Ayer Keroh Country Club


If there was a state I wish I had been born in aside from Selangor, it would be Malacca. It used to be Ipoh, but I decided that the golf courses there were too far apart; and Clearwater Sanctuary isn’t such a great place after all. Which leaves us to Malacca, 2 states away, and quite far off to travel. But we know that the courses here were a lot better than say, Klang Valley. It seems the further south you go, the better the courses become, and once you hit Singapore, everything goes down hill. It’s sort of like the food you know. Well, to be fair, Singapore does have nice courses, but the price itself sets to to -10 on the gilameter.

Anyways, back to Malacca. It has always been our plan to play the big 4 in Malacca, by no means meaning the nicest, but the ones that we know: A Famosa, Ayer Keroh, Tiara Melaka and Orna. Tiara quickly became one of our top courses because of the superb way she handled herself during one of the worst downpours in the history of Malaysia. We haven’t played Famosa or Orna yet, so this time around, we head to Ayer Keroh, with its Par 5 18th stretching close to 600 meters, easily one of the longest hole in Malaysia. That’s about 650 yards! There’s another one at about 680 yards in Johor Palm Resort, but we wanted to see if we can slay this beast first. 650 yards! Seriously, the longest PGA tour hole is only 663 yards in Kapalua, Hawaii where they play the Mercedes Benz Championship to kick off the season. If we can slay this beast, then we are PGA tour ready!

Travel (2/5)

Traveling to Malacca will always, always be bad. There’s no other way around it. I don’t know who would find it fun to wake up at 5:30 am to catch am 8 am tee time. It’s crazy. Only golfers would do such idiotic things, and unfortunately we are golfers, the definition of idiots. Traveling is important in a sense, you need to get a good travel partner. You get a punk who sleeps and wakes up only when you reach, you might as well commit suicide on the road. Unbelievably, there are actually people who thinks that when they don’t drive and sit in front, they have the right to sleep. As long as you are in front, you exist for one single purpose in life: Keep the driver awake! Do whatever you can, feed him, tickle him, punch him…that’s the rule. If you can’t cut it, then stay home and play on your putting mat.

Thankfully, our group of golfers recognize the law and we had good conversation on the way there.

Take the north south highway (by now, please don’t ask me how to do it, you should be doing that in your sleep). Head towards Johor. Pass Seremban and you will soon be in Malacca. On the way, you might want stop at the Nilai rest stop for nasi lemak, Malaysia’s answer to pancakes, jam and bread and all the boring stuff you read in Enid Blyton’s book. Sambal rocks!

You will hit the Ayer Keroh exit. Take that and travel a bit more into Ayer Keroh. Now keep left, because Malaysian signs are very very intelligent. They are put right at the place you are supposed to turn off. Not anywhere in front to preempt you. Right at the turning, there is a sign. And to make it worst, it will always be covered by trees. So look for the white sign that says ER ROH OLF RSE and turn left. From there, just follow the road and you will be greeted with a beautiful sign saying Ayer Keroh Golf Course. Welcome!

The best map I find consist of all Malacca Courses together:malaccamap.jpg

Price (2/5)

Another thing to like about Malacca courses is that it’s not that expensive. The green fees and buggy was only about 50RM on a weekday. The only issue is that Ayer Keroh is afflicted with what we call Force-Me-A-Caddy policy. This is where for no apparent reason, they make it mandatory for your flight to have a caddy, despite any protestations you might have. Air Keroh loses more points because not only do they force you one caddy, they force you two! The reasoning is that there should be one for each buggy. So we ended paying RM60, which is still plenty reasonable for a golf course that’s quite good. Still, we don’t like to be forced to do something, eventhough in the long run, we know its for our own good. I mean which child likes to eat their greens, right? We all hate asparagus even though we know (or at least our moms tell us) that it’s good for health. Caddies are like our asparagus. We hate ‘em, but we need ‘em.

First thoughts

A wide fairway awaited us at the first tee. Unfortunately, it’s right next to the buggy station. I’m serious. The first tee off will be observed by EVEYRONE waiting for their buggy. There was a loud mouthed tout in front hurrying us up and telling us we’re not going to reach the green. I am usually reasonably confident heading to the first green, and I am quite confident that I can blast the ball pretty far. But upon his prodding, I stepped up.

I’d like to think it was the 2 hours drive and the lack of warm up. I’d like to think my muscles were tight in the early morning and stepping up to the tee without any stretching was probably not the best way to do it. Whatever the case was, I badly topped my ball about 30 meters in front of everyone, something I have not done before in a long, long, long time.

I made amends on my second, putting my hybrid close to the green, but completely skull my third into the pond, chipped my fifth and one putted for a double bogey start.

I usually recover reasonably after a bad start, but for some reason, this morning, it all went down hill.

Perhaps I’m just not cut out for golf long distance.

Service (3/5)

Ayer Keroh dodged a bullet here. While registration was quick and good, and the course conditions better than expected, they put a newbie caddy on my buggy. Now, we’ve already had an entrancing experience with lousy caddies in Seri Selangor and Impian, so we definitely do not need another experience here. Unfortunately, we seem to have a knack of attracting crappy (and not even remotely pleasant looking) caddies. This one was brand new out of Sumatra, just 3 weeks on the job and completely clueless on how to be a caddy. She couldn’t find any balls, she didn’t know when to get down, or who to help and we had to instruct her. Frankly, I suspect she just wanted to get some fresh air by hanging at the back of our buggy. My big mistake was telling her to make sure I had all my clubs after every hole and not missing anything. She ended up counting them almost every single time we looked at her. Come on! Look for balls! Another annoying thing was that she would declare the ball as gone or in the water but it hasn’t actually gone in. She was just plain lazy to look for it. And everytime I asked her if there was a hazard in front or a bunker behind the green, she would give me the blank stare of death. You know, the way dead people will look…I haven’t really seen it actually happening, but why don’t dead people close their eyes when they die? Isn’t it natural to close your eyes since your muscles are all loosen?

Anyways, as lousy as our caddy was, the other caddy in the other buggy gets the award for Greatest Caddy in Malaysia. His name is Nan. It stands for Adnan I guess. In anyways, we just started calling him Adnan, whether he liked it or not, since Nan reminded us too much of the cheese naan we hunger for halfway through our round and can’t get. Next time you come to Ayer Keroh, ask for Nan as a caddy. You will never regret it. He dresses normally, a shirt and a cap and looks at me disdainfully when I asked him why wasn’t he in the yellow and red uniforms of the other caddies.

“I made in Malaysia,” he declares, implying that the MacDonald’s outfit only applies to foreign caddies.

Nan proved to be invaluable in finding balls. I think he saved us like a hundred balls collectively. He was so good that he was handling all four of us like it was stroll in the park for him. We would be searching with the lousy caddy at one spot, and he would simply point from the fairway at a spot like 50 metres away, in the trees, under the bush and says, “Bola.” Which means ball. From the fairway!!

Fu-yoh!!! How he knows??!?!

Yardage was perfect; and in the 16th par 3, I was out with my 6 iron and he shook his head, cigarette dangling from his mouth and said, 7 iron, front pin, back wind. I hit my 7 and landed 4 feet from the hole.

Fu-yoh!! How he knows??!!?

Trying to be smart and attempting to show that I can also play some golf, I disregarded his advice to putt for a left break and putted straight….and missed my birdie. Earlier I had also disregarded his advice and drove the par 5 6th instead of laying up. I nearly paid for it and escaped with a bogey but my other friend ended up in the hazard. If you don’t listen to Nan, you’re a dead man in Ayer Keroh.

He was also friendly, talked when spoken to, laughed at our jokes and basically wasn’t so anal like the caddies at KGNS, or as prejudiced as the caddy at Impian or as lazy as the ones at Seri Selangor. He cleaned the course dutifully; filling the graves we dug on the fairway, smoothing the sand, fixing our pitchmarks. He gave good advice and never showed off…humbly mentioning that he played here and there and could kick our ass if he wanted to. Of course, he said it very politely and we felt privileged that he would mention our collective asses as illustrations.

I’d love to give Ayer Keroh a 5 because of the legendary Nan, but the other caddy just got on our nerves too much, so a 3 is in order.

