Golf Courses in Jakarta, Indonesia
Course-by-Course Introduction to Golf in-&-around
Jakarta including Bogor and the Jagorawi Belt-of-Golf-Courses
President Sukarno of Indonesia is perhaps best remembered, amongst the many great achievements accomplished during his tenure, for having so skillfully planted the various political landmarks in the form of monuments that today they serve good references for visitors negotiating in this vast and sometimes chaotic city of Jakarta. The developers of the numerous new golf clubs over the years since independence on the other hand deserve no less credit for having added additional grid to not only the great city but also the greater Jakarta area that today a mere mention of a particular golf club will often get the visitor the right direction to follow. Given that the position of the sun at ground level can sometimes be very hard to determine – a little exaggeration perhaps – there’s never too many references unnecessary in the sprawl of this mega-city.
Thanks, but no thanks to the financial crisis of 1997 and of late, the melt-down originating from the heart of the capitalists’ world of Wall Street, there was and will likely be for the immediate future at least a check on the rapid increase of new golf courses, regardless. Whether or not it will bode well for the general public and golfers alike, we’ll leave it to the environmentalists and learned managers to chart their course.
Meanwhile, what you see is what you get in Jakarta. If you can last more than a week playing 36 holes each day on different grounds, we’ll oblige by finding more new ones for you to vet your golfing appetite for new turf. The list of golf courses we provide below is hardly exhaustive, if only it is representative of what’s on offer. We will however strive to complete the list, whether or not the recent financial melt-down will again inadvertantly or not, provide some breather to our hard work in making the list complete.
Jakarta ‘Rawamangun’ Golf Club of Jakarta – Le Grand Damme of golf in Indonesia, Jakarta Golf Club was established in 1872 and was previously known as Batavia Golf Club. With World War II and Independence interceding, much has worn off the spirit of aristocracy and the lingering scent of colonialism over time. Being sited in the middle of the fast expanding capital city however, the greater impact has been the encroaching economic development of its surrounding that the club was fortunate, or otherwise, to have witnessed. What was once vast swampland where the course sits is now a tough little course with tight fairways and literally surrounded by OB’s set up out of necessity on almost every hole. Matter of fact, this Par-70 course has had at some stage to be shortened to the present yardage of 5,890 to contribute a segment of its land to the University of Indonesia. Despite all these, it is still a favourite among the locals and continues to attract dignitaries and visiting heads of state.
To the locals it is simply and affectionately, Rawamangun, the name of the suburb where it is located in East Jakarta, a mere half-an-hour’s drive from the city center. Apart from its rich history, it has also hosted several major tournament not least the Indonesia Open. For a club that is so much an interwoven part of the cultural and historical fabric of the country, it shares in no less glamour in Southeast Asia with peers such as: RSGC of Malaysia, Dalat Palace Golf Club of Vietnam, Manila Golf Club of the Philippines and others
Bumi Serpong Damai Indah (BSD) Golf & Country Club of Jakarta – Recognized as one of the finest courses Jack Nicklaus has ever designed, this course was chosen as the best golf course in Indonesia by Golf Digest USA in 1999. It was also the host venue of the APGA Omega Tour in 1996. Of late, it staged the inaugural Asian Tour to promote young golfers from Asia.
This Par-72 6,545-yard course has been designed to offer an enjoyable challenge within a visually appealing setting with every green comes complete with beautiful landscape surrounding. Perhaps the most significant feature of it all lies in it having traces of some of the best golf courses around the world that are also the favourites of the designer. Just like its counterpart the Pantai Indah Kapuk Golf Course, the Bumi Serpong Damai course earns its nickname “Spirit of the Hills” because of its lush tropical landscaping, green rolling hills and the Cisadane River.
The Pantai Indah Kapuk Golf Course of Jakarta – ‘..the Pantai Indah Kapuk Course will test the best of players, but will also please players of all skill..’ – Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Situated on the Java Sea coastline, this golf course incorporates ponds and gently winding streams as strategically positioned water hazards in addition to other challenges like the numerous bunkers and rustic walls made from indigenous stones. Also known as “Spirit of the Sea” for its lush landscaping, this Par-72 6,042-yard course has been skillfully designed by integrating the coastal wetlands to create a playable course of natural beauty. It is also one of the few venues in Jakarta to offer a 9-hole night golf play.
The Pondok Indah Golf Course of Jakarta – This is a course of a unique design which sort of reflects the old course of St. Andrews’ in Scotland. The course goes along a narrow belt of land surrounding a low hill with most fairways running parallel and next to each other but in opposite directions. The first nine goes in one direction and returns to the club house while the second goes in the opposite direction of the first. The design is not only unusual, it also incorporates clever use of the meandering tributaries of the Grogol River. With the strategically positioned bunkers, this course rewards accurate play.
