Daiman 18


Last year, we headed down to Johor/Singapore to explore some of the golf courses there. I believe there are more than 30 golf courses in Johor itself, possibly making it the Malaysian state with the most golf courses and least work done per capita compared to the rest. With so many courses to choose from, how can you ever get tired of playing golf? Likely, the explosion of golf courses here was contributed by the number of Singaporeans willing to take the drive across the border to play cheap golf. Singapore dollars now trade at almost 2.45RM, making a 100RM golf course rate slightly less than SGD40, which is really a steal. Unfortunately, for Malaysians, we see this contributing to the trend of increasing green fees from this golf courses, even if they generally suck.

After our harrowing experience with the RM100 caddy in Royal Johor, it was with some trepidation that we once again embarked on playing golf in Johor. This time, due to time constraints, we had to choose one that was relatively close to Singapore. There were two choices: golf Courses from the second link exit in Tuas, or golf courses nearer to the Woodlands-JB exit.

We chose the Woodlands-JB exit. The closest was the dratted Royal Johor Country Club, which we will now avoid it like the bubonic plague after our awful experience there. Moving further east, we have to choose Permas Jaya, Ponderosa, Daiman 18, Octville. Tanjung Puteri was a little too far so we’ll need to KIV that one. The norther courses like Austin Hill and Star Hill were also possible selection. At the end, we decided to head to Daiman 18 simply because we have the vouchers from the Top Premier Voucher book…and also because we previously thought Royal Johor was better than Daiman 18. I mean, really, the name of Daiman 18 evokes as much inspiration as watching bat shit dry in the sun.

Travel (2/5)

Daiman 18 is not very far from the JB/Woodlands causeway into Singapore. I am assuming that you would be taking the same way as we did, coming up from Singapore, unless you’re staying in JB itself. From Singapore, there is no way around it. Exiting from the JB/Woodlands checkpoint is as close as intravenous suicide as you can probably get, due to the absolute stupidity of Malaysian organization. Now, I love Malaysia, don’t get me wrong. But when it takes you a few minutes to exit Singapore and the next 45 minutes stuck in a jam, on a Sunday lunch time at the Malaysian side, you seriously need to question the lack of efficiency in Boleh Land. There are only 2 lanes for cars to queue in a snaky route to the checkpoints. Some heroic drivers took the third lane, meant for trucks I believe and ran smack into a group of traffic police and summons. Most of the perpetrators were Singaporean cars, so it’s definitely a welcome to Malaysia present for (from) them.

Anyways, if you manage to escape the checkpoint within this year, here’s the direction to Daiman, 15km away.

1. Head northwest on Singapore – Sultan Iskandar Ciq Jb     1.7 km

2. Keep right at the fork to continue toward Jalan Yahya Aldatar    200 m

3. Turn left onto Jalan Yahya Aldatar            750 m

4. Turn right to merge onto Lebuhraya Tebrau           5.9 km

5. Continue onto Jalan Pandan           3.0 km

6. Turn left toward Jalan Masai Baru 350 m

7. Sharp right toward Jalan Masai Baru          41 m

8. Take the 1st left onto Jalan Masai Baru      2.8 km

9. Turn left toward Jalan Pesona        70 m

10. Turn left onto Jalan Pesona           190 m

There is a small trickiness here, when you need to exit Jalan Pandan. There’s a small left turn before the flyover right at Carrefour (or was it Tesco??) which will allow you to go under the fly over and hit Jalan Masai Baru. We missed this turning and had to take the next left and go a big round behind the supermart. Beware.

Price (2/5)

We played on a Sunday afternoon, and was charged RM110 for our troubles. There’s a special promotion going on, which rendered our weekend top premier voucher at RM120 pretty useless. Now RM110 is about the same price we pay for Bangi on a Sunday afternoon package, which generally puts Daiman in comparison with our beloved Bangi, and which invariably Daiman falls short. I know we can’t expect cheaper prices , but still, from what we see in Daiman and what we compare with Bangi, these courses are world’s apart. Daiman 18 pricing just doesn’t cut it. And what is with the voucher then? Shouldn’t something we pay for allow us to have special pricing? This reminded us of the horrendous pricing strategy of another Johor Course: Legends, which actually cost more to use the discount vouchers than it would be NOT to use them. It makes no sense. Then give further discounts on the vouchers, darn it!

