Golf Courses in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Course-by-Course Introduction to Golf in-&-around the capital city of Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is perhaps the best kept secret of a golf haven in the entire Southeast Asia. While it was one of the earliest in the region to have built a golf course, by the British colonialists of course, it did not emerge the way other more illustrious golf destinations like Bangkok, Bali or Pattaya did largely because of the lower profile it enjoyed over the years as a hot tourist destination. But that’s about to change if words of politicians were ever to be taken seriously.
In 2007, the country celebrated the 50th. Anniversary of Independence and a statement was boldly declared to promote tourism seriously with special emphasis on golf tourism as the latter brings in a very high per-head revenue.
Within the larger picture of tourism as a major revenue earner for the country, golf has certainly secured a more prominent turf both for future development as well as a choice for an easily accessible and affordable leisure activity for anyone visiting the country notwithstanding the fact that the Minister of the day making the statement was an avid golfer himself.
But if statistics and ‘breaking news’-type of statements from high offices do not generally appeal so much to the more knowledgeable and cynical general public – Hole-in-1 wannabees included, GOLFnTours.com can vouch for the fact that on the overall, Malaysia ranks as one of the most sought-after golf destinations in the region based on inquiries coming from all over the world. And, without divulging too much, it is also one of the most Value-for-money venues for a good golf vacation!
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club – KLGCC of Kuala Lumpur City – Located amidst the beautiful hilltop setting of the lush undulating greenery of Bukit Kiara, the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club is well served by major roads and is easily accessible from Kuala Lumpur City centre, Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam, Klang and the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang.
The club, popularly known as KLGCC, has two 18-hole golf courses. The more difficult of the two, The West Course, is of championship quality and puts a premium on long accurate drives and precision in the short game. The varying elevations of its holes add to the challenges. The East Course also features holes with different elevations but they are less severe and generally more forgiving to higher handicappers.
Saujana Golf & Country Club of Kuala Lumpur City – Generally recognised in the international golf fraternity, The Saujana is one of Malaysia’s finest golf courses. It consists of two Ronald Fream-designed 18-hole courses. The Palm Course, aptly dubbed “The Cobra” for its testing and challenging layout, is 6,600 yards off the blue tees and 7,000 yards from the black. It has the most talked about greens in Malaysia as they are not only difficult to put on, they are simply mean.
On the other hand, the Bunga Raya Course or “The Crocodile” has a wide expanse of water and undulating greenery giving a false sense of freedom created by the clever use of the abundance of space. The absence of the usual ravines and thick woods in this course makes it look deceptively easy to manage. The Saujana has staged numerous high profile championship tournaments, not least for four times the Malaysian Open.
Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Golf Club of Selangor – Kelab Golf Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah or KGSAAS is a premier resort cum residential development which includes luxurious bungalows, modern apartments and chalets, specialty restaurants and last but not least the entire 27-hole USGA-class championship golf course: the first and the only one in the world with 27 holes lit for night play. The sheer luxury and scope of the resort bear strong testimony to the rapid progress of the game of golf in the country and to the commitment of the developer in providing a top class golfing resort with facilities catering to the whole family and groups of golf enthusiasts.
At first sight KGSAAS course does not look difficult. Its fairways are generously wide. There is hardly any significant rough and relatively very few bunkers. The willowy acacias and numerous forest trees separate the holes while the flowering shrubs provide a colourful background to a pleasant sight. You can say this is where the deception of KGSAAS as an easy course begins (We accept no responsibility for any contested win arising from prior knowledge like this!).
Designed by Thompson Wolveridge and Associates, the course consists of three 9-hole courses. All three nines – the 3,230m Sultan, the 3,214m Alam Shah and the 3,141m President – feature broad, rolling fairways, strategically-placed pot bunkers and medium-to-large elevated, tricky greens that will give all golfers a run for their money. The most memorable has to be the Par-5 Sultan Course Hole#11 with an elevated tee-box whose only function appears to be to put you on your backfoot with a clear view of how narrow the fairway is ahead, with water lining the left while palm trees forming a wall on the other side. A broad stream cuts across the fairway testing judgment on landing before an elevated two-tier green.
