Tiger is back in the hunt

tigerwoods

Don’t look now, but Tiger is trying to win the Wyndham Championship – the final tournament he will be in this year. If he wins, he gets to play a few more rounds in the FedEx Cup playoffs for 10 Million bucks.

If he gets anything other than a W, he’s packing his bags to go home.

I know, you would say if he gets number 2, there is still a chance, if everything else falls his place (a whole bunch of good players starting to play like hackers) – but I know Tiger for a long time (whether he knows me is still the question) – he won’t want to depend on people. He will go for the W. So expect him to play aggressive, do or die, run birdie putts by and probably miss his pars. The first few holes – 5 holes will determine his game. His putting must work. If he pars the first 5 holes, he won’t win. If he birdies them, it will mean that he’s putting well.

Unfortunately since I boycotted the robbers called Astro, who is run by crooks – I never agreed to pay the extortion fees they demanded to watch the Golf Channel. So I am only following via my Iphone App, which doesnt have live streaming of Tiger.

Come on Tiger! Make Gilagolf proud!

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Golf is a funny game

palmgardenAug

It is. A funny game, that is.

When you play like crap nuts, you sometimes still win like an immortal. When you play like an immortal, you end up losing like crap nuts.

Palm Garden had always been a good hunting ground previously. Now, the new palm garden is a different beast. Yes, the length is no big deal, but the befuddlement on this New course would be the darn greens. Most if not all greens are tabletop, meaning if you miss these greens you will end up rolling down to New Mexico and having to loft up your shot again. It’s annoying.

Another matter would be the bunkers and the green itself – playing very quick, and completely bamboozling me in this round.

Think about it – 7/14 fairways hit for me is very good stats. I average 39% meaning I hit roughly 5 fairways a round only. But I hit 10 greens in regulation this round. 10! My average is 23%, meaning I only hit around 4 greens in regulation this round. I 2.5x my average this round alone, and at one point, hit six greens in regulation IN A ROW.

Out of 10 greens in regulation, I three putted SIX. I two putted two and I one putted two. That’s six bogeys, two pars and two birdies for my 10 GIR. What the heck is going on??!

Putting had always been a middling aspect of my game, but at one time, when I 3 putted my fifth green in a row, I simply tossed away my putter about 20 feet in the air and told the caddy that she could have my putter.

The very next green, I hit a tricky 10 footer for birdie.

The other birdie occurred on the 8th, when my drive left me only around 50 meters, and I hit a half sand wedge to 1 foot of the hole.

You would think this meant I won some money as well.

No, I ended up losing all 3 frames of our sixers and forking out for lunch, that cost me RM100.

Sixers is played like this:

a) A partners B, C partners D for the first six holes. The next six holes, everyone swaps, and the last six holes everyone swaps again so that everyone will partner each other once in the 3 ‘frames’.

b) We play best ball and if that is square, then second ball counts.

c) No strokes given. In todays game, we had a 13 handicapper, a 16 (me), and 18 and a 24. Even when I partnered with the 13 handicapper, he played so badly, the 18 and 24 handicaper won without strokes given. WHAT?!

d) We played fringes – birdie, sandy par/birdie, escalation within the frame, twin pars/birdies for partners etc. One fringe=1 ball.

e) We played variations of 3-1-1, (game-dormie-buy) meaning each sixer we are playing 3 balls for game, 1 for dormie, and 1 for the buy.

f) Depending on our mood, we could play RM 10 or RM5 for a ball. So it could be a RM15-5-5 or RM30-10-10 for each sixers. Included the fringes, we could really lose quite a lot, for instance I lost 10 balls today despite playing one of the best round tee to green of my life (and one of the worst putting rounds of my life).

If I putted well, I would have won all frames, saved RM100, scored around 84 or 86, and gone home a happy man. Golf is a funny game indeed.

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Michael Breed: Shut up.

PGATOUR

OK, yes, I am watching the PGA Championship on PGAtour.com. It’s free and it’s following Tiger on every hole.

And he’s playing like an idiot. He is +3 now with just a couple of holes left and if he doesn’t turn around tomorrow, he is MISS CUT for another major.

But you know what’s more annoying that a Tiger-less Major?

Michael Breed. He’s one of the commentators and the so called Swing Expert.

He’s this guy. He always has a comment on how people swing and he breaks it down as if he’s a science expert.

Michael, it’s a load of crap.

I see how he analyses. He draws based on his own assumptions and he concludes based on his own definitions. For example, he drew a line to show Tiger’s golf shaft angle in relation to his hips. And basically he wants to show when Tiger came down on his swing, his club head is inside this line. But when he pauses the video, he removes the line, and re-draws it, but this time, noticeably higher than the previous line he drew.

What an idiot!

This is what we call in Chinese, “Lying to small kids”. And his voice is also very squeaky. And he is the perfect example of those who cannot play, teach. Except that he also cannot teach. So those who cannot play or teach, cheats.

Anyway, who is doing worse that Tiger now?