First thoughts

First thoughts that hit us as we teed up on the back nine: It looks a little bit like KRTU, a little bit like Perangsang. It’s probably a mixture of both; the slight elevation of Perangsang, the oil palm trees of KRTU. First hole was a dogleg left, and here’s where I found out that both my precious 60 degree and 48 Cleveland PW were missing! I must have left it somewhere at the other courses or at home.

Without these two clubs, I was literally incapacitated. Even with these two clubs I play like a monkey being dunked into a boiling vat of fire; what will I do without them?? So, proceeded to hash my chip with my normal PW, which just doesn’t work for me. Because of the weight, the shaft, the feel, the looks: like any good hacker, I grabbed on the first excuse I could find for playing badly: missing clubs. If only I had these clubs, I would surely have scored 75, at least!

Service (3/5)

Except for the awkwardness of explaining to us that the price of the discount vouchers are actually more than the normal price, the lady behind the counter was good enough to get us on the course quickly. She also was very efficient in providing me with a letter that stated that my clubs were missing, for a possible claim, if I don’t find them. The buggies were in good condition as well, so merrily we went on our way for our second stint in Johor golf.

Fairways (2/5)

The fairways, especially the back nine, were bald in many patches, and grass uncut. They looked good from far, but once on the fairway, it was tough to hit if there’s no grass, only soil where your golf ball is sitting on. We groaned if this was going to be the norm, but the fairways did improve slightly as our game progressed. Instead it’s likely due to the fact that buggies can drive onto these fairways.

Greens (2/5)

If anything is more annoying that bald fairways, it would be sandy greens. Number one, the greens were SLOW. As in, it’s hard to judge as well, since the greens are very inconsistent, sandy and slow, and varies quite a lot from hole to hole. These doesn’t make the greens tough, but just difficult to predict. The roll was also inconsistent, and in many occasions, I saw my 3 footer bumping and grinding it’s away from the hole. Hmm. That sounded a little weird.

Rough (2/5)

Daiman will have a lot of rank 2/5 in the categories. Simply because Daiman doesn’t suck as bad to deserve a 1; but at the same time, fail to raise its game to level 3 and beyond. So we see a lot of these so-so course conditions, rough conditions as well. The bunkers were useful enough. The primary rough however was a different tale. The ball sat down in almost all our shots in there, and at some point took us a long time to find the ball: which we all saw dropped and bounce!

Aesthetics (2/5)

I was ready to give Daiman a 1/5 for aesthetics, based on the experience on the back nine. However, once you made the turn, the course became something different altogether. Suddenly there was landscaping and beautification.  This was the front nine. It was as if the management spent all its landscaping budget on the first nine to entice the unsuspecting golfer into thinking this is like an Impian standard course, only to have a reduced budget of RM2.99 to do landscaping in the back nine.

The back nine did have a few reasonable looking holes. The elevated par 5 13th was nice; except that you had to hit it long and straight to navigate it. The par 3 17th was a knee knocking hole, with water all over and a tee off accuracy required. The last hole 18th wasn’t so nice; simply a straight shot pass the lone tree and entrance into a downhill hole.

Make the turn and you see the difference. The first tee box was a very narrow tee off, that opens up at the fairway. It’s like going through a narrow, constipated colon area before getting to the opening, and I’d even have to admit that that was a very strange simile indeed. But you get the picture.

The par 5 2nd is a long, tough monster and the next par 3 was similar to the 17th, in which you have crisscrossing of water at the front from an elevated tee position. It is also at this hole that I noticed that the club is starting to look much better. Some landscaping elements were in play, turning the characterless Daiman into something more palatable. The next par 4 4th also has a tree in the middle of the fairway, and this was followed by the fearsome index 1 par 5, in all its 472 metres glory. Elevated tee shot will stop short of the water. I hit my 3rd into the bunker on the right, but the trick about some of these Daiman bunkers was that the lip was very shallow. In this instance, I putted my ball out of the bunker, over the short lip, and onto the contoured green, watching it turn into the hole for a miracle Birdie.

Fun Factor (3/5)

Fun was again evident, not just because of a blitz of 3 very good holes where I went par-birdie-par, but also because the course sets up quite nicely for my fade/slice shot. I used mostly driver, and the times that I messed up such as the 8th par 4; was when I used my 3 wood and ridiculously pulled it into the jungle. From there, I was like Kevin Na and only got it out near the green on the 5th shot. Two putted for an awful triple. Also, having 3 par 3s on the front brought something more to the game: accurate tee shot. The par 3s are not easy, but at least they were picturesque and it was definitely a fun experience hitting shots in, especially with a wager on the table.

