Thistle Port Dickson Golf Club


Long time ago, there was once a course called Guoman Golf Course in Port Dickson. The name ‘Guoman’ immediately would evoke some confused looks amongst us, because it sounded like ‘Go-men’, in short, in Malaysian speak, ‘Government’, in short, evoking immediate ridicule. After the sarcastic laughter has died down, and the invariable diatribe on how our government might be spending their time playing golf and sucking badly at it, we would wonder how this golf course actually is.

Well, we finally had a chance. To give credit, Guoman has nothing to do with our beloved government at all. But after experiencing probably only 2 – 3 people staying there the whole year thanks to its association, management decided to change its name to ‘Thistle’ and from there, experienced a boom of about 655,675,342% increase in hotel booking.

Travel (3/5)

Travel is actually quite easy. However, Google Map points to the wrong hotel and wrong area, so be careful. Basically for those of you who knows Port Dickson, it’s basically one long stretch of road. We used to refer it to what ‘mile’ what ‘mile’, as if we understood or could gauge which mile were we at. Nowadays with the advent of free GPS in waze and Google Maps, it has rendered all this ‘mile’ speak obsolete. From Seremban, hit the Port Dickson Highway, and once at the end of the highway at the roundabout, take left, and just follow the road until you see the word Thistle on the right. It’s easy, but Thistle should really correct their position on Google map properly.

Price (3/5)

Thistle Golf is a nine hole course, that set me back RM40. Now mind you this is for walking, so if you need the buggy, that’s an additional RM40, so you’re looking at RM60 or RM80 depending if you are playing alone or not. RM40 is not bad for a nine hole course. Take a trolley though. The course itself is walkable. There is a bit of hill here and there, but nothing a fit golfer who is around 150% overweight and probably on the high side of cholesterol can’t handle. Besides walking should be good for you.

First thoughts

The first thoughts is actually quite positive, strangely. I suppose it comes with the territory, that I have such low expectations of Port Dickson golf courses. I think this stems from my experience with Royal Palm Springs Port Dickson, where you just want to bleep out every letter in that course name except for ‘Dick’. Royal Palm Springs, from my last experience is the biggest piece of dung ever existed in the directory of Malaysian Golf courses, and could rival the horrendous TUDM course of Kuantan as the worst Golf Course in Malaysia.

So when I step foot in Thistle and saw the Bermuda patch of grass (please note, we actually don’t quite know what the fishcakes is Bermuda grass. Anything that is NOT cowgrass, is automatically categorised as Bermuda grass.) Anyways, the fairway is NOT cowgrass. Or if it is, it certainly had me fooled. Anyway, the first 3 wood I hit landed smack on the fairway and it sat up invitingly for me to hit. It’s quite a good conditioned golf course. So, like its bigger brother, the Port Dickson golf course, it made a first good impression.

Service (3/5)

There’s seriously not much to service. It’s a nine hole golf course. It has no fuss at all. I went to the counter, said I wanted to play. The lady behind languidly asked if I needed the buggy, I said no, she said RM40, I gave her and she said OK, and went back to playing her Candy Crush. From there, I had no more experience with another human being until I left the course after an hour and a half. The ENTIRE course was devoid of life. At one point I was quite afraid I would be robbed especially in the 6th hole, which is frankly extremely deserted.

Fairways (2/5)

The fairway on the first hole was in a good condition. However, as the course progressed on, it got increasingly worse. Not to say anything, but I suppose it’s the fact that the course has so little traffic and so little maintenance. Some parts were dug up by our eternal nemesis, the wild boar. Some parts simply didn’t had the capability to sustain the grass, and in some areas, the fairway was allowed to grow long. Now, Thistle is a very narrow course, with forbidding trees surrounding it. However, compared to the absolute horror show of Frasers Hill course, it is quite good. I’d say, it’s like a cousin of Bukit Unggul, except in better condition.

Greens (3/5)

The greens were actually quite playable. Very slow, which is expected, since it wasn’t pressed properly, but at least it wasn’t in a horrible condition. It’s reasonable, although there were patches here and there. The only issue is that the greens were boring. As in, most of it were flat. As in, it’s like putting at home in the putting mat. Not much break or variation, except for the 8th hole Par 3, where a coconut tree decided to grow in the middle of the putting green. I mean it’s more novelty than anything else since it didnt really affect play.

Rough (2/5)

Bunkers were not in good condition. The rough was rough. I mean, if you don’t hit the fairway, that’s it, good luck in finding your ball. While again, it wasn’t in such a carwreck like Frasers, the course puts a lot of pressure on you finding the fairway. In many instances, I took out a 3 wood instead, just to get the ball out of the rough.

Aesthetics (2/5)

Thistle is not a pretty course. It’s a good enough course for you to have a reasonable round of golf when you have nothing much to do in Port Dickson, but in terms of aesthetics, it’s mostly wooded. It’s a pity, because again, it doesn’t take advantage of the fact that you are next to the ocean. Or straits, or whatever. Only in one hole, 7th, we can catch a brief glimpse of the sea at the tee box. And that’s it. After that, it’s back to fairways bordered with trees and forests.


Fun Factor (2/5)

As mentioned, Thistle is a reasonable practice for golf accuracy. For those who like to grip and rip, like myself, this was a test of golf constipation. It’s like we have a big pile of crap that has to come out but when you look at the fairway, it’s like, trouble left, trouble right. For a course next to the sea, it uses precious little water as hazard, only the first hole, 5th and the 8th has any semblance of water hazard. But the treelines are forbidding. Not so much that you can’t hit there, but when you do, whether you want to risk it to go and look for a ball or risk having your human balls snapped by a cobra.

Furthermore, a thunderstorm was chasing me, so I literally had to run between shots to finish the game. Now, this is obviously not the golf course fault, but obviously it affected my game a little. Besides that, the course was open, so you can play as much as you want, but I would warn against single women who want to play there. Many of the holes are extremely isolated from civilisation, and I would not recommend any lady going to hit balls there alone without having someone else.

Was it fun? Yes and no. I played a reasonably good game despite half jogging. I didn’t quite like the two par 3s side by side, or the fact that the course had 3 Par 3s for a 35. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good Par 3, but too many here. First hole has to be navigated with a 3 wood and avoid the right water. The second hole is a long Par 5 which requires some navigation around the bend. The third is a short par 4 once you cut the slight dog leg, where by 3 wood only left me 50 meters to the hole.

The most challenging is the index 1 6th. This is a par 5, and one of those with trouble on the left (OB). I took out my driver and was too lazy to change to 3 wood, so I smacked mine way right. Luckily it was long enough to borrow the green of the next hole 7th and I found my ball, after which I proceeded to double bogey it. Hole 7 again is a short par 4 where my Wood 3 left me again with a 50 meter shot, which I promptly skulled.

Finally, the par 3 8th is a picturesque one, over water and with a coconut tree growing in the middle of the green.

The ending hole, finally I could whip out my driver, a simple dogleg left hole, which was not exceptional except for the fact that I had to sprint all the way in order to beat the rain.


Honestly, for a nine hole, Thistle is actually very functional. For a more satisfying round, I would recommend 18 holes at the PD golf course (NOT the dang Royal Palm Springs). But if you only have around 2 hours to spare, and want to have a walk, Thistle is a very good alternative. I’d recommend it, but not for ladies playing alone.

The good: Reasonably priced; easy access; quick service that gets you on the course; reasonably conditioned fairways and greens

The bad: Boring aesthetics; rough is dangerous in my opinion as in God-Knows-what-the-heck-is-in-there dangerous; flat greens makes putting a yawnful affair; doesn’t take advantage of seaside location;a little too isolated in some holes for a single golfer.

The skinny: 20 of 40 divots (50%).

Not bad for a golf course previously associated with Goumen. I did not really expect too much, and in reality, it didn’t really surpass my expectation much. It did not offer a lot actually, but what it did offer was functional golf, challenging for the accuracy, and something for you to escape a 2 hour window in.

