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Golf in Malaysia

Home » Golf Holidays » Malaysia

Golf Holidays to Malaysia

Malaysia is quickly becoming a haven for golf holidays. From the Datai Langkawi to the Saujana resort this country provides everything a tourist wants from a golf break. Play the stunning Ernie Els designed 18-hole course at the Datai Langkawi resort – named worlds best new golf course at the World Golf Awards in Portugal. Choose from Borneo, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Malacca, each with their own unique drawing factors –  Let our golf specialists tailor your Malaysian golf break for that once in a life time trip.

Golf courses in Malaysia

Par: 72, Holes: 18, 6,597m

99 East Golf Club

Par: 72, Holes: 27, 6,342m

A’Famosa Golf Resort

A’FAMOSA GOLF RESORT
If you can avoid the rough, water, pot bunkers and crocodiles, you’ll have a chance to score well on this hugely enjoyable course. An hour south of Kuala Lumpur lie the 27 parkland-style holes of A’Famosa Golf & Country Club, host of the 2011 Malaysian Amateur Open. Famously, the course houses a bunch of crocodiles which is nothing if not unique, and although they pose no threat from their deep enclosure, they have lent their name to one of the nines (the others being the Rockies and Palm Courses) which will aim to tear your game to shreds. The Rockies nine is sprinkled, appropriately enough, with attractive outcrops of boulders and begins with a dangerous par-4, rated index 1 mainly thanks to the meandering drain that splits the fairway. The 5th seems to play even tougher, with water bordering a narrow slip of a fairway, and the 9th involves driving over a pretty pond to a very steep uphill green. The Palm course is the most scenic of the three, and kicks off with the daunting task of driving between water on the left and some menacing pot bunkers on the right. With elevated greens and some significant greenside bunkering, its tough to score well. The challenging 13th requires a ballsy 2nd shot over water to a smallish green, and the par-5 17th entices you to reach the elevated green from the brow of a hill. The crocodile nine is more open than the other two, perhaps so any escaping reptiles can’t sneak up on you (joke). The crocs themselves hang out just beyond the island green of the 7th, one of the few occasions that water comes into play on these holes, and getting to see them is reason enough to go for this nine. Overall, A’Formosa is a fun course, with enough character to keep things interesting, its undulations and elevation changes keeping you on your toes. Given escaping from the rough is tough as it isn’t really kept properly and was strewn with fallen leaves on our round, the course is even tighter than it appears. A few bald patches on the odd fairway mean a few minus points, although the slow greens actually for an easier time of putting so we won’t complain too much. Overall, A’Formosa Golf Resort is a good bet for a reasonably priced and enjoyable round of golf.

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AWANA GENTING HIGHLANDS GOLF AND COUNTRY RESORT
You’re in for a long day if you can’t hit straight. Tight, undulating and spectacular, this tough course is a true challenge.Some 3000 feet above sea level in the Genting Highlands lies the Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort, a tough course which benefits from some spectacular views amidst the jungle-clad hills.This is an unrelentingly tough course, thanks mainly to the undulating tightness of the holes. The fairways are often as narrow as about 10 metres, so if you’re having one of those days when you just can’t hit straight you’ll be in a while heap of trouble. Not only that, you’ll also spend a fortune on balls, as anything offline will stay lost, either in the thick jungle or the occasional water hazards that surface memorably on the 4th and 15th, both par-3s involving forced carries over ponds.The undulating nature of the terrain means that even straight shots can end up in trouble, with gravity working its malicious magic. However, these spectacular elevation do provide for some memorably stunning sights, especially from the tee of the par-4 3rd where you can see the Genting Highlands hotel some 4000 feet above you.This is a thinking man’s course. There are plenty of holes that dangle the risk-reward equation temptingly in front of you, but before reaching for the big dog and trying to cut the corner, you should know that the percentage game lies on a more conservative strategy despite the extra distances that are possible at this altitude. You probably won’t be able to resist from some of the elevated tees, but consider yourself warned! Whichever route you take to get there, the greens will test your reading skills to the max. Not only are they pretty fast, the are viciously contoured and occasionally tiered, and your success or otherwise with the putter will probably have the biggest bearing on your score.Away from the course there are facilities for massage, sauna, snooker, tennis and swimming, as well as decent accommodation and a range of restaurants serving local and international cuisine, so even if your scorecard is a mess it’s easy to end the day content. Overall, a tough course that presents a challenge that is hard to resist.

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 6,721m

Ayer Keroh Country Club

A golf course in Ayer Keroh Country Club
Long-hitters will love this enjoyable championship course, especially the last hole – one of the longest par-5s in the country. Carved out of virgin jungle back in 1964 by golfing aficionado and Chief Minister of Melaka Tun Abdul Ghaffar Bin Baba, Ayer Keroh Country Club features 18 championship holes that have hosted prestigious events such as the Malaysian Open (the Tunku’s and Ghaffar’s nine) and a further nine added in the mid-90s (Governor’s). The generous fairways are in fine condition, despite not being made up of the Bermuda grass that is generally the norm, and the greens play well, albeit a little slow. The thickness of the rough is mercifully counterbalanced by the width of the fairways, but veer too far off line and you’ll find the jungle that lines both sides of almost every fairway; in there, a lost ball will stay lost. While some of the tee shots feel quite tight, if you can find the gap the fairways open up beyond allowing a margin of error that higher handicappers will appreciate. There isn’t too much sand waiting to catch you out, and the sea breezes are pleasantly cooling rather than a hindrance to scoring well. More than anything it is the length of the course, at over 7320 yards, that will cause the most problems. If you’re a long hitter however, opportunities are there to be taken. If you play one hole at Ayer Keroh Country Club, make sure it is the closing hole on Tunku’s nine, which a big sign beside the tee informs you is one the longest holes in Malaysia at 658 yards. From the tee you can just about make out the white speck of the flag in the distance on this straight but undulating hole. If you can avoid the fairway bunkers on your first two shots and be within a short iron of the green you are doing well, but you’ll still need to carry a menacing bunker in front of the green to stand a chance to make par or better. Slay this beast and you’ll have played like a pro, for one hole at least. Overall, this is a pretty course that offers an enjoyable challenge. While the jungle can mean a few lost balls, it compensates with memories of the wildlife that you’ll encounter on your round, from macaques to monkeys. Add to all this the reasonable green fees, and it’s easy to see why Ayer Keroh Country Club should be on the itinerary of any Malaysia golf holiday.

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 6,443m

Borneo Golf & Country Club

BORNEO GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
A beautiful links-style championship course with especially impressive greens; it’s pricey, but on balance worth the money. Designed by Jack Nicklaus and set within 900 acres of beautiful coastal terrain, the Borneo Golf & Country Club is a links-style championship course ideally suited for those looking for a stop on a high end golf holiday. It’s reputed to have the best maintained Bermuda Tifdwarf greens in the country, and while this is a difficult claim to verify there is no denying the beauty and speed of the putting surfaces here, which are a test for the world’s best let alone a part-timer on holiday. The course is in generally immaculate condition, the state of the fairways matching that of the greens, and the course is dotted with the Golden Bear’s trademark waste bunkers (84 of them in all) which sprawl menacingly alongside fairways. There are plenty of water hazards to make you nervous on the tees, with forced carries on several holes, and the stiff ocean breeze can prove mightily awkward on the unprotected holes by the South China Sea. The signature hole is the 14th, a long par-3 that requires a daunting tee shot across a cove that would be tricky enough without having to cope with some very strong crosswinds. It’s undoubtedly exhilarating sending your ball out over the ocean and trusting the wind to bring it back to safety. While weekend hackers will probably drop shots here, the difficulty of this hole is not entirely indicative of the rest of the course, which is tough enough to challenge the low-handicappers without condemning the less skilled to three figure scoring. That’s not to say that everything is perfect – the number of bunkers does not seem to be matched by the number of rakes, meaning that ending up in a bunker can be a far worse outcome that it ought to be, and the locker rooms aren’t quite up to scratch for a course that is marketed and priced at the high end. That aside, the clubhouse facilities are generally excellent, and there is a driving range and practice putting green that you are well advised to take advantage of before stepping out on the course. Overall, Borneo Golf & Country Club is a course that lives up to the reputation of its illustrious designer.  