The Par-4 440-yard Hole#7 is undisputably the signature-hole of the course and is also the toughest. A strategically placed vast trap at the dog-leg left area ensures a difficult decision to either lay up for a long carry-over on the second approach shot or to attempt a huge tee-off drive over the trap risking OBs. A well bunkered elevated green awaits at the end making it a daunting task to all approach shots coming from before or after the trap, irrespective.
Modern Golf Club of Jakarta – Living up to its name suggesting modernity, the Modern Golf Course is actually part of a huge sports complex incorporating not only a golf course but also courts for tennis, squash, badminton and table-tennis. It also has an Olympic-size swimming pool, a resort theme pool complete with an outdoor restaurant, a fully equipped fitness center, an aerobic studio, a sauna with whirlpool, a steam room and jacuzzi, function rooms for meeting and training session and even a ballroom for wedding, birthday and other social gatherings.
If night golf in this 18-hole Par-72 6,311-yard Peter Thompson-designed course won’t keep you long after the sun has long set, all the rests certainly will!
Cengkareng Golf Club of Jakarta – This 18-hole Par-72 6,301-meter course was designed by Walter R Steward. It has a Slope Rating of 127 at the hardest of the many sets of tees. Despite, it is generally considered to be golfer-friendly with the main course feature of numerous water hazards, bunker placements and a few doglegs-left and -right which nontheless demand a certain degree of care and accuracy for laying up shots. The fairways are covered with Bermuda grass 419 and the greens, Tifdwarf. For those more experienced and technically minded, the green speed reading is 10 and the Course Rating is 9.
The Jakarta-Bogor Belt of Golf Courses
If the Bali Quartro of Golf Courses has so much imprinted Indonesia onto the world map of quality-class golf courses, then the Jakarta-Bogor Belt of Golf Courses has done as much at least for golf in Indonesia in a similar way. If it wasn’t because of the financial crisis of 1997, there would be many more than the 16 or so golf courses now concentrated along the arterial Jagorawi Toll Road which is the freeway connecting Jakarta and the city of Bogor, some 50 kilometers on the way to Bandung. Below is a list of the most popular among clients of GOLFnTours.com.
Jagorawi Golf & Country Club of Jakarta – You can say, Jagorawi is The Course of the Jakarta-Bogor Belt of Golf Courses. Not only does it have the most number of holes, 45 in all, among the many golf clubs here, it also boasts a private exit from the artery to all these courses, the Jagorawi Toll Road. Situated in the scenic Cikeas River Valley, it consists of two 18-holes, the Old and the New, and a latest nine fashionably referred to as the Z-Nine.
Both the 18-holes were designed by Peter Thompson & Michael Wolveridge. Measuring 6,322 meters long, the Par-72 ‘For Members Only’ Old Course has water hazard as its main feature having the Cikeas River traversing at several points. The most memorable hole is the Par-5 503-meter Hole#x which runs some 100 meters down the elevated tee box. The New Course, which measures 6,481 meters long however, has more sand bunkers in addition to the tight fairways with many tall trees lining the many doglegs. This is a good ground to test good course management decisions. The Z-Nine is the baby of the club. Designed by Zakir & Max Wexler, some say pleasure golf is the game here but do not underestimate this Par-35 2,867-meter course, after all Jagorawi hosted the Indonesia Open in 1996 and 1997.
Palm Hill Golf Club of Jakarta – Like almost all of the courses in the Jakarta-Bogor region, Palm Hill offers scenic views of Mount Bogor and its lush green surrounding. Measuring 6,810 yards, this Taisei Corporation-designed course is located at the foothills of the majestic 1,500-meter mountain. Whereas most others boast of hilly terrain with deep valley courses in between, this course features mainly water play with streams crossings posing the main obstacles.
Rancamaya Golf & Country Club of Jakarta – Rancamaya is another golf club easily accessible via the Jagorawi Toll Road. At an elevation of about 500 meters above sea level, this is a course of challenge and beauty. Measuring 6,930 yards and designed by Ted Robinson, it combines the scenic views of distant Mount Salak, Mount Pangrango and the township of Bogor as a sense-around to the course which runs on hilly terrains but has the lake as its main challenge. Fairways ascend and descend at the whims of the contour and at points wind unexpectedly but blending into the original landscape of the place giving the course a specialty on its own. To add to that, the course also promotes preservation of wild life and aims to become a sanctuary for birds and butterflies and at the same time a quality golf course.
Gunung Geulis Country Club of Jakarta – Designed by Wolveridge & Thomson, Gunung Geulis Golf Club offers two fine 18-hole courses, namely the East and the West Courses. The West Course is the older of the two but both offer impressive views of the surrounding hills and jungle environment; ‘Gunung Geulis’ is after all in the local dialect for ‘Beautiful Mountain’. In fact the East Course opens up a view of the nearby Bukit Pelangi Golf Club.