Kota Permai Golf & Country Club of Kuala Lumpur City – This Ross Watson-designed course is both challenging and stimulating in its superb layout and offers excellent facilities. It is the venue for the prestigious European Tours-sanctioned Volvo Masters of Malaysia Golf Open Championship for the last several occasions. It took top honour again in February 2008 when it was voted the golfers’ choice in the Golf Malaysia magazine readers poll on golf courses nationwide for the 2007/8 season(Read more about other awards won by other golf courses/clubs? Go there!). Take note of its interesting mix of grasses – the greens are typically Tifdwarf while the fairways are turffed with “Matrella”, a strain of Zoysia.
Glenmarie Golf & Country Club of Kuala Lumpur City – Located within the Pan Pacific Glenmarie Resort this golf club offers a lovely pair of Max Wexler-designed 18-hole’s named The Garden and The Valley with the former longer at 7,017 yards and floodlit for night golfing. Buggies are mandatory. The two lakes on the course provide challenges with numerous water hazards for the unsuspecting.
Palm Garden Resort Golf Club of Kuala Lumpur – Situated at the national administrative region of Putrajaya and easily accessible using the main north-south express way, Palm Garden Golf Club is built over 320 acres of cascading hills and valleys of what was formerly oil palm and rubber estates. Together with the rest of the establishment in the region servicing the political capital of the country as well as the adjacent national prime IT project of the Multimedia Super Corridor, it is part of the complex of Palm Garden Resort which has amongst many others world-class hotels and luxurious living.
Designed by architect Rick Robbins, it consists of three 9s, namely the Putra Course (3,187-yard), the Palm Course (3,215-yard) and the IOI Course (3,026-yard). Of the more memorable holes, the Par-4 400-meter Index-I Hole#9 appears most outstanding. Two strategically located water hazards along the fairway test good judgement and the sand traps in front of the green demand good club selection for a good ending to the first nine. Not to be left out too is the Par-3 173-meter ‘Confidence Trickster’ Hole#15 where the edge of the lake runs alongside the fairway to the front of the green. A small area to the left of the fairway before the green provides a less aggresive alternative for those anxious about not seeing the ball again otherwise.
Bangi Golf Resort of Selangor – Bangi Golf Resort lies in one of the most rapidly developing townships along the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), Bandar Baru Bangi. This 660 acres resort is 30 minutes by car from Kuala Lumpur and approximately 10 from the 1998 Commonwealth Games Village or Putrajaya – the centre of political power in the country. Designed by Ronald Fream, this course sprawls magnificiently over an undulating lush greenery of gentle hills and rolling valleys. The course proper is scenic and well maintained throughtout the year.
Bukit Jalil Golf & Country Club of Kuala Lumpur City – The Bukit Jalil Golf Course is located within easy reach of Kuala Lumpur via the Kesas Highway. Situated on 165 acres of testing, undulating terrain, this Max Wexler-designed 18-hole layout blends harmoniously with nature and is a golfer’s true delight. Albeit, this course is tough, but not frustrating to play as it is well balanced in challenge and pleasure in playing it. Nearby there’s also a 60-bay, 2-tier driving range for practice. The clubhouse offers excellent recreational and rest facilities.
Bukit Kemuning Golf & Country Club of Kuala Lumpur City – Located just off the Kesas Highway, some 30 minutes from downtown Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Kemuning Golf & Country Club is perhaps one of the most unassuming and easy-going golf courses around the capital city. Built over 60 hactares of what was once oil palm estate, this course plays to gently rolling hills punctuated by OB areas of original vegetation, numerous sand bunkers and lakes, big and small, while many oil palm trees from the old still stand loyal witnesses to the transformation of the land from the days of palm oil production to its present day’s pleasant playgound for golfers of all levels.