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 5,763m

Bukit Jawi Country Club

BUKIT JAWI COUNTRY CLUB
An immaculately presented championship course that plays short but super-tight. A tough challenge for more able golfers. What was once 130 acres of jungle clad hills is now the Bukit Jambul Country Club, one of the top courses in Malaysia and once home to the Malaysian Open won by Vijay Singh in 1992. Routinely voted amongst the ten best courses in the country, as much for its stunning hilltop views as its challenging, award-winning course, this is a must-play. Its a dramatically undulating parkland-style course which plays tight. At just 6282 yards, it’s not necessary to be a big-hitter to score well – playing straight is far more important, as evidenced by the sharply dog-legging par-4 1st. By the time you’ve reached the super-tights 4th, you’ll be very wary of veering off-line, and with good reason as balls hit into the jungle aren’t going to be found. Probably the most famous hole is the 10th, where you tee off some 100 feet above the fairway on the valley floor. Around the smallish greens, which play lightning quick as you would expect from a course of this calibre, designer Robert Trent Jones Jr has someone mischievously decided to camouflage the numerous bunkers, giving them grassy faces that are hard to pick out from a distance. Your best bet is to try to pitch your ball on the green rather than risk running it up blindly in the face of hidden hazards. Overall the course is kept in immaculate condition, and is a challenge to golfers of all levels. Beginners and high handicappers could be in for a long day, but if you fancy yourself as quite handy with a golf club in hand then Bukit Jambul Country Club is one of the toughest and most technical challenges out there.

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 5,732m

Dalit Bay Golf and Country Club

DALIT BAY GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB
Water water everywhere, a course that makes you think. A tough but scenic challenge that will have you coming back for more. What was once a mangrove swamp bordered by the Tambalang and Mengkabong rivers is now Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club, 18 championship holes set over 400 acres of the Shangri-La Resort. The legacy of the mangrove swamp lives on in the form of a plethora of water hazards that feature on nearly every hole, meaning that this is a course not to be taken lightly. After a fairly sedate opening hole, the course starts asking some tough questions: the approach into the narrow 2nd green will need to avoid water front left and bunkers all around, water runs all the way down the right of the par-5 3rd, and the par-3 4th has an island green surrounded on all sides by deep bunkers. The opening nine closes with a picturesque hole ranked the hardest on the course, with dense trees, wetland lakes, massive waste bunkers and a severely undulating putting surface mean that you’ll celebrate a par here as if you’d won the Masters. The signature hole is the 185 yard par-3 11th, rated the easiest on the course despite having the South China Sea surrounding the tee. You must cut across the Tambaland River Mouth to reach the gentle contours of the heavily protected green, the imposing Mount Kinabalu looking on in the distance. The 13th requires a forced carry of 200 yards over the Tambalung river, to get to the 17th green you must cross a lake and a host of bunkers and the water that runs all the way down the right hand side of the 18th fairway means you can’t relax until you’ve sunk your final putt. As you can probably gather from the above, this is a pretty challenging course, and water is in play on nearly every hole. Thankfully it doesn’t play too long, so while the long-hitters will still be at an advantage it’s a more level playing field as far as driving distance is concerned, with accuracy being more important, especially given the small Tifdwarf greens.  

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 5,972m

Gemas Golf Resort

The swimming pool in Gemas Golf Resort
If you’ve played all the top rated courses in the area and still want more, you can do much worse than a round at this decent course. Open since 1996 and set in the Gemas forest reserve that makes it such an invitingly natural environment for golf, Gemas Golf Course is a lesson in how to build an environmentally friendly 18 holes. During construction, every tree was identified and labelled so that they could be retained along the fairways and perimeters upon completion. It’s one of the shorter courses in the area, and the challenges come mainly from the hilly terrain upon which it was constructed, especially on the front nine where the slopes make up for a general lack of water and sand. Not that there aren’t exceptions – the par-4 9th features a cleverly placed fairway bunker between two trees that does a remarkable job at ensnaring the average drive. The back nine has more in the way of traditional hazards, with a 220 yard carry over a lake required on the par-5 16th, and greenside bunkers at the long par-4 14th making an accurate approach crucial. However, the most difficult hole is on the front nine, the par-5 7th that undulates and dog-legs left before sloping sharply uphill to the green. Approach shots played even fractionally short can end up back where they started. The clubhouse includes decent locker rooms, a golfers’ terrace and a restaurant as well as a small hotel, and does the job without being as impressive as some of the bigger and newer clubhouses at neighbouring courses. Added to this is the fact that the fairways are not pristine, suffering from occasional bald patches, and the greens on the slow side. So while it is an enjoyable enough course, Gemas Golf Course is probably more for those who have exhausted all the other options in the region.

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Par: 72, Holes: 36, 6,310m

Glenmarie Golf & Country Club

GLENMARIE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
Two excellent and very challenging championship courses that somehow don’t quite justify the green fees. A half hour drive from Kuala Lumpur Airport lies Glenmarie Golf & Country Club, two championship courses often talked about as amongst the ten best in Malaysia. You certainly get a good impression driving up the huge driveway towards the impressive clubhouse. The Garden course, generally thought of as the easier of the two despite being longer has benefitted from a 2010 renovation which has improved bunkers, tee boxes and fairways. Home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including the black and white swans that dominate the lakes, the open feel of the bowl-like terrain is undeniably pleasant. The opening couple of holes involve avoiding lots of water, but it’s not really par for the course (as it were) as there are only two further holes after this opening salvo where you have to worry about your ball getting wet. The main challenge comes from the elevation changes that make judging your approach shots to the large greens pretty tricky. If you can avoid the abundant green-side bunkers (there really are a lot of bunkers here), the lightning quick and undulating greens mean getting down in two tough. The Valley course is the more challenging of the two and danger lurks at every hole. Even the inviting looking drive from the 1st tee must be wary of the OB that creeps in from the right. The par-5 4th requires you to avoid a creek off the tee and then approach an island green, not the last time that you will encounter water hazards. Yet again it is the elevation changes that cause the most difficulty, as they lead to blind shots over ridges which you can get really wrong if you haven’t played the course before. This puts you somewhat at the mercy of the caddies who sadly, in our experience, weren’t up to scratch. We’ve heard reports that our experience wasn’t an isolated one, so you are maybe best off following your instincts off the tee and on the green. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only niggle. Golf carts are compulsory and as overpriced as the on-course refreshments. While the fairways and greens are in decent shape, given the green fee you can’t help but feel that it should be a cut above. If you enjoy a challenge and budget it no issue, then a round of golf at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club will be an enjoyably challenging day out. You won’t shoot to your handicap first time round, and there is pleasure in coming back a second time with a better idea of how to play the blind shots.