Keegan Bradley. He is so Emo. Always kicking his bag when he is pissed.

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3 In a Row – My Sub-90 Journey

glenmarie

As long as I can keep the trend going, I will. I managed to hit a sub-90 round 3 in a row – which I think probably has never happened before, giving me some hope in this year’s pursuit of sub 90 target. As of now, I am averaging around 92 thanks to some explosive scores like 102 in KRPM, 96 in Palm Garden, 99 in Seri Selangor etc. But the last 3 games – Kota Permai, KRPM and Glenmarie has given me 89,88 and 88 – respective scores given my struggles in this game.

Glenmarie game didn’t start out well. We played the back nine and I had a pitching wedge from the fairway on the first and shorted it. I skulled my chip and settled for bogey. Second hole, I had regulation and 3 putted from 10 feet. The 13th, I had an easy 9 iron into the green, pulled left, shanked my flop into the bunker and died. 16th and 18th were just very poor – easy par 5, and I got myself into loads of trouble in the woods, and on the 18th, I skulled my chip again – many times, after getting 2 to the edge of the green.

At 46 on the front, I managed to turn around at the back.

The amazing stats on the back nine was zero fairway hits. I was having a horrendous driving day which is so frustrating because the last two games, I was driving like a king. So today’s 80s round was basically a lot of recovery, and some reasonably good irons from bad positions.

Glenmarie garden was playing benign. The rough was almost negligent and all my drives in the rough managed to survive relatively easy. In fact, I could have gotten 4 additional pars – I three putted the par 5 3rd, then I had an easy chip on the 4th which I skulled, and the last 2 holes I had easy chips which I also screwed up.

If I can learn how to chip, I could be consistently scoring into the 80s!

Let’s see if 4 in a row is possible – next round is at Rahman Putra, where I have NEVER posted 2 sub-90 rounds in a row eversince I joined the club 10 years ago.

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2 good games

kotapermai201507

It’s quite rare that I actually am able to string two decent games together. I don’t recall doing it at any point of time in my hacking career that I shoot sub-90 rounds in a row. I know, some of you are probably wondering why am I so happy about this – for those following this blog, you would know me to be someone who is constantly suffering this love-hate relationship with this game. I never seem to get better, because nothing seems to come together – if my driver is pure, my irons suck. If my irons are heroic, my putting is a lump of camel crap. If everything is going well, the game is stopped due to thunderstorms.

The first game was at Kota Permai. I shot a ho-hum 47 on the front nine despite hitting 5/7 fairways and driving superbly. I kept messing up my approach shots and my irons. It was just killing me. The only par I mustered, strangely was on the index 1 long par 4, where I got regulation on with a thunderous drive and an 8 iron in. Kota Permai greens were playing at speed 10 – which were knee knockers on putts. This is evidenced by my first 4 putt in the longest time.

The back 9 got much better. I scored a 42 – and that’s with a 4 putt double bogey regulation on there. It could have been a 40 if I putted better! But overall, Kota Permai was perfect condition. I had a great end where the 17th, I strung my 5 iron to the right and ended up under the trees with barely a sight to the elevated green. I thought of bump and run but decided to just flop it. I never execute good shots consistently but this was the greatest flop shot ever created as the ball shot up, missed the branches by inches, dropped on the top of the fringe and meandered down the quick slope to 3 feet from the hole. Never had such an amazing par before.

The final hole was also great, where my second shot 3 wood left me with a tricky shot over the bunkers into the green, which I flopped again with my 60 degree to the fringe and a putt to around 1 feet to save par. I am going to continue with this Ping 60 degree until I start shanking it like I did with my Cleveland (now banished into the closet!)
krpm201507

The second game was KRPM – my eternal nemesis. A quick check showed I never broke 90 before for the longest time. It started on the back 9, where 2 doubles and 1 triple were offset by 4 pars – 2 coming from the tough ending holes 17 and 18. I hardly get par for 17th and I managed to regulation on with my 7 wood – for once.

The back 9 started poorly with 3 double bogeys in 5 holes, including on the par 3 5th where I shanked my 6 iron and almost killed the next flight on the 4th hole. From there, something clicked and I just began to pepper the flag with my approaches on 6th (SW third shot from 80m to 3 feet, 8 iron second shot from 150m to 5 feet and missed birdie). The index 1 was navigated with a drive to the middle and then a six iron in to around 20 feet and two putts.

So there you go – although not low 80s, two games in the 80s are very very motivational for me!

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Ramadan Golf Promotions 2015 in Malaysia

course4

I noticed I got a lot of hits the past few weeks on a post on Ramadan golf promotions I did way back in 2011.