Technically both courses offer equal challenges but in their own ways. The East Course is shorter and is divided into the first nine of Valley Course and the second of the Hill Course. Buggies are compulsory here. The West Course starts with its Signature Hole#1 where the tee-shot takes a carry over and lands on a tight fairway some 200 yards down below where several sand traps await on one side and OB area on the other. Not much of a welcoming party you think, but it sure signals what’s on hand for the rest of the holes.
Klub Golf Bogor Raya of Jakarta – Klub Golf Bogor Raya is an 18-hole 6,195-meter Par-71 Graham Marsh-designed course located on the hillside 500 meters above sea level beside the climbing windy road to Bandung. It is less than an hour’s drive from Jakarta and is therefore generally considered part of the golf scene of the capital city. It is relatively old and has mature trees lining much of the fairways. It is also characterised by the scenic hilly surrounding with the majestic hilltop as the backdrop. The course has been described as challenging in the long drives, having difficult approaches and hard to read greens. There are also quite a few sand bunkers around and they certainly do not help with easing course difficulty. And yet, many find it rewarding in the end for accepting the challenge. Certainly the four sets of tee help in some way to make a round of golf here an enjoyable outing for most.
Padang Golf Satelindo of Jakarta – Located within the fully integrated Royal Sentul Highlands Housing Estate, Satelindo is an 18-hole Par-72 course designed by Gary Player. The first 9 is surrounded by rice paddies and other cultivations while the second extends well into the rural areas. Although the former is the shorter, it is nontheless the more technically testing demanding shots making and accurate placements. In addition to the normal practice green, this course also offers a rare total of three practice holes (one Par-3 and two Par-4s) for the less experienced.
Emeralda Golf Club of Jakarta – A mere 25 minutes’ drive from downtown Jakarta if taking the Jagorawi Toll Road, the Emeralda is considered very easily accessible by any degree of traffic congestion of this sprawling capital city. Designed by Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, this 27-hole course consists of three 9-hole courses with a combined distance of 9,775 meters.
The Arnold Palmer-designed River Course is generally considered the most golfer-friendly of the three 9s. With the river traversing much of the fairways, it provides more fun for players of all levels than for risk-seekers for low scores. The Lake Course which is also designed by Palmer appears more testing with numerous water hazards spotted amongst lush green vegetation and gently rolling hills. Perhaps the most unconventional among the three 9s and as well to most other golf courses around, the Plantation Course combines the natural terrain and vegetation found in this part of the world with remnants of tall coconut trees of the old plantation estate placing it apart from the usual mountain and lake surrounding of most other courses. To a certain extent, this characteristically Jack Nicklaus-designed course also raises the degree of difficulty somewhat in the form of hazards of a less familiar kind: coconut leaves waving at the tree tops. Despite, the numerous sets of tee will ensure playability for all levels.
Championships staged by Emeralda Golf Club include: The Indonesia Open – 2006, Johnnie Walker Super Tour – 1997 and The Volvo Masters Asia.
Bukit Pelangi Golf Club of Jakarta – As the name suggests (Bukit Pelangi translates to Rainbow Hill), Bukit Pelangi is perhaps one of the most beautiful golf resorts in the Jakarta-Bogor area. Destined to take its place among the world’s best, it certainly is one of the top courses in Indonesia. Designed by Michael Poellot, it takes full advantage of a picturesque setting and carefully adapts to the abundant natural resources of the site in making it a spectacular golf landscape. Each fairway is carefully crafted onto the site to create an exciting series of 18 holes, each distinctly different from the last. More than anything, it is a course where you have to manage well. Distance and power are not the most critical elements required here. Finesse and quality will be well rewarded, for this course encourages initiative and good placement shots. From the clubhouse, the view on the entire site is spectacular. From most of the fairways and greens, players will have a bird’s eye view of the mountainous Bogor and Puncak region as well as the adjacent Gunung Geulis Golf Club’s East Course; just do not hit your ball there, retrieval might just complicate things.
Riverside Golf & Country Club of Jakarta – If skillfully combining beauty and challenge in the design of a course is the trademark of Greg Norman, as many regard it to be, then this club only exemplifies his portfolio. The Riverside Golf & Country Club is Norman’s first foray into golf course designing in Indonesia. The course runs on gentle hills with tropical trees and vegetation mostly but ravines and valleys of rivers and waterfalls pose the main obstacles. Measuring 6,846 yards long, this Par-72 Championship Course is a test of the mind and ability to most levels of golfers. All the Par-3s of Hole#4, Hole#11 and Hole#14 are quite unforgiving and therefore require above normal accuracy as they are fiercely protected by ravines which leave little margin for error. The relatively short Par-5 Hole#7 is not easy either with its small green well-protected by bunkers.