Thistle Port Dickson Golf Club Scorecard

Thistle Golf Information

Address: KM16 Jalan Pantai, Teluk Kemang, 71050 Si Rusa, Port Dickson 71050

Contact: +606 648 2828

Fax: +606 662 7999



Port Dickson Golf & Country Club


Port Dickson used to be etched in the mind of everyone in my generation. Kids these days only know Port Dickson as a backwater town with filthy beaches and mutated sea water creatures; but back in the 80s, it was a holiday haven for city folks looking to get out of town for a relaxing weekend at the beach. If Brisbane had her Gold Coast, then KL had her Port Dickson.

I remember going there with my dad and brother, swimming or playing on the beach, having church retreats at Ming Court Hotel, or family holidays at the Si Rusa Inn. We would also have our dinners at that restaurant that was next to the beach, I forgot the   name of it, which now has long since been abandoned. Ah, PD, good memories.

However, in the 90s, cosy old PD fell into hard times and many of these well beloved places were abandoned. The grand Ming Court Hotel is an empty shell that looked as if it had been blasted by German airplanes in the world war. Si Rusa is also no more and that unnamed restaurant has only pillars blackened by the smoke of Mordor standing. In other words, the nostalgia of Port Dickson was gone.

Nowadays, we still have some decent hotels there, and the Pantai road can be jammed up as Port Dickson strives to recover back yesteryears’ glory. I hope it does.

Anyway, enough of these ramblings. Back to golf.

Port Dickson, despite it being just around an hour plus away from KL, for some reason, doesn’t have many golf courses. I am aware of 3: Thistle’s 9 hole course, the Port Dickson Golf Course and Royal Palm Springs. I’ve played in Royal Palm Springs before, and my recollection was that it was possibly as good as having a garden hoe stuck up your nose and being electrocuted in you’re a*se continuously for 48 hours. Plus the last time I went there, they discriminated against me saying that a bunch of Koreans had booked out the entire golf course and no Malaysians allowed…even at that time, NO ONE was playing. So since then, I can’t wait to get back there and rate the course lower than TUDM.

For this trip to PD, I decided to go for Port Dickson Golf Course. I’ve heard that it’s in a horrible condition, especially after rain, and I especially took care that I went right after a downpour, to see how bad it really was.

Travel (4 /5)

Unlike the Royal Palm Springs or even Thistle which requires a drive deeper into Port Dickson, the PDGC is located literally next to the exit of Seremban-PD highway. To get there it is the easiest thing to do. Go and hit the Seremban-PD highway, and speed all the way to the end. At the end of the highway, turn right, travel like 200 meters and then PDGC is on your right. It’s so ridiculously easy that you don’t even need to think about it.

Price (2/5)

I wasn’t too chuffed with the price. I paid RM87 to play on a weekday. OK, to clarify I was playing alone so I had to have my own buggy. The pricing is a little weird. If I preferred to walk, it was only RM28, but had to do it after four. So I had to get my buggy, which brought it up to RM60, and then I had to pay an additional 1 and a half buggy to jack it up to 87. I didn’t quite understand it, since obviously the registering lady’s mathematics was way better than mine, she just calmly said, RM87 please. I was like, Jeez, just put me out in the course already, so I didn’t really sit there to argue. But, no, on hindsight, I should have asked what the heck was I paying for, at RM87, it was only RM3 less than Impiana using a voucher! Whaaat….although I did feel ripped off by the time I reached the 15th hole, I was way past the point of dispute, and I was rushing the game anyway, so , what the heck.

First thoughts

I have to admit, I thought this would challenge TUDM as the crappiest piece of trash course in all of Malaysia. This is solely based on unfounded rumours that the PDGC has been taken over by cannibalistic beavers that roam the courses at twilight. So I was a little surprised that even after a huge downpour in the morning, I stepped onto a …. Golf course on hole 1. Aside from the semi-retarded pricing, this was quite unexpected, and once again proved to me that I should never put too much faith on rumours consisting of cannibalistic beavers.

The first hole was an inviting, flat fairway, which I promptly nailed it, and duffed my 9 iron approach again…and we’re off.

Service (2/5)

Aside from the registration and pricing mix up, the maintenance of the course was found wanting…the buggy tracks were horribly patched up. That, compounded with a buggy that does not have auto-brakes, nearly conspired to fling me out a few times from the rattling buggy. I know, I shouldn’t be driving so fast…but a buggy without limits? Wow, how often does that occur? There was also no Marshal to be found, when I found myself growing perceptibly older behind 3 elderly gentlemen who took so long with their game, I was ready to load a pistol into my mouth, if I could find one in the bottom of Port Dickson, since this is where our Police Force usually drop their guns.

So anyways, behind these three elderly molasses, I had no recourse to speed up and they refused to let me through, so I just waited and waited and waited…and weirdly started playing better.

Fairways (2/5)

The fairways were surprisingly sturdy, even after the rain and so I originally put in 3/5. However, as I made the turn to the back nine, there were simply too many bald spots to overlook and although much better than I originally anticipated, the cow-grass fairway was well maintained, and even had tufts of Bermuda around. At least that’s what I think. I’m not a grass expert or a cow. In anycase, the front nine maintenance was fine, but the back nine just had too much hacked up areas to pass for a good fairway. Possibly due to the rain, and the fact that the back nine probably is easier for the walking customers to play on (it plays relatively flatter than the front), probably these were the reasons why the wear and tear on the back nine seems a little more pronounced.

Greens (3/5)

If anything else, the greens were another surprise from PDGC. When I was driving through the road leading to the clubhouse (or what passed for one), I was lamenting to myself the uneven patches of grass colour on the greens. It’s never a wise thing to judge a book by its cover, because the first green that I putted on, I putted so hard (thinking that the green was awful slow), that my ball just keep rolling and rolling for a 3 putt start. The greens, strangely, plays a lot better than other courses like Kinrara, or Monterez or, probably it’s closest local cousin: Kundang Lakes. Well maintained in most holes, they were also consistent throughout, and the final hole 18 green was reminiscent of the torturous greens of Rahman 9th hole/18th hole or take-your-pick greens in KRTU. It was steep, and invited a 3 putt, which I promptly accepted for my final bogey of the day. Overall, well done, PDGC!

Rough (3/5)

The bunkers were generally well kept and hardly any casual water flooding them. You must take into account the morning downpour, which makes the drainage more impressive. I didn’t experience those soggy rough like Perangsang, where you step onto the rough and suddenly, your shoes look like they were dipped in Milo or Teh Tarik. In fact, possibly the most surprising thing (out of many surprises) that PDGC served up was how it played so respectably DESPITE the morning rain. It wasn’t a drizzle, it was a bucket load of water that God poured down into the course and yet, it was sustainable.

Aesthetics (2/5)

It wasn’t so much of the course, than the limitations that it had to put up with. The aesthetics were ho-hum at best. Let’s see. If given an analogy, it’s like a girl who is neither pretty nor god-awful ugly. But growing up, she unfortunately couldn’t afford braces or a good dermatologist, so she ends up at 21 with crooked teeth and pock marks from pimples. She tries to hide it by not smiling so much, tilting her hair over her other part of her face, and goes out with heavy makeup. In some areas, she succeeds, in some lights, it almost makes her pretty…but yet, she’s not.

Port Dickson Golf and Country is like that. This is the girl who will never be beautiful, yet, she tries to be. She attempts at flirtation in an awkward manner, her gait is not correct, her speech is unrefined. She pretends to be calm and collected, yet she fiddles and paces like a bird in a cage. She is plain, but strives to be more.

You can see some parts of the course has a good idea…like the par 5 9th, with a good drive to get you over the hill, that opens up to a good view of the green. Or the final hole 18th, with a great bail out on the left, and a sloping green with a bunker to the front. The pretty hole 16, with flower beds and stone bridge, crossing through an upside down L-shaped fairway. Of the 17th semi-island green. There were attempts at elevation, such as on the 2nd, on the 8th, with a high tee off area looking down.