I feel it’s a bit unfair to draw traffic to my site through an old and expired post, so here is the new updated post of golfing promotions for this fasting season (please call clubs direct):

Beringin (18/06~16/07)

WD (am/pm): RM37

WE (am): RM62 (pm): RM47

Inc g.fee,buggy & ins

 

Monterez (01/06~31/08)

WE/PH (pm): RM58.30

Inc g.fee,buggy,ins & tax

 

Tsk Puteri (18/06~18/07)

WD (am/pm): RM80

WE & PH (am/pm): RM120

Inc g.fee,buggy & ins

*caddy compulsary RM59 per flg

*compulsary use promotion rate

 

 

Bkt kemuning (18/06~14/07)

WD (am/pm): RM70

WE (am/pm): RM118

Inc g.fee,buggy & ins

 

 

KGSAAS (18/06~17/07)

WD (am/pm): RM110

Inc g.fee,buggy,ins & caddy

 

 

Seri Selangor (18/06~16/07)

WD (am/pm): RM84.80

WE (am/pm): RM127.20

Inc g.fee,buggy,ins

 

 

IOI Palm Garden (18/06~17/07)

WD (am/pm): RM240

WE (am/pm): RM335

Inc g.fee,buggy,ins & caddy

 

 

Danau (18/06~16/07)

WD (am/pm): RM68.90

Sun (pm): RM79.59

Inc g.fee,buggy & ins

*caddy compulsary RM45 (twin-sharing) when available

 

 

Kota Permai (18/06~16/07)

WD (pm): RM193.45

Inc g.fee,buggy,ins & caddy

 

Impian (18/06~16/07)

WD (am/pm): RM80

WE (am): RM120

Sat (pm): RM100

Sun (pm): RM85

Inc g.fee,buggy & ins

*Hollow Tining 22/06~22/07

 

 

Glenmarie (18/06~16/07)

WD (am/pm): RM162

Inc g.fee,buggy,ins & caddy

 

 

Tropicana (22/06~15/07)

WD (am/pm): RM180 without buffet dinner/ RM220 with buffet dinner Inc g.fee,buggy,ins & caddy

 

 

Nilai Springs (18/06~16/07)

WD (am/pm): RM90

WE (am): RM150 (pm): RM115

Inc g.fee,buggy,ins & caddy

 

 

Sg Long (18/06~16/07)

Tues to Friday (am/pm): RM169.60

WE (am): RM302.10 (21/06~19/07)

WE (pm): RM206.70

Inc g.fee,buggy,ins,caddy & tax

 

 

KGPA (18/06~16/07)- for Malaysian only

Mon (am/pm): RM75

Tues to Fri (am/pm): RM85

WE (am): RM140 (pm): RM120

Inc g.fee,buggy,ins

 

 

The Mines (18/06~16/07)

WD (am/pm): RM960 per flg

WE (am/pm): RM1160 per flg

Inc g.fee,ins & caddy

*RM100 set meal for 4pax

 

 

Berjaya hills (18/06~16/07)

WD (am/pm): RM98

WE (am/pm): RM148

Inc g.fee,buggy & ins

*unlimited rounds

 

 

Orna (19/06~16/07)

WD (am/pm): RM60

Inc g.fee,buggy & ins

 

 

KLGCC (18/06~16/07)

WD (am/pm): RM260.75

WE (am/pm): RM366.75

Inc g.fee,buggy,ins & tax

*caddy compulsary RM53(twin-sharing) when available

 

Staffield

WD RM89.00

WE RM159.00

Include green fees, buggy fee (twin sharing) and golf insurance

 

Go forth and start HACKING!!!

 

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Rasa Sayang Pitch and Putt

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Introduction

One of the advantages of playing golf is that generally, wherever you go, you can find some sort of random course for you to hack in, which makes for some great time wasting opportunities especially when you are on a family holiday and you just need to escape for an hour or so.

One of the first things I do when I go on a holiday is to do a perimeter check around the area to see if there are golf courses and zone in on this, if I’ve played or not played before. It’s more exciting if it’s a course that I’ve never played, so I could test it out and write some sort of review. Yes – write a review. People love reviewing food and all sort of things, and this guy reviews golf courses. For no money. Simply as a stress management tool especially if the golf course is a piece of crap (Like the famous TUDM Kuantan, and its famously agitated members)

So anyways, I ended up staying in Rasa Sayang Shangri-La in Batu Feringgi, Penang. Now Penang is like our second home, but strangely I’ve hardly played on any courses in Penang.

Among the northern courses hacked – Kulim, Bukit Jawi, Harvard. It’s strange, because I’ve never stepped anywhere into Bukit Jambul (now called Penang Golf Club) or Penang Golf Resort at the mainland.

It’s probably because we are too busy stuffing ourselves with food. In fact for this trip I ate so much, I am going on a 6 month detox program eating only lentils and cabbages.

Anyway, you think these were the other two courses?

Think again.

Because if I was a bird, I would see this suspicious looking terrain at the place I am staying and immediately zone in on this opportunity for escapism.

Travel (NA)

Now this review is going to be a short review – not meaning the capacity of the writer, but the fact that the review is not a full review. Simply because nobody would actually travel 200 km to purposely come and play this course, unless there’s something wrong with you or something special about you and you travel around the world searching for the greatest pitch and putt course to play on. So there will be portions where the normal review points are not applicable.

