Malaysia: Six great golf courses

Malaysia has a well developed golfing infrastructure with around 200 world class courses across the country. On tropical islands, beside the sea, carved out of the lush tropical jungle, in or close to the capital Kuala Lumpur or surrounded by forests and tea plantations in the cool Highlands you will find a golf course to your taste. Golfing is not new to Malaysia with the Royal Selangor Golf Club being established in 1893 and its current home in Kuala Lumpur’s centre being built in 1921. However, many of today’s courses are relatively new with designers such as Jack Nicklaus, Max Wexler, Andy Dye and Robert Trent Jones Jr. being involved in the development.

Royal Selangor Golf Club is the oldest course in Malaysia and is in the centre of Kuala Lumpur
© Gryffindor – source: wikipedia

The following is a quick guide to six golf courses right across Malaysia that I think reflect the variety of golf in this very diverse country.

The Golf Club Datai Bay, Lagkawi Recently voted the Most Scenic Golf Course in Malaysia and considered by many to be Asia’s best golf course it is set in a jungle reserve beside the Andaman Sea. The fairways are narrow and hemmed in by the jungle leaving little room for error. There are some tricky green well bunkered greens to test. The challenging dogleg 8th and the 15th and 16th are the highlights of this rewarding course. Watch out for the local monkeys. 5994m par 72

Saujana Golf and Country Club, Near Kuala Lumpur Of the two courses here the undulating Palm is considered the better having hosted the Malaysian Open a number of times. Indeed it is de facto home to the competition. It is acknowledged to be the toughest course in Malaysia testing every golfing skill and has earn the nickname “The Cobra” as a result. It has tight fairways and thick rough bounded by the palms that give it its name. The greens are fast and challenging and well guarded by bunkers. The challenging 2nd, 3rd and 8thare the highlights of the course. 6423m par 72

Cameron Highlands Golf Club
© Jeff Neilson – source: flickr

Cameron Highlands Golf and Country Club If the heat and humidity of the jungle is too much then head for the highlands. At 1525 feet above sea-level this course is cooler than those carved out of the jungle. The forest clad mountains form a spectacular backdrop to this course as well as panoramic views. The fairways are wide and forgiving and coupled with the thinner air – the ball travels faster and further – a round here is quite relaxing. However the course is not without its challenges particularly the 15th with a dramatic 100m elevation change. There are shared fairways on the 12th and 17th. 6101m par 71

Bukit Jambul Country Club, Penang A steeply undulating parkland course that has some great panoramic views of the island and mainland Malaysia. This is a technically challenging course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. It is a compact course with smallish greens protected by hidden bunkers and demands accuracy constantly. The first tee, the 4th and the signature 10th are the main highlights and the main challenges of the course. 5763m par 72

Bukit Jambul Country Club, Penang
© gtknj – source: flickr

Orna Golf and Country Club, Malacca This a relatively new course, designed by Andy Dye, and completed in 1997 and is one of the more challenging courses in Malaysia. It consists of three 9 hole loops, called East, West and North. The East and West loops are combined for the championship course while the North loop is the shortest and easier of the three. Fewer trees and wider fairways make this a big hitters paradise though there are plenty of challenges thrown in. There are plenty of creeks and lakes to catch out the unwary along with large bunkers and mounded fairways leading to undulating well protected greens. The healthy dose of water hazards is designed to tempt big hits across to avoid the longer route around. The green on the 12th is on an island that demands accuracy and the 16th has a split fairway either side of a lake. Championship Course 6697m par 72, North Course 2911m par 36

Borneo Golf and Country Club This links style course is a classic Jack Nicklaus design suitable for any ability level. It sits right on the South China Sea and as such is subject to constant breezes. The many natural lagoons and lakes have been incorporated and played up to offer some interesting challenges. Many of the holes on the back nine are bounded by the sea and the attendant stiff breezes ensure play is not straight forward. The fairways are forgiving, but beware the water hazards which are not. Greens are fast and often guarded by large bunkers and/or water. The course is a bit isolated being 70km from Kota Kinabalu but worth the effort as the seaside setting puts it among the top scenic courses in Malaysia. 7159m par 72

With a diversity on golf that matches it’s geographical and cultural attractions Malaysia is a good value alternative to other Asian golfing destinations.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about travelling to Malaysia, please visit the Tourism Malaysia websiteThis post originally appeared on Travel Wire Asia’s website where I write as a guest blogger.

Other articles on Malaysia on this site that might interest you: Jungle kayaking on Lake Kenyir

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