But yet, aesthetically, it misses the mark. The rivers are muddy, the cart path in dire need of repair, the fairways balding, the lakes still and uninviting, the swamp eating into the par 5 12th, which played like a horseshoe with a double dogleg. It tries, but it has little to work with. It is PD golf club, but it makes no attempt to include the ocean and beach in its design. Instead, it opts for a hilly front nine, and a munincipal flat back nine… it is functional, but plain.

Fun Factor (3/5)

It’s hard not have fun when I got into a run midway through the front, where I played the next 8 holes at 2 under with 6 pars and 2 birdies. I never played such a length of holes like that before. It was like I suddenly turned into Tiger, starting with a long drive on the 5th, then closely missing my 4 foot birdie on the 6th after stiffing in a five iron. I got my birdie in the next hole, when my sand wedge 3rd shot got me to 1 foot of the hole. I got my next birdie on the 9th, when my lob wedge stiffed 4 feet and my put dropped for my first multiple birdie game of….I don’t know probably 3 years? My best par was also my last, where I skulled my nine iron 3rd shot to a bunker of the par 5, and I putted out of that bunker to 7 feet and saved a sandy par.

Then all of a sudden, it was gone. It was as if some sort of magic left, and for the last six holes I played like how I always played: like a nut. Missing easy putts, and duck hooking my drive on 15th and 18th, and shanking my stupid 8 iron on 17th. AUGH! I don’t know what in blardy name is wrong with me, its like after being possessed by Tiger’s spirit, I then proceeded to hack around like a baboon having an apple stuffed up its red rear-end.

I did have  a lot of fun playing with some of the club’s members in the back nine. Very friendly folks, the people in PDGC, we chatted a bit and they gave me some local tips on yardage and clubs to use. It would prove invaluable in a few holes where I would have over or underclubbed.

Feature wise, the course is definitely narrow than some out there, so if crooked drives are your thing, you might struggle a little in this course.

Another feature is that if you do get a hole in one in the par 3s, there will be a tree planted in your honor. No kidding! Ask Mr Eum Seon Hee!


Despite strong rumours that this club is worse than Royal Palm Springs, I am glad to say that it’s not. PDGC is actually a very functional club, and owing to its extreme ease of access, and right next to the exit (or entrance) of the Seremban-PD highway, it can either by a quick round before heading back to KL or a quick round when you come into PD, without having to go through the trunk roads to the other courses. It’s probably the most surprising little club of all, after hearing how bad it was. The downpour had me thinking the worse, but instead it was on the contrary. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still by no means a top class golf club, but given it’s little stature in what was considered a backwater town (which now is bustling again), it does very well for itself, and definitely worth a try. If they can sort out the pricing at around RM60 for walkin, it would be even better.

The good: Accessibility is an ease; the course held well despite heavy rain in the morning; greens are excellent in terms of bang for buck; the aesthetics, while plain does offer some interesting challenges, like long par 3s and extreme dog leg on one of the par 5s; members are friendly; holes are also designed some for an accurate 3 wood, as it plays narrow for the most part.

The bad: The back nine fairways are fairly hacked up; pricing is also questionable not so much of their integrity than their inability to count; aesthetics is like eating cornflakes in the morning – no fuss, just function.

The skinny: 21 of 40 divots (52.5%). PD should be teeming with golf courses if it wants to rebrand itself as a resort town or a getaway, but instead gives us 2 and a half. If there’s a throw between Palm Springs and PDGC, take the latter. It’s worth a try, after the improvements done to the course, and possibly the only decent golf course stretching across PD and Seremban. It’s a go!

Port Dickson Golf & Country Club Scorecard

 photo portdicksonscore_zps93d47c61.jpg

PDGCC Information

Address: Batu 5 1/2 71050 Si Rusa, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

Contact: +606 64731 123

Fax: +606 6474 949


Gilanalysis 15: Staffield West and South


Gross: 95

Net: 75

Verdict: I don’t understand why my clubs don’t come to work together?

What Happened + Mini Review

Staffield has always been a course that pretty consistently gives us high marks. Surprisingly, this is the first time I ever got a chance to review the West course. So aside from a gilanalysis, this is going to be a mini review of Staffield West. So away we go!

Some courses are easy on the eyes, the same way some women are, or some cars are: they don’t overwhelm you with massive good looks and just welcomes you home like a best friend, neither do they resemble a discarded banana skin on their best day. Case in point:

Something homely like Ginnifer:

vs something not so homely:

You don’t ever wanna get caught in a course that resembles the second one….take that, Bukit Beruntung, Frasers and Selesa Hills!

Staffield is Ginnifer Goodwin, welcoming, relaxed, homely…like a guy’s best girl friend whom you won’t fall in love with, but whom you like to hang around and talk crap to and crack stupid jokes with. Ah, good old college days.

I digress. Once you are on the first tee on the homely, inviting, best friend Ginnifer West course, you’ll be watched by no less than 20 people (as the tee off for the North course is NEXT to you), but looking at the HUGE fairway on the opening par 5 will make you feel a whole lot better…and we did, with each of us stripping down the fairway and strutting to our buggies like we were pros. Obviously, we all descended into the duffing, topping and whiffing hackers we all are in reality after that. But hey, first tee jitters: BEGONE!

The second hole is an inviting straight par 4, which after a good drive, I was set up with an 8 that I proceeded to duff. 3 on, 3 putted and back to life, back to reality of Golf Hacking.

The par 4 third is a really very picturesque hole, with water on the left of the green, and a grand view over the next hole, which has an intimidating tee shot for hookers. Thankfully I have seemed to graduate from a hooker on my misses to a slicer…which might seem like a strange progress, but it’s true what they say, you can talk to a fade but not to a draw, meaning, slice misses seems a little better for me in keeping the ball in play. I mean, have you ever duck hooked before? It doesn’t stand a chance, it just goes 50 meters or so and skitters into a drink or kills someone in the next flight. A banana slice miss at least goes further and higher, and at least you can align yourself for that miss. It probably makes no sense, but nothing much in my golf game makes sense.

At this point, after starting with a par, I have proceeded to make a mess of my irons and my putts to double bogey 3 holes, before sorting out with a bogey on the par 5 5th, a narrow tee shot that opens up considerably after that. It’s surrounded with forest so, as usual, keep the dang ball on the fairway and you’ll manage this.

The par 3 8th (like the one on southern) is probably the best looking hole for us. It’s a short par 3 at 130 meters, with water on the left, and an elevated tee shot. I didn’t take a picture because a phone call came, but trust me, it’s still an intimidating 130 meters to the green.

The last hole, like Southerm requires you to blast past the water to the dogleg right, elevated green, which makes it awesomely hard to reach in two. But it passed what we call ‘Last Hole Test’, which is to make sure the final hole doesn’t resemble the underside of a toilet seat (such as Harvard’s final hole), so people leave with good impression. Staffield West is a must play.

Why I Sucked

Putts. It doesn’t look like I had too many 3 putts, but I made a lot of good chips that stopped within 3-5 feet of the hole. I missed, I think 3 3 footers, and 2 more within 4-5 feet. Putts I should be making in my sleep just didn’t fall.Plus the greens were devilish. Not bad, but difficult, for some reason. The speed was quick on the first few holes, and then it slowed down considerably, causing us to putt like lizards on cocaine.

IRONS. Especially my stupid pitching wedge, 9 iron and 8 iron. These are scoring irons, the bread and butter of golfers. And I managed to play HORRENDOUS with them. Two GIRs means CRAP irons. While my driver was working overtime, my iron days was best summed up on the easy hole 14. I had about 110 meters left to the green. An easy pitching wedge in hand and I completely whiffed it into bunker. 15th, same, easy fairway 9 iron big pull to the left and a duff chip caused my double bogey. And hole 16, an easy pitching wedge again push right. I don’t get it…this never happens on the range, where I can hit 6/10 times the driving range green and come here to play like a Phillipino Tarsier being jabbed with morphine.