 

Ah heck, it’s just for fun anyway.

Price ( 3/5)

The price is RM25. If you think about it, it’s pretty ok for a nine hole course. But once you take a look at the scorecard, it’s not even a pitch and putt. It’s more like a chip and putt. Or a putt and putt. Because some of these holes are at 20+ meters, and my absolute retarded short game, there’s no way I can hit that distance accurately. The total yardage is at 324 meters, around the length of an average par 4.

 

It’s a very very tiny course, not comparable to the other pitch and putt reviewed – that awful junk course at Jelutong, but it’s a resort feature for crying out loud. Some of the readers is probably going – give it a break, will you?

 

I think it’s ok to pay 25. I would imagine a pricing around RM15 would make more sense but you are already paying through your nose for the resort anyway, so at 25 to escape an hour? I think it’s fair.

 

First thoughts

Umm. You take one look and that’s it.

 

The whole course is built on a space that was possibly reserved to build toilets I think, because it was a very cramped area. However, kudos for the hotel to actually put in a course here, as opposed to those pathetic mini golf where you need to putt through the windmill and stuff. There’s even a practice green in there and a nice club house (hut), with a bunch of rental clubs and balls for you.

Service (3/5)

The gentleman servicing the club house was a nice friendly guy (maybe because so few patrons actually come by the golf course). He was actually refreeing a putting competition with two foreigners there and asked if I wanted to join. It was quite obvious the two gentlemen had been practicing on the green for some time, but I said sure and paid the RM10 entry fee and proceeded to randomly select a half destroyed putter circa WWII and putted for the first time on a very lousy green.

 

The clubs there are very old, very rusted and probably used by Vijay Singh’s great grand father. But it seems like an overkill to bring your shoes and your own golf bag when the other folks there were dressed in slippers, shorts and a Chang Beer singlet, you know.

 

Anyway, I came in second, which isn’t bad because the guy that won actually sank 2 15 footer putts.

 

Fairways (NA)

 

Greens (1/5)

You probably can’t expect much, and you won’t get much. The greens are well…just flatter and have shorter grass than the rest of the course. The roll is non-present, but again, this is a resort feature, so why get mad? Let’s just park a 1 in there for effort.

Rough (3/5)

The rough – primarily the few bunkers featured in the whole course – is surprisingly well kept. In fact, these are better than some of those monkey courses like Kinrara or Bukit Unggul. Kudos Rasa Sayang! Then again, they only have to take care of like 3 bunkers so how difficult can it be?

Aesthetics (1/5)

The whole course more or less plays the same. You need to get our pitching up to speed and all holes look alike – tee box, maybe a bunker here and there and a bad, hairy green. What more do you expect?

Fun Factor (2/5)

You probably won’t organize a full flight here. Unless you are seriously demented. If you are anything like me, you will probably stumble into this course (located inside the resort and following the cryptic ‘Golf’ signs’) and you will be using rental clubs and balls. However – it’s quite a good place for you to get better at your chipping/pitching (not putting). It’s like a big backyard for you to practice. You can wear anything except your underwear I guess, and even after the game, you have a water dispenser and a cool towel at the club hut.

 

The only hole where you can probably hit anything more than a quarter swing is the last hole, measure at around 64 meters. Even that, I flew my 60 degrees with a half swing.

 

At least I got a chip in birdie! But as you can see from the scores, my short game is absolutely flawless like how an iguana would be flawless dictating Charles Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities.

Conclusion

The novelty kind of wears of after the 4th or 5th hole, and you are like, “I could be in the pool with my kids instead of suffering trying to flop this stupid shot onto this stupid green and then trying to sink in that stupid putt.” If you are good, you will be bored to bits. If you are anything like me, with a short game resembling that dictating iguana, you will generally be in constant pain. I played all holes with a sand wedge and a chipping stroke but the feeling was similar to when I was extracting both my wisdom tooth at the same time. Short game is a pain, but it’s necessary. I paid RM25 to remind me of that.

 

The good: It’s escapism for an hour or so; the service is friendly like what you expect from a top grade hotel.

The bad: This is a pitch and no-putt course because the greens are bad; the rented clubs are what you would expect from rented clubs created in the 1930s; the course is very short and cramped, with workers lounging around pretending to be your gallery; makes you want to go back to the pool after the 5th hole.

 

The skinny: 13 of 30 divots (43.3%). I won’t say this is a total miss. If you are in Penang, you are probably too busy eating so this golf course should only be tried if you have absolutely nothing better to do. Otherwise you probably want to take a dip in the pool, relax at the spa or go Penang Road and eat some solid Char Kueh Teow and Chendol.

Rasa Sayang Pitch and Putt Scorecard

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Sungai Long Golf and Country Club

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Introduction

There are two golf courses in peninsular Malaysia designed by Jack Nicklaus – Sungai Long and Legends in Johor. In the East, there is Borneo Golf and Country – but as it is, Gilagolf has never hacked in the east before, so I’ll just stick to West Malaysia golf courses in discussion.