Fairways (4/5)

Frankly, we didn’t expect too much in terms of course conditions in Ayer Keroh. Someone mentioned it was a cow grass course, but I’m a little confused because it looks like semi Bermuda to me. I’ve played on cow grass courses before, and it ain’t nothing like this. I don’t know, maybe the Malacca cows are a different breed. In any case, it was a lot easier to hit than my old club at KRPM and the fairway was in fine condition. More than that, AKCC (that’s Ayer Keroh Country Club for you) offers some of the most demonic holes in Malaysia. The elevated 6th, where a perfect drive will land you in the jungle, and of course, the famous 18th, a breath taking 600 meter hole, where a huge fairway beckons you.

Greens (3/5)

I’m not sure if it’s just the weather but it seems that most of the courses we are playing currently have sandy greens. AKCC wasn’t so bad, but it was still a little too sandy for my liking. However, after putting like a drunk hedgehog in Seri Selangor, having slower greens certainly helped. Like most of the features in AKCC, the conditions are good, without being excellent; but in a functional sense.

Rough (3/5)

There is a mention in their website going like this:

Ayer Keroh has its fair share of bunkers and other obstacles at strategic places, but the course is notorious for the jungle that lines both sides of almost every fairway and unmercifully punishes each and every wayward shot. In AKCC – ” A ball lost IS indeed a ball lost”.

I’d like to add to that part: “Unless you have Nan as a caddy.” This guy found more lost balls in our flight than we have in our entire golfing career. There was one ball under a fallen tree. How in blue tarnation did he find it? He was starting to scare us. He must be an alien creature bred specifically to find lost balls. The rough didn’t play as much part as we would think: the idea was to hit the fairways as much as possible and most of AKCC’s fairways are nice and broad, without extreme elevation like Seri Selangor or Bukit Unggul. It plays fairly flat except for a few holes, and those that have doglegs provide plenty of landing space for wayward shots. Of course, if it does hit into the forest, you are dead. But hey, we’re experienced golfers who have played Datai, Bukit Unggul and that nameless course in Seremban 3, and if we can negotiate that, we can this. At the end we still have Nan the Legend to bail us out.

Aesthetics (3/5)

I really think AKCC is a pretty course, just not as pretty as Palm Garden or Datai. It has a very open look to it, especially the magnificent 18th hole, a glorious ending hole, one of the best in Malaysia, simply for the length. The forests and tall trees give a sense of coolness which most Melaka courses have, and as we were walking down 11th, the breeze was blowing in our faces; we realize we don’t get any of this wind back in Klang Valley. The close proximity to the sea, as well as being next to a river helped the overall aesthetics of AKCC. It’s not drop dead gorgeous, but it’s definitely worth the long drive down here.

Fun Factor (4/5)

I was far from playing my best game, I suppose I was a little pressured after the first nine of no pars. I was afraid that I came all the way here for another zero par experience like in Berjaya. I had a lot of chances, the obvious one on the 9th, where my drive nearly found the fronting the green and left me 90 metres in. I put it on but proceeded to 3 putt. The turn made no difference, as I nearly drove the 10th green, skulled my chip , two putted for bogey. I kinda recognize this wasn’t going to be my day. The 11th was a great drive but my second shot hit a small tree and caromed into the jungle, for a triple bogey.

My first par came on the 16th, thanks to Nan’s advice, another bogey and the last hole was where the fun was max. The 600 metre monster needs to be slayed. From the tee box you can just see a white speck in a distance. The flag.

A good drive set me up for a 3 wood. I hit it flush and you know what, I still had about 155 meters to the green! My 6 iron was fat but AKCC finally gave me a break as my ball carried the front bunker by inches and landed on the green. I two putted for a par on the monster hole, did my patented fist pump that Tiger always copies. I might not have slayed the 18th, but I certainly tamed it for now, and after a long, long day of missed greens and missed putts, it was the most positive thing to bring home for me.

Plus, Nan was pretty impressed with my par, having told me even the pros struggle to par this hole. Alright, I impressed Nan the Legendary Caddy!


AKCC is a great course to play at. The conditions are great, the course matured, lending a coolness to it, and some of the most memorable par 5s can be found here. It’s also the longest course in Malaysia at 6400 m from the Blue; according to Asia Travel. I don’t know how truthful is that, but they sound quite professional, so even if it states that papadam is the national food of Malaysia, I’ll probably believe them.

The good: Great pseudo cowgrass fairways; pristine jungle is what Bukit Unggul advertises to be but is not; cooling matured course; undulation typical of Ghafar Baba (the guy who did KRPM) design; great challenge to slay the 18th for bragging rights and the Legend of Nan the Caddy is found here.

The bad: The long trip down south from KL; crappy secondary caddy; loud mouthed starter; forcing us to get 2 caddies and paying for it.

The skinny: 24 of 40 divots (60%). A definite recommendation and Malacca courses are 2 for 2 (as opposed to 0 of 3 for highland courses). Beginners or pea shooters will find it a bit more difficult due to the length but for those who can whack it, they will find AKCC a driver’s dream.

Ayer Keroh Score Card


Ayer Keroh Information


Km 14.5, Jalan Ayer Keroh
75750 Malacca

Contact: +606-2332000/2001

Fax: +606-2323578

Website: http://www.akcc.com.my/

Seri Selangor Golf Club


Every golfer in Malaysia knows Seri Selangor. It doesn’t matter even if you’re not from Selangor, you just kinda know it, the same reason how a beginner golfer knows his drive will slice but have no way to figure out how to fix the dang thing. Likewise, knowing Seri Selangor is one thing. Playing it is altogether another beast.

It’s not easy. Or at least, my past recollection of it consist of bloated scores the size of a kangaroo giving birth: 96,98,100, on a course measuring about 6300 meters. The thing about Seri Selangor is this: it’s laid out like Monterez but has unforgiveness like Bukit Unggul. Really. I’ll be frank. Monterez’s experience is like driving your car in a cramp parking space, requiring lots of precision and accuracy. You go off line, and you’re in the rough, or in another fairway, or somebody’s tee. In Seri Selangor, you’re either in the jungle, in the jungle or wait, did that ball make it….nope, it’s in the jungle.

So to Seri Selangor we go, advertised as home to the homeless golfer. Or more appropriately, home to the golfers who enjoy torturing themselves and sitting in a hot stove for long periods of time.

Travel (5/5)

I’m going to give it a 5 here. Nothing beats a course with easy accessibility. OK, frankly, I’ll be honest, it depends on the time. You wake up at 5 am, you go anywhere, it’s a breeze, because the entire Malaysian population gets up at 7 am and hits the road approximately at 7:15am. Also, if you’re headed during weekends, hey, it’s a breeze. I’ll warn you though: The jam can be pretty bad if you’re headed there during peak hours. Afternoon flights during weekends is dangerous, and we recommend the journey using the old Tropicana ‘tunnel’ road. I.e head towards Damansara Toll, take the left to Tropicana before the toll, follow the road all the way. You will pass Tropicana (and you will sigh, wishing you are playing there instead), head straight till you hit a traffic light. Go straight, and about 1.5 KM there is a right turning going to Seri Selangor.

An alternative is to head towards Ikea/Ikano, past One Utama. Take the Ikea turnoff and go straight all the way. You pass through Mutiara Damansara and you will soon hit a cross junction traffic lights where you turn left, and voila you are there. Unless you are a sadist who loves Traffic Jams, please avoid all attempt to use this road during Saturday or Sunday noon time. It is jammed beyond recognition.


Price (3/5)

We played on a weekday and I still ended up paying almost RM75 for Seri Selangor. It’s 60 for the game and buggy and all that; but they force you to take a caddie, so we need to split about RM30 for the caddie, plus the nonsensical culture of tipping the same caddie. I really must go to the caddie union and ask them about this tipping concept. Malaysians are stingy by nature. Malaysian Golfers are even worse. We will mentally calculate how the exchange rate, how bursa is doing, what furniture we need to buy for our homes, how much petrol cost, how much insurance premium, how much tax, how much bonus etc etc and we collectively agree that any sum more than 2 ringgit 40 sen is way too much to tip.

Yet, we still have to fake our generosity and give. Hey, I’m gonna lose a dozen balls on your course, so tell me again why do I need to give you anything?

So overall, it’s a mid range price but we forgive it a little because it’s close by, and it is very humble in advertising itself as the home for homeless golfers. Shouldn’t food be free like the Salvation Army for homeless golfers too?

First thoughts

We had two groups to tee off, and its automatically fun. I believe the more people you know , the more fun you derive from golf. That’s why when I play a course alone, I feel like stabbing myself with the scorecard pencil-incidentally, have you ever wondered how much money the company that produce the score card pencil makes?-but when there is a group or 2 groups, man the fun factor goes up.