Not So Sucked

If there was a positive, driver would be it. I drove very well overall, except for a few bad ones here and there, but still managed to escape those due to the generosity and welcoming nature of Ginnifer Staffield. My driver distance has been shortened due to my insistence on playing for a fade instead of draw, so that my misses are slices instead of hooks (read above for a full dissertation of this amazing strategy), but I’m getting it more in play, and I am SURE sooner or later, when my putting, driver, irons and short game come together, I will be able to pull of a 39 on a 9 hole like I did in Harvard. Some day.

What to Work On

I am almost this close to giving up practicing on the range, and save up my money to buy an iphone or something. It’s quite useless to play so well on range and hack around like a grave digger when it actually matters. I was fortunate to be playing on a Ginnifer course today….if I brought this game to a discarded banana skin course like Bukit Beruntung, I would have shot like 10 strokes worse.

Staffield Country Resort


Update: 5-August 2011: As most of my readers know, I don’t generally revisit a golf course ratings and re-review the course, unless the following occurs:

1) Something so drastic happened that changed my mind on whether it’s better or worse

2) The course I gave a good rating to now resembles the rear end of a llama

Actually they are the one and the same. And Staffield, always noted for its nice course and challenging layout with tough greens and undulating fairways, now has the distinction of being re-reviewed: because of customer service that is so bad, it makes cat shit smell like roses. I have NEVER experienced such atrocity in what Staffield term as ‘customer service’ unless they are the Yakuza prying away your finger nails one by one.

Read on, in the ‘service’ category.

End Note

Staffield Country Resort has always been on our mind since the last time we played there a few years ago. What I remembered was this: it was a pretty course, and I played pretty well there, scoring an 89. Plus, it has always been voted as one of the top courses in Malaysia in terms of it’s design, maintenance and playability. Although we seriously doubt it would achieve the DAGTH status that courses like Datai, Palm Garden and Tropicana failed to achieve, we think it would give a good run, so away we went, merrily to Staffield.

Travel (1/5)

It’s one of those places where it’s like the mythical El Dorado. It’s always over the next mountain. Always over the next hill. I don’t recall much of my journey there the previous time, except that it wasn’t so simple. We came from Seremban toll, I think and spent some years circling around the area looking for El Dorado. So, this time, we made sure we researched and concluded that the easiest way was to come from the Nilai turn off. I.e Get onto the north south highway and head over the Seremban. As you pass the Nilai Memorial park, make sure you fill up with your nasi lemak and go further to the Nilai turnoff. From there, it looks pretty straight forward, doesn’t it?



Apparently, the person who created this map is either blind or an idiot. We forgive the former, but for the latter, we wish him a thousand golf balls heading straight at him like how the elves unleashed the arrows at the Orcs at the Siege of Helm’s Deep. Because here’s the actual map:


No I am not exaggerating. Two things that Malaysia do very well is map making and signs placing. In fact, when Staffield started, management gave the sign placers a total of six signs for directions to Staffield. You will see one sign at the Nilai toll. And for the next dozen miles or so, it’s empty wasteland, devoid of any information of Staffield. Here’s the actual direction:

After toll, take a left. Go along the road then take a right and another right at the lights. Look out for these rare signs, it’s like a bonus if you see it. Take another left and there you will be on a long road where you are left wondering if you are on the right one. Refrain from asking anyone for directions, because soon you will come across another sigh and you need to turn right. Then long road. And then left near the flyover. At this point you are so utterly confused at how WRONG the maps given by Berjaya (yes, this is the same management as that crap course Berjaya Hills), you are willing to run down the next cow you see crossing the road.

Another way is to take the Kajang Silk and hit the Sungai Ramal Toll, then pass the Bukit Kajang Toll. You are heading to Semenyih. Take the exit 1804 (or 1805), whatever, the Semenyih exit. You’ll hit a town that’s a throwback of prehistoric ages where dinosaurs co existed with men and we had velociraptors as pets. Keep going straight all the way and you should soon come upon Staffield on your right. It seems a lot easier but when there is a jam, (which is almost always, unless you are going through there at 5 am in the morning), that whole stretch becomes the major cause of automobile suicide.

Either way, we’re going to rate it a 1, since Berjaya map makers are obviously underpaid chimpanzees working frantically on typewriters.

Price (4/5)

I like the price. At RM45 under AGN card membership, we get to play at a very good course that is usually voted as one of the country’s top courses. We were lucky too because when we came, there was some kind of tournament and a caddy shortage caused us to tee up without the ‘compulsory’ caddie. Which saved us a fair bit of cash. Normal pricing for non AGN is RM72++ on weekdays, and RM170 peak price for Saturday/Sunday morning, RM150 for Saturday afternoon and RM120 for Sunday afternoon.

First thoughts

Staffield has 3 nines, which makes it difficult to choose from. Frankly I’ve only ever played on the North and South course. South because of Par 3 eight hole, which requires a 160 carry across a lake that has eaten up a million balls over the years. North because it’s the longest and we always want to test our manhood by measuring who has the longest….drive. Yes. Of course.

I really can’t recall how I fared the last time I played, but I was getting a lot better at my first tee jitters and I blasted my first shot down left of the fairway of hole 10th on the South. It has an elevated tee but it’s a stupid design because on the left is the driving range. So if you draw it too much left, you not only have to avoid some king cobras in the rough, but you need to avoid the driving range balls as well as they rain around you. Another reason why we are so annoyed when we see websites like saying:

“The signature hole at the Southern Nine is a majestic par 5, hole no.10, measuring 485 metres with a double dog leg.”

Majestic my foot. It’s like hailstones coming down on us as we search our balls on the left.

This is the same site that dares to say this on ‘How to get there’:

“From the North-South Expressway get off at Nilai Interchange (exitg 214) and follow the sign indicating Staffield Country Resort.”

Do you have any idea how stupid this direction is?

Come on, play the course before writing any reviews. Gilagolf reviews are the best!!

Service (0/5)

Update: The below review is deprecated. As of now, Staffield has officially the worst head of golf operations in the known world. It’s this fat guy, I don’t even remember his name. Basically there was a misunderstanding with a group of Koreans I arranged golf with. Due to a miscommunication and the high possibility that the entire group was drunk the night before and the morning of the game, the group went ahead first to Staffield while we waited for them at the resort. We finally managed to meet at Staffield itself but unfortunately, my Korean friends had registered separately: 6 of them, 2 flights, 4 buggies. As you can imagine, they were charged a penalty for the buggy with one person on each flight. Me and my friend also registered before we bumped into the Korean group in the changing room, so we technically had one buggy, making it 5 buggies.

Now, it’s not so complicated if you know golf well. We tried to get the Staffield folks to cancel the extra buggy so we could use ours, but the guy at the counter said it was already in the system. Now, this is NOT the argument. We’re all reasonable people. So, after a little discussion to which my friends said, “I just want to play golf”, we decided to cancel our plan to play in Impian in the afternoon and have another round in Staffield, with the condition that either our buggy or caddy in the afternoon session is waived (due to the extra buggy we paid in the morning).

All agreed. Seems ok. We played the morning, had lunch and went to register for afternoon game. This is where the proverbial crap hits the fan. The guy that registered us in the morning was there, but so was this fat guy, the head of golf operations, as I later found out, hawking over the registration. When we asked about our game, and the agreement to waive a caddy fee for the extra money we paid, this operation head became very agitated and said, NO, no such thing can be done, and that it was OUR fault for the communication breakdown, OUR fault for registering the extra buggy in the morning and NOT any of his issue, if we wanted to play Golf in Staffield, we will just pay what is required, and no deals or agreements will be made. For a while, I thought we were all wearing swatikas as armbands, the way he acted.

Look, Staffield Head of Operations, we are not criminals or terrorists about to sabotage your bloody petunias growing on the 18th hole. It became almost embarrassing after a while, because now the Koreans will think we’re all a bunch of inarticulate orang utans like this guy who can’t seem to understand the meaning of customer service.