Now, Legends was great. It’s a very nice course and we all had fun on it – the only problem there was that the buggy cost us RM174. And the fact that the people there didn’t tell us that promotion was going on and we could get a lot cheaper than what we paid for with a voucher – like RM2 cheaper. But it was the principle that mattered – and because of that Legends was given a 1 in service and a 1 in pricing and 0 in travel. The people running Legends were twits. But the course itself was really really good and highly recommended.

So what now for Sungai Long? As the first Jack Nicklaus course in Malaysia, where does it stand in the Gilameter?

Why did it take so long to play this, pun intended?  For one, for some time, it was considered a ‘private’ course, that means only by invitation and with a member or again, you will be shot on sight for trespassing. I suppose recently they have seen the fallacy of this concept, because they have opened it up to RHB card members like us. So let the hacking begin!

Travel (4/5)

I honestly think this portion of the review does not have any sense anymore. Now you need to understand this blog was started in 2007, when google maps were not really that great and the Waze founder was still in his mother’s womb. So, generally GPS was not publically available and we used this section to draw crude maps and give crude directions to the course – of course, now with the advent of GPS anywhere and everywhere, only a chimp with Alzheimer will get lost trying to locate a golf course anywhere on earth. This was apparently taken for granted because strangely two of our guys got lost. One guy – excusable, he was on his superbike, so it’s not like he can whip out his phone to check GPS (although I would imagine it’s mountable) – the other guy was a 40 plus fler whom when we ask, don’t you have waze?, looked at us with a general puzzlement you would expect from an Alzheimeric chimp, locked in a cave for 20 years and with a bare recognition that the item he is holding in his hand is more than a phone and not simply a Nokia 5110.

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To be fair, he got lost at the Fork of Bamboozlement. The Fork of Bamboozlement (or FOB) for short is this fork in the road when you are taking the Cheras highway to Kajang. It is existing there to simply cause distress and pain to non Cheras residents. Now Cheras is this great place to find food to eat, but it is also home to roughly 3.6 million people, or roughly 15% of the population in Malaysia. It is known as little Shanghai due to the sheer volume of humans gathered in one place.

Of course, the historical accuracy of what I just wrote is a little suspect, since I came up with that history primarily just by watching the cars stuck in traffic jam on the other side of the road going into KL. I swear, Cheras people are probably the most patient people in the entire world.

Anyway, back to the FOB. Once you go past Connaught, you will need to follow the road signs to Kajang/Semenyih. Go under the overpass as shown below:

After the overpass stay far right as you go up the hill as below:

When you come to the FOB, don’t panic, like my friend, who immediately swerve left and found himself inside Cheras and lost for another half hour navigating the traffic to get out. Escaping Cheras is like escaping from Alcatraz or Hotel California. You can check in but you can’t ever leave. Stay far right on the FOB and you will be ok, you should end up on the right highway leading to Impiana/Sungai Long.

From there, follow Waze based on traffic. It will either tell you to turn off at Sungai Long or earlier, depending.

Once you are in Sungai Long, the course is almost next to the entrance. Just turn right after entering the main arc or Sungai Long and you should see the course on the left. Easy peasy.

Price ( 2/5)

The price is this:

RM220 for green fee+RM71 miscellenous all in (caddy, insurance, buggy – assuming buggy fee is split). After the astronomical charges for buggies at Legends, we were really glad the buggy here is RM76. But still, you are paying a weekday rate of almost RM300.

Honestly, we wouldn’t be playing these courses (palm garden, Mines, Sungai Long) without our Infinite Cards, which waives the green fees for us. And once the green fee was waived, and we negotiated not to have a caddy, we paid a grand total of RM56 with a food voucher of RM10 per pax, so effectively it was RM46. The food voucher is forced upon you whether you like it or not.

Now, of course, I am assuming not everyone has the infinite cards, so going by the normal pricing, it’s still way too expensive for a course like this (as later you will find out). However, I am willing to concede a slightly higher score because of the thought they had in allowing us to not have a caddy, but then they offset that with a forced food voucher on you. But hey, RM56 for a Jack Nicklaus designed course? Nobody is complaining!

First thoughts

Standing at the verandah overlooking the course, I honestly can say the first impression was a little underwhelming. We were expecting the course, being private and designed by Jack Nicklaus to be some sort of wonderment to us – with fairy dust twinkling in the sunrise and an amazing spectacle of a course in her full array of beauty before us.

What we got was a rather flat looking course, with a LOT of workers.

I mean, the amount of Bangladeshi workers here was amazing. Even when you drive into the bag drop area, you will see around 8 – 10 bangladeshi lounging around just talking. I think they are caddies, but I am not sure. However, it’s slightly intimidating because you think you just went through a wormhole and came out on the other side of Dhaka instead of KL. Suggestion to Sungai Long – please build a nice area for your caddies to chill, and not have them congregate at the bag drop area.