So anyways, there were some slight improvement in my swing, I was coming into Seri Selangor pretty confident on the back of scores of 91,91,91,86 for my first 4 games in 2008. My first drive was a thing of splendour and rarity; a straight shot down the left side of the fairway, about 260 meters, leaving me about 90 to a 350m green. I parred the first hole and reconsidered my options. Parring the first hole generally means two things: either you’re in it for a great game, or your game decides to close shop for the day and you play like a walnut in a nutcracker. For some mysterious reasons, I NEVER take the first option. This is as mysterious as the concept of caddie tiping. I double bogeyed 5 of the next 7 holes after that. Bolocks!

Service (2/5)

Frankly, the caddie sucked. Sorry, usually even lousy caddies, like the one in Impian, give a show of interest in the games of the players. Seri Selangor caddies, for some reason, really, really are disappointing. Here’s why:

1) The one we got is flat out lazy. I don’t know whether I should poke her with a electric baton or not. Observe this in the future: A good caddie who takes care of 4 people in a flight should ALWAYS attach him/herself to the poorest player. It makes sense. If your primary job scope is to look for balls, the beginner who slices into the foliage obviously requires help. Why do you insist of staying in the buggy of the better player (I am so proud to say I am the better player…relatively speaking of course, I still suck) and make a show of cleaning his clubs?

Caddie=LOOK FOR BALLS. Cleaning clubs come later. It’s a secondary job scope. Now get into that jungle and search, darn it!!!

2) A lazy caddie also doesn’t offer any advice but concurs with everything you say. Is this uphill? Ah, betul la. Is this break left? Ah betul, la. Is this slow, fast? Ah, sikit laju la. Do you want me to strangle you with my ball towel? Ok la.

3) A lazy caddie is also the last to get out of the buggy, and it’s like we hired some molasses. Frankly I have no idea what the dickens is a molass, but it sounds like a slow creature, so like molass, these caddies drift in and out of the course in a world of their own.

4) Finally, take your tip and say thank you. My other flight was given the angry look from their caddy when they tipped her 30 RM. She refused to take the bags from the buggy and just walked off, believing she’s entitled to more. Ever watched A Few Good Men and the part where Jack Nicholson says to Tom Cruise? If it was me, I would have said this:

“Caddy, we live in a world that has courses, and those courses have to be played by men with clubs. Whose gonna do it? You? You, caddy in the other buggy? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for your tip, and you curse the golfers. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That our slices and hooks into the jungle, while tragic, probably saved the fairway conditions. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves the course conditions. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at the clubhouse, you want me on that course, you need me on that course. We use words like OB, free drops, FORE. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent mishiting balls. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a caddy who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very registration fee that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a 7 iron, and play a course. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!”

At this point, the caddy would ask us: “Did you give me only 30 ringgit?”

“I played the course…”

“Did you give me only 30 ringgit??!” she shrieks.

“You’re goddamn right I did!!”


And at this point the course marshals come and tells us to get off the course and never to come back to Seri Selangor again..

I give points to Seri Selangor, despite their caddies, for the quickness in which they gave me my Mee Mamak (I was in a rush). It took them only like 5 minutes, although it taste like rubber, it’s still very considerate of them to bump me up the queue.

Fairways (1/5)

There’s something very eerie about the fairway in Seri Selangor. From the tee box, you see a reasonably nice and green fairway enticing you to hit it. One thing about Seri Selangor that makes it the mother of all narrow courses, joining Monterez, Nilai Springs and Nameless course in Seremban as the Frightful Four (don’t you love these comic books names?). All the other courses has weaknesses to exploit, like Superman has kryptonite, Batman has Robin and Spiderman has Mary Jane. Monterez is short, the Par 3s are the frightful monsters but the par 5s can be reached for eagle; you can take a 5 wood to navigate it. Seremban 3, on a good weather, can play easier, we nearly died due to heat exhaustion and of course, Nilai Springs can be cut down with fairway hits and precise shots.

Seri Selangor, playing at 6266m is one of the longest courses we’ve played and the elevation on their par 4s don’t help much as well. The 10th hole is like threading needle to a pin and the 11th is likewise demanding. If you play safe with 3/5 wood, you have a far approach shot. If you bash it with your driver, your ball runs away into the forest as happened to me a few times.

And the fairway is sandy. The 17th played like a pile of dirt. The 18th is a dangerous Par 5 that can be reached in 2 but requires a good second shot that most likely ends up in the drink guarding the green.

For the other fairways that doesn’t look like they are sandy, they are. They have a very thin turf of grass on top, making you think you can take a nice divot. Once you hit it, your club slides under the sand and you end up lofting your silly ball 10 feet away. It’s deceiving so it’s paramount that you hit the ball first and not take a divot before. Play it like you’re playing from a sandtrap. For those of you who are thinking, “Sure, you’re supposed to do that anyway…”, well go to another review site for single handicappers and wise guys. This review is for the general hacker who struggles hitting the ball before the ground…viva le hackers!

Greens (4/5)

Ok, the greens. I HATE the greens. Hate it. Speed is about 8-9 on the dry day we played and it feels like we’re playing at Augusta, minus a million times the experience. What I’m saying is, we three putted, four putted our way into infamy. The greens were like rock. Granite rock. The last straw came on a par 4, where a perfect drive, and a perfect approach was stolen from me. I saw the ball hit the green and took such an amazing bounce, I couldn’t believe it. It was like I hit the buggy track! It went into the rough and we looked and looked and couple lousy rough with lousy caddie with lousy eyesight, I lost the DARN ball! And it was my titleist pro-V1x! Curse you, Seri Selangor!

Why am I still giving a 4? Well, it doesn’t mean that I hate it, it automatically gets a 0. I’m just saying the greens are darn tough. But at least they are consistent, well maintained and played slick. It offers a new experience than the easier greens that grab your balls and holds on to it. Golf balls, that is, what are you thinking? Goodness.

Rough (2/5)

The lost ball episode isn’t the fault of the greens which are played fast; the lost ball is due to the stupid rough. It’s muddy at places and leaves strewn around makes it extremely difficult to go around searching for a tiny white ball. I don’t see much maintenance on the rough, they like to advertise it as natural jungle and foliage but it’s just an excuse for them not to maintain it. Bunkers are only reasonably better.

Aesthetics (2/5)

Anyone who thinks Seri Selangor looks really good is like a village boy who never goes out to the other villages and other towns to see other girls. So he thinks the village maid in his village is the fairest of them all, even though she resembles a horse and is actually a man. No golfers in their sane mind would go, “Wow, Seri Selangor is such a beautiful course.” You most probably will get the resigned response: “Wah, damn hard la…” It’s something like UPM, not as woody though and offers some parallel fairways but with lesser elevation options. It’s just not beautiful, what can I say?

Fun Factor (3/5)

Of all review factors, I must say this one is the most subjective. I admit I was ready to destroy this course and never to step foot on it ever again when I lost my ball that landed on the green. It was that frustrating. I mean, I’m usually calm about these things but try to think of this: you hit a great shot and everyone sees you hit a great shot and when you walk up to the green, it ain’t there…you’ll flip!!

But golf is played over 18 holes. On the 9th hole, my drive flushed down the fairway almost 280 meters (well you count, it’s 390 m hole and I was a few meters way from the 100m marker). With my approach wedge, I hit to the right side of the green, opting not to challenge the bunker and the flag on the left. Actually, I have no idea about that, I just hit it, so it looks good that it looks like I intentionally hit the ‘fat’ side of the green. Cheh, wah, like real. Anyhoos, I saw the ball trickle left towards the flag but lost sight of it due to a mound that covered the hole from where I was. Another flightmate had hit on the green. As I approached the green, I saw one ball at the top of a rather steep contour that funneled down to the hole. I remember thinking, “How the heck did my ball stay up?”

I nearly marked that ball as mine then realize that it was my flight mate’s. So where the devil is my ball?!? Don’t tell me it rolled off into the blasted rough again! I was already in a tomahawk position with my wedge, and I plan to dig up the green in frustration.

Then I walked to the hole.

You know how in some par 3s you walk to the hole and you sort of tiptoe and peek into it instead of walking right up to it? It’s hope against hope that your ball is in there and it never is.

