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 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



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



Cinta Sayang Golf Card

Cinta Sayang GCR information

Harvard GCC


It’s been a while since I got to play on any new courses, hence the gilagolf updates have been generally about analysis and random nonsense about anything under the sun, that probably have left fellow gilagolfers feeling a little delusioned about where this humble site is heading…fear not, as long as there remains a course to be hacked in (and if budget or sponsors permit) and out of Malaysia, gilagolf will continue to exist, to bring realistic reviews and crap courses to the light of day.

And here we have Harvard Golf and Country Club, the pride of Kedah. And just in case you’re wondering if there’s any association with this Harvard:

This will set your mind at ease:

The vast difference of class is only obvious if you scrutinize the awesome tradition in their entrance into their respective hallowed grounds. For the thick headed, I am obviously being incredibly sarcastic.

Actually, to give Harvard (the Kedah one) credit, they do have a reasonably OK website, which means it’s far better than most of the courses reviewed on this site. But they can forget about a random googler ending up in their site by searching ‘Harvard’, because it’s probably number 1,128,453 on the search list. More on the website later. Now, to the course!

Travel ( 2/5)

OK, if you’re gonna start a website, for goodness sakes, put some decent direction to your place. It’s not as if we know where the heck is this elusive Harvard golf course by reputation…or is it considered so exclusive that it needs to be hidden from the world?

But I’ll be honest here, I was actually searching for Permaipura Golf course to play, but because of Permaipura’s inability to place any obvious signs whatsoever to the transient golfer to see, I ended up shooting past and after seeing the Harvard Golf Course sign, quickly turned into it before I ended up at the border of Thailand. Great signs haven’t even been reviewed and your travel is already a 0.

Anyhoos, there’s always GPS (which I did not have) and it’s a straightforward, if not a little long: North South Highway. Head towards Sungai Petani. Pass Cinta Sayang on the right, wish you were playing there, then drive straight on and exit and the Sungai Petani (U) turnoff. ‘U’ stands for Utara, meaning North.  Once turned off, turn right at the traffic light, and keep going the trunk road. You will pass a small town eventually and just look for the signs that says Harvard on the right. Turn right and boom, you’re there. It’s a 2 for being straight forward and for collecting all the lost souls looking for that dratted Permaipura sign.

Price ( 2/5)

Saturday morning, I know, it’s not easy to get cheap price, even in KL. In kinrara, it would be around 100 plus with a voucher, and in Harvard, I got to play for RM60, with a buggy as well using my special voucher. It’s reasonable, but as we would later see, if it’s a reasonable course, but for a course that resembles UPM or worse, that horrendouse Royal Johor Crap Course we just played in late last year, RM98 (without voucher), is a tad bit steep.

First thoughts

The course is really old. In fact, it was built in 1927, making it one of the oldest golf courses in Malaysia…Royal Selangor could be the oldest at 1893, but I am told there is another older course, I don’t know where. But hey, 1927 is 84 years old, which is pretty long, so there’s gotta be some pretty good tradition here and hopefully the review won’t bash the course up too badly.

First of, the course looked extremely familiar….it could have been UPM, or God forbid, the Royal Johor Course, in which case it would be better to simply apply electrocution to oneself than to play on such courses, but I suppose old golf courses pretty much resemble the same.

Service ( 2/5)

Now, the service was pretty ok, as the girl behind the counter was kind enough to find me a solution when the buggies were all out. After giving her my standard story of driving all the way from KL to play on the great Harvard course, the oldest course in Kedah with all it’s fine tradition, she convinced the marshal to hand me his buggy to put me on my merry way. So why 2? Because aside from the good human service, the rest of the service, especially the buggies, are as lousy as TMNet’s customer service, which generally is just lower than being serviced by a rabid hyena frothing from disease. The buggies, all made in 1927 using pulley systems, takes at least 10 seconds to crank up and start. I am NOT kidding. In fact, the poor guy I was playing with, Edward, with his wife were stuck with a buggy that took twice as long as mine to crank up. We would each respectively step on our throttle and wait, while chit chatting about politics and see which buggy starts up first. They definitely take being the ‘oldest’ course in Kedah seriously. At times, you just wish you had a hole on the buggy floor so you can Flintstone your way through the dratted course.

Fairways (2/5)

You really cannot expect a whole lot from a course that calls itself Harvard. I am not even going to go further on why the name is after the most prestigious instituition in the entire history of the known world, next to Penang Char Kueh Teow. The fairways were not atrocious (please, bring back memories of the mother of all crap course, Bukit Beruntung), it was functional cow grass, but nothing much in terms of proper maintenance.