On the course itself, while flat, we were willing to give the benefit of doubt that it would be a supreme course, and hopefully can get to the Died and Gone to Heaven status that NO COURSE has even come close to achieving. This is definitely a DAGTH candidate and we had such high hopes for Sungai Long.

Service (2/5)

The service and ameneties were not grand. To be honest, the changing room looks a little run-down. The lockers were oldish lockers that were half the lenght of normal lockers, so when you hang your shirt in there, it sort of crumples because there’s no space. No aircondition, which I suppose they purposely built it that way to harness the energy of nature. Compared to Mines, Sungai Long changing room was like comparing Scarlett Johansson to a rear end of a llama.

Anyway, just as we were going off to the course, the caddy master came and ask – would we like a FREE caddy who is a training caddy, accompanied by a normal grade caddy?

FREE??! Hell, yeah, as Malaysians, that four letter F word is our favourite word.

So we took up this young man, and he had an older mentor on the other buggy and off we went.

Note to all Gilagolfers: DO NOT TAKE UP THE TRAINEE CADDY. I know he’s free, but soon you will find that he had it a bargain to NOT pay US for caddying for us. And we ended up giving tips!

The trainee caddy, BY LIGHT YEARS, was the worst caddy we have ever encountered in our collective lives, and if we had past lives and future lives, it would also be in those past lives and future lives. On the first hole, when asked whether we were using yards or meters, he just looked at us blankly.

At first I thought he didn’t hear, but when repeated, I tried using Malay and English and elicited no response, but a blank stare. Great. He was dumb. As in not stupid dumb, but non-speaking dumb. I tried using sign language but then he uttered something non decipherable. Great! He speaks but does no speak our language. That’s a bummer.

So I told him, ok, just make sure you handle our clubs and pass clubs to us when we need it.

Through out the game, we had such a stressed out time teaching him about caddying:

  1. When we were all searching for balls, he would be sitting in the buggy staring into space and day dreaming of his life back in his hometown
  2. When we were on the green, we would be texting on his phone (this is the first time I’ve seen a caddy more busy in business than us)
  3. When our balls are on the green, he would be standing to the side, not bothering to clean our golf balls for us
  4. He constantly brought us the wrong clubs
  5. He could never find a ball – he would just wander around, following you looking at the exact place you are looking and when you ask him to scamper off, he would grin and just continued following you. I hate to demean a fellow human like this, but honestly, my pet terrier who is now dead, took better instructions that he did.

On the 9th hole, my friend flipped. His ball went right and missing and we all went to search including the other caddy. This trainee caddy took the buggy and drove all the way to the green while we were literally all searching for the first drive.

He confronted the caddy and said (in not so nice terms), that if he wasn’t interested in caddying or even learning, he could leave and go back to wherever he came from for the back 9 because he was an utter useless piece of crap.

He improved a little after that, but was still atrocious. He would step on our putting line, forget to remove the flag etc. There was once, I was lining up to hit a provision shot, he literally walked in front of me to search for my lost ball. I had to go Christian Bale on him. Then, when I was still pondering what irons to use, he would GRAB my irons to take it from me before I was done. I was shocked. It was as if he wanted to steal it but he was just trying to be initiated and clean my clubs, but still it was unnerving to be leaning on a club and then suddenly got it yanked away under you.

He also would clamp my clubs under his armpit as he carried them. And not at the shaft but at the GRIP. He would put my grips under his armpit and then once he removed them, there would be a line of sweat on my putter grip which just made me go, “ You know what, just give me the damn clubs and go back to the damn buggy.”

This guy is a legend. If you guys go over there, don’t fall for this free caddy nonsense – unless they are paying you. However, we generally talk a good game, but we are actually very compassionate inside. We ended up tipping him RM40 anyway because we didn’t have change, and because it was Ramadhan and we finally felt sorry for him.

I mean, if I were in a foreign land without my family or girlfriend (whom I am constantly texting while these chinamen putt on the green), and I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink and kept getting barked at by these chinamen in a language I didn’t understand – I would feel suicidal. Being a little generous despite sh*tty service was something we all could do to make things better for this guy.

Fairways (2/5)

Darn, that was a long detour from golf!

Anyway back to playing the course.

The fairways were disappointing. Really. For a course with a price range and expectation like Sungai Long, we expected at least Mines/Palm Garden sort of variety. Instead, we got something a little better than Seri Selangor/Bangi but no where close to the top tiered quality.

At first, I thought these were divots that other groups were playing that day. Until I realize we were the only ones on the course. The multiple sandy patches we experienced through the course were probably because that area of the fairway was bald or grass wasn’t growing. Nowhere close to our expectation at all.

Greens (3/5)

The greens were functional. It wasn’t as slow as the Mines and generally had a good roll, but it wasn’t amazing. It was well kept but something that you would expect in a course with this sort of prestige.

They also had a few shared greens, which makes them slightly interesting when you are faced with a putt that is like 60 feet long or something. The breaks are there, but not subtle like Saujana and generally, there wasn’t too much to complain or be in awe of. Functional being the key word.