Imagine my reaction when I saw the beautiful logo of MAXFLI staring shyly back up at me from the hole. I’d imagine looking at my future baby when she comes out of my wife in the same manner (I obviously have not experience fatherhood, but please let me stay delusional). I shouted, screamed, whooped, did an Apache war dance around the green and pranced like an idiot calling down rain. It was like a ceremony. A 2 on a par 4! My third EAGLE, and my best!!

Strangely, my game improved after that and I played the back 9 at 7 over and broke 90 the first time on this course. What a difference an eagle makes.


Although it’s a course where people routinely curse and promise never to return, it has two pull factor: it’s easily accessible, and it’s a challenging course. I’ll be frank here, I don’t like Seri Selangor, never did. It never suited whatever miniscule amount of game I had. But you can’t fault the course. So if I were to detach my personal preference from the review, I’d say this is a course recommended. It has a superb location, reasonable pricing and a great , great 9th hole memory for me.

The good: Super accessibility; greens are slick and challenging; food is fast; price is reasonable; good training course for course management.

The bad: Crap rough and equally crap fairways; lousy and lazy caddies; not much of a looker; might be a wee bit long for the high handicap hacker

The skinny: 22 of 40 divots (55%). Due to its accessibility, it’s a recommended course, but make sure you bring lots of balls to tackle the toughest of the Frightful Four.

Seri Selangor Score Card


Seri Selangor Information


Persiaran Damansara Indah,
Off Persiaran Tropicana, Kota Damansara
Petaling Jaya 47410 Selangor

Contact: +603-78061111 / 1666

Fax: +603-78061777

Website: http://www.seriselangor.com.my/

Selesa Hills Golf Resort


After undergoing the debacle in Frasers and Berjaya Hills, it was not without some nervousness we approach our second last Highland Hope: Selesa Hills. Of course, I’m not sure if we’re ever going to try Awana ( I hope we shall), but Frasers and Berjaya are in the trash can now. I thought Selesa, being priced more expensive than Berjaya would offer something slightly better.

So dragging my normal group, we headed off early into the morning to Selesa, praying that it would be a better experience that the other Highland Trash Courses we’ve tried.

Travel (2/5)

Here’s the first news: It’s easier to access than Berjaya! All we need to do is to take the highway heading to Genting (from Kepong), past Batu Caves, past the Genting Tunnel. Eventually on the left, as you head towards Bukit Tinggi, you’ll see a group of hillside homes stacked together. That’s Selesa Hills. Selesa means Comfort in Malay. It’s a promising start.

Just slow down for a left turning and once you turn into Selesa, go straight past the homes entrance and 50 meters on, you’ll see a broken down sign to the right that states Selesa Golf. So much for a promising start.


Price (1/5)

It’s RM60 for a Saturday Morning. That’s with AGN, so that’s pretty steep already, especially if you see the course that we end up at. Plus, it’s only for two turfmates. For four people. What the heck does the other two do? Apparently there was a mix up but I’m going to blast this during the review of their services. Price wise, I rather top up additional 30 RM and play somewhere in Monterez or Kinrara, that would be a lot nearer and probably a lot more worth it.

First thoughts

When I stepped out of the car, I just went like, “Oh, crap.”

You can tell a lot about the course just from the club house. The club house is like a dress. Now a classy girl always knows how to dress right. She might not be beautiful, but with a good dress sense, she can be pretty. The pretty can be bewitching. A clubhouse, a locker room, everything are not integral to the course, but it plays a part. So its that first impression, and as they say, the first impression counts, because that’s where you set your prejudices, your biasness.

Looking at the course we are biased for: Palm, Datai, Trops: they all had great club houses and facilities.

Selesa? Let’s just say, it makes Tuanku Jaafar looks like a palace.

It’s a little more than a hut, most likely built during the Paleolithic era, with its primitive use of wood and dried cow shit to be stuffed in between the cracks. Behind the counter, a Neanthedral huffs at us for money while weighing his club in the palms of his hand. Welcome back to the past.

We looked at each other and shook our heads. Even before the tee off, the fate of Selesa has been sealed. We just have to see how bad it actually is.

Service (-1/5)

Congratulations Selesa for being the second course that rates a -1 in service, aside from Tuanku Jaafar. Now why? We’ll tell you why.

I go up to the counter and say hey, we paid RM60 and expect each a turfmate. I don’t know if this is an AGN issue or Selesa issue. They say Turfmate twin sharing.

Have you seen a turfmate before?

How in heavens name are we supposed to twin share?!?

Then the locker room. It’s about as bad as Tuanku Jaafar, but much smaller, smellier and dirtier. It seems like I’m back at my school toilet, where we create stink bombs. The lockers also don’t work so we ended up taking all our bags into the shower room, that resembles somewhat the prison shower rooms, with cold water and a funny smelling glue they disguise as soap.

We’re willing to give it a 0 after all this. But at the 9th hole Par 5, I hit a drive that forced me to hit a recovery lay up shot. I was standing about 170 to the green, and found out from my other friend that there was a lake in front of the green and a carry of 160m was needed.

The marshal, a fat guy with a moustache that makes you want to yank and tie it over a flagpole (with him still there), rides up with his turfmate and tells us there’s a pond. OK, thanks, now get out of my sight.

“Use a 3 wood.” He says in Malay.

“What? How far to cross?”


“Are you crazy?” I took out my 5 iron.

“What you using?”

“5 iron.”

“Oh, definitely cannot, you must use 3 wood.”

At this point, I was this close to stuffing my 5 iron into his eye. I mean, if you were my caddy, fine. But this daft person rides up to me, never seen me swing and he tells me to use a 3 wood to carry 160 meters? And he says my 5 iron can’t carry? Is he just joking, or certified insane? Just because he has never seen any golfers that can do that (tells you about the class of crappy golfers at Selesa if I can be considered the best), doesn’t mean I can’t.

I ignored him and lets fly a 5 iron that sailed perfectly.

“Oh, that swing, sure can.” He says and rides off.

“Hey,” I shouted, “You never seen anyone who can play golf before, right?! You suck!”

I didn’t actually say the last word since I don’t know how to say it in Malay, but you get the point.

Selesa gets -1 for a stupid marshal who discourages people and gives wrong advice, then rides off in embarrassment when someone does well. How I wish I stuffed my 5 iron into his eye!!

Fairways (-1/5)

Congratulations, Selesa, you’re the first course that gets two negatives in one review.

The worst fairway in the whole world can be found here, in Selesa Hills Golf Course. Seriously. You allow turfmates to ride into a highland course, you’re just asking to be doomed. No other way. At one point, our turfmates got stuck in the mud in the fairway and we had to push while accelerating, creating deeper ruts in the fairway. Oh, the horror!

There’s really no difference between fairway and rough. The only difference is the fairway is harder. It’s filled with mud. It stinks. It’s damp. It’s just worse than a mess. It’s impossible to play it. In fact, I’m just going to put the pictures up and offer a moment of silence in light of HOW HORRENDOUS it is. Words cannot describe it.

Greens (0/5)

After going through the fairway, the greens improved to become a big fat ZERO. Why? Because the greens suck, that’s why. They are sanding it I think, or they are using the bunker as a temporary green, I don’t know. I just know that the amount of sand on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd hole was so bad, we concede any putts within 2 driver lengths. In fact, as long as you hit the green we’ll just give you one putt. Great job, Selesa!

Not all the greens were like that of course, some were at least in playable conditions. But come on, I know this is a cheap course that nobody sane should play again, but you still get a zero. We have no sympathy for clubs who has marshals who poke fun at players.

Rough (2/5)

Things started looking up finally. The rough is actually quite well kept and mowed down. In fact, the rough is better than the fairway. This is the first course in the world that rewards shots in the rough and penalize fairway hits. Imagine that. This is because it lets the ball sit up. But points are loss for the bunkers, which look like some surface from Mars or something. At this point we were just looking for something positive to say. Even if you had rats in the bunker, we’re going to say its good. We’re so numbed by lousiness that there’s nothing much to look forward to at this point.

Aesthetics (2/5)

By now, you know how much we hate this course with every beat of our heart. If it was a living organism, we would fill it with 7.62mm lead from an AK-47. Unfortunately we had to play 18 holes on it so we tried to make the best of it.

It’s really not a Highland Course. Because it’s at the foot hills of a hill. It should be called Selesa Foot Hills, or better still Selesa ‘My Foot!’ Hills, or simply Selesa ‘Crap’ Hills. They are all good names for this course. The first nine, if we ignore the greens and fairways and smell, is actually quite visually pleasing. It’s like Berjaya Hills but not as pretty. Jungle frames it and especially the par 3 fourth, it sits alone with jungle beyond, a very pretty hole for a lousy course.