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 6,228m

Gunung Raya Golf Resort

GUNUNG RAYA GOLF RESORT
It won’t win any awards but it’s a decent open course which is perfect for high handicappers. Take plenty of water and sunscreen. In the foothills of the majestic mountain from which it takes its name you’ll find Gunung Raya Golf Resort set in 300 acres of what used to be a rubber plantation. Designed by American Max Wexler, it’s a useful addition to the limited options for golf in Langkawi. From the elevated tee on the 1st, a slight dog-leg right, you get a great view of the distant mountains and a pretty good idea of what the course is going to throw at you. The Bermuda fairways are generously wide and inviting, with plenty of leeway for those of us who are less than reliable with a driver. There is almost no OB and not too many hazards so there’s not that much to lose by going for it off the tee, certainly on the front nine. Having said that, the 225 yard par-3 7th features a tricky two tier green flanked by bunkers and exposed to some stiff breezes, so don’t think you’ll have a straightforward time of it on every tee. After the turn there is more in the way of foliage and you start to encounter water – the 10th is a beauty, a long par-5 dog-leg right with water all the way down the left and a fairway peppered with bunkers. One slight complaint is that certain sections of rough are just too thick, and it’s easy to lose a ball that you would never expect to lose. Part of the problem is that the drainage doesn’t seem to be perfect, so you can end up plugging your ball in a soggy patch of rough, even in the baking sun that is the norm. On that note, remember to take a hat and sunblock as it really is hot in Langkawi, and given this is a fairly new course the trees are yet to reach maturity and so offer little in the way of shade. Overall, this is a decent course that won’t be winning any awards but nonetheless provides enough to satisfy those who need to scratch that golfing itch and can’t get on the course at Datai Bay; probably best played on cooler days as the heat can really get oppressive at Gunung Raya Golf Resort.

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Par: 72, Holes: 27, 6,076m

IOI Palm Villa Golf & Country Club

IOI PALM VILLA GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB IOI PALM VILLA GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
An unspectacular but very cheap round of golf whose wide, generous fairways make it ideal for weekend hackers looking to shoot a decent score The 27 holes of IOI Palm Villa Golf & Country Resort lie a 25 minute drive from Johor Bahru and Singapore’s Second Link Expressway, making it a prime candidate for those in Singapore to play a round of golf without breaking the bank. Given the very reasonable green fees we wouldn’t have been surprised if the club had skimped on maintenance, but despite recent rain the fairways were in a decent condition, despite a slightly uneven cut in places. The greens, sadly, weren’t up to scratch, being overly sandy which prevents the consistent roll and precision that all golfers dream of. Putting was a bit of a nightmare, and not in a good way. The fairways are wide and inviting, giving you licence to pull out the big dog and go for it, as you can usually get away with going a little off-line; but go too far and you can find yourself in trouble, especially when recent rainfall twinned with inadequate drainage means that some bunkers have turned into impromptu water hazards. Avoid these though and you are in for some good scores, the generosity of the fairways meaning even on an off-day you can post a respectable total thanks to the bail out areas available for those hooking and slicing their way around. Overall, it’s not much to look at, given the open feel and the general flatness of the terrain, and the endless oil palm trees that are in evidence all the way round contribute to a feeling of one hole blending into the next, so we can’t say that there are any holes that live long in the memory. Nonetheless, this is a very cheap round of golf, and perfectly suited to weeken

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Par: 72, Holes: 27, 6,756m

Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam

KELAB GOLF PERKHIDMATAN AWAM
Even if it may not deserve the accolade of being Malaysia’s toughest course, this is still a hugely challenging course in excellent condition; a third, shorter nine, is perfect for seniors. Recently voted the most difficult course in Malaysia and yet somehow still accessible to less accomplished goflers, the Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam boasts 27 championship holes just outside of Kuala Lumpur. The Lakes and Lakes nines make up the standard, 18 hole championship course, and most golfers will elect for this combination rather than include the much shorter Forest nine. From the elevated first tee you get a great view of the whole course stretching before you beyond the wide inviting first fairway which dives down and then climbs up to a small green. This undulation is typical of the course, and with fairways in excellent shape due to an ongoing maintenance programme, you can find your drives rolling quite a long way if you can catch the slopes. Suddenly, the green of the par-4 3rd becomes drivable, and the downhill 10th can help you add an extra 50 yards to your drive. The greens are also in superb condition, offering consistent roll. This is perhaps the only consistent thing about the greens, which are a mixture of large and small, flat and contoured. Many are surrounded by an extensive bunker complex, but the sand traps are in such wonderful condition that you won’t mind ending up in one too much. There are no drainage issues and the sand is so soft that your view after a shot will be an explosion of fluffy white particles. It’s probably the rough that does the most to earn Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam the title of the most difficult course in Malaysia. You’ll occasionally find the grass too thick to make much progress, and the jungle that borders the course, particularly on the Hills nine, is far too dense to recover from. The Lakes nine substitutes jungle for water (appropriately enough) with errant shots running the risk of a water grave on several holes, but overall it is easier than the Hills nine, and long-hitters should be able to play to their handicap. Beginners will struggle however, especially given the length of the course, although everyone should have a go at the par-3s on the Lakes nine, which involve tee shots over water and a deep gorge respectively. Length is not really an issue on the Forest nine, which was designed for walkers and senior golfers and measures only 2666 yards. Nonetheless, what it lacks in length it makes up for with some devilishly difficult holes and plenty of trees that seem all too willing to send your ball off in random directions. While it doesn’t quite live up to the delights of the main course, it’s a useful addition to Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam, where an enjoyable day’s golfing awaits. Like the sound of this course? Secure a tee time and take advantage of the discounted green fees on offer by adding Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam to your Kuala Lumpur golf holiday.

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KUALA LUMPUR GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB – EAST COURSE
Amongst the best courses in the country, this attractive parkland course does well not to be overshadowed by its more illustrious sister course, and is highly recommended. The championship standard East Course at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, which lies just outside the city centre, was recently voted the 4th best course in Malaysia and stepping onto the tee and taking in the vibrant, parkland-style environment of natural grasses and wetlands that are home to a variety of wildlife, it’s easy to see why. This is not a course that can be bludgeoned into submission, instead placing a premium on intelligent golf as you negotiate the undulating terrain and numerous bunkers that pepper the perfectly maintained fairways and bordered the immaculate greens. The elevated tee boxes on several holes give you a good idea of the challenges each hole with throw at you, allowing you to plan your route to the green, and despite playing long at 7348 yards there is not always virtue in hitting as far as possible off the tee. With many fairways tightly lined with trees which can severely punish drives that veer off line, accuracy is at more of a premium. This is especially true of the opening holes of the back nine where OB comes into play. It’s a good idea to take advantage of the more easy going front nine if you want to score well, as the bunkers and increasing numbers of water hazards that you will encounter as the round progresses can easily mar your scorecard. While you’ll find perfect lies on the immaculately maintained Bermuda fairways, the rough that borders them is particularly thick, clinging onto your ball and very reluctant to let it go. This is equally true around the greens, meaning that chip-and-runs are out and target golf is the name of the game. It hardly needs saying that you’ll be in for a long day if you aren’t hitting straight – for example, at the tough par-5 16th, your drive from an elevated tee must avoid water on both sides. Both nines end with challenging approaches in front of the clubhouse, requiring an accurate long iron over a pond that menacingly protects each green. Many a scorecard ends on an ugly note. The recently refurbished clubhouse, which boast the graceful lines of Californian-Spanish architecture, is now outfitted with state of the art facilities and is a great place to enjoy a cool drink as you reflect on your round. For those taking a golf holiday in the area, a round on the East Course at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club should be on your itinerary.

