club of Nusa Dua, Bali – This is a Championship course nestled alongside the eastern shore of the Bali peninsula. Away from the crowd and noise generally associated with the more famous Kuta Beach, Nusa Dua boasts on its own a more tranquil environment and a beach characteristically different from the former. This is also the venue for Bali’s annual giant kites flying festival held every August.
Bali Golf has the entire cross-section of the vegetation of the land as its backdrop. The earlier holes take you on an uphill climb through secondary tropical forests. At some parts of the gradually elevating fairways, the sides are stone-walled to strengthen but more to emulate the famed terraced rice fields of Cikeng in the hilly central region of the peninsula. At the top of the hill a sweeping view of the ocean and the township of Nusa Dua below rewards the enduring climb up. It then slowly descends through an estate of tall coconut trees before reaching Hole#17 and 18 which run along the shoreline of a never-ending cool breeze from the sea. Throughout the entire ‘walk-through’ of the course, watch for a wide variety of birds that have of late been making this place a sanctuary of their own. Good Course Management by the management?
Designed by Nelson & Wright, this 18-hole par-72 6,870-yard course was voted by Fortune magazine as one of the 5 Best Golf Courses in Asia in 1997. If you have a point to prove, here it is: Nick Faldo set the course record of 63 in the Alfred Dunhill Masters in 1994.
Bali Handara Kosaido Golf & Country Club of Bedugul, Bali – A Grand Daddy of golf courses in Indonesia, Bali Handara Kosaido is one of the oldest in the country. But it is its location that makes it apart from most others. Sitting on an extinct volcano just over a thousand meters above sea level in the country resort of Bedugul which is some one and a half hour’s drive up the hills from downtown Bali, it boasts an 18-hole Par-72 6,983-yard Peter Thomson-designed championship course with Bent grass-greens and Kakuyu grass-fairways.
Surrounded by near-vertical crater walls over-grown with lush tropical rain forest which extends to the shimmering Lake Bunyan, the Handara is renowned for being deceptive if not outright challenging. Apart from the lake numerous sand bunkers only add to the woes of those prone to careless and errant shots. For no less a reason, this course was voted one of the Top 50 Best Golf Courses in the World in 1980.
But if you must miss an easy birdie here or there, please, do not miss the natural beauty of this mountain resort. Here, the temperature rarely moves out of the year-round average of 16-20 degrees Celcius. If Kuta Beach is the lake course of a top golf club, then the Handara at Bedugul is the mountain course. You can bet on it and win for sure that for once your non-golfer mates would mind you finishing your round early!