Judgement of distance is key as well. The third hole for instance, the pretty looking par 3 was set as 145 meters with a downhill shot. Because of all the landscaping surrounding this green, one guy from my flight saw it as being like a mile away, and opted not to trust the yardage, instead relied on his experience in the game, which so far has led him to many games over 100 strokes.  He took out a driver and literally blasted the ball 50+ meters over the green into the next fairway, much to the hilarity of all. The distance on the board is slightly off, or they must have moved the blue tees back, because I only used my six-iron and it was stuffed close. Unfortunately, my first shot had already zinged into the fronting water, so I was 3 on and 2 putted for a double. Nice looking hole though, but too few holes were as good looking as this, and Daiman suffers for it.

Also, we observed that traffic for a Sunday afternoon was quite limited. I.e not many people were playing the course, and the only 2 folks we saw were two Singaporeans taking shelter with us from a short bout of lightning. This could be because that many choose to play on other better nearby courses; and also the stupid crossing at the causeway causing the Singaporean golfers to seek out friendlier courses nearer to the second link exit. Of course, these are speculations, but all the better for us to blitz through the half empty course!

Fun was also somewhat limited due to the absence of my wedges. I was doing all I can to use my other clubs, and yes, it’s a poor excuse to use; but like any good hacker, we need to look to somewhere to blame for such lousy golf…because it’s definitely not our super skill level, right? What better excuse than missing clubs??


Daiman suffers the middle review syndrome, like Kulim. It doesn’t suck so much that we hate it, the way Frasers or TUDM does with so much ease; yet, it doesn’t impress enough and we just go along with the course, functional playing, without the critical draw factor, the things that make us go, “Jee, we gotta come back here to play again.” Instead, we were like, “Boy, I’m hungry. Let’s get the heck out of here as quickly as possible as get some chow!”. Should we recommend it? Well, for its vicinity to the causeway, I think it deserves some attention, but with so many courses around, including the Japanese run StarHill course, it needs to definitely do more to draw us back again to play the second time. Furthermore, with the horrific traffic in the causeway, we might from here on play on courses closer to the second link, such as Horizon Hills, Poresia or Pulai Springs.

The good: Daiman is a functional golf course with a few interesting holes; can be quite fun especially with 3 par 3s and a premium on iron shots; first nine aesthetics looks good; but balanced out unfortunately by the characterless back nine; close to town enables those in JB access the course quite easily; but the causeway jam is a common cause of people howling in frustration in their cars and cursing our beloved country’s excellence in efficiency (being extremely sarcastic of course).

The bad: Pricing strategy is reminiscent to the idiots at Legends, where discount voucher costs more than the actual price; travel through the causeway is excruciating; fairways, rough and greens are simply not good (or bad) enough to be memorable, causing golfers to forget how the course looks like or is set up.

The skinny: 18 of 40 divots (45%). Daiman 18 just doesn’t do enough to make us want to try it again. But considering the high price of surrounding courses, with the exception of Royal Johor, (which you should only play if every single golf course in Johor has been blasted to smithereens, and you don’t have anything else to do, such as taking up pottery classes) Daiman might be just affordable for a quick 18, to those who are in JB and the course was pretty empty even for a Sunday afternoon. But if you’re from Singapore, forget about the causeway and play on courses nearer to Tuas second link. It’s not worth going through the horrific crawl from Kiasu Land into Boleh Land.

Daiman 18 Score Card

Daiman 18 Information

Address: No.18, Jalan Pesona,
Taman Johor Jaya,
81100 Johor Bahru,
Johor Darul Ta’zim, malaysia

Contact: +607-3516813

Fax: +607-3533100

Email: daiman18@daiman.com.my

Website: http://www.daiman.com.my/golf.html

Permaipura GCC


I remember trying to get to Permaipura without the aid of GPS and ended up in Harvard. Not the university, but the golf course, and aside from the name does not bear any resemblance to any prestige that the hallowed name may invoke. Permaipura, on the other hand, is almost impossible to locate unless you keep your eyes peeled for the sign and you generally know where it is, or the vicinity of it. As one of the few golf courses that’s up north, and that’s under the top premier voucher book, it has been a club that I always wanted to play on, and on a particular weekday when the meetings are over, I managed to slip into the club for a very quick round of 18.