Make the turn and it descends into being plain, boring and crappy again. The first nine is a like a girl before marriage. After the turn, it’s post marriage, she becomes lazy, fat and hideous. We still give it 2 because of the pre-marriage holes, and some enjoyment we had from there.

Fun Factor (1/5)

I think the body language of one of my partners say it all. At one stretch from 12th to 15th, he was just slapping his ball here and there like a nut. No life in his eyes, no response when we spoke to him, he was just out of it, like his mind was wandering in LaLa Land. He walked with a slouch and we had to poke him with an electric baton to wake him up. We were all just waiting for the ordeal called Selesa to end and release our souls.

But it still gets a point because:

1) The par 4s offers the drama of one on, which one of my friends actually achieved, on the 256m 5th hole. A perfect tee shot cut the dogleg and landed 12 feet from the hole, much like my Bangi One On achievement. He missed his eagle and birdied the hole

2) The guy who needed the electric baton, in the earlier holes was having a time of his life, when he birdied the 6th Par 3. He kind of went down hill from there.

3) The 8th is actually quite a scenic hole, with elevated tee shot into a peninsular landing area on the fairway. I recovered from the ravine for an amazing par. It was fun.

4) We got a free durian. Serious. One of the workers, probably out of pity that we were so depressed, gave us a free durian which we later opened and ate at the club house. It was pretty good.


Selesa joins in the ranks of Frasers as Absolutely, Astoundingly Crap golf courses and only the ultra desperate or the social outcasts and criminals will play again in this course. There’s no limit to how low it is; the fairways and greens are the worst in Malaysia, the whole experience makes us want to electrocute ourselves over and over again. The only plus point is that you can have lunch at Janda Baik or durians, to remove the stench this course leaves on our souls. Begone, Selesa and be banished forevermore!!

The good: The durians. If you’re a white guy, you’re out of luck. There’s nothing I can do for you except to tell you: Go with your heart, not with your nose. Durian is good…

The bad: Wow. Shall I continue my rant? No. Let’s just say EVERYTHING is bad, including the opinionated marshal.

The skinny: 6 of 40 divots (15%). Please don’t even think about this course. You’re better off standing in a driving range and have people hit their driver straight at you.

Selesa Hills Score Card


Selesa Hills Information


Pahang Darul Makmur

Contact: +609-2330039/42

Fax: +609-2330066

Tropicana Golf & Country Resort


While I really doubt Gilagolf will ever be allowed to step foot into places like Sungai Long, Mines or Saujana (due to our irreverent way of describing and reviewing golf courses), another premier course entered our list, in addition to Clearwater, Palm Garden, Datai and KGNS. So far, no golf courses has reached the immortal status of the Gilameter, DAGTH (pronounced dak-the), short for Died and Gone to Heaven, the greatest accolade given to a course. The closest were Palm and Datai, falling just a point shy of the lower strata of DAGTH.

Enters Tropicana, a premier course, located in Petaling Jaya, considered one of the finest Malaysia has to offer in terms of course design and playability.

I’ve played there once before, and fared quite well, so when an invite came for us to have a go, we didn’t need to be asked twice.

Travel (5/5)

Immediately a 5. There’s no question asked. Prime spot, it took me only about 10 minutes to reach there. In fact, we would often go to the driving range to practice, so traveling is of no issue.

The easiest way there is to take the NKVE, headed to the Damansara toll. Right after the flyover to Bandar Utama, stay left and you’ll end up in the old road to Tropicana. From there, keep going straight, and turn right at the tee junction. You’ll go under a tunnel and right in front of you is the welcoming sight of the Tropicana archway. Beautiful.

Here’s a detailed map. Go ahead, click on it!


Price (2/5)

Ah. This is where they lop of your head with an axe. Playing on a public holiday or weekends? Let’s skewer your throat over an open fire! RM190 for green fees. That’s the stab in your heart. RM25 for a twin sharing buggy (50 per buggy). That’s RM215 and a turn of the knife in your heart. Wait, there’s more. Just because we know you suck as a golfer, you’re forced to take a caddy at RM30. They’ve already taken out your heart with that. Lastly, you need to tip the darn caddie at least additional RM10, bringing your total to about RM230, RM240 over weekends. Don’t worry, we got a package!

At RM280!! We give you lunch and breakfast as well!

Who in the blue tarnation is going to be stupid enough to eat RM50 worth of food? Come on Tropicana, don’t be daft!!!

Did I pay that much? Nope. Someone was kind enough to bring me in for free, God bless his soul.

First thoughts

Morning dew covering the first tee, the sun peeking down on us, promising us a great day on a great course. Again, for goodness sakes, I pushed my tee shot right, but managed to recover for a one chip one putt for a par and we’re off.

First hole par means two things. One, you’re going to have one of your finest rounds ever. Two, you cannot take success and your subsequent holes will be filled with frustration and death. Guess which option I took?

The thing about playing on a public holiday is that the whole course gets jammed up. Tropicana, despite its premier status feels it more than the other courses like Rahman Putra. I don’t know why. Maybe too many rest stops is not good, because you get an idiotic uncle who wants to sit and eat.

Then, when you drive up, they quickly finish and run off to the tee box so they won’t let you through. In this way, we knew it was going to be long one.

Service (1/5)

You’d think a premier course like this would have great service right? Of course, everything expected is there; good maintenance, good facilities, easy check in. A small gripe is the loading area for golfers. We’re like sardines. There’s a small area where all the buggys are crammed into and all golfers jostle with each other like a market place. You’d think they come up with a smarter way to get golfers on the road. All it takes is one idiot who parks his buggy wrong and everyone is jammed up. It’s like the Malaysian highways who makes the roads so narrow despite having so much space. We just like our infrastructure and signs small and dainty you know.

My MAJOR gripe is the F&B. Sorry, if you say that food and beverages has nothing to do with the course, you tell the golfer who just crawled in at 12 noon looking for food and drink. You get him food and drink!!

My order took so long, I think my stomach gave up waiting and just started eating my own intestines. Serious. It took almost 45 minutes for my stupid Kueh teow to come.45 minutes! What’s up with the kitchen, man? An ominous 1, for a premier course, and gone with it hopes of being the first course with DAGTH status. Dang! Hurts me more than it hurts you, Tropicana. I thought you had a chance! Dang your service!

Fairways (5/5)

If you’re looking for a club who knows how to run their fairways, Trops gives the great lesson. I don’t believe I know of any other club offering such a great carpet of grass for us to hit from. It’s unfortunate I spent so little time on it. I hit a pathetic 4 fairways enroute to a 91, with 9 bogeys. But as the sun was shining down on the par 5 6th, it was just a brilliant picture to take. As the day wears on, the fairways got drier, firmer and it was just in superb condition. 5/5 definitely.

Greens (4/5)

Despite my par start, I had A LOT of problems with the greens. It wasn’t because they were slick or whatever, it was simply: what kind of speed is this? Some played fast, some slow, some medium: we just couldn’t get a grip on how to putt. I had 3 3 putts but it wasn’t the 3 putts that killed me. It was the missed par putts, when I was trying to get up and down. Statistically it’s 2 putts, but the short ones I missed for pars (at least 3) was enough to render me half crazy. I won’t say it’s entirely my fault for being a lousy putter, because the greens weren’t tip top as expected.

Rough (4/5)

I like the recovery options given by Trops. Now, it’s still a course that advocates OB (the mantra of the caddies are 50-50, boss). Amazingly, I don’t think I OBed any hole, although some were close. I struggled massively with my swing, trying to find the fairway but managed to pull myself together at the end for a good finish. If you’re not OBed, the recovery from bunkers and even the occasional water bank is possible. The bunkers are almost perfect except for a few holes that requires less bounce, more dig.

Aesthetics (4/5)

It’s very much like Palm, in a way it’s city pretty. That means that no matter how you look at the course, you know that it’s not exotic, it’s not filled with wildlife, it’s not natural. It’s like a beautiful English girl as opposed to a hot Latin woman. Both are beautiful; but the Latina like Catherine Zeta Jones or Jennifer Lopez are definitely a lot hotter than say, that chic that was in the Pirates of the Carribean. See, I can’t even remember her name. The one that looks like Winona Ryder. (Incidentally, what the heck happened to Winona Ryder?)