There are literally a hundred ways to tell us that we can’t do what we thought we could. Explain it nicely. With a smile. Appease the customer a bit by saying, if its ok, I can give you a F&B voucher or something. Even the worse possible thing you can do is shrug and say, Sorry, we can’t do much, but here’s a free drink for the misunderstanding, please come and play in Staffield again. Hundreds upon hundreds of ways to come out well. And this guy just went to war with us.

It’s a pity when you have such a great product like Staffield Golf Course, and we then see uneducated people placed in charge of the operations. This guy obviously has zero experience in customer handling, and probably settles all conflict the same way he would get rid of a rat, scorpion or cockroach: Hammer the customer relentlessly with a loud voice, agitated gestures and a shovel until everyone submits to your rule.

Staffield, get rid of this idiot please. He’s smearing the good name of this golf course.

Other bad experience: Caddy loses the boss’s headcover, denies it, then pokes me for tip money when she wasn’t even helping me much. She also complained that RM30 was not good enough tip for her. Towel guy looked as if you are the cause of him being stuck in his career as the towel guy (maybe we are), starts barking at my Korean friends when they asked for plastic bag, like a rabid mongrel.

I really, honestly say Staffield is a very nice golf course. But the next time we think of a course for a corporate competition, or taking up membership, this will be the last place on earth I’d think of. Truly embodies the adage, “First world infrastructure, third world service.”

End update

Any course that’s flexible is good with us. Because they ran out of caddies (apparently, caddies are like any commodities in the market place), they allowed us to tee it up quickly so we can end quickly. We didn’t have a lot of experience with the caddies or marshals, so the less bother the better. The only thing is that in the F&B, NEVER ORDER the Char Kueh Teow. Serious. It comes watery. For those who are thinking that this is a golf blog and not a food blog, well, you are obviously not Malaysian, so we forgive you. In Malaysia, all things concern food. Food is the backbone of society, of our culture and you cannot divorce food from any topic in discussion. Golf, politics, business, economics, religion, marriages are tied to food. In fact, there is a saying, “A Malaysian without food is like a sparrow without wings.” I made it up actually. Sounds good, doesn’t it??

So when the Char Kueh Teow comes WATERY, gilagolf is not happy. A mediocre 3!!

Fairways (3/5)

I was slightly surprised that the course condition wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. Perhaps due to the rainy season. There were cart marks on the fairway, and the grass was inconsistent, with patches of cow grass over Bermuda, in the classic case of ‘Fairway Acne’, where cowgrass makes their way to the Bermuda turfs. I don’t think we’re good enough for the difference to really make a difference but we are just anal and want to pick on something.

Greens (4/5)

We found the greens in good condition. Of course, it’s nothing like the remarkable Impian. Here, it doesn’t really catch your ball so the safe bet is to roll it up to the flag. But the putts rolled fast. Even though a brief rain caught us on the 10th, 11th and 12th before clearing up, the greens were fast. Not crazy like Impian or Seri Selangor but still gave us a bit of challenge to stop 3 putting. Then again, by normal standards we are all putting as bad as a mongoose chasing its own tail, so 3 putting is pretty much the norm for us. Blast our limited skills!

Rough (3/5)

Staffield has got some challenging holes. Both courses have a different profile. The south being more scenic and offering more variation in terms of hole designs and OB framing the holes. The north is just long. And if you can drive it well, then you can negotiate pretty much the course. However, it’s not a course for the wayward. More than once I found my fading ball on the right side of the fairway in the rough, embedded into thick grass with trees blocking. All I could do was punch out and from there hope for a long approach to hold the green. It’s a tough rough. Surprisingly the bunkers weren’t top notch as we expected but I would think the downpour had something to do with it.

Aesthetics (3/5)

Surprisingly, we always expected Staffield to have a prettier face than what we saw. Perhaps it was the classic case of Clearwater sanctuary, where the expectations were just not met. It’s like we are all prepared to meet the prettiest girl in high school after several years of absence and when we do meet her, we are confronted with a girl who perhaps had her fair share of Pringles and perhaps too much of the sweet stuff. I mean, her features are still nice and all, but you wonder, how on earth did people ever think her the hottest babe in school??

It wasn’t that Staffield was lousy or anything, after all that Par 3 8th was really something to shoot for; but we always expected something better and I think perhaps, that was the problem, of having the reputation preceding the course itself. I remember thinking as I walked up the 3rd hole Par 4, which I proceeded to lose the ball left and double bogeying it, ‘I thought it was a lot better looking than this!’

Going out to the North Course, you are faced with a lot wider, though not necessarily prettier perspective. Honestly I can remember much of the holes we played, since heavy rain accosted us for the first 3 holes and we suffered mightily. Ironically when the rain stopped, I proceeded with four straight double bogeys like a whiskey filled baboon and only managed to end decent with a 12 footer sandy par at the end. That’s what golf does to you; repeatedly whip and beat you up and then offers you a chocolate at the end so you’ll idiotically come again and play, and the process of abuse and bribery is repeated.

Fun Factor (3/5)

We were slightly disappointed with Staffield. Not massively like Clearwater but I suppose the mood was really dampened by the ridiculous traveling time and the absolutely confounding maps and signs to this place. Once there, long golf courses are never really extremely fun for us because it’s hard to recover. For instance, the par 5 12th, after a mediocre tee shot, my second shot hit a tree and dropped only 50 meters away. Now I am left with a 250 meter shot; my 3 wood never had a chance. A great wedge into 10 feet, missed putt and bogey. Most holes are like that as I only managed 4 GIRs and none on the back nine. No GIRs, no chances. Simple as that.

Staffield played 73.45 Course Rating, 3rd behind Clearwater and Kota Permai, and 130 slope rating. Again, we reiterate we’re not going to analyse what these numbers pertain to us, since our understanding is that if it is high, it is harder for us. We’re hackers, not mathematicians.

Also, the downpour kinda made the back nine experience miserable, as one of my golf mates was already sick, so we were all kind of listless except for the final hole, when we had to par to square the game, which I am proud to say I did, with a stroke of my putter, but moreso with a stroke of luck.


It’s very difficult to say this, since we believe Staffield is a nice course, but given the traveling and the so-so course and aesthetics, you might want to think twice about this course. It’s a high, middle tier course, much like Clearwater: it probably won’t blow you out of your mind and give hackers a lot of fun, but unless they transport the whole darn course to PJ or at least somewhere accessible, we might give it a miss next time. For now, the best way to access is the same way to access most remote regions of the Amazon: by helicopter and landing on one of the greens on the North Course.

The good: Price is pretty much unbeatable on weekdays with AGN, the greens are well conditioned; rough is penalizing; considered one of the best course in Malaysia so it’s a must play at least once, especially the intimidating par 3 8th on South

The bad: One of the worst traveling experience ever; fairways are slightly off mark; aesthetics are mediocre except for the must play par 3 8th on South; plays slightly long for hackers.

The skinny: 21 of 40 divots (52.5%). We’re on the fence for this one. On one hand, I believe we’ll likely return to have another go; on the other, the experience of getting there is like having a hundred bagpipes blasting into your ear at once. Or a Scottish dude flouncing his kilt in front of you. Either way, it’s a terrible, horrible experience indeed.

Staffield Score Card


Staffield Information


13th Mile,
Seremban – Kuala Lumpur Country Road 71700 Mantin

Contact: +603-87666117

Fax: +603-87667173

Tuanku Jaafar GCC


When someone mentioned Tuanku Jaafar golf course, my first reaction was Lord, where in blue blazes is this place? It sounds like it’s located in the remote ends of Papua New Guinea. I mean, there’s one thing to lie about the naming convention of your golf course (look at our writeup on the Seremban 3 course), but seriously, do you think there will ever come a time when an announcement for a big tournament starts like: “And this will be held in Tu-an-ku Ja-A-Far course!” I mean, 9/10 westerners ain’t gonna be able to pronounce that properly. Name it something easy. Name it something attractive. Name it anything except a name of a Malay guy. Or Chinese. Or Indian. Can you imagine a course called Tan Cheng Loke Golf Course or Sundramoorthy a/l Aluchelapan Golf Course?