Designed by Dato’ Ng Thian Hock, this Par-72 6,988-yard 18-hole course boasts several interesting holes that must have caught quite a few of the unsuspecting for its rather laid back appearance. Two large bunkers flank the entrance to the tricky green of the uphill Par-3 154-yard Hole#6 which otherwise looks totally tame to most. The Par-5 526-yard Dogleg-right Hole#9 turns at about 100 yards from the well-bunkered green thus keeping it out of sight from most of the second shots. A fairly confident and measured tee-shot is required for the Par-5 487-yard Hole#12 so the ball will land just before the water which runs on the right side from mid-way to the front of the well sand-trapped green. Overhead wind and the location of the pin often determine the outcome on the Par-3 140-yard Hole#13 island green. The Par-4 353-yard Hole#14 is perhaps the most memorable with its almost abrupt right-turn dogleg at the 150-yard point from the pin. Accuracy is well rewarded here. This course staged the Saske Cup Desaru Masters in May 2007.
Mines Resort & Golf Club of Kuala Lumpur City – This RTJ2-designed “masterpiece of land restoration” course is built around what was once the world’s largest open cast tin mine then belonging to one of the icons of old-Kuala Lumpur, the Hong Fatt Tin Mine of Sungai Besi, just off the KL-Seremban Highway. The golf club/course is the centerpiece of a resort complex stretching across 1,000 acres of otherwise degraded land which in the concurring words of the owner and course designer requiring “a lot of re-engineering to repair the soil and stabilize the land with the idea to achieving environmental remediation.” – some earth-moving jobs just for your golf balls to land on!
Perhaps owing to the vastness of the land, this 7,280-yard championship course boasts wide and accommodating fairways with generous and well contoured greens. While it eases on teeing off, the grassy roll-offs, hollows and tight chipping areas encourage short game artistry. It was here that the World Cup of Golf was staged in 1999 when Tiger Woods and Mark O’Meara triumphed for the United States. On the club level, it opens its door to a selected few and membership is by invitation only. We shall therefore respect the privacy and will only dilvulge in-depth details of the course on a person-to-person basis.
Update December 7, 2008:
And, if you are an ardent fan and feeling sorry your favourite great golfer would be out of job soon, Annika Sorenstam was in Kuala Lumpur at the invitation of Mines Resort & Golf Club for some special engagement. For a start, the ‘about to get married’Annika was taken sky-high to have a bird’s eye view of a huge piece of land over which a Malaysian version of Shenzhen’s Mission Hills will be built and ‘for the world to take notice of the country’. Not your ordinary interview for a grass-planting job for a retiree at 38 I reckon. Read about it…
Update August 2009:
And, if you think one more is too many, think again! While Annika is having the biggest job of her life busily raising her new baby, Pak Se Ri has got one of her own at the Mines as well. Find out more…
Awana Genting Golf Resort of Genting Highlands – Golfing ‘up in the clouds’? That’s what any honourable KLite (Kuala Lumpurian?) would refer you if the famous casino and entertainment center up in Genting Highlands is not attractive enough. Well-tucked in the peninsula’s main mountain range at over 1,000 meters above sea level and a mere hour’s easy drive from downtown KL, this Ronald Fream-designed Championship course is truly an exhilarating one and definitely different from the rest.
There’s no rough on this course; only primary forest fringing the course with occassional sighting of orangutans! Each hole has a character of its own. The Par-4 425-meter Hole#10 is memorable. At the distance of a normal tee shot, the deceptively straight fairway is flanked tightly by a deep ravine on one side and OB (Orangutan Bound) area on the other leaving little space for landing. An accurate hitter may be rewarded here; otherwise a conservative three-on approach would not be too bad an executive decision to take. The Par-3 Hole#4 is not for the faint-hearted either, particularly when up in thinner air; it is distractive enough with the scenic view from the tee-box, what more with the small lake fronting the green threatening weak hitters and the ravine at the back ever ready to punish over-shots.