Memorable holes? For me, the 11th. Elevated tee box, my drive went almost 250m, soaring into the sky, seemingly never to fall back to earth. It’s also dangerous, because the 17th tee box is right at the 160-190m range for slicers. We almost killed a group there, our ball landing smack at where they were teeing off. An old white guy dressed in black, a’la Gary Player just stared at us, his face twisted in a frown even after I apologized. Get over it, old feller. Golf’s gonna be like this in our part of town. Or perhaps he’s just in a permanent catatonic stasis that sometimes people that age go into. Eat your vitamins while you’re young, little golfers!

Other than that, Hole 1 is a beautiful opening hole as well, requiring a carry and a lake on the left. The Par 3s are a little dull though, very much like Palm’s problem, so no perfect score here for Trops.

Fun Factor (4/5)

Struggling as massively as I was, it was hard to find fun. My putting was just tremendously off, at one time going 7 straight bogeys, missing a string of sitters that would have given me a whole lot of better score, and a prettier scorecard.

However things came together after missing another sitter on the 16th. A 12 footer curved in for par on the 17th and I yanked my tee shot so far left, it was flirting with OB. Just a foot away from OB, I was contemplating whether to go through the trees or punch out. At that point, I have already lost the little betting game we were having. Contrary to your expectations, I went the safe route and punched out to 130 – 135 meters to the flag.

Using my 9 iron, I stuffed the purest shot of the day. It started right and drew a little back in. It landed and practically danced around the hole before settling 15 inches from the cup. If there was a time where you want to shout ‘Get in the HOLE!’ This would have been the best time.

I started with a par, ended with a birdie. If we just closed our eyes to everything else between, hey, it was a pretty fun day in Tropicana.


If you have the money or someone offers to bring you in, Tropicana is a course you can never go wrong. The course is very well maintained, it is very easy to access, and it’s a guaranteed good fun. The pricing is always a pain point and unless you are Augusta, St Andrews or Pebble Beach, this will always be something we harp on. But looking beyond that, this is a course everyone should play, must play and will definitely enjoy playing. Go Trops!!

And oh, remember the golden rule of golf courses with 27 holes: Play 1st and 2nd nine; forget about the 3rd nine.

The good: Great conditions of green, fairways and rough; scenic holes built around mansions and wealthy township; easiest accessibility; guaranteed fun

The bad: Price makes you want to sell your own kidney; awful F&B services; loading bay is an accident waiting to happen; old white guys staring at you catatonically can be quite distressing.

The skinny: 29 of 40 divots (72.5%).

Tropicana Scorecard


Tropicana Information

Jalan Kelab Tropicana,

47410 Petaling Jaya ,

Selangor, Malaysia

Contact: +603-78048888

Fax: +603-78043688

Website: http://www.tropicanagolf.com

UPM Golf


When you speak to a golfer from Malaysia and you mention the word “Combat Course”, there is a high probability that he or she will sigh and say, “UPM?”

UPM stands for University Putra Malaysia. It’s basically a university with a golf course. Yes, apparently this is a concept it took me a while to adjust. I would love to register for a uni with free access to a golf course. In fact, it’s not just a golf course, it’s complete with a driving range, a pro, and locker rooms and showers, just like any club!

I knew of this some time back, where my friend mentioned that in UPM, actual cows actually roam the fairways, like the legendary bisons over American Heartland. I’m like, holy cow, are they movable obstructions, loose impediments?

I’ve played it a few times and each time, I struggled mightily. The combat course is really what it says; you feel like you’re fighting it. It’s a course maintained by a university for crying out loud. What did you expect? Someone to give you a face towel on the back nine?

Travel (1/5)

There are several ways to the University and each ways are wrought with perils. Sorry, just had to say that, it sounds so cool. Anyways, the easiest coming from PJ/KL is to hit the north south highway (by now, this highway is so familiar to golfers, they should be dreaming about it and know every exit more than they know their own mother). Head south to Seremban till you see the UPM exit. This is the easiest. Take the loop, you’ll hit the UPM toll. Voila, you’re there, easy peasy. If you come from Putrajaya or Kajang side, head towards the SILK (or whatever the name of that highway is called), you know the one that heads you to Kajang and IOI mall. There is a turnoff to UPM, watch for it on the left. Immediate left after that and you’re there.

Here’s the best map I can find.



I’ve downgraded this course significantly and will tell you why. The ONLY way into the golf course in UPM is via the SILK way, because that puts you immediately at the entrance with the golf course. I will state this clearly: If you come in via any entrance (including the one that I have cancelled above), YOU ARE DEAD. You will spend eternity circling this god forsaken university looking in vain for signs and asking in vain for directions. It took me 30 minutes of mindless driving to finally spot the golf course. There are a few reasons to this madness:

1) The insistence of UPM to not use signs. Everyone navigates by smell. They must have spent so much in building fancy facilities, that they only have RM150 left for all the signages in UPM. There will be NO signs pointing you to exit, to golf course, to toilet. The only signs there points to boring faculty buildings, no doubt filled with the living dead.

2) The sign fonts are so darn small, it’s impossible to read it. It’s senseless if you put up an unreadable signs. Why don’t just draw pictures like cavemen? It would definitely help more.

3) The directions given by students/faculty members/living dead are as vague as the signs. Or maybe my Bahasa sucks. They would say, go straight, turn left. I do that and suddenly I’m at a crossroad but there were no further instructions. What is this, some kind of Amazing Race crap? Did I miss a checkpoint or something?!?

4) I think it’s UPM strategy to increase their enrollment. You have no way to escape this campus because it’s so darn confusing and the signs are so darn useless, that you go insane and you enroll for life. Yay, now UPM has more students!

5) UPM refuses to set up the course “How to Make Road signs that are intelligible 101” for fear that people would actually escape their campus and their enrollment dwindle to their original number: 2.

Awful directions inside this university, possibly the most confusing labyrinth in the face of this earth.

Price (2/5)

You’d expect student price for a course like this, but I paid RM70 for a weekday rate. That’s because it’s RM30 for the green fees and RM40 for the buggy. If we had split the buggy, it would be RM50, which to me is quite reasonable. Given the course conditions (more of that later), we’re willing to give it an extra divot. RM50 is still a little steep for student pricing.

First thoughts

Now, we’ve played in UPM before. And we didn’t really enjoy it that much I recall. The last time I played 97, and not score any birdie/par. Sounds familiar? Yep, like Berjaya Hills. I know I was struggling with my swing and UPM is a course (especially the back 9) that severely punishes off line drives. And at 6271m, it’s not a pushover as well.

The good news was when we entered the campus, we saw banners everywhere that stated Annual Golf Open in UPM in 3 days. This means that we should expect some reasonable conditioning of the course at least! The best time to play, remember, is always before or after a competition. That way, the course is primed to its best. I recall playing KGNS old course after the National Amateur and nearly died. The rough was just impossible to play from and the greens were glass. I was four putting like a dodo bird flying into a propeller. I think the Stimpmeter was like, what 20?

It was just pure luck that we happened on a course right before their annual tournament, so we expect some good experience here.

Service (2/5)

Maintenance was being done on the course, although this is a little biased since we’re looking at a few days before the competition. Checking in was a breeze,a dn the guy at the counter was a very articulate fellow who spoke perfect English (it being a University and all). They don’t waste time with golf insurance, caddie fees and all that hocus pocus. You enter the new club house, you pay 30 bucks, you get out, you pay another 40 for the buggy and they pack you off. There’s no halfway huts, it’s just pure golf.

The one thing I have to nitpick on is this: I don’t know what is it with our government or education institutions that love SMALL SIGNS. I have very good arguments on this. I entered into their old clubhouse (it was never stated as old clubhouse), which was deserted except for two guys talking. They must have saw me coming in, but simply paid no attention as I scamper around looking for the changing room. There was a sign that said Men’s changing room, so I opened it and voila, I’m in a Surau. A Surau is a prayer room for the Malays. Holy place, you know, not where you want to be stepping in with your stinking golf shoe that hasn’t been washed since the last World War.

And there I saw it, in a small dark corner, a little A4 print out pasted on the wall (Only God knows who is it for, hidden away there). It’s like a treasure hunt clue: Go to New Clubhouse. And why the heck are those two guys ignoring me? Can’t they point me to the right direction? Am I like Bruce Willis and they don’t see dead people?!

The reason why I drag government institutions into this is easy. Try driving to Putrajaya, our administrative capital in Malaysia, the place where all ministry and government buildings reside. The signs are not just small, they are MINUTE. I have to slow down and nearly cause pile ups everytime I pass a darn sign because they cram everything into a small space that nobody but pedestrians can read. Do they think it’s dainty to have small signs or what? What the heck is going on?