Well, anyway, naming aside, my friends did mention that a Korean management had taken over the course, so it should be reasonably well maintained, given how crazy Koreans are about golf. Incidentally, we had a Korean in our group as well.

Travel (1/5)

Tuanku Jaafar is actually a township located in Negeri Sembilan, a state away from where we stay. To get there, hit the North South highway to Seremban. Take the exit to Senawang and after that take a right turn. Here’s where it goes down hill. Apparently Senawang is still a town with 21st century traffic in an 18th century road. There’s this stretch of road governed by a dilapidated traffic light that conjures an extremely long line of cars jammed like sardines in a can. The road is also lousy, being frequented by trucks, tractors, and the occasional Panzer Tank.

After the nightmare traffic, you need to stay left and look for signs to Samsung. Not Tuanku Jaafar golf course, because there ain’t any. Take the left flyover and you’ll find yourself in the Tuanku Jaafar (you know what, from now on, I’m just gonna refer it as TJ, the name is too darn hard to type, I keep giving it a single ‘a’). The 1st traffic lights, go straight and keep right. You will see a right turning into Samsung. Take that and take the left turning that says Pilosa Ville. There’s like a small sign saying TJ Golf Course, but it’s small, and only meant for ants to read it. If they can read, which they can’t, so I don’t know what the heck TJ Management is thinking. Maybe Koreans can navigate by the smell of cow grass or Tifdwarf greens, but us Malaysians are as dumb as cows without signs. Give us signs, man!

Anyways, here’s the primitive map that might help you locate this confounded place.


Incidentally, since TJ Golf course is located in Pilosa Ville, why not name it Pilosa Ville GC? It doesn’t mean anything, Pilosa could be a cuss word in ancient Greek, but who cares? Anything sounds better than what it is now!

Price (3/5)

OK, I admit, I paid cheap, about RM35 I think using the AGN golf membership. And they don’t force any extra baggage like Caddies, food vouchers and all that jazz on you. RM35, get your butt into a large Korean made buggy and you are off to one of the 3 nines we can play from.

Though the price is good and cheap, it always needs to represent the course, and as we will see later, there was a pretty good reason why RM35 is considered justifiable for the course we played in.

First thoughts

Nobody in TJ believes in signs. No, not even for the directions to the course. We had to wander a bit with our buggy till one of the workers pointed us to the 2nd nine. I mean, what is wrong with these people?

The buggy track itself was muddy, so before even the first tee off, we stepped out into mud and waded to the tee box. Staring at the first hole Par 5 10th, it’s running almost 500 yards. The tee area wasn’t maintained and as we looked at each other for explanation, we noticed that finally the management had at least the common sense to put the hole explanation up there on the tee area.

And it was in Korean.

Service (-1/5)

Never have we ever encountered a golf course that deserves a minus. I mean, even Frasers, the worst golf course in Malaysia, never had a negative point. Unfortunately, we are so irate with TJ service, a -1 is already a charity afforded to this mockery of a course. Firstly, we started registering. The lady at the counter says that the towels and locker keys are given at the registration. Seriously. They don’t have another counter for all the towels and plastics and stuff. It’s at the front counter. And the towel looked as if it had been used to wipe their buggies. It smells like insecticide, which I confirmed later, after seeing dead ants squashed inside the towel.

And here’s the one bit that totally made us crazy. We asked her for the locker room keys and she distinctly pointed to a box full of keys with numbers on them. Locker numbers, right? So, in front of the lady, we took the towels AND the keys from the box and walked around the clubhouse in search of the mythical male changing room. Remember, there are no signs. They believe signs are evil, and bad. All must navigate through smell.

We reached the lockers, tried all keys on all lockers and nothing fits!

We had to trek back all the way to the registration and here’s what went on, I swear this is the truth:

Conversation in Malay, translated.

Me: None of these keys fit.

Lady: (looking at the keys) For what?

Me: The lockers! We can’t lock any lockers with these keys.

Lady: Oh, these are for the buggy (i.e golf carts), not lockers.

Me: ……

Lady: See, number 43 for buggy 43 and …

Me: But we just took these keys in front of you when we asked for the locker keys. So why don’t you just tell me where is the locker keys?!

(at this point I was wondering how she derived in her brain that if a bunch of guys go off with bags and towels, they need a buggy key instead. What, we change in the buggy and take a piss in the buggy?)

Lady: Umm, most of the lockers are spoiled so we no longer have locker keys for you.

Me: (at this point, just stunned, beyond reason). So, where do we keep our things?

Lady: I think you better keep them in your car.

Serious. The locker room lockers are useless. The three aircond units are useless, because when we went there, no aircond, it was stuffy and smells like crap. No hot water, the water smells funny, and I think there’s probably a few corpse they didn’t clear overnight.

No power steering in the buggy. No rest stop or halfway huts. I feel as if I’ve just been sent to a detention camp in the holocaust. By far, Tuanku Jaafar wins the award for the WORST EVER GOLF COURSE SERVICE IN MALAYSIA. Congratz, Korean management!

Fairways (2/5)

It better improve outside on the golf course.

Things did get slightly better. I was surprised at the fairway; and was wondering is it cowgrass originally and now patches of Bermuda showing or the other way round. It’s a 50-50, which I thought was an interesting challenge. See where your fairway drive will end up: Cowgrass or Bermuda? It has the case of Golf Acne, as we call it, where the grass is neither Bermuda not cow grass, it’s like a hybrid, like how Michael is a hybrid of vampires and lycan in Underworld. Don’t know what I’m yammering about? Never mind. Drainage was bad. Ground was soggy, at times, beyond belief. And mud was just everywhere.

The saving grace for the course is probably the generosity of the fairways. And after playing in Nilai and Monterez, the lack of OBs here was a welcomed sight. In fact, I pounded the ball so far right on the 16th that I was parallel to the hole, on the other fairway. That’s how golf should be played! A Driver that we can use without fear!

Greens (1/5)

We were so tempted to give a negative as well. The greens were probably as bad as Frasers Hill. The grass were too long, so most of our putts were literally bouncing all the way to the hole. It was a good thing there weren’t too many undulations, so the putts went reasonably straight. But the speed was the killer, and not in a good way. Because of the maintenance, some greens went slow, while some were faster. It was just not a good experience with the green.

The green yardage is so way off at times that on the hole 2 par 3, it marked there as 150, while in fact, we were hitting 175. I mean, how wrong can you go?

Rough (1/5)

Horrendous. Not challenging, but horrendous. Leaves strewn around so finding the ball was quite an adventure. A ball bouncing just slightly off the fairway is as good as gone. One hole particularly, Hole 3, is an elevated green with a narrow fairway that sloped down to the right. I pounded the ball beautifully to cut the dogleg left. When I went there, the ball was gone. Vamoose. Disappeared. I searched and searched and finally had to conclude that it hit the ground so hard, it rolled 40 meters into the jungle. I mean, how else? We couldn’t find anything.

Or the Hole 16th. My pitch was just slightly off, and it took me a long time to look for a white ball in an ocean of leaves. I mean, isn’t there supposed to be a bloke who handles these darn leaves? Hello?

Sand bunkers were neither here nor there. Some were packed dirt that requires a pitching wedge, some were just soft enough to dig. The problem is we don’t know which is which, and I ended up skulling most of them. I played +8 over par 3s, most of them due to my extensive time in the bunkers.

Aesthetics (3/5)

Despite of the really crappy service, fairways, greens and rough, the course is actually quite nice to look at. It’s a classic case of “Good from Far, Far from Good”. I mean, you’ll have to give it to the Koreans. There aren’t many trees, although not as immature as Nilai or Seremban 3. Some holes do give a good impression, like the 6th, a blind dogleg right requiring a brave shot over the jungle, or a fade shot.