Greens ( 4/5)

Of all the surprising thing I learnt in this trip, and this includes the fact that the Lorong Selamat Char Kueh Teow in Penang is actually crap, the greens in Harvard is actually very good. And I don’t mean it in a sarcastic sense. I expressed my surprise (akin to finding a diamond ring in the middle of a pile of cowdung) and my member playing partner, Edward (the one who had to crank his buggy 20 seconds) proudly declared that the greens were the pride of Harvard. Which is really saying something, because as I looked around Harvard, it does seem to labour somewhat to maintain the course with a total of 1 person in the payroll. The greens, though a little slow, were consistent through the course and had very good roll. The undulation also gives some variety and overall, very nice experience on the greens.

Rough (1/5)

The rough was bad though. Leaves strewn all over the place, it’s obvious that maintenance budget has been slashed to under RM100 per year, poor guys. The one thing I found extremely annoying were the bunkers. They were absolutely horrible. The size of rocks and stones there made it impossible to hit a bunker shot without denting the clubs, and in one instance I did. From then on, it was an auto matic free drop whenever it entered a bunker. And of course, the eternal fight with wild boards continue. Almost every hole bears the battle scars, wild boars digging up the rough, looking for grubs. I hate you, wild boars! I’ll make a soup out of your entire species!! But still, the course has the prerogative to defend itself against these attacks and sadly, Harvard utterly failed. Come on, Harvard. If you excel in the green, it doesn’t mean you need to balance your Yin and Yang with horrendous rough. Why can’t you stay excellent for all time??

Aesthetics (2 /5)

There is a saying of ‘growing old gracefully’, which is to say, people who get older looks better. Harvard isn’t one of them. Frankly, the aesthetics wasn’t extremely ugly, nor was it very pretty. It’s simple. If you have rubber trees as part of your landscaping, you are not going to look very nice. Harvard has live rubber trees that are still being tapped as part of its course. Not funny when it stinks. And there are certainly some holes that purely stank of wild boar shit. The rough was of course, full of evidence of the wild boars, so it has to be their crap that filled the air. Yuck.

The saving grace is the Guthrie nine. The first hole of Guthrie nine actually looks nice, with towering, aged trees lining the fairway. It gets slightly prettier with some water features in the later holes, but they were all stagnant.

The worse is the last hole, par 5 on Guthrie. It is UGLY. It’s not a pretty hole at all. First of all, from the tee, you can only see the fairway as it hills over the other side. Once crossed the hill, you have the awesome sight of one ugly club house and a horrendously underwhelming green protected by a murky swamp, and lined with skeletons from dead golfers. What a rubbish ending, Harvard.

And ok, you know how annoying it is when the website gives bad information, or outrightly lies about their course. Which is why gilagolf is here, as the beacon of truth to expose these lies. In the intro ( it says:

With its cool mountain air that calms the senses and hilly terrains that invigorate the soul, Kedah’s idyllic nature became popular amongst the northern elite.

That’s complete BS, sorry. What cool mountain air? The nearest mountain is the one you can see on the 16th, 17th hole, which is about 800 miles away. The last I remembered, I was being fried like a Vietnamese cockroach as I tried in vain to get my dratted buggy to start. And the terrain isn’t hilly at all. There’s hardly any elevation on the course, making it as mouldy as a 15 year old bread. It’s just a field that happens to have a few holes and flags. I don’t know about the northern elite, if it’s so, Harvard needs to revamp its images and fix their stupid buggies.

This is my favourite:

Where east meets west and modern convenience complements Mother nature, Harvard Jerai is your ideal gateway to relax and fraternise. Welcome to Harvard Jerai. The land where “Eagles” rest, stay and play.

I don’t get the east meets west. What the tarnation do you mean? Is there some sort of Chinese/Siamese influence in your architecture, along with british colonial designs? All I see is a hut for the club house that bears remarkable resemblance of my mechanic’s car workshop in Old Town. And really, if this isn’t another golf course that promotes ‘Eagles’ as if just by saying that word, it would turn us all hackers into ultra professional Tiger Woods golfers. Try it. “Eagle”. Darnit I am still duffing the ball!!

Fun Factor ( 2/5)

I ended up in Harvard by mistake thanks to Permaipura’s inability to direct lost golfers. Harvard isn’t extremely difficult, and the Guthrie nine does sport  huge expanses of fairways for some holes. I was scoring very well for the Guthrie, starting with 5 pars over 6 holes, and a chip in bogey save on the index 2 16th. I ended shooting my best 9 hole score at 39…which balanced out my terrible front nine of 48. There were many bail out opportunities in Guthrie nine, so I think for a guy with a crocked but reasonably long swing, it presents some scoring opportunities derived from lousy drives.