Travel (2/5)

It’s on the way to Harvard actually, so exit the north south highway at Sungai Petani North or (U) exit. After the toll, turn right and you’re at the Bandar Aman Jaya trunk road. Just go all the way till you see the sign to permaipura on your right. If you are like me, color blind and unable to see signs properly, GPS will be useful. If you’re like me, with no access to GPS, watch out for a series of orange road dividers in the middle of the road. These are to allow you to turn right into Permaipura.

Price (4/5)

Not bad, I paid RM66 for 18 holes on a weekday. This includes buggy and insurance, using the Top Premier Voucher booklet. It’s hard to find this kind of pricing, and immediately recurring nightmares of lousy courses like the TUDM Kuantan or Frasers Hill reccur involuntarily. I mean, you can call your course cheap or whatever, but I’d rather pay a little extra to make my golfing experience at least worth my time. As we’ll find out, Permaipura more than makes up for the price.

First thoughts

Like Harvard, Permaipura’s website is completely filled with marketing BS, the very same marketing BS that Gilagolf.net was started for, with the mission to banish such utter complete nonsense written by people who probably have never ever stepped into the golf course before.

“Sunrise.   Low lying clouds enveloping the foothills of Gunung Jerai.  Verdant rolling meadow of green as far as the eye can see.  Tranquil lakes setting off plays of light.  A sense of peace and quiet, broken only by the song of birds.  A spectacular setting to begin a day of challenges and excitement.  This is  Permaipura Golf & Country Club.  Kedah’s peaceful haven.”

What is this?? Broken only by the song of birds?? Verdant rolling meadow of green?? It gets worse:

“ Permaipura features wide and narrow fairways, water in play on most holes and contoured greens to baffle even the most seasoned players.  Come rain or shine.  All year round.”

This makes no sense whatsoever. Come rain or shine?? What does this even mean? If rain comes, siren sounds and you get your butt back into the club house before you get struck by one million volts of pure electricity. Contoured greens? Water in play on most holes?? They obviously have NOT played in this course before.

Obviously, whoever wrote this spent a lot of time taking out phrases from the English Country Landscape Magazines, because there is no such thing as rolling meadows of green as far as the eye can see. This brings to mind this picture:

Yes, this is the picture of your Microsoft Windows background. Permaipura looks like this:

I can definitely see the tranquil lake setting off plays of light. Can’t you?

I know this is a rant, but somehow, it’s absolutely so annoying that there would be in existence people who actually write this kind of crap. At least the crap we write in this blog has some basis of reality. And it doesn’t sound like it has been lifted straight out of a Jane Austen novel.

So, as for first thoughts, it wasn’t very good, thanks to some atrocious and useless information in their website.

Service (3/5)

Service that gets you to the course with minimum fuss is the best. The lady behind the counter was like a speed train. “You want to play golf? You got voucher? Ok, 66 plus insurance.” Count the money I pass her. “OK, go.” She passes me the tee off slip and directs me to a brand new buggy (which is a huge change compared to the cavemen vehicles in Cinta Sayang and Harvard). No fuss, quick service, excellent conditioned buggies. All equals good first impression of the course.

However, the course does get a little jammed up in the evening, as it allows walkers, but you just need to be patient. If you want to bypass them, most of them are quite courteous and would allow you to go through, I suppose.

Fairways (2/5)

The fairways were functional, but bore some grief in terms of bald patches, sandy areas, and uneven cutting of the grass. Also, the infamous buggy tracks thanks to allowing buggies onto the fairway. It wasn’t as bad as some of the hellish fairways encountered in this never ending journey to unveil the truth about golf courses behind all the fancy write ups on rolling meadows and come rain and shine drivel. The fairways definitely could be improved, starting with more grass needed in most areas. Sometimes, it’s as if every where my ball landed on the fairway (which, due to my crap driving, isn’t very often), the ball is found in a divot. Except it’s not a divot. Just bare patches sprinkled all over this rolling verdant meadow of greens that causes the birds to break out into song to interrupt the peace and the tranquility of the lakes setting off the plays of light. See how stupid it is to write in such a manner?

Greens (3/5)

The front nine greens were in a bad bad condition. Some of the greens were being sanded, but the difference is that these are under maintenance, and it isn’t the norm on other greens, so it’s unfair to judge the greens by the greens being maintained. The back nine greens were much better, and although playing a little slow, still showed that with proper care and maintenance, the greens would work out fine. There is a fair bit of variation in the greens, in terms of sizes, but contour wise and challenge wise, the greens remain a little short of it. So, whatever was written about the contoured greens baffling the most seasoned golfer is almost perfect BS. I am not a seasoned golfer and my game actually suck, but I still managed a respectable 31 putts and only 3 putted one hole.