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 5,555m

Nexus Golf Resort Karambunai

NEXUS GOLF RESORT KARAMBUNAI
It may be by the beach, but it’s the amount of water and sand on the course itself that will concern you as you attempt to master this tricky, high quality course. Host of the Malaysian Amateur Open in 2007 and winner of numerous awards including Best Resort Golf Course in Malaysia and Third Most Memorable Golf Course in Malaysia, Nexus Golf Resort is located by the sea, just a short drive from Kota Kinabalu City. Set against a lush rainforest backdrop to the south and sound of the waves on Karambunai Beach just to the north, the course meanders over undulating terrain peppered with lakes and waterways cunningly placed by architect Ronald Fream to catch you out. You tee off amongst the jungle foothills with a fairly straightforward par-4, before things get a little trickier thanks to water on seven of the next eight holes. Slices on the par-4 2nd and anything short on the memorable par-3 3rd will result in a wet ball. You can take the water hazard that guards the green of the par-5 4th by playing conservatively around it, but long hitters will struggle to resist the temptation to go for the well protected green in search of an eagle. The 5th and 6th both dog-leg around water, meaning that while a fade is an advantage, a slice can be terminal. The back nine, which heads down towards the coast, opens with more water, the long par-5 10th requiring crossing one waterway to a patch of fairway then crossing back over again en route to a green. The direct line to the putting surface is blocked by a series of bunkers so only the very confident need attempt to get there in two. The par-3 14th memorably requires a carry over water that stretched from tee to green, and if the water that intrudes upon the 17th fairway catches you out you can be sure you weren’t the first to befall such a fate. Overall, there’s plenty to test even the promising amateurs who compete in the prestigious tournaments held here. Complicating matters beyond the large amounts of water and sand, the numerous and judiciously placed bunkers and the deep rough are the strong winds coming in off the coast, which often require you to send your ball out over a water hazard and have faith it will be brought back to safety. It all adds up to a high quality and enjoyable challenge, and on that basis a round at Nexus Golf Resort comes highly recommended.

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Par: 72, Holes: 27, 6,497m

Orna Golf & Country Club

A golf course in Orna Golf & Country Club
While it could be better maintained, this is an enjoyable and severely undulating championship course with some of the largest bunkers you’ll encounter. Take water and sunscreen, as there isn’t much shade. Orna Golf & Country Club, located a short distance from Melaka, has played host to a number of prestigious competitions and has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most challenging courses in Malaysia – to qualify for the Asian Tour, you’ve got to be able to master this tricky course. It comprises three nine hole loops (the East and West that make up the main championship course and the easier North) that stretch over rolling terrain dotted with large waste bunkers, lakes and creeks. On the tee of the 1st, a short par-4 dog-leg right, you’ll immediately be struck by the undulations which are par for the course here. You’ll almost never get a flat stance so you’re iron game has to be in good nick if you are to score well, and even straight shots run the risk of catching a severe slope and cannoning off into oblivion. While the rough isn’t too thick, it’s the bunkers that offer some the most testing challenges. On the 10th, large twin bunkers protect the landing zone for tee shots and others in front of the green mean you can’t hope to sneak onto the front. The par-5 11th features a long stretch of waste bunkers await the wayward hooker on the run up to the green, and the long par-4 14th features a massive bunker dead centre of the fairway. Given you’ll probably require a good drive and a fairway wood to reach the green in regulation, finding this bunker will leave you struggling not to drop shots. The Bermuda fairways are slightly patchy in places, and even where you find unbroken grass they are quite hard, which means you get good roll on your drives but less spin control on your approaches. While the greens are an enjoyably roller-coaster-like affair, but a better maintenance programme is required to produce consistent speeds. Aesthetically, the open nature of Orna Golf & Country Club (there’s much less jungle than other courses in the area) allows for some great views, and the long strips of sand next to water, like a little beach, look brilliant. However, this absence of jungle and mature trees means that there is little shade, and on hot days it’s wise to come prepared with sunscreen and hats. The most enjoyable hole is the signature 12th, a 200 yard par-3 that plays from an elevated tee to an island green that is reminiscent of the 17th at Sawgrass; also worth mentioning is the unconventional par-5 16th whose fairway is split by a lake that runs from tee to green, offering alternate routes to the elevated green. The North nine plays much shorter at just 3173 yards and is best avoided in favour of the proper challenge offered by East and West unless you are a high handicapper looking for a morale boosting score. Overall, it’s a good bet for a round of golf in the Melaka area. The design is worthy of a championship course and while the maintenance doesn’t quite deserve that accolade, there are plenty of challenges, mainly from the severely undulating playing surface and some of the biggest bunkers you’ll ever experience. When you take into account the very reasonable green fees, a round at Orna Golf & Country Club has much to recommend it.

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Par: 72, Holes: 36, 6,324m

Penang Golf Resort – East Course

PENANG GOLF RESORT – EAST COURSE
A flat course enlivened by some cleverly designed holes, with water and pot bunkers aplenty to challenges golfers of all levels. The attached resort makes this a great option for golfers traveling with the family. On the site of a former palm oil plantation lie the twin courses of the Penang Golf Resort, currently being promoted as Malaysia’s Jewel In the North. There are two championship layouts here, East and West, with the former largely preferred as host of prestigious tournaments such as the Malaysian Amateur Open. A round on the East course starts fraught with danger, a par-4 that dog-legs left around a lake. The best position to approach the heavily guarded green is as far left of the fairway as possible, so you have to flirt with water; play to conservatively and you either have no shot into the green of end up in a fairway bunker on the other side. Water continues all along the right side of the 2nd, a short par-5 that is reachable in two. You soon leave the water hazards behind however, and it is pot bunkers that become the biggest danger, lurking greenside on the 5th and 6th holes, each of which will leave a treacherous shot to the pin. There is the odd opportunity to decide between risk and reward – indeed, the 9th is an interesting hole to finish the opening nine, where you can be ambitious and try to clear the fairway bunkers and open up the green, or play short and leave a longer and tougher approach to a heavily bunkered green complex. Similarly, the corner of the severely dog-legging par-4 14th can be cut, and indeed it’s hard to resist the temptation to try. Get it wrong and you can easily end up in the solitary pot bunker that will prove remarkably reluctant to allow your ball to escape. While it’s built on essentially flat terrain, the designers have done a pretty good job of using earth-mounding and fairway contouring to provide some interest; and although it’s a relatively open course (some parallel fairways allow for a route back to safety after a wayward drive) there are enough trees to ensure that you keep your eye on the ball, both literally and figuratively. The greens generally feature more slopes than the fairways, and the marketing campaign has gone hand in hand with a maintenance programme that keeps the course is good shape. Given it is up against some stiff competition in the form of the numerous quality courses in the Penang area, it might be too soon to start talking about the Penang Golf Resort as the ‘Jewel In The North’ in a purely golfing sense, but the East Course is an enjoyably challenging course, and when combined with the extensive facilities in the resort itself, it is an excellent choice for a golf holiday in Malaysia, particularly for those with a family in tow.  