Rough (3/5)

The rough was tough. Like Mines, any misses from the fairway and you are punishable by a broken wrist. It was devilish difficult to carve any sort of shot from the rough, let it be an iron, or hybrid or wood or anything. You could just pick the ball and throw it and you would probably get more distance. But that’s what a rough should be. So there are no complaints on it.

The bunkers (and there are a huge number of these suckers) were another challenge, and they littered the entire course. While you would think Sungai Long (Long River in English) would have water as its primary hazard, the bunkers were the ones that will befuddle you a little, making hitting the fairway a definite must in this course (unlike the friendly Palm Garden).

Aesthetics (2/5)

If you are looking for an awesome looking course – Sungai Long is not for you. Which is strange. Because Legends was an amazing looking course. Sungai Long looked like its ugly step brother. Then again, you’ll need to give credit to Jack by sticking to the name ‘Sungai Long’ (pronounced Soong-ai Long, not Sun-Guy Long, for our foreign readers). He could have named the course something like Everglade River Course or something but decided to stick with the not so glamorous name of the township. I think he learnt his lesson because Legends (which was designed later) wasn’t named Kampung Kulai Golf Course or something.

But the looks of Sungai Long was simply not amazing. The first tee was a flat looking par 4, and it doesn’t really improve after that. Again, this seems to be a limitation of a course built within a township – like what I wrote about Perak Golf Club etc, because the terrain there is limited, and basically we will need to depend on the designer to make it interesting.

Did Jack do a good job? Honestly I have no idea. We just played the course as we would play any other course and really had no appreciation that it was designed by Jack. It seemed to play normal except for some inordinately long par 4s and bizarrely difficult par 3s. Otherwise, it was normal – not too bad, not exceptionally great. I have a feeling this is a course that requires a few runs at it to have a better appreciation.

Fun Factor (3/5)

As long as we were playing in our normal group, we would probably still have fun playing a bombed out course in Afghanistan. The course itself offered its unique challenge. The first hole gave us hope, because it was fairly easy. The next hole is very long par 5 which would be amazing if you hit in 2. Hole 3,4 and 5 are the 3 headed hydras that completely monkeyed my game. I scored double/triple/double for an index 5-1-3 combo. The long par 3 at index 5 is one of the tough ones, but could be made easier if you bailed out to the fairway on the left. Since we were all neantherdal men who had not evolved too much in our brains, we declared to go for the tough pin position on the right and challenged the water. Obviously I failed miserably with my shot whirling into a wet grave. The index par 4 is actually navigatable. But because at 400 meters you think you need to whip an amazing drive, I ended up slicing it into water on the right (which technically should never come in play). OB left was more normal. The next par 5, at around 515m was a very long and tiring par 5, which I struggled to a double bogey again.

Strangely, Sungai Long is measured at around 6000 meters. That’s actually considered short based on many standards. I was for the first time carrying a slice which was very strange as my shot shape is usually a draw. So imagine the craziness in lining up right to left and your shot goes left to right, or simply a huge push right. I missed most of my fairways but still managed to recover a fair bit.

Another strange thing we had was the interpretation of ‘flower bed’. We get free drops on it, but when asked, the caddies had no idea about how flower bed was defined. So we generally took a liberal view of a flower bed – if it was a bunch of bushes that had flowers in it, it was a flower bed. Not that we hit a lot (I only hit into one flower bed once), but probably with a better caddy, we could understand the course a lot more. It’s actually a poor excuse, but it’s not like this review is going to make it to GolfDigest so who cares.

Hole 9 is a very pretty hole that I put my second near the green using my wood – I hit a terrific drive and still had 170 plus to go and maneuvering a river running across the fairway.

Hole 15 is actually a nice par 5 and like 9, with a river running through the fairway around 300 yards. I flared mine right again but still managed to get back on the fairway and messed up my sand wedge into the bunker. Stupid.

The fairways are slightly tight, so you need to hit them to score better. It’s really not a difficult course I think. Except for the 3 holes that are tough, the rest plays pretty straightforward, which begs the question on why we still cannot score.

The last 3 holes were played in blinding rain. There are no sirens or warnings apparently so we basically just make our own decisions on our lives. We decided to play in the rain and risk being struck by lighting, and our scores basically reflected that. We did take a temporary shelter when it got really, really bad – as in Hurricane Katrina bad — whereby our caddy decided to have a long chat with the course workers, adding to the suspicion that his previous vocation was probably plucking out flower beds on the same course before being promoted to a non-speaking, non-working caddy.

Conclusion

So how did Sungai Long fare?

Well, it’s functional, but unfortunately functional is not good enough for the price they are charging. The fairway has been taking a fair bit of hit, although the rough and greens are reasonably good. The course itself – and here’s where we give a mulligan – I believe we will need 2 or 3 more rounds here before we decide on whether the design is good. Just because it’s the course that Jack built doesn’t give it a free pass for hackers. Otherwise, the rumour on Sungai Long is that it will go down the road of Perangsang and Kajang Hill: the membership is being bought over by a property developer who will be tearing the golf course down in favour of an eco-development that will benefit the entire world and cure World Hunger. All property developers will generally market their products like that. And you can trust property developers as far as you can throw a cement truck. Of course, these rumours are unsubstantiated, but looking at how golf courses in Kajang area are being destroyed, I won’t be too surprised if this rumour turns out true. So I suppose we will put in a few more rounds in there.