Rough (2/5)

Compared to the well maintained Cinta Sayang, Permaipura’s rough falls short. Bunkers are not exactly well maintained, and especially the primary rough, strewn with leaves that has not been cleared since the day of Noah. It’s not too difficult to hit from the rough though, as it’s cut pretty generously. In fact half of the pars I made only came from the fairway, while the others were chunked out of the rough (or sand).

Aesthetics (2/5)

Permaipura isn’t what you’d term a very memorable or picturesque course. Landscaping is almost non existent, unless you consider golfers duffing their 8 irons and taking out tons of dirt in the process as landscaping. The course resembles a little bit of Kundang Lakes, or Kulim, where the designer, I suppose, focused more on just cutting fairways across jungles and plantation area and forgot about beautifying the whole place. Elevation wise, Permaipura is as flat as can be, without much vantage points to see the advertised meadows as far as the eye can see. I’m a little biased against the aesthetics, because from the description of the website you’d think this course is the heaven’s gift to earth, and God also would love to tee off here. Come on, seriously.

However, one thing about Permaipura: it sets up easy.

Fun Factor (4/5)

There’s a new name of this course: Par-maipura. Funky eh? Because you will be loaded with a lot a lot a lot of par opportunity, which comes to show that fun isn’t in struggling on long and challenging courses. Fun, for hackers, would be to play in courses that makes us feel better about our epileptic swings, and gives us the much needed encouragement to proceed hacking this game in the future.

Here you have it: Par-maipura is the MOTHER of all Ginnifer Courses.

If you think Bukit Kemuning has the largest fairways ever and the most generous areas of bailout ever, you ain’t seen Par-maipura yet. It doesn’t look that way from the onset. Hole 1 is a tricky little beast because a good tee shot might land you in the bunker and from there, you need to navigate through a drain fronting the green. Hole 2 opens up with a good shot on the left of the fairway while the 4th has a narrow tee shot that opens to a generous landing area.

Probably the world’s largest fairway can be found on the index 1 par 5 7th. All you need to do is navigate through a stupid tree right in front of your tee box area. Once you land on the green, you’d go wow. It’s humongous. You could land a rocket in here without any problem.

The back nine more or less plays the same. According to the website, it says it would play narrower but it doesn’t.There are loads of huge fairways staring back at you and plenty of scoring opportunities.

I think Permaipura sets up easy for the slicer. I.e if your missed shot is a slice, you can probably play this course with your eyes shut. For instance, in the back nine,4 out of 7 fairways plays to a dogleg right, meaning you can aim left and fade/slice back your ball in and not worry too much on getting it out of bounds. Only once on the easiest hole 14 that I messed up my drive en route to a triple bogey.

Otherwise, 4 pars on the front and 4 pars on the back nine really gave me additional reason to continue this wretched game of golf. I could have added one more on the easy par 5 last hole. After a great drive, I completely topped my hybrid and left myself 160 meters to the green. A big pull with my six iron and I was gone. Into the pool next to the green. From there, 5 on, two putted for a demoralizing double.

Still, any course that allows me to hit 85 is definitely worth playing again. I was putting almost unconsciously in the front nine, with five one putts. Most of it were in the 5 to 10 feet zone, so it was really something to see those saves for bogey on 6th and 8th go in. I missed a bundle on the second nine though, so like the balance of life, everything evens out at the end.


Par-maipura is a generous course, and is definitely worth playing, especially if you just had a long day at work and need to blow some steam. The big fairways are a sight for sore eyes, and although aesthetically it resembles Kundang Lakes (which is not a compliment, it’s like saying your face resembles an exhaust pipe), it makes up for it by providing a fun experience for the not so great golfer.

The good: At RM66 for 18 holes, it’s a good bargain course to play, definitely better than Harvard; good service and finally, good buggies; generous fairways to the slicer; probably a good place for the beginner to start hacking; the greens are actually quite reasonable, especially once they finish with the maintenance program.

The bad: Fairways are worn down; the rough is unkempt and bunkers are hard; aesthetically doesn’t do too much and makes you wonder the writers on their website are likely pot smoking chimps; make sure you don’t miss the small sign on the right or you’ll be heading to Harvard instead; the course traffic is quite high due to 9 hole walkers in the evening.