Simply based on looks, it’s TJ’s strongest selling point. It’s not holy cow, its beautiful! But it’s ‘hey, this is interesting.’ The golf course itself just plays straight. Not many holes with doglegs. So it’s one straight hole after another, with generous amount of leeway given for wayward shots and an opportunity to recover.

Fun Factor (2/5)

Fun is at a 2. The only reason it’s not given a one is because I managed to eagle the final hole, the par 5 9th. It’s a 480 yard tee off. I hit it slightly left, but it hit the card path and went about 280 yards, leaving me close to 200 yards to go. My hybrid 23 degrees (the same that I two on the par 5 in Tasik Puteri and nearly murdered a man) in my hand, I hit flush that settled 1 feet off the green on the left fringe. It was an elevated green and rain was coming down. Downhill left to right, I played it with less break since this green didn’t roll.

I actually mishit it a bit, I hit it too hard. If it didn’t catch the hole, it would have drifted 4 – 5 feet by down the hill. But as it were, the ball nicely went into the hole for my second eagle. The first I got it from Bangi, but that was really an asterix course, since I was hitting a 9 iron in, due to the mickey mouse nature of that course.

But here, in TJ, I finally recorded a man’s eagle, and bumped the fun factor from a 1 to a 2. I guess it made up for the miserable par 3 record I had.


Tuanku Jaafar is a course you will probably play once and not come back again. It’s not overly enjoyable, but it’s generous, so beginners will like it better. However, the travel is simply not worth it. Jam, getting lost, it’s just not a trip that you look forward to. The service is absolutely disastrous, I cannot recommend it to anyone unless I want them assassinated for some reason.

The good: Some scenic holes, generous fairways, generous to wayward shots, at RM35, it’s one of the cheapest 18 holes you can find; no need for food and caddies.

The bad: Traffic jammed roads, lack of signs and directions; bad drainage; the worst service and locker room of all time; lousy greens and lousy rough; lousy choice of name!

The skinny: 12 of 40 divots (30%).The course itself isn’t as bad as Frasers, but it would be considered maybe a third tier course you want to consider when everywhere else is packed.

Tuanku Jaafar Score Card


Tuanku Jaafar Information


Sungai Gadut, Seremban 71450 N.Sembilan

Contact: +606-6783088

Fax: +606-6782908

Nilai Springs Golf Club


Nilai Springs has always been discussed among us hackers as an ‘alternative good course’. It’s like, say you can’t get the first choice, it’s passable as a second choice. It’s like if you can’t get KFC, you go for MacDonald’s chickens or eating the public toilet seat since the experience should be the same; or you can’t get a Gibson guitar, you get an Ephiphone; or you can’t get Catherine Zeta Jones, and you’ll need to settle for Siti Norhaliza (who’s one of the very very few Malaysian celebrity I actually can remember, although my spelling might be suspect).

I guess I have very vague memories of that place, and I don’t remember getting put off by it, the way a recollection of Bukit Beruntung brings nightmares of sandy fairways, bumpy greens and lousy food. So we took off to check out the course, and to jog back any particular memory filed along with all the other golf courses in my limited brain.

Travel (3/5)

For a non Klang Valley course, it’s one of the most accessible golf course available. Take the Seremban highway down south, and make sure you stop by the Nilai rest stop, just past the Nilai Memorial Park to load up on one of the better Nasi Lemak you will taste, a perfect, fiery start to a day filled with golf.

Nasi Lemak is probably the greatest invention…the westerners will say that it is sliced bread, but they are obviously not food crazy people like the Asians, because if you put a hot nasi lemak with spicy belacan, fried egg, curry squid in front of anyone, and a choice of sliced bread, it’s like putting a Maserati and a Proton together and get people to choose. Yeah, sure, take the Proton, huh, go ahead, that’s a real intelligent decision.

It’s a little more than half hour drive from KL, depending on how fast you go; but here’s the map:

Price (2/5)

I paid in total about RM73 for a weekday game. The whole green fee + buggy package is cheap; around RM50, using the AGN card for me. However they force you to do two things. Buy a RM10 food voucher, and a caddie for a flight. We ended up with two caddies and had to pay and extra RM16 officially and to top off, pay the tips as well for the caddie.

Now I ALWAYS have a problem with clubs forcing us to take caddies. I don’t care if they are considered pretty (which they are, as I said, reasonably presentable, like how a loaf of bread is presentable), a caddie means two things. Extra cost, and….extra cost. That’s it. Why do we need to tip them? What sort of practice is this? Don’t they like get paid or something? Why not just tip the registration lady? Or the waiter? Or the maintenance worker? Heck, why not tip the guards at the gate to give you a salute and sing a song when you go off? The point is: WHY are we practicing tipping only on golf courses? Do all the kiasu, cheapskate Asian people suddenly become generous and kind westerners, like our colonial masters in the past, simply because we’re holding a stick and hitting a white ball in the hole?

No I didn’t like the pricing. You can’t force people to take the caddie. Worse, you also force people to eat your crappy food, when we can go somewhere else to eat. RM10 voucher? We ended up buying a jug of soya bean cincau and some ice cream just to make use of it.

First thoughts

I honestly expected a better experience, but on the first tee itself, we were faced with a Par 5 requiring a 7 iron tee off, since it was about 170 to the water, and 350 to cross. I’ll say one thing about this course and get it over with.

It’s like Monterez, Seri Selangor and all the other accursed courses that likes to put OB signs everywhere and gleefully goad you into the wilderness. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s narrow. Not only that, this course has fairways that run away into jungle and hazards.

Feature wise, I am reminded again of Gunung Raya. Young trees dots the landscape, barely providing enough shade for weary golfers. It was obviously originally in a wasteland, where the inhabitants of Nilai probably deposit their sewage, old furniture and dead cats. At some holes, the smell of shit was literally so overwhelming, you just have to hold your breath, tee it up and scramble into your buggy and speed off. I think they were fertilizer smell, but hey, shit’s shit, you know.

Service (3/5)

Ok, I admit, their locker room was pretty good.

Their caddies were pretty helpful as well. They don’t know how to read greens, so don’t bother (at least the ones we got). I found them very useful particularly in cleaning my clubs and making sure I don’t leave any clubs behind. They also do the little things like marking my ball and cleaning it. I suppose all caddies are like that, but it helps to have caddies that don’t comment so much on your game, or give pointers when none are needed, or don’t engage in internal caddie betting.

But points loss in terms of halfway huts being deserted. I don’t know what is the point of having a halfway hut when there’s no one there. We were fortunate the day was generally overcast. If it was a hot weather, not a lot of golfers will make it out alive. It would be the Seremban 3 experience all over again.

Fairways (2/5)

Not particularly great fairways, frankly. It has what we call complexion issues. Like the face of an adolescent, spotted with acne, the Bermuda fairways here have spots of cow grass growing here and there, and making things more than a bit uneven. That’s really not the main issue. Another issue is that for a course this exposed to the sun (and we have quite a generous amount of sun, although slightly cloudy), having puddles of water is really a testament to horrendous drainage. I mean, even on the 18th, when we are almost done and the sun was finally blazing down, casual water was still evident on the fairway. Bad drainage, bad grass maintenance really offsets the other good points on the fairway, where in some holes, the ball can be found sitting up reasonably on a mat of Bermuda. It really tips slightly from mediocre to below average on the Gila Scale of Fairways (which just officially existed 3 seconds ago).

Greens (3/5)

Like the fairway, the green is harmed with complexion issues as in being patchy with different coloured grass, some dried patches here and there. However, maintenance wise, it was reasonably average. The grass was pressed down, giving evidence that the maintenance guys were doing more than just picking their nose and poking fun at golfers. The roll wasn’t exactly true, but then again, we’re not really like expert putters. I just recall we didn’t really complain too much of the green and we did managed to hole in some long ones.

Rough (2/5)

Ok, having a challenging rough is one thing, I completely appreciate it, like what KGNS is, even though I sucked at it.