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 6,247m

Penang Golf Resort – West Course

PENANG GOLF RESORT – WEST COURSE
Like the West Course, this is a fairly flat affair that benefits from earth-mounding, water and pot bunkers aplenty to provide an enjoyable challenge for golfers of all levels. The attached resort makes this a great option for golfers traveling with the family. On the site of a former palm oil plantation lie the twin courses of the Penang Golf Resort, currently being promoted as Malaysia’s Jewel In the North. There are two championship layouts here, East and West, and while the former is largely preferred as host of prestigious tournaments such as the Malaysian Amateur Open, there is really very little to choose between them and you might find the excellent West course less crowded than it’s slightly more favoured twin. The naturally pancake-flat terrain has been enlivened by the clever use of earth-mounding to create enough contours and definition to keep the course interesting. The stylishly designed bunkers combine with a smattering of water hazards to create plenty of challenges for golfers of all abilities. The fairways are pretty generous, and the open feel and light rough mean you aren’t too usually heavily punished by wayward drives. It may not be one for the purists, but if you’re anything like us it’s nice to have the chance to recover after a bad shot. It’s on the approaches where you need to take extra special care, especially towards the end of each nine where water starts to become more prevalent; in general, the water isn’t too threatening though, lurking behind greens rather than in front of them, so you’ll need to be unlucky or simply holding the wrong club to end up in the drink most of the time. The pot bunkers are more troublesome, with many of the greens heavily guarded. Like its sister course, the greens are more sloping than the fairways, and an ongoing maintenance programme that keeps the course is good shape. Given it is up against some stiff competition in the form of the numerous quality courses in the Penang area, it might be too soon to start talking about the Penang Golf Resort as the ‘Jewel In The North’ in a purely golfing sense, but the West Course is an enjoyably challenging course, and when combined with the extensive facilities in the resort itself, it is an excellent choice for a golf holiday in Malaysia, particularly for those with a family in tow.  

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 5,945m

Royal Selangor Golf Club – New Course

ROYAL SELANGOR GOLF CLUB – NEW COURSE
A cultural institution as much as its older sister course, the lightning greens and traditional layout mean this is a choice for the traditionalist. Dating back to 1893 and laying claim to be the founding father of golf in Malaysia, the Royal Selangor Golf Club remains today one of the premier golfing destinations in Malaysia. The New Course, which dates back to 1924, is wrapped around the front nine of its more renowned sister course over flat terrain dotted with 100 year old trees and man-made ponds. Added to the variety of wildlife, from chirping birds, friendly monkeys and wandering iguanas, it’s hard to believe you are just 5 minutes from downtown Kuala Lumpur. The course is as highly rated as the Old Course, and in many ways is pretty similar, the flat terrain enlivened by strong bunkering, but there are less bail-out areas, with the trees making some of the fairways pretty narrow. The slightly underwhelming fairways are compensated for by the fact that the table-top greens are seriously quick. You’ll be begging your (compulsory) caddy for advice before long. It’s a shame it’s so hard for them to advise you on how hard to hit the ball, as it is all too easy to putt it right off the green here. Were it not for the Petronas Towers that lurk in the background and give you the line for your drive on the opening hole, it would be easy to imagine that you were playing on a traditional home counties course, thanks to the ancient trees and parallel fairways and air of tradition that hangs over the course. There are no gimmicks here, just straightforward, quality holes like the enjoyable short 14th and the monstrous 18th, which plays at over 500 yards and requires your approach to avoid water on the right and a bunker right in front of the sloping green. It’s easy to see imagine the drama that can unfold here in competition. The staff are a great asset here, hundreds of them running around diligently doing their job – turn up really early and you will see them mowing the lawns in the dark with headlights on, ensuring that the course is in its usual immaculate condition.The clubhouse includes an excellent restaurant, plush locker rooms, swimming pool, gym, squash courts and snooker tables, and is a great place to spend some time being waited on hand and foot after a round. It also retains a tradition vibe – you can’t use your phone in the main lounge, which somehow adds to the old-school feel of the place. If you get the chance, a round on the New Course at Royal Selangor Golf Club comes as highly recommended as one on the Old Course.

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 6,068m

Royal Selangor Golf Club – Old Course

ROYAL SELANGOR GOLF CLUB – OLD COURSE
Despite lacking the wow factor, its a privilege to play on such a historic and exclusive course, and the greens are out of this world. Getting a round here isn’t easy, but if can it will be a traditional treat. Dating back to 1893 and laying claim to be the founding father of golf in Malaysia, the Royal Selangor Golf Club remains today one of the premier golfing destinations in Malaysia. Its historic old course, which hosted the inaugural Malaysian Open and has undergone some impressive and extensive remodeling recently, is almost a cultural institution in itself. This most prestigious of Malaysian courses is a beautifully landscaped parkland affair that benefits hugely from the mature trees that you won’t find on the more recent additions to the KL golfing circuit. It’s pretty flat, and plays like a traditional course – parallel fairways, bail out areas left and right and an absence of OB stakes that mean there is a certain amount of leeway off the tee. While the Seashore Paspalum fairways are nothing particularly special, suffering from the odd bald patch, they do hold up well in the face of rain thanks to an excellent drainage system. The greens are amongst the best in the land, running very very fast and true. Most are table-top greens, meaning your approaches have got to be spot on if you want to be putting in regulation. The sheer speed of the putting surface can easily unnerve you, and once you’ve missed a couple of short ones it can be hard to recover your confidence. This is where the advice of the caddies comes into play – they are excellent, and very experienced, some having been at the club for over 40 years. You are well advised to listen to their advice. While its the excellent bunkering that causes most problems, the back nine introduces a series of water hazards over the closing holes to add an extra layer of difficulty, particularly on the signature 17th, a great short hole where you play over water to a raised green characterised by some maddeningly subtle undulations, and on the 18th where you must carry a substantial lake to reach the fairway. Overall, it feels a lot like the kind of traditional course you might find in the home counties in the UK, although the monolithic Petronas towers that look down on the course serve to remind you that you are far from the UK, and when you encounter the dozens of monkeys that call the woods next to the par-4 12th home you are left in no doubt that this is something a bit different. It’s best avoiding a slice here, as the local residents may be unwilling to return your shiny Titliest. To be honest, there aren’t that many holes that will give you that elusive ‘wow’ factor, but you genuinely have the feeling of being privileged to play on such a historic and exclusive course, part of a proper golf club with traditional golfing values. The staff are a great asset here, hundreds of them running around diligently doing their job – turn up really early and you will see them mowing the lawns in the dark with headlights on, ensuring that the course is in its usual immaculate condition. The clubhouse includes an excellent restaurant, plush locker rooms, swimming pool, gym, squash courts and snooker tables, and is a great place to spend some time being waited on hand and foot after a round. It also retains a tradition vibe – you can’t use your phone in the main lounge, which somehow adds to the old-school feel of the place. If you get the chance, a round on the Old Course at Royal Selangor Golf Club comes highly recommended. Note: this is a walking only course.