The skinny: 22 of 40 divots (55%). Par-maipura crawls into the middle tiered golf course, under the Not Too Shabby category. The winning factor of this course is the friendliness and the absolute Ginnifer kind of set up. It doesn’t intimidate or takes away your man hood: if you play reasonable golf, you can score here. Except for the fairway condition, and the lack of landscaping around the course, if you had to chose a club in this area that is not called Cinta Sayang, Permaipura is a good choice.

Permaipura Golf Card

Permaipura GCC Information

Address: Jln Permaipura 5, Riverside, 08100
Bedong, Kedah

Contact: +604-4594000

Fax: +604-4594500

Email: permai@po.jaring.my

Website: http://www.gentingplantations.com/golf/

Cinta Sayang GCR


Northern Malaysia is the home of a few possible gem of golf courses, and we’ve revealed courses like Bukit Jawi, despite having such atrocious service harking back to the service levels in the days of early neantherdals, as a picturesque and pleasant golf course to play in. Or Kulim Golf, with its neither here nor there kind of experience, but yet managing to evoke a positive review from our difficult to please, and not so talented Gila Golfers.

So this round, I’ve managed to include one of the top golf courses in this northern region into the family of Gila Golfed courses – Cinta Sayang Golf and Country Resort. Cinta Sayang in Malay means, Love and Affection, and although this sounds a little on the feminine side, the course by no means is a pushover. Whether it invoked Love and Affection from the affected golfer remains to be seen in this review.

Travel (3/5)

Unlike Permaipura, getting to Cinta Sayang is a snap, due to extremely large signs leading you, with an extremely generous font size to tell you exactly where to turn and how to get your itchy golfing butt to the course.


Simply, take the Sungai Petani North exit, and after the traffic light after the toll, turn left. Once you’re on that road, the signs will lead you through. Follow them like the wise men following the star to Jesus. Eventually, you’ll be led to a road where Cinta Sayang is and watch out for a right turning into Cinta Sayang Resort, and bam you’re there. It’s easy.

Price (4/5)

Initially, I called up Cinta Sayang and they said for a single golfer, having to pay for an entire buggy alone would be RM140, which to me, is simply quite expensive for a weekday golf in a region that’s so remotely up north, in a town that resembled New Zealand’s human population, which is slightly more than the number of tapirs found in the wild. I think. I might have slept through that National Geographic program on tapirs in the wild, but you get the idea.

But I called again and this time, bless her generous soul, a chirpy sounding girl on the other end said, “We have promotion today! Only RM122 for everything in!” RM122 is inclusive of the RM50 for the buggy, which generally, if you have 2 players sharing the buggy, you’d pay half of that, making the actual price about RM97, which is the price you get for Kinrara or some of the mediocre courses back in KL. In fact, even Monterez charges more expensive than that, probably with the entirely mistaken view that the course is actually worth that much. It’s not. It’s still a Mickey mouse course that will eventually cause the death of a golfer by having so many fairways adjacent to each other.

Anyway, Cinta Sayang’s pricing wasn’t extremely cheap, but still for a golf with this much reputation, it was a good price to pay.

First thoughts

Taking in the first look of the course on hole 1, you see an extremely inviting fairway just looking back up at you, with fairly matured trees lining both side of the fairway and not a single drop of dreaded water. This is a Ginnifer Starting hole. For those at loss for this sort of description, please refer to our Staffield writeup. It’s one of those holes that doesn’t cause you to buckle at your knees because you know even with the ball in the trees, it’s still sparse enough for you to navigate a little to save the hole. So with confidence, you stride up to the tee and let fly a confident 210m drive straight down the reasonably manicured fairway.

So far, it’s Love and Affection still.

Service (2/5)

I think generally the service is fair. It took some time to get to the course because there wasn’t anybody at the counter for a while, but that could be a toilet break or something. Otherwise, the marshals etc were polite and understood the general urgency to get grumpy golfers on their way to the first tee. Two gripes that really took a bite out of the service quality: The conditions of the buggy were terrible and the course management is questionable. The former: Like the excruciating experience in Harvard, I was dumped into a buggy that was as responsive as a rotting corpse of an iguana being rolled over continuously by speeding tankers. As in, it’s those old school, petrol smelling buggies that persist in not starting until you press on the accelerator for 3-5 seconds and not stopping after you jam the breaks for 3-5 metres. I exaggerate on the second point, but the point is, the buggies are old. Not as terrible as Harvard’s ridiculous buggies, but it’s like comparing a 300 kg and 270 kg guy and talking about which one is healthier. I.e they are both probably not going to live past their next birthday if they don’t improve.