Was it fun overall? Not really. The rough was a real let down, coupled with badly maintained bunkers, I was just looking forward for the round to end eventually. The real letdown, was the ending hole on Guthrie. It’s as if the designers just sort of gave up on that hole and decided, heck it, the golfers are probably having mirages of Catherine Zeta Jones by now they won’t even know the difference if we put a chimpanzee in front of them.


Harvard is a mix bag. Some good stuff like the greens are real surprises, especially in such a secluded area that you’d think even David Livingstone won’t come. The customer service was friendly, but the buggy was crappy. The course overall was in ok condition, but when you have dirt roads and mud for your buggy track, you know that Harvard is probably not the right name to give this club.

The good: Travel is pretty deep in, but once there you can get on the course pretty quickly; the greens are in good condition and consistent throughout; Guthrie nine plays easier to me, and it looks way better than Jerai nine (Harvard nine is close, indefinitely, and the forest has reclaimed it).

The bad: The buggies truly suck, you need 10 seconds everytime you stop to restart it; rough is horrible, sand is unplayable; horrible ending hole on Guthrie; an absolutely daft name to call a golf course; aesthetically resembles the rearend of a Mongolian Llama, and a terribly deceitful website.

The skinny: 17 of 40 divots (42.5%). Wow, Harvard just avoided being categorized as Waste of Time and Money. This is a real borderline case. I don’t think I’ll ever return to Harvard unless forced to, but it really depends on how crap/good the other golf courses in this region is. Suffice to say, if you had the chance, you might want to try another course but if you get lost searching for Permaipura, I suppose this is a reasonable alternative to play on.

Harvard GCC Scorecard

Harvard GCC Information

Address:Harvard Golf Resort (Jerai) Berhad

Harvard Golf and Country Club

No 6 Persiaran Guthrie

Harvard Suasana Resort 08100 Bedong Kedah

Contact: +604-4586887

Fax: +604-4586782



Kulim GCR


Kedah is one of the northernmost part of Malaysia, almost to the Thai border, and home to a few golf courses that we always wanted to play but couldn’t find the time to do it. So some gilagolfers found themselves up north and had a choice to play Cinta Sayang or Kulim. I don’t know who the heck made the decision, but at the end, we all found ourselves headed to Kulim because it was closer to Penang, where we were staying.

IMG_1296.jpg picture by gilagolf

Travel ( 3/5)

To reiterate, this category of travel is fast becoming irrelevant. With the advent of google maps, you can get almost anywhere these days without depending on sh*tty maps that the golf courses provide. Seriously, here’s the map provided by Kulim.


What? This is as bad as Staffield’s map. I mean seriously, how many monkeys does it take to draw something like this? On the website, here are the actual directions:

“it is easily accessible via the 4-lane dual carriage Butterworth-Kulim Expressway which forms a part of the East-West Highway. This highway links Kulim Hi-Tech Park directly with the North-South Highway at the Seberang Jaya Intechange, Penang International Airport, the North Butterworth Container Terminal and the Penang Port.”

Umm. OK. Which part of directions to golf course is the writer missing here? He’s talking about the highway, for sakes! It just shows how tepid Malaysian golf course website writers, very much like our police force. Providing heaps of useless information, but never the relevant ones. OK, gilagolf directions:



There, simple. If you still can’t get it, I’ll assume you need it in Braille format. I don’t think you should be driving anyway.

IMG_1272.jpg picture by gilagolf

Price (3 /5)

We also selected Kulim because it was ridiculously cheap. With the weekday and with the top premier vouchers, we paid only RM30 per person, with buggy. RM30! That’s like dinner for me and my wife daily! Of course before you get too carried away, there’s probably a reason why this course is so cheap; aside from the fact that it’s pretty deep in. We’ll explore it later, but at RM30, it could be as bad as cowdung and we might still be able to forgive it.

IMG_1281.jpg picture by gilagolf

First thoughts

Kulim, at the first tee kinda reminded me of UPM, which makes sense. It looks like a jungle course, without any of the open spaces we had experienced in Bukit Jawi a  day earlier. Like UPM, with my cranky drive, my best bet would be to keep it in the fairway and keep it safe. Unfortunately, rain was pelting down as soon as we teed off, and we knew we were all going to be in for a long day.

IMG_1251.jpg picture by gilagolf

Service (2 /5)

Not much experience with the service, except the lady at the counter took an exceptionally long time to register us. There was about 3 flights over all, to be fair to her, and after that debacle at Bukit Jawi (where halfway through our case, the woman declared she had to eat lunch and left), Kulim was at least good enough to get us onto our buggies and into the course before we started to grow a beard each…including the ladies.