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 6,346m

Sabah Golf & Country Club

Sabah Golf & Country Club
Immaculately kept course that plays host to the Sabah Masters, you’ll need to drive straight or prepare for some large scores, particularly on ‘Amen Corner’. One of the oldest courses in the region and the regular host of the Sabah Masters, part of the Asian PGA Tour, Sabah Golf & Country Club enjoys a deserved reputation as a tough course, especially following an extensive upgrade in 2004. Despite its city location, there is dense woodland, undulating terrain and scenic lakes that together make for an enjoyable challenge made tougher by occasional strong winds. The centrepiece of the front nine is the large lake that makes the 2nd and 9th holes so tricky. The former is a long par-5 that dog-legs around the water, meaning your tee shot must flirt with danger to leave you well placed for your second. If you play too far away from the water you run the risk of finding one of the three fairway bunkers designed to stop you doing just that. If you are a long hitter you can go for the green in two, but you’ll have to beware of overhanging branches; if you play it safe you bring a large bunker into play so it’s a case of picking your poison on this tricky hole. The 9th is a brilliant end to the front nine, a short par-4 that dog-legs around the other side of the lake. You’ve either got to drive far enough that the lone tree that guards entry to the peninsula on which the green is found is taken out of play, or take an iron off the tee leaving yourself a tough approach over water to a heavily bunkered green complex. The best par-3 on the front nine is the 5th, where accuracy is key. Four bunkers in front of the green (which we assume looks like a bear’s footprint from above) mean you can’t be half-hearted from the tee, but go too far and you’ll find yourself wading though the marshland at the bottom of a steep slope. The enjoyable back nine features a run of holes that have come to be known locally as Amen Corner, and tournaments are routinely won and lost over this stretch from holes 14 to 16. The 14th, at 565 metres, is known as ‘The Monster’ and is the longest, hardest hole on the course. It tees off over water towards a narrow, uphill fairway with thick woodland to both sides. If you’re Tiger Woods on a very good day you might think about trying to cut the corner of the dog-leg and carry the water to reach the green in two, but the rest of us should play up to the corner and open up the green. You’ll still need to carry the corner of the lake and avoid a bunker designed to catch out those who overcompensate, but it’s a safer strategy. The 15th is another dog-leg around a lake where you’ve got no real choice but to be brave and cut the corner off the tee – being too conservative brings the pine trees into the play. With more water behind the green, you can’t afford to misjudge your approach. The 16th may not have any bunkers, but the tough approach you’ll have to play over water and into the wind to a peninsula green means it is not to be taken lightly. After a picturesque, water-heavy par-3 with no room for error, the round ends with an enjoyable undulating par-5 where heavy bunkering in the run up to the green mean those going for a two-on can’t afford to fall short. As you would expect from a course that plays regular host to professionals, it is in immaculate condition, particularly in the run up to the Sabah Masters when the greens are frighteningly fast. Their subtle breaks mean you’ll be more than happy to accept the advice of the helpful, friendly caddies. You’re advised to make use of the practice green and driving range in advance of your round. Aside from the course itself, there is a bar, restaurant serving a variety of international food, fully-equipped gym and pleasant locker rooms featuring a sauna. Non-golfing members of your party will not be at a loss for things to do, with a swimming pool, squash and tennis courts, snooker tables and even a kids room all available for guests at the Sabah Golf & Country Club.

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SAUJANA GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB – BUNGA RAYA COURSE
Suajara’s stunning second course is a match for any in Malaysia. A genuine must-play that justifies the green fee. Saujana Golf & Country Club is one of the premier golf club’s in Malaysia and features two 18 hole championship courses that have hosted some of the world’s top professionals playing in a number of prestigious tournaments. The Bunga Raya course, otherwise known as ‘The Crocodile’ for reasons that are not entirely clear, is the second course, but at no point on your round will you feel like you are settling for second best. This is a beautiful course. The views from the elevated tee boxes on the 1st and 10th are spectacular, and watching your drive soar down into the lush greenery in front of you is a great way to start the round. There are plenty of elevation changes that give the course character and test your reading of distances. The 9th swoops down into a valley and up again to the green, and the par-3 13th has an extreme drop from tee to green which makes picking the right club something of a lottery. It’s almost better to lose the previous hole and cede the honour to your playing partner. The fairways are fairly generous and a lack of OBs invites you to grab the driver. Not that that means you can’t get in trouble. In fact, there is plenty of jungle which many courses would designate as OB but here, you are free to try to escape. Take our advice and stay out of the jungle. The challenges on the par-5 closing hole are more water based. Your tee shot has to find a narrow peninsula in a massive lake. If you get a good drive, the temptation to go for the elevated and sloping green across more water will be hard to resist. Get it wrong and you will find sand. Many a round has been sadly derailed at the demanding, yet hugely enjoyable final hole. Our visit was the day after some heavy rain and consequently the fairways weren’t in quite the immaculate shape we might have hoped for – a little mud and some tyre tracks from buggies taking away slightly from the perfection of the lies we found on the dryer sections. However, these problems were not overly prevalent, and only really stuck out in comparison to the general excellence over 99% of the course. No such qualms with the greens, which were super-quick. Getting down in regulation is a real challenge, particularly as the putting surface is so deceptive. You will be grateful for the caddy’s advice, as going it alone can be costly – it’s all too easy to putt the ball off the green! The rough was equally tricky, tenaciously holding on to your ball and making any progress beyond 50 or 60 yards some sort of achievement. The grass around the greens also provides surprisingly little roll, so bump and runs are swiftly abandoned in favour of the more successful tactic of taking a higher angled club and trying to land directly on the putting surface. There are some little touches that elevate this course above the usual experience. In addition to excellent caddies with excellent knowledge of distances and a keen eye for the breaks on the green (which is a godsend), the golf carts come equipped with GPS so if you have any doubts about the distance the caddy quotes you can double check on the hand map of each hole. Uniquely for Malaysia, and handily for those of us from Europe, distances are in yards. Overall, minor fairway issues aside, it’s hard to improve on the experience of a round of golf at Suajana Golf & Country Club. The 2010 renovation has restored this course to its rightful position amongst the very best courses in Malaysia.

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Par: 72, Holes: 18, 6,322m

Saujana Golf & Country Club – Palm Course

SAUJANA GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB – PALM COURSE
If you’re looking for the best of the best, you’ve come to the right place. Simply stunning. On the rolling hills of a former oil palm estate is the regular host of the Malaysian Open and perhaps the premier golf course in the country – the Palm Course at Saujana Golf & Country Club. Locally known as ‘The Cobra’, it is widely acknowledged to be the toughest course in Malaysia thanks to its tight, palm-lined fairways and devilishly fast greens. This is a course with bags of character, and every hole feels like a mini-adventure that requires a lot of thinking to get through. It really looks the part too, and it’s easy to imagine the water, hills, trees, jungle and impeccably maintained playing surface looking amazing on TV. The rolling nature of the terrain means there are plenty of elevated tees from which to enjoy the stunning views. Playing to your handicap here will be a real challenge. The beautiful but vicious par-3 2nd may only be 172 yards away, but your tee shot must cross a ravine, anything short means either ending up in a bunker or your ball running down the 45 degree slope into the jungle. Anything long and you’re in for an adventure as the terrain drops away sharply behind the green. Getting any recovery shot to stay on the lightning quick putting surface is very very hard. The monster par-5 that follows features a double tiered, elevated green where putts are subject to almost imperceptible breaks. Getting down in three is an accomplishment, let alone two. WIth this in mind, it gets tempting to try going for greens in under regulation, possible for long hitters on the extreme dog-leg par-4 17th. The penalties for failing can be severe, however. The undulating fairways are immaculate, and the greens fast enough to have any golfer in the world second guessing themselves. A slight touch can often be enough to send the ball to the outer limits of the fringe, and three putts can easily become depressingly regular. The rough will tenaciously hold on to your ball so is best avoided if you want to stand a chance of making the green. The excellent course maintenance that provides all this is matched by caddies whose experience and knowledge is invaluable, especially on the deceptive greens, and clubhouse facilities that are world-class. If you want the best of the best, book a round on the Palm Course at Saujana Golf & Country Club.