A good finish here is not complete without the finishing Par-4 354-meter Hole#18 where, just like Hole#10, a normal tee-off shot will have to land somewhere deliberately made narrow by the tall trees on the left and a very threatening ravine on the right. [ Tip: When undecisive, take a drag of cool, fresh mountain air – it’s FREE! Least it would do is to take you back from Cloud 9 so you can think carefully for your next best step forward (Some contemplation isn’t it, on your off day?); otherwise some numbers on the roulette table might just spring inspiration for the right club selection. ]
Bukit Unggul Country Club of Selangor – In a valley high above Bangi, the Bukit Unggul Country Club offers some of the most spectacular golfing experiences in the Klang Valley. Carved out of the natural terrain of valleys and hills, it has a strong reputation for preserving the natural surroundings. Bukit Unggul’s most picturesque hole is Hole#10 – The Waterfall Hole. This par-5 dogleg-left hole tees off 476m from the blue tee in front of a beautiful waterfall and plays into a blind drop. The approach shot offers the spectacular sight of a slightly elevated green surrounded by a ring of trees.
The signature hole is the par-5 375m Hole#11 which offers a breathtaking play through a jungle valley with a series of decks and ridges leading to the green. A bunker eagerly awaits hooked-approach shots on the left. The green is also rather undulating. Playing par is an excellent score on this hole. This course is rated ‘challenging’; beginners are advised to bring along sufficient replacement balls. The scenery and setting of the course make up for disappointing play. There is also a 9-hole night golfing here in Bukit Unggul.
Royal Selangor Golf Club of Kuala Lumpur City – Established in 1893, the Royal Selangor Golf Club is undoubtedly the most well-known golf club in the country. Popularly known as RSGC, the club has played a large role in influencing the golf landscape of Malaysia; and some say the political one too! It ranks in status and historical depth, if not in a richly colonial fervour, in Southeast Asia alongside the Rawamangun or The Jakarta Golf Club of Indonesia, The Dalat Palace Gof Club of Vietnam and The Manila Golf Cub of Philippine.
Today, its members consist mostly the ‘who’s who’s of the country. The club has also been the venue for many international tournaments. The club has a 45-hole golf course which comprises two 18-hole courses and a short 9-hole course. Located along Jalan Tun Razak in the heart of the city, the RSGC is also well landscaped with rich natural surroundings permeated by the call of birds and chatter of monkeys.
Tropicana Golf & Country Club of Kuala Lumpur City – Tropicana Golf and Country Club is a complete resort for golfing and recreational activities. This R. T. Jones-designed 6,224m Par-71 course has superb facilities for business as well as golfing pleasure. Night golfing is also available here.
Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam – KGPA of Kuala Lumpur City – Nestled in the green belt of natural beauty and rolling terrain of Damansara and Bukit Kiara, Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam (KGPA) provides the perfect challenge to players of all abilities. Established in 1989, KGPA is a 27-hole course. The championship ‘Hill & Lake’ course is a classic Par-72 golf course measuring 8,887 meters with lush fairways and manicured verdant greens. The third ‘Forest’ Nine measuring 2,446 meters, caters for intermediate and seniors golfers. This course is in fact equally challenging and many regretted underestimating it.
Kelab Golf Sentul Raya of Kuala Lumpur City – This is one of the oldest golf clubs in Malaysia, dating as far back as 1928. Chris Pitman and Douglas Lee re-designed its 9-hole course in 1997 when the entire golf club underwent an extensive renovation. Sentul Raya is located north of the city of Kuala Lumpur and is open to the public. It has a very tight and challenging layout with plenty of water hazards and bunkers demanding the best of accurate shots. Watch out, if you find the KL City skyline in retreating lights so seductive to the eyes!
Sri Selangor Golf Club of Kuala Lumpur City – Perhaps the only public course as such in the country, Kelab Golf Seri Selangor openned in 1998 and marked a new leaf for golf history in Malaysia. Despite its lower profile as a public course when lined up against most other membership-clubs, some say this 6,374m Par-72 championship course stands on par with its higher-flying cousins in and around the capital city Kuala Lumpur, if not better on numerous areas. Come find out why!
Australian Ross Watson designed this course. Feature includes the original tall jungle trees lining the fairways leaving narrow passages for accurate play while streams of water cross paths and meander providing a scenic backdrop usually associated with the more expensive clubs.