And….NO CADDY!! YEAAY! I like courses without caddies to bother you and think of how much to tip them.

IMG_1278.jpg picture by gilagolf

Fairways (3 /5)

With the downpour, fairways were soggy. To be fair to Kulim, it fared a little better than say, KRTU when it rained. At least we had minimum embedded balls, and more importantly, no casual water. In fact, the drainage was very good.

Don’t expect too many broad fairways in Kulim. It plays a little tight, especially the north course, so it might be wise to hone up your three-wood off the tee.

IMG_1255.jpg picture by gilagolf

Greens ( 1/5)

While the fairways survived the pelting rain, the greens did not fare very well. Due to poor maintenance, the greens were inconsistent. Some were sanded, some had grass as long as the fairway, and some both. I guess maintenance is pretty expensive, and judging by the amount of traffic we saw there, I don’t think there were too many people playing this course. Then again, I bet at 5, those managers from the surrounding factories in Kulim Hi-tech park will pour out into the course and hack it up.

IMG_1259.jpg picture by gilagolf

Rough (1 /5)

You can always tell by the bunkers and boy the bunkers are really not so great in Kulim. Aside from the rocks threatening to scratch and split your clubs, it was just hard packed dirt. In fact, there was once I actually putted out of the bunker onto the green! True it was raining, but there was also overgrown grass at the side, so hitting a couple into it, it was a hard search for the balls.

IMG_1269.jpg picture by gilagolf

Aesthetics (2 /5)

Surprisingly, Kulim actually looks nice. We caught it on a gloomy day for sure, so I’m thinking if there was sun, and we had some shadows, it would definitely be worth a shot. Elevation helps. Like Jawi, some drops were pretty extreme.

The first tee will require a precise cut into the middle, before it opens up to the green. I smashed my first shot so far right, I think I killed a kelapa sawit worker. The par 3 3rd in the North course is a hooker’s nightmare, with water on the left, but reminded me very much of the second hole in Bangi. Perhaps the most picturesque hole on the course is the par 3 7th on the North course. It’s an intrepid 185 meters from the elevated tee to the semi island green. It’s definitely not something we want to try with the rain pelting down.  But amazingly, everyone got on the green from my flight. Behind our flight, the 4 guys all crashed and burned in the water.

IMG_1267.jpg picture by gilagolf

From there, the course sorts of meander on with pretty much the same scenary, till we reach the 18th hole on the east course, again a textbook par 4 reminiscent of the par 4 hole in Bangi where we try to smash one –on from an elevated tee. I think it’s a great ending hole, so kudos to Kulim…you have passed the Gilagolf aesthetic test! Now we certify that your course does not look like a piece of dung.

IMG_1286.jpg picture by gilagolf

Fun Factor ( 2/5)

Fun? It was hard to have fun in a british open weather like the one that caught us. It might have been a great round, otherwise, so we’ll just leave it at 2. The par 3 was really an eye opener, but aside from that and aside from the ending hole, there wasn’t much wow in Kulim. It’s sort of a mixture of UPM, Bangi  and Kundang kind of lay out.

IMG_1263.jpg picture by gilagolf


This review does sound a little languid. Kulim is one of those courses that’s neither here nor there. You can’t really get too angry with a club that’s willing to let you play for 30RM and not have a crowd. So in that sense, Kulim was an easy, relaxing experience. As for it being premium and having a wow factor, it doesn’t. It’s there, it’s just like one of the peripheral characters in a movie that you don’t really notice or care for. It’s Lando Clarisan to Han Solo, it’s Sallah to Indiana Jones, it’s that tribal leader’s best friend in Avatar, I don’t even know his name. Darn, he sure is obscure.


The good: Price is cheaper than most of your haircuts; travel isn’t too difficult; surprisingly reasonable fairway and interesting aesthetics; good par 3 7th and a good ending hole to take home.

The bad: Greens are not well kept; rough is also unkept, and bunkers not well maintained; pretty much ordianary layout, reminiscent to Kundang and Bangi; why did we travel to Kedah again?

The skinny: 17 of 40 divots (42.5%). We do recommend Kulim, if you are in the area and you’re a little tight on moolahs or have spent it all in Penang makan. It offers a reasonable experience of golf, nothing more.

IMG_1257.jpg picture by gilagolf

Kulim GRC Information

Address:Pesiaran Kulim Golf,
Kulim Golf & Country Resort,
Kulim Hi-Tech Park, 09000
Kulim, Kedah Darul Aman,

Contact: +604-4032828

Fax: +604-4032888