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Par: 72, Holes: 27, 619m

Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club

SUTERA HARBOUR GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB
Three diverse and enjoyable nines on this attractive seaside course. Part of the Sutera Harbour Resort Complex, the three Graham Marsh-designed nines of the Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club (Lake, Heritage and Garden) have played host to several major tournaments en route to being named the 2nd Best Golf Resort in Malaysia 2008. Set by the South China Sea with great views of several of the nearby islands, there are a variety of challenges on offer. The Lake Nine is not misnamed, thanks to the long series of natural and man-made water hazards you will encounter on every hole bar one. The lake just short and right of the green on the par-3 2nd lurks ominously and makes for a nervy tee shot, especially as the wind tends to be against you. A similarly located lake on third causes similar problems, with the added pressure of being located directly next to the clubhouse with it’s onlookers. The very long par-5 6th offers an opportunity to cut the dog-leg over water and sand that many will find hard to resist, although given it measures around 600 yards, even if successful you’ll need to be a very long-hitter to stand a chance of reaching the green in two so it’s a better bet to play conservatively. Although water will only really be in play if you hit a disastrous hook off the tee on the short par-3 7th, you can’t relax thanks to the five large jigsaw piece-shaped bunkers protecting a green that is pretty hard to find in the usual stiff breeze. There’s water on both sides of the dog-legging par-4 9th, which offers up a geniune risk/reward equation for those thinking of cutting the corner, and the nine ends with an interesting par-4 with a split fairway, the choice of which should be influenced by the pin position relative to the three greenside bunkers. The Heritage Nine, despite the great backdrop of Kota Kinabalu City, has a tranquil feel, despite not letting up in terms of the challenges thrown at you. The opening couple of holes are fairly sedate, with water unlikely to trouble you. The ocean to the right of the 11th fairway will only be found by the heaviest slice, so it is probably the wind that will cause you most difficulty as you try to avoid the numerous bunkers along this longish par-5. The 14th is a long par-4 where the landing zone off the tee is narrowed drastically by a large bunker either side of the fairway; pot bunkers and a lake by the green mean you’ve got to be accurate, or lucky, with your approach. At over 200 yards and with stiff ocean breezes to contend with, the par-3 15th, whose green is protected by three large bunkers, can prove a tough test, despite the generously-sized green. The 17th is also a par-3, shorter but no less tricky thanks to the pot bunkers that punish anything short or long. Get through all this unscathed, and the 18th offers up a birdie opportunty, being a par-5 that is make-able in two. You’ll have to flirt with water and sand to get there, but the bold play can pay off here. While it’s a generally good rule of thumb to avoid the third nine on any resort offering 27 holes, that doesn’t apply here as the Garden Nine, depsite being a little easier than the others, holds its own. The 20th is a spectacular par-3 over water with a sprawling bunker punishing anything short and deep foliage making going too long not an option. The 23th is a short par-4 on which, with the wind behind, you could probably get pretty close to the green off the tee were it not for the massive bunker that cuts across the hole fairway around 50 yards short of the green. As it is, lay up on the generous fairway for a full short iron into a green that should offer up a birdie opportunity. The signature par-4 24th plays along the coast to a green perilously close to the sea, requiring a nervy tee shot and a cautious approach to an undulating green that will make you work for par, while the round ends with the par-4 27th, featuring a very narrow fairway lined with casuarina pine trees that are best avoided. Overall, it’s a great course with some memorable holes. It’s beautifully landscaped, the Bermuda grass is in generally good condition, and the ocean breezes, despite adding to the difficulty, are gloriously cooling. You can even avoid the sun entirely by playing a night, thanks to the newly installed floodlights. Aside from golf, there are extensive recreational facilities available on the attached resort, together with 14 restaurants, a high quality spa and a marina, meaning that as a package a golf holiday that takes in Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club is recommended.

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Par: 72, Holes: 27, 6,604m

The Legends’ Golf & Country Club

THE LEGENDS’ GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
It’s a shame that only 27 of 54 planned holes were ever finished, because the one that are open to the public are stunning. The Nicklaus course has a claim to being one of the best, and most challenging, in Asia. Although its ambition plan to create three championship standard golf courses designed by some of the greats of the game, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player was abandoned halfway through, The Legends’ Golf Resort nonetheless does more than enough to justify its name thanks to the 18 championship holes designed by Mr. Nicklaus and a further 9 from the late, great Arnold Palmer. The Nicklaus course is the real draw here – it was ranked as the best course in Johor three times in its first four years of operation, as well as earning a place inside Asian Golf Monthly’s top three courses in Asia. The course wears these accolades well. Set adjacent to a palm oil plantation and sprawling across open terrain packed full of elevation changes and dotted with some frankly monumental bunkering, this is a course with bags of character.You’ll enjoy drives from massively elevated tees towards fairways that wrap seductively around lakes or drop away sharply and unexpectedly. There are risk / reward opportunities for the long hitters and the ambitious, for example on the par-5 signature 6th, where it’s hard to resist attempting to traverse the lake in front of the green in search of an eagle putt. The back nine is tougher, if anything, mainly on account of water being in play from the tee of every hole from the 11th to the 17th (it’s generally on the left too, so those of you with a predilection for hooking could be in for a long day). Some of the carries are pretty daunting from the black tees (the course plays a monumental 7338 yards from the back), but the challenge is an undeniable beautiful one, the small lakes, tropical trees and flowering shrubs providing a stunning environment in which to show off to (or embarrass yourself in front of) the resident monkeys. The fairways are undeniable amongst the best in the land, and despite some occasional bald areas and patches of blue grass disease the greens are in good shape, with predictable roll. The nine holes of the Arnold Palmer course are built to the same rigorous international standards as the Nicklaus course, and are equally enjoyable and challenging. Scenically it’s pretty similar, leaning on undulating terrain and lush tropical scenery to draw you in to a challenge that is a little softer than the Nicklaus course. The only problem here is the regret you will feel at the fact that the back nine was never completed. Like the sound of this course? Secure a tee time and take advantage of the discounted green fees on offer by adding The Legends Golf & Country Club to your Johore golf holiday. If you are travelling to other parts of Malaysia ask us to help you to organise a Malaysia Golf Package which features tee times at The Legends Golf & Country Club.

