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Malaysia ~ Golfing


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With nearly 200 diverse courses appealing to hard hitter and hacker alike, Malaysia has many of Asia's finest golf courses. Here golfers can tee-off on a fairway back dropped by limestone pinnacles, a rainforest filled with wildlife, or play an unforgettable game amid a swarm of butterflies and putt across an island green that is only metres from the open sea and then relax in a comfortable clubhouse. 



With some 40 fine courses in and around Kuala Lumpur, the city has established itself as a golf capital. With memorable games on the 'Cobra' and 'Crocodile' layouts at the acclaimed Saujana Golf and Country Club in Subang, players are welcome to play the 'twins' that have catapulted the club high on the list of best 100 Golf Resorts in the world. Keep an eye out for the Cobra's very tough par 3, second hole which plays over a jungle lined ravine. Even if you clear it, the game as far from over as the two tiered green causes grief to even the best players. 

Another enjoyable game would be at the Templer Park Country Club. Accented with two limestone pinnacles and abundant rainforest. It is a beautiful, spectacular and challenging course. A highlight hole on the 7,133-yard sixteenth which features an elevated tee and foliage encircled creek flowing before the tidy green.

Putra Golf CourseUp north, Kelab Golf Putra, located 10km east of the Perlis state capital of Kangar, is unique in several ways. Golfers plat on a well matured 6,983-yard course where serenity is second only to scenery. The Mutiara Pedu Golf and Lake Resort is an isolated golf gem located 90km from the Kedah state capital of Alor Setar. Completely embraced by wilderness and fronting the 72 sq. km Pedu Lake, the lake resort is in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Not many golfers have traipsed down its fairways or putted across its greens. During weekdays you could be the only through this tropical Eden. Though an off-the-beaten fairway, its worth the effort taken to reach this jewel in the jungle.

The Lake on Datai's opening hole.In legendary Langkawi there is the Datai Bay Golf Club, located short drive from Kuah, is situated in a placid valley within the Gunung Mat Cinchang Forest Reserve. The par 72, 5,994 metre course encircled by ancient rainforest offers the picturesque 145-metre fifteenth. The tee box is set about 35 metres above the bean shaped green.

Penang has the popular, hilly, 5763-metre course at the Bukit Jambul Country Club. The course features trees surrounded by so much shrubbery that players can't see the next tee box or adjacent greens. Added challenges are many blind holes where the flagstick can't be seen from the tee, a tiny green some 50 metres below and 362 metres distant offering spectacular views of George Town.

Malaysia also has charming courses on top of the spiny mountain range that snakes its way down the centre of the Peninsula. Fraser's Hill at 1,300 metres above sea level, is a two-hour drive from KL, offers a cool getaway. Because of its proximity to the capital, avoid weekends and holidays. The quaint par 3, 3,906-metre course follows the winding contours of the narrow golf tract. 
Tioman's signature hole, the stunning 7th

Johor can be said to be the country's golf state. The Palm Resort Golf and Country Club is a mere three-minute drive from Johor Bahru's Senai Airport. Located amid palm-dotted acres, the low-rise resort has three 18 hole championship courses. Another memorable course lies off the east coast in the exquisite Tioman Island is the The Tioman Island Golf Course. The awesome seventh hole is a favourite because of the panoramic view from the elevated tee box spans spans much of the front nine as well as a picture perfect sandy cove. 

In the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo, there are a dozen different places to play. Five are of international standards with names like Jack Nicklaus, Graham Marsh, Ronald Fream and Muir Graves attached to them. At the Borneo Golf and Country Club nearly 70km south of the Sabah state capital of Kota Kinabalu, the championship 6,546-metre course by Jack Nicklaus has been cited as the best new course in the country for its setting and maintenance. The distant forested hills are the highlight of the first or 'Bukit' (hill) nine holes while the restlessness of the sea and the tranquillity of the lagoon come into play on the Laut (Sea) or back nine holes. While there are many holes of merit, notable is the seventh. Standing on the elevated tee of this long dog-leg right 514-metre test of fitness, the sea, lagoon and Bukit Bendera, can all be seen in one broad sweep.

The Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club is another Sabah spectacular. Lying on the coast with view of the Kota Kinabalu skyline, it has three distinct 9-hole: the 3,140-metre Lake Course, the 3.176-metre Heritage Course and the 3,176-metre Gardens Course with its showcase 330-metre, sixth hole. A sprinkling of islands serves as a backdrop as you step to the tee on this par 4, dog-leg challenge. In the distance, the jagged summit of legend-laden Mt. Kinabalu reminds that golfing can't get ant better than this.

Sandakan, an hour's flight west of Kota Kinabalu is also worth a visit. Not only has it various attractions for nature and wildlife lovers, but also the refreshing Sandakan Golf and Country Club. Shady palms, flowering tropical plants and a vista of rainforest on nearby Bukit Siguntor add visual splendour to this 6,221-metres course. The par 3 seventh is short but a lake encroaching into the fairway causes problems for many golfers. Finish this and the eighteenth and then contemplate how you would do if played differently the next time.

 

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