The latter: Cinta Sayang has a very unique tee off area. Usually, the 1st and 10th tee can be adjacent, much like Staffield. Cinta Sayang has the 1st tee, 10th tee and sandwich in between them is the 14th tee off. Now, this is unique in some ways, but annoying in other ways. I was blazing through the course on this particular instance. As in BLAZING. I finished my 11th hole in 1 hour 45 minutes. I was on a record speed of finishing 18 holes in 2 and a half hours. The course was empty, nobody in front of me at all.

But bam, once I hit the 14th tee in just over 2 hours, as if beamed into existence by Scotty from Star Trek, I saw a full flight in front of me. With two caddies. As in out of nowhere. I caught up with them and had to wait on the 15th and on the par 3 16th as they were teeing off and I observed to the caddy politely that I didn’t think there was any flight in front of me, and the starter has already mentioned that I was the first guy teeing off that afternoon.

You know when people are guilty of wrong doing? They avoid eye contact with you entirely. The caddy muttered some nonsense about too many afternoon flights, and after the last guy of the flight shanked his ball into the water, all of these 4 fellas started talking loudly, ignored my penetrating stare into their souls, and ambled away past me as if I did not exist. And for the last 3 holes, it took me as long to complete them as I did for the first 9 holes. As in, it was almost as if they were purposely playing slow just to skewer me.

I don’t really blame the flight, but more of the course management. They allowed a flight to tee off on the 14th hole simply for convenience. I don’t know if this is a club rule or not, maybe some Love and Affection fellas can correct me, but it’s annoying. And you can’t simply just cut into a flight like that and ignore my pleas to allow me to pass like I am some kind of Martian without any clothes on. I know 4 ball is priority, but come on, I was blitzing through the course, let me pass instead of juggling golf balls waiting for you to finish shanking.

Fairways (3/5)

I never thought fairways would be super for any courses that allowed the dreaded buggies to go onto them, and Cinta Sayang suffers from that fate. The fairway over all was well maintained and manicured, but no way resembled the perfect mats found in Tropicana, the former IOI Palm Garden or many of the top notch golf courses. I am not asking them to disallow buggies on the course, because that would mean we need to finally use our legs to move, which is very annoying as well: but simply, courses with buggies on the course is not going to be very nice. But aside from that, and from occasionally tracks on the fairways, it was well kept and well maintained, a healthy firmness and sponginess and lacking the bare “botak” spots in some other courses’ fairways.

Greens (3/5)

A premier course is always identified with exampalary greens: Saujana did a remarkable job back in Impiana, in of course, Saujana and in Beringin. Sorry, Berigin is not a premier course by any stretch of imagination, just the greens are nice. Cinta Sayang greens are OK, not amazing, but expectedly well maintained for a premium golf course. Variation wise there’s not much to be found, compared to the undulation of KRTU, the massiveness of Templer or the invisible breaks of Saujana. Character wise, the greens are simply functional, pretty straight forward putting. On the other hand, the consistency is very welcoming. The greens played fast, and was more or less similar in all the holes. It was great, but at the same time, started to give me the yips, once you know if you miss, your return putt might be longer than what is generally most comfortable (which for me is a 2 inch return putt).

Rough (4/5)

The rough was tough. The primary rough had heavy grass that latches on your club face to turn it and rough that allows your golf ball to settle in: all contributes to the fact that hitting the fairway is important to have Love and Affection on this course. But the good thing was the first cut of rough was more forgivable and many, many holes I played, I played from this first cut. The 4 fairway hits is not really indicative, because I played mostly from the first cut in most of the holes. Sand was in perfect condition so much so that I could actually use my sand wedge instead of my 60 degree or pitching wedge unlike most courses when the sand was hard and the sand wedge bounce would cause me to skull the ball into oblivion. Also, even with so many matured trees, you will hardly see the rough littered by annoying leaves that hides your balls. Through out the game, I could see the maintenance crews working hard to clean the course in these small but important areas. Unlike the idle gallery in Kinrara, these guys actually do their job. Good work, Love and Affection course.