Fairways (3/5)

Once we hit the course, there’s where it gets better. Well, at least for the first nine anyway. And I know this has a lot to do with the upcoming tournament. The first tee off is to a huge fairway-which, for once, I found with my tee shot, so I guess I am slowly improving-a reachable par 5, which I pushed my 3 wood but still parred it. It was a sunny day, so I didn’t expect it to be bad. It wasn’t, and UPM is a course where hitting fairways is your primary goal. It plays not that long, but some of the holes, notably the signature Par 5 16th requires a bomb to reach the ravine and then a carry. Grass was cut for the tournament so it was as best as it could be.

Greens (2/5)

I was tempted to give it a 4 after going through the first nine. Really, I thought I was playing in KGNS or Rahman Putra, because the fairways were great and the greens were just superb. I hit an approach to the 3rd and it spun back. To the 4th and 5th and the greens just gripped the ball. It was soft, it was receptive, it was un-UPM like, and more Impian-like. Most greens here are table top, so please don’t run low balls into the greens! It played slow though, probably due to the watering of the greens in the morning but I’d say, UPM greens on its best days, beats Impian greens on its worst. It’s like the plain Jane upstaging the Belle of the Ball who had a bad hair day. Hey, that happens.

But Jekyll and Hyde. Or rather, front nine and back nine.

As good as the front nine was, with newly paved buggy tracks, someone forgot to include the back nine in the budget. Back nine plays wild. It’s much much tougher, much more undulation and less maintained. I suspect the tournament is only for front nine, because once I hit the back 9, the greens were back to their sorry state. The 16th was sanded and unputtable. The 13th likewise. It’s a pity because the back 9 is much more enjoyable and more memorable, but I guess they haven’t got down to maintaining it. Now, this is more like the UPM we recall from our previous visits!

What a waste, so we just have to split that 4 into 2. Still, the front nine shows promise of what the greens in UPM can become!

Rough (2/5)

The rough is punishable by death…of your balls, that is. The front nine is quite benign, and reasonably allows you to score well even with crooked driving. Once you make the turn, it’s as if you’ve crossed the gateway into destruction. From Hole 10, to the narrow 12th, then to the long 13th, the 15th and 16th, you will be framed with jungle from all sides. I don’t know what’s a rainforest jungle doing in the middle of a university, but there you have it. Even the par 3s are inhumanly long: 183m, 171m, 154m (but plays to 160 since it’s a severe uphill) and the most scenic 17th, playing at 170m downhill, where I lost my 5 iron shot into the oblivion beyond. Even my six iron was over. Bollocks!

The downpoint were the bunkers. Probably they were a little too wet and packed, but it has always never been very well maintained. I suppose it being a University, there’s a course on ‘How to Make Good Bunkers 101′ as well as ‘Constantly Frustrate the Stupid Golfer Advanced Course’.

Aesthetics (2/5)

I’d like to give it a good score here but the honest truth is that, the course is just not pretty. It’s functional, yes, but the front nine plays very boringly, if there’s such a word, except for the 7th, which is quite a nice hole to look at. The back nine plays almost claustrophobicly, due to the framing of the jungle. We hardly get to see the whole course in one view and sometimes it plays like Datai Bay in a sense where every hole is self contained. But Datai Bay had the view. UPM doesn’t.

Fun Factor (3/5)

Despite of it all, we believe that UPM can offer a measure of fun, given the right conditions. Good weather is paramount. And before tournament conditions also help. The front nine could have been more exciting, but it more than makes it up with some of the most challenging holes you will never play in other courses. The par 4 13th is a driving hole over a massive ravine at the tee box. After that, you’re faced with the short 14th. A good tee shot places you about 50 meters away if it catches the slope, but the green is just demonic to putt on. The 15th is also severely undulated to an elevated green. But the 16th is the most fun to play. A good tee shot can catch two terraced slopes leading down to a landing area right before a huge ravine. From there, a risky 3 wood should give you a two on and a putt for eagle.

The ending hole is a par 5 where a slope runs your tee shot down to 3 wood range. You can eagle this as well.


I think we caught UPM on a good day. No doubt about it. The pre tournament conditioning worked well, but I’ve almost always never do well on this course. I’ll be the first to admit it’s no pushover, even for a university course, neither is it a pretty course. But if you can play the back nine reasonably well here, your game is pretty much ready to go.

The good: Good fairways, great greens on the front nine, memorable par 5s that will definitely be quite fun to play on the back nine, a functional course on a good day.

The bad: Lousy greens on the back nine, par 3s are long and except for one, not very scenic; price is a little looped out of a student budget; lousy bunkers; not a pretty looking course. Plus, 5 year olds can make better signs and give better directions than these so called university staff.

The skinny: 19 of 40 divots (47.5%). We caught UPM on its best day, so we’re recommending it. But take heed of the entrance and bring a flare gun in the event you get lost or have to fight off the living dead in UPM. Don’t blame us if you come out cursing the course and Gilagolf!

UPM Scorecard


UPM Information


Unit Golf, Bahagian Pembangunan UPM,

43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor.

Contact: +603-8946 7996

Fax: +603-8943 3972

Website: http://www.upm.edu.my

Kinrara Golf Club


Before there was Bangi, there was Kinrara.

Meaning, that as a golf beginner, after haunting Bukit Beruntung and finding that it was so far and so lousy and that I have improved reasonably and can play golf without embarrassing my family name, a course much nearer and easier to access was chosen. And here, we have Kinrara, the course where most beginners can learn, and while it is quite challenging, especially the back nine, it’s still reasonably good to play on, without traveling to the ends of the earth.

We didn’t know which course to select for the Saturday morning weekend, that would be at least reasonably in terms of pricing: Selesa, Beruntung or Kinrara. At the end, as we needed to get home in the afternoon, the closer one was chosen.

The night before, torrential rain flooded the Klang Valley. I’ve played Kinrara a few times and I know that the drainage there was super….lousy. I recall holes where if we were to free drop on casual water, we’ll either be playing off the buggy track or the green. It was waterworld, Disney on ice, or whatever smart alecky term you want to think of.

So with much fear and trembling, we got up to a drenched morning and headed to Kinrara.

Travel (4/5)

One of the major plus point for Kinrara Golf Club is that travel is a breeze. Well, it depends on when you are going. If you took the day off on a working day, there might be a slight jam on the LDP, but most of the jam is going the other way. The best way from PJ is to head down the dreaded LDP to the Sunway toll. After the toll go straight all the way (don’t follow the flyover to Puchong or you are chopped meat). You’ll hit a trunk road and after a one km or so, you’ll see a flyover to Kinrara township. Take that and at the first traffic lights, turn left. Follow the road to a T junction and you’ll see the course in front of you. Turn right at the T junction and Kinrara Golf Club is going to be on your left.

To add more value for our limited readers; I’ll try my hardest to put maps into subsequent reviews as well as phone numbers of the club. Instead of just bashing the course with our intense criticism or loving it with our intense passion, we also want to be slightly useful in terms of course location and getting their contact. You’ll be amazed at how darn difficult it is to get information on Malaysian courses, like a simple map or number. Most of what we google are crappy golf sites that give only general and uninteresting information. Where’s the map? How do we get there? And why is the number no longer working? We believe information is power and in Gilagolf, in order for us to achieve our incredible goal of having at least 10 people reading the crap we write, I think value added services is in order. If we get our readership up to 100, we will even start arranging golf games for you and upon request, dance YMCA on the bar of your choice. We are all men, by the way, so please don’t expect too much from the dance.


Price (3/5)

Another strong point about Kinrara is that it’s one of the most reasonably priced golf course that does not require you to go through horrible jams, or wake up so early that even the school bus aunty has not made her rounds yet. It charged us RM90 for weekend slot, prime time Saturday morning. On normal days, with AGN, we’re paying around RM55 for a tee off, which is very reasonable. The non AGN rates are also reasonable and we are always able to get a tee time in Kinrara. I suppose the reputation of Kinrara as a course that doesn’t have very good fairways deter people, since the traveling is pretty easy.