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Par: 72, Holes: 27, 3,154m

Tiara Melaka Golf & Country Club

TIARA MELAKA GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
The 27 exciting championship holes here are in excellent condition and are a tough challenge that long hitters will relish. A regular feature in lists of the top ten courses in Malaysia and once voted most scenic course in the country, Tiara Melaka Golf & Country Club features 3 nines (Lake, Meadow and Woodland) of varied challenges just a short drive from Melaka. From the first tee you may worry that the Lakes nine is going to be the golfing equivalent of the film Waterworld, but actually water is only in play on four of the nine holes, and unless you one of those players whose ball seems inexplicably drawn to water you should be okay. Driving straight will definitely help on a course where a slice can be fatal, particularly on the water-heavy closing trio of holes. Your tee shot on the 8th needs to carry around 175 yards to a very narrow landing strip, without going so far as to end up in the trees, and the 9th features a similarly small target from the tee, your shot needing to bisect jungle and water to set up an approach. The start of the Meadow nine seems like sweet relief after the trails of the 8th and 9th – the fairways are wide and tree-lined, and water is rarely a threat. However, like the Lakes nine it throws in a couple of really tough holes just as it looks like you might score well. The 7th fairway is very narrow and the thick woods to the right mean slicing is fatal. On the 8th, a long par-4, you must cross the water that runs from fairway to green to a dog-legging fairway. There are rewards for bravery, as the more of the water you can cut off the closer you are on your second shot. From there, a towering tree guards the centre of the green while on the right is a wooded ravine and the left is jungle. The approach here will separate the men from the boys. The Woodland nine lives up to its name thanks to the jungle that lines the narrow fairways and severely punishes the wayward. Accuracy is definitely the name of the game here, and the tricky greens top off what is probably the most challenging and scenic of the nines at Tiara Melaka. Memorably, the 3rd features a split fairway which offers the option of either a long carry of 230 yards, leaving a short second, or a more conservative mid-iron from the tee which leaves a long iron into the sloping green. The course is kept in excellent condition. Even after torrential rain the fairways were in great shape thanks to a good drainage system, and the greens are lightning quick even when wet. Putting in the dry must be like playing on glass. The rough isn’t too tenacious, thereby allowing the chance to recover if you veer slightly off line, and given the course isn’t too long it isn’t too much of a problem to miss the fairway as long as you don’t end up in water. For this reason, some good scores and some satisfying recoveries from awkward positions should be possible, and we reckon you’ll very much enjoy a round at Tiara Melaka Golf & Country Club, whichever 18 holes you choose.

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Par: 72, Holes: 27, 6,072m

Tropicana Golf & Country Club

TROPICANA GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
A premium course with the best fairways in the country; avoid the 3rd nine in favour of 18 memorable championship holes. Built on the site of a former rubber plantation back in 1993, the 27 holes of Tropicana Golf & Country Club wasted no time in establishing themselves amongst the best Malaysia has to offer. This is more true of the 18 hole West Course than the slightly disappointing East Course, which does not quite live up to the delights of its sister course and should therefore be avoided. The West course is in immaculate condition. If you’re looking for an example of how fairways should be, look no further. The perfect carpet of Bermuda grass is without equal in the country and is surely a match for the best courses in the world. Furthermore, the excellent macro- and micro-drainage systems ensure that the course remains playable in the face of heavy rain, and sophisticated irrigation systems ensure that the playing surface remains in tip top condition during the dry season. The rough isn’t too thick, allowing plenty of scope for recovery after a poor drive, and the bunkers are perfection, with soft white sand that isn’t packed down too hard. The greens are in excellent condition too, albeit slightly too inconsistent to be rated as immaculate – some played a little slower, some a little faster, which can lead to a frustrating day with the putter. There are a number of memorable holes. The 1st requires you carry a lake to the left to a smallish green, and the 11th which plays from an elevated tee with the rest of the course itself providing a stunning backdrop. As your drive soars into the sky, time seems to stand still as it takes an age to fall back to earth. There are plenty of bunkers to keep you on your toes, and enough elevation changes to keep things interesting. The fairways are fairly narrow, the trees that line them can cause all sorts of problems, but the rewards for finding the short stuff are great, as your ball will sit up invitingly. Overall, this is a must play course. It’s in immaculate condition, with probably the best fairways this side of Augusta, and it proves to be an absorbing challenge that will leave you wanting more. Don’t let that tempt you in taking on the vastly inferior nine holes of the East course; stick with the West, and a hugely satisfying day of golf is practically guaranteed at Tropicana Golf & Country Resort.

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Resorts in Malaysia

Andaman Langkawi

Heritage Cameron Highlands

Majestic Malacca

Pangkor Laut Resort

Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur

Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa

Tanjong Jara Resort

The Datai Langkawi

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Borneo

The island of Borneo is separated from Peninsular Malaysia by the South China Sea and includes the East Malaysian state of Sabah. We have selected three top quality resorts, all of which boast excellent golf courses and a full holiday can be spent at any. Your golf travel to Borneo can be arranged by our golf experts here at Chaka Travel. Contact us today to arrange your luxury Malaysia golf holiday.
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Langkawi

Just an hours flying time from Kuala Lumpur, this archipelago of islands is situated 20 miles off the west coast of Malaysia near to the border with Thailand. Langkawi enjoys a reputation as Malaysia’s premier golf holiday retreat, offering quality golf courses, white sandy beaches, mountainous interior and stunning natural attractions.
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Kuala Lumpur

Quality golf courses are in abundance and from these we have selected a range that we are sure you will enjoy. We recommend playing on weekdays as the courses tend to be crowded on the weekends. Many courses are floodlit and you may choose to play a round in the cool of the evening, this may cost a bit more but is well worth experiencing. Chaka travel cannot emphasise enough the quality of courses on offer in Malaysia’s capital city Kular Lumpur – The ideal location for a Malaysia golf holiday. Allow us to tailor your golf travel to suit your every need to allow you to have a Malaysia golf break to remember.
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Malacca

Just and hour and a half from Kuala Lumpur airport and 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur city centre is the picturesque colonial port of Melaka. The influence of the British, Dutch and Portuguese traders and military who have controlled this vital port have left a distinct legacy easily visible as you walk or take a trishaw ride around the town centre.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Malaysia golfing holiday

Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Malaysia Golfing Holiday

B&B in the Superior Rainforest View Room, flights, transfers & 6 rounds of golf

Stay at Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia & Enjoy 6 rounds of golf at Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club

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Borneo & Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Twin Centre Golf Holiday

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Malaysia Golfing Holiday

B&B in the Ocean Wing Premier Room, flights, transfers & 6 rounds of golf

Stay at Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia & Enjoy 6 rounds of golf at Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club

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The Andaman Resort Malaysia Golf Holiday

Datai Bay Andaman Resort Malaysia Golf Holiday

B&B, flights, transfers & four rounds of golf

Stay at The Andaman Resort at Datai Bay on your golf holiday to Malaysia & play the Els Club Teluk Datai

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Datai Langkawi Malaysia Golf Holiday

Datai Langkawi Malaysia Golf Holiday

B&B, flights, transfers & 4 rounds of golf

The Datai Langkawi Resort offers an 18-hole Ernie Els golf course which is nestled in the rainforest at the resort. Four rounds included

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Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Malaysia golfing holiday

Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Malaysia Golfing Holiday

B&B in the Superior Rainforest View Room, flights, transfers & 6 rounds of golf

Stay at Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia & Enjoy 6 rounds of golf at Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club

View

Borneo & Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Twin Centre Golf Holiday

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Malaysia Golfing Holiday

B&B in the Ocean Wing Premier Room, flights, transfers & 6 rounds of golf

Stay at Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia & Enjoy 6 rounds of golf at Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club

View

The Andaman Resort Malaysia Golf Holiday

Datai Bay Andaman Resort Malaysia Golf Holiday

B&B, flights, transfers & four rounds of golf

Stay at The Andaman Resort at Datai Bay on your golf holiday to Malaysia & play the Els Club Teluk Datai

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Datai Langkawi Malaysia Golf Holiday

Datai Langkawi Malaysia Golf Holiday

B&B, flights, transfers & 4 rounds of golf

The Datai Langkawi Resort offers an 18-hole Ernie Els golf course which is nestled in the rainforest at the resort. Four rounds included

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