The good: Travel is generally favourable and not too deep in the housing area if you can navigate the FOB properly; greens and rough are challenging, if not just slightly average; it’s a quiet course so you typically can blaze through your round pretty good and there’s always great food to eat around there or just down the road at Balakong area; it’s Jack Nicklaus designed.

The bad: Pricing is still too high, even if Jack had a hand in it; the free caddy is horrendous, and the regular caddy wasn’t that great either; the fairways are very underwhelming with a lot of sandy patches and probably a few grades lower than Tropicana or Palm Garden; aesthetically quite average and no real shout out loud holes to remember.

The skinny: 21 of 40 divots (52.5%).  Like all the over priced courses in Malaysia – IOI Palm, Mines etc, if you are going to fork out RM300 per pax for a weekday, its recommended to give it a miss unless you purposely want to set yourself up for a disappointing 4 hours. However, if you have some discounts or a free green fee like us, it’s a no-brainer and it’s a go. As for the caddy,  the only way I would recommend the free version is that you want to test your patience – for instance if you are going to have a child soon and you just want to see how it’s like; or you adopted a puppy and you want to train yourself to control your anger. Or, if you are feeling particularly evil, just go for the free caddy for comedic value. Send him to the other buggy and you will have barrels of laughter over their misfortune.

Sungai Long Golf and Country Club Scorecard

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Navigating Seri Selangor

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Seri Selangor has consistently bedevilled me despite playing there a thousand times. I have only broken 90 once there, and my average there generally hovers around the high 90s, with occasional explosions into the 100s. This year, I played it four times, with the score, 97, 99, 96 and 97. Yup, that’s around 97.25 score, almost 11 strokes more than my average at Mines. There is a reason. Seri Selangor is damn. Hard.

The greens are devilish, the fairways are tight and the jungle is unforgiving. It’s like the death star, Bobba Fett, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader rolled in one.

The most recent game I played, I had the worse 9 hole score ever in Seri Selangor. I teed up at the easier front 9 (easier because generally the fairways are wider). However, my driver was horrendously out of sync. My first triple at hole 4 was a bad drive that skittered 60 meters, and a 3 wood to the right, and then a pull to the left. I decided to putt up the green and it didn’t even make it. Stupid.

On the back to back par 5s, I actually dunk my shots in the drink – my second for Hole 5, and my drive for Hole 6 but yet managed to carve out bogeys on each hole thanks to some luck and good irons. I tripled Hole 7. It is by far the worst hole I ever encountered, a tight uphill drive with OB right and left, and a narrow fairway to hit and a crap hard green to hit. I average almost a triple bogey for that hole for the 4 times I played there.

But then when I made the turn, I made two adjustments.

I didn’t give a sh*t anymore and just dumped my 3 wood and decided to use driver all the way from the tee, and secondly, I shortened my driver significantly, holding it almost at the beginning of the grip, near where the grip meets the shaft.

And I drove perfect. The two drives I missed the fair way on 16 and 17th were perfect drives that rolled too far and nestled just a bit in the rough and I parred both. The two triple bogeys were from great drives, but just lousy approaches that ended up either in the bunker or woods which I proceeded to have a short game meltdown. The final hole I went for green in two and just pulled it a bit into the water.

Final 9 was 5 pars, 2 triples, 1 bogey and 1 double for a 45. It could have been much much better but it was the best score I ever shot for a 9 hole at Seri Selangor for a long time.

Oh, I also had my six iron buffed out. It looks bad, but not as horrible as previously. Got it done by a guy named Shan at the KLGCC repair shop.

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This is why I cheat

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In an earlier post, I still concede I don’t play a 100% honest golf.

This is the reason.

In most cases, when my ball is nestled in the rough around tree roots or rocky ground, I’ll pick it up and drop at a better area. Yes, I do it, and no I don’t penalise myself, so yes, technically, that is dishonest.

But today I played in a tournament in Seri Selangor. So there is no such thing as picking up my ball etc, and my ball ended up in the jungle (which is normal for Seri Selangor). The ground was rocky and there were roots, but it seems ok, tiny rocks, which I suppose would just scrape my beautiful Mizuno irons.

I hit my 6 iron to punch out – and lo and behold, there was a huge brick buried beneath my ball and when I hit the ground, my ball flew, and the large back cracked in half at the impact and rocks splatter all over.

The horrifying dent on my 6 iron is now for all to see. Thank you, Seri Selangor for burying bricks and destroying my club. AUGH!

Does anyone know where such huge craters on my irons can be fixed or buffed out? Any recommendations of golf repair shop in KL/PJ area?

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