First thoughts

I’ve played Kinrara probably a dozen times in my short golfing career and it’s a course where you score well at. It’s by no means easy, as some of the par 5s play quite long and narrow, and the killer par 4 18th is a dramatic hole, representing one of the best ending hole I’ve played. Standing early morning in the back 9, faced with a par 5 tee off elevated; it’s a course that initially looks normal to you but as you continue to play it, it grows on you. By no means it’s a top tier course, as we shall soon find out; but due to the sentimental attachment to this course, we tend to be a little easier with it.

After all, after Bukit Beruntung turned into a pile of junk; this was the course I personally adopted when I was clubless.

Service (1/5)

Kinrara was never really big on service. I remember that their F&B is totally crap, and until today remains so. Slow to the point of actually moving backwards, the waiter would saunter slowly up requesting for our orders and take a few years before bringing it. I don’t know what is it with golf clubs and crappy F&B service. It’s as if all the lousiest waiters and waitresses in the world will congregate in golf clubs and collectively make life a living hell for golfers in need of water.

The thing I don’t like about Kinrara is the stupid food vouchers. There’s a fine print there that says vouchers not applicable for juices and coconut drinks, knowing full well that this, along with the soya bean cincau, is the staple drink for all golfers, much like zebra meat for lions. Unsuspecting idiots we were, we finished the round and asked how much for coconuts while putting down the vouchers on the table.

Now you as a waiter would be thinking: “They have a RM10 voucher on a table and asking for coconut drinks. Shall I inform them it is not valid or pretend to be a complete idiot and rub my hands in glee and let them fall into our trap?” No prize for guessing what he did.

Coconut drinks came and when we wanted to pay with the vouchers, he shook his head and said, “Not valid.” That must have given him as much satisfaction as Donald Trump derives when he bellows “YOU’RE FIRED!”. We looked at the fine print and cursed the day we thought coconuts were free and Kinrara was generous. We all paid, and to spite them, just to use up the vouchers, bought 6 cans of 100 plus (which we used in the next round in Tropicana).

We dislike being tricked (see our review of Tuanku Jaafar’s locker room keys incident). But due to the sentimental attachment, we are willing to give Kinrara a 1 in this.

Fairways (3/5)

Imagine going into the cinema and watching a show like ‘Enchanted’ with zero expectations and coming out of it quite pleased with the result. I mean the show still sucked, but it wasn’t as bad as you were prepared for. This is the opposite feeling of going into Star Wars Episode 1 thinking it was the greatest show on earth and coming out half dazed with its pure stupidity on every level. As well as renewed bloodlust to kill Jar Jar Binks and let him die a thousand deaths in the stomach of the Sarlac. Anyways, I quite liked the chipmunk in Enchanted, so I was reasonably surprised at how mildly entertaining it was. You gotta love that chipmunk.


The fairways of Kinrara was our chipmunk. You go there expecting the worst and suddenly, even with the downpour the night before, the fairway was in great condition. I mean, relative to our expectation. It deserves our applause, because we’ve seen Kinrara at its crapiest and you can’t walk without wearing the Phua Chu Kang yellow boots as you wade through 18 holes. Right now, it’s like a different creature. Not super, but unexpectedly good. No plug balls. Limited casual water.

One look and you see maintenance workers working their butts off draining the fairways. An indication was the par 5 14th where the entire hazard on the right side was being dug up, and we saw water being drained from the adjacent fairways. They are hacking up the course and now it looks like crap aesthetically but it’s for the long run.

Greens (1/5)

As good as the fairways were, the greens totally blew away our happiness. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to excel in one thing and once we reach the green, we are like, what on earth is this? And earth is the right word, because even on the 10th green, there was this huge crater in the middle of the green. Serious. It’s as if a giant golfer with a golf ball the size of a bowling ball had teed up and left a gigantic pitch mark on the green. Who’s gonna fix this? Hello??

Green speed, green roll is totally zero. I gave up after a while and simply putted straight and watch it gather sand so that by the time it reaches the hole, the ball is twice its original size. Wow. Great job, Kinrara.

Rough (0/5)

And just when you think it can’t get any worse, we get hit by memories of Bukit Unggul, where the bunkers resemble some of the pictures we see from the Voyager in Mars. Or whatever the name of that little robot that they sent to Mars and got killed by Transformers. You guys watched the trailer right? No? Ok, anyways, the bunkers are crap.

Primary rough reasonably playable, and don’t forget the generous OB lines littering the course. However, it’s not as bad as Monterez or Nilai Springs. It would have been a 3 but we’re merciless if you have bunkers that scratches our precious clubs. Sorry, no sentimentality here. A big fat ZERO.

Aesthetics (2/5)

Kinrara is one of those courses where it’s neither here nor there. It’s good looking without being pretty, without being hideous. It’s like that girl who’s always been your friend, whom you never take a second look, but still find her inoffensive. It lacks the forest foliage that Bukit Unggul or Datai Bay has, it lacks the wide open fairways like Bukit Kemuning. It’s a split down the middle. In fact, we’re willing to overlook the hideous digs currently going on because of the drainage improvement it is causing.

However, points lost because of the workers. We’ve got workers walking all over the place. They are like the Augusta gallery. I’m sure they are there for the maintenance, but it’s quite disconcerting to walk to the green and you see a pack of foreign workers walking down the buggy track with their pitchforks and stuff and stopping to look at you while discussing, possibly about us, in their native tongue.

“You think this weird Chinese guy gonna sink his putt?”

“He stands funny. He won’t sink it.”

“OK, I’ll bet you for a pack of Marlboros.”

“OK. Here he goes.”

“Dammit! Stupid Chinese guy! May your ancestors curse you!”

At this point, I get a glare or a rude sign from them and they continue hiking onwards.

There are so many holes with workers. Don’t they have something better to do than walk around? And stop looking at my putts! I’m good! The greens suck! It’s not my fault!!

Fun Factor (4/5)

We usually have fun when we play well. In our flight, we are very very generous in our fun assessment. Even if I play like a pregnant cow drunk with alcohol, and our playing partner is doing well, we will all agree that the course is fun.

And boy did one of our guys do well.

It started with his back nine, going bogey on the first hole. And that too he missed a 3 footer for par. Then on the 2nd, he missed a 4 footer for birdie. On the 3rd, he stuffed his tee shot so close to the par 3 pin, we were willing to concede for birdie, but he wanted to hear the drop of the ball. Guess what, he pulled the 2 footer and settled for par. The fourth, he almost drove the green and curved a 7 footer in for his birdie. On the fifth, a superb downhill chip, and a tap in for par. On the 6th, he pulled his 5 footer for par and settled for bogey, ending his torrid 4 hole stretch. Next hole par 5, he recovered amazingly from a deep fairway bunker and one putted a 15 footer for birdie.

By this time, our little competition was over. I had 4 pars over 7 holes and still lost. He was even over 7, but could have been -4. Once the game was over, he lost it a bit and on the 8th hole, a perfect tee shot but he put his approach in the bunker. It was impossible to get it out because it was lying against the face with an overhanging lip that blocked the ball. Through some freak of luck, he pounded his ball and it came out. One chip, one putt for bogey and he is +1 over 8 holes.

He regulation on for the last hole and was probably doing a victory lap for the best round I’ve seen any of my playing partners play in 5 years of golf.

Unbelievably, he FOUR putted the last green for a double and a +3 39. Still a great score but it could have been -3. Pro golf standard.

He scored 53 on the first 9 by the way, so it was very much an average 92 score, but man, it was fun watching him beat the crap out of us.


It’s definitely a course that you can make a run like what my playing partner did. It sets up easy on the front nine but gets progressively harder, culminating the signature ending hole, a monster 403 meters par 4 that forces you to tee off over the trees and severely cut the dogleg right to get a chance of an iron into the green, to cross pond. You play it safe, you’ve got a 180m carry over a large hazard. A must play hole for any golfer.

The good: Good fairway drainage; easy access if non working day, reasonable price; one of the best ending holes you’ll ever get in Malaysia; course setup for a barrage of pars and birdies.

The bad: Greens and bunkers are extremely lousy, too many maintenance workers as gallery; bad F&B service that like to trick people, course lacks natural beauty and challenge, except for closing hole.

The skinny: 20 of 40 divots (50%). It’s a course that every golfer in Klang valley should try, just for the great 18th hole. We recommend it but stick to sunny days and when the course is fully ready, and the maintenance workers have all gone back to their homeland.

Kinrara Score Card


Kinrara Information


Jalan Kinrara 6,

Bandar Kinrara,

47100 Puchong

Contact: +603-80762100

Fax: +603-80707822

Website: http://www.bandarkinrara.com.my/kgc/aboutus.htm