Aesthetics (4/5)

Cinta Sayang is a mix of Impiana and Staffield. Staffield for playability, Impiana for looks. The first hole was a ho hum looking hole, but once passed that, Cinta Sayang unveils herself and you go, Wow. Second hole is a pretty par 5 crossing water, and coming to the first of many white bridges. It’s a nice touch. Instead of rotting wood colour, they painted all their wood bridges white. Like in Rivendell. Which does not really exist except in Middle Earth. For those wondering what the heck am I babbling about, never mind. Hole 5 had a paddock for horses to the left of the par 3. It’s empty now, I believe the last horse was finally killed by a random hook shot from a guilty golfer, but it’s there for historical aspect and quite pretty if there were only some white horses complimenting the white paddock.

Cinta Sayang opens up herself slowly. She doesn’t expose everything at first glance, the way some courses do, but as you play each hole, you glimpse some picturesque view of the course. And it’s not easy as well, because Cinta Sayang doesn’t have too much elevation, which usually contributes to the wow factor. It plays fairly flat, but it makes good use of the meandering lakes and rivulets and the criss crossing of white bridges all over the course. I always wanted to use the words meandering and rivulets in my reviews. It makes me sound like a novelist. Or a male Enid Blyton.

Fun Factor (3/5)

The fun could have easily been higher if not the the bad wait and traffic jam on the 14th onwards. It would be acceptable if it’s in the normal course of play. But these guys cut in! Is it legal in Cinta Sayang to just start your game on the 14th??  Is it legal to ignore the poor chinaman who wants to play quickly? Is it legal to smoke pot and drink petroleum?

Anyhoos, this time brain farts were minimum but still present. After a great first drive, my approach with a PW was woeful to start off a bogey. A hook into the woods, a second still in the woods and a third out, and a bad hybrid shot on the second hole par 5 set me up for a double. The 3rd was really a very good drive, so good in fact that I plopped it into the water on the left. From there, I played bogey golf until ending with 3 straight pars, thanks to two greens in regulation on the 7th and 8th hole. The 13th hole is really tough, its an uphill par 3 that requires almost two clubs more and hitting it accurately is the key, because the up and down is tricky due to a huge knoll on the green.

Beware the par 5 14th. I drove well but due to a blind drop on the fairway I had no idea how far it was to the water fronting the green. A good hit with a six iron was too good. Water. 4 on, two putt for 6. 15th and 16th are reasonably easy holes, but I missed a two footer on the 15th and a 3 footer on the 16th and was ready to throw my Rossa into the drink. At times, the hole looks smaller than a Fijian tadpole, which is 50x smaller than your normal tadpole, according to an unrecorded and unsponsored study of Fijian wildlife…anyway,the ball just refuses to go in!!! Ending hole 18th is a tricky dogleg right where if you push it too far right, you’re blocked. I still got up and down through some luck from there for Bogey. I know, up and down means par for most of you. I suck, so up and down for bogey and I’m ready to do a pole dance. Which I won’t, for the sake of humanity’s innocence.


Cinta Sayang didn’t disappoint. It sets itself up as the premier course in this region, and although Gilagolf still hasn’t hacked many courses up north, it can be safely assured that Cinta Sayang would be a great course to find yourself in. The pricing, taking into account splitting the buggy, is really competitive with the KL prices and you get better quality here. Really, with all the good courses in KL looking to cash in foreigners and marking up their price, it’s good if Cinta Sayang remains sub 100 for a walk in golfer.

The good: Get the promotion prices and you’re safely sub 100 if there is another person to split the buggy; very pretty course, generous fairways, and good design of the course requiring a variety of shots from the tee in terms of placing, accuracy or just plain bombing the big fairways;rough is well maintained and greens are consistent in speed.

The bad: The idea of allowing a flight to cut in on the 14th is simply not good practice any way you look at it; the buggies are on life support at the moment; greens aren’t extremely challenging; course lacks elevation; fairways struggles in patches to deal with skid marks of golfers driving like F1 racers.

The skinny: 26 of 40 divots (65%). It’s easy to recommend Cinta Sayang, especially if the price maintains. It’s a Ginnifer looking course that’s inviting, that’s pretty and welcoming to the golfer that hooks, claws, slice and splices his way through his game. Love and Affection time, baby.

Cinta Sayang Golf Card

Cinta Sayang GCR information

Address: Persiaran Cinta Sayang, 08000 Sungai Petani,
Kedah Darul Aman.

Contact: +604-441 4666 (12 lines)

Fax: +604-441 5600

Email: cintasayang@cintasayangresort.com

Website: http://www.cintasayangresort.com/cs_golf.html

Cinta Sayang Golf Card

Cinta Sayang GCR information