But Nilai gleefully attaches OB hole after hole after hole. I am so tired of the caddie saying, “OB kiri kanan, beyond buggy track.” – translating, OB left and right, beyond buggy track. I’m like, darn it! Yes, I know I suck at my driving direction, but give me a chance to recover! I recall Tiger Woods can push his first tee shot so far right that he had to hit from the 18th fairway in one of the majors. So, treat us like Tiger Woods and give us a chance to recover!

Nope, the rough is ok, but too little rough makes it almost negligible. If you miss the fairway, you’re 50-50 gone. Unlike Monterez which featured mainly straight holes, Nilai Springs chucks in slight doglegs with humps that causes unfriendly bounce to the ball.

Oh, yeah, lots of water too, but not as crazy as Monterez where it requires carrying water almost every other hole. Nilai Springs have a reasonable mix of dry and wet hazards. The bunkers were crap though, but the rain probably cause the hardness, but hey, it’s still crap.

Aesthetics (3/5)

Nilai Springs can be quite pretty at times. It really depends on the weather. It’s like how some girls are prettier in cold weather, they have rosier cheeks, more radiant complexion and generally a more bewitching look. I think it’s the fact that in hot weather, the T zones are more obvious. It’s really awkward when a girl’s oily areas are prominent, it makes them look shiny, like a how my clubs are shiny after a coat of WD-40 has been applied. In the clubs case, I simply can wipe it down with a dry cloth; in the other case, I cannot possibly go up to them and wipe their face and say, just getting the lubricants away. There is a guarantee slap in the face there and depending on the subject, a kick in the nuts is also a high probability.

So it was that Nilai Springs did look pretty at some holes, especially the Par 3s, and the 17th hole that requires a carry over water. But perhaps due to cloudy weather in the first nine and the fact that OB was littered all over the course, kiri kanan and all that, we didn’t appreciate the full beauty of Nila Springs. It’s not a matured course, so don’t expect the Clearwater, Datai Bay kind of scenery. It’s more of Gunung Raya, Seremban 3 style. Small trees, surrounded by low scrubs.

Fun Factor (2/5)

Whatever small fun we had was completely wiped away on the 18th, when a bunch of clowns coming down form the parallel 15th ( I think) came into our fairway and hit our balls. We know because we found their cheap ball later. I mean, seriously, why is this happening? Can’t people just identify their ball, or are they so evil that they would trade in their ball with a Newing brand for a titleist Pro-V1x? I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if I did, I would have wish them reincarnated as the materials used to make the golf balls (if there’s such a thing) so I can spend the rest of my other life pounding them into smithereens.

The 18th hole is a toss in between brilliantly challenging hole or a brilliantly stupid one. It requires a draw off the tee, as there’s tree branches covering your sight about 20 meters from the tee box, and the fairway doglegs left. I hit a flush shot, the best I’ve hit, and it just sailed and sailed and sailed….

It must have hit the cart path, because it landed almost 320 meters way, in the rough and yes, on the right side of the buggy track.

Here’s the thing I don’t get it. The ball didn’t even reach the parallel hole. It was just in the rough on the right side of the buggy track, with a possibility to hit over the trees with my 60 degree and regulation on. Theoretically, I would find it a challenge but at least the course would be saying, well you suck at driving, let’s see how you get out of jail with an amazing recovery. Now, probably about 1 out of 100 times, I can recover. And why do we love Tiger so much? Not because he looks buffed, or has Malaysian blood (yeah, Tiger is Malaysian!!!), or snarls at everyone, or drives long. We love him because of the impossible, crazy, magnificent, intelligence-insulting recovery shots he conjures from places where normal golfers would break down weeping and cradling their clubs in agony. Please don’t say you love golf played from the fairway. And please don’t tell us that we should fix our drive first before commenting about the course being unfair. We are weekend hackers, missing fairway is what we do very well, so get used to it. Besides, it’s not that Nilai Springs is unfair in it’s OB mentality.

Nilai Springs is saying instead: “You suck at driving, so too bad, we don’t like to see heroics on our golf courses. OB! Take another.”

But the ball is still playable, its not interfering with another hole or whatever. It’s still playable…

OB! Take another!

Nilai Springs officially join the ever increasing courses labeled “Accursed Courses with too many OB stakes to use up”, like Monterez and Seremban 3 course.


Nilai Springs is hard to judge. At some points we liked it; but mostly derived from our intense internal competition of RM5 per hole, matchplay style. It doesn’t have the character we expect it, instead we get a typically narrow course, immatured with no shade and possibly the most OB stakes ever seen in a course throughout Malaysia.

If you want to play it proper (and I probably will), leave the big dog in the bag and negotiate with your woods. It doesn’t play extremely long, so course management is really vital here.

The good: Access is easy, nasi lemak stop in the morning, greens are reasonably maintained, aesthetics passable

The bad: Narrow like Borat’s G-string, caddie and food compulsory, OB doesn’t give much recovery chances, bad drainage and fairway, and idiots playing your ball and refusing to admit later. Please bring a shotgun to settle cases such as these.

The skinny: 20 of 40 divots (50%). If you want a quieter course outside Klang Valley to play precision golf (this experience is similar to having your toe nails pulled out by a plier), Nilai Springs is for you. Otherwise, give the course a miss but not the nasi lemak.

Nilai Springs Score Card


Nilai Springs Information


Pt. 4770, Bandar Baru Nilai,
P.O.Box 50, 71801, Nilai, N. Sembilan.

Contact: +606-8508888

Fax: +606-8503388





I played at Nilai Springs on Sunday the 15th of November 2009.

Played on the Pines 9 & Mango 9
I must say i was not disappointed by the Course or the Service.


The service was reasonable although our 08:30 Tee off was during the peak hour.
Our tee off was delayed due to congestion of about 4 flights before us.

Initially they could offer only 2 caddies to our two flights, but then after requesting the Caddie Master, he did find two more for our two flights which made it perfect.

The half way huts were manned as well and the caddies were not the best but not bad either.

Fairways, Greens & Bunkers
When i saw the practice green look like a sandy beach, i remembered the Gila Golfer comments and was regretting the decision to play there, although it was not mine.

But was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Fairway and the Greens.
It has rained a fair bit over the last week, but must say that the fairways did not show it. The quality was at least the same that we expect to see in a very good club. No uneven or squishy patches.

The grass was in good shape and i didn’t see any signs of Elephant grass as in the picture above.

Some tee boxes looked like the lunar surface though, but over all it was good.

The Greens were playing slow at first and became hard once the sun started peeping through and then it became hard to stop the ball on them with anything less than a perfect shot.
The ball was rolling nicely and no signs of any bumps.

The Bunkers were in fairly good condition as well.

Also didn’t come across any undue OB’s except at the last hole of Mango, where there is no need to have an OB right of the cart path.


Overall it was not a bad experience and wouldn’t mind going back there and playing another round .

Khawar (

Paradise Valley Golf Resort


I was invited to a game at Paradise Valley Golf Resort located at a township in Seremban 3. Usually when I hear about Seremban (it’s in the state next to the state I live in), I’ve got good memories of Staffield and SIGC, and some fun games I’ve had with good friends over there. With the name like Paradise Valley, images of Meru Valley obviously comes to mind and I immediately agreed to take a day off to play in a game consisting of two flights. Usually games with two flights of golfers are extremely fun, since you are able to blast a ball on the green while the front flight is still putting and not get sued or killed in the process. They will probably tee up right on the green itself and blast the ball back but come on, seriously, what are the chances of a silly white ball actually hitting a person from 200 metres out, right? It’s a thousand to one!

Travel (2/5)

Paradise is quite accessible from the North South Highway. It’s not too deep in, and quite easy to find. It’s in fact right at the new toll leading into Port Dickson town. Take the Seremban-Port Dickson turn off, turn right at the traffic light and just follow the road. You’ll eventually pass a few petrol stations and there’s Seremban 3 on the left. Turn into it, like Meru Valley, it’s a golf course that’s situated inside a township, I suppose as part of the feature. Hey, we really enjoyed Meru, right, so this is starting to look pretty promising.

The stupid thing about this is when you exit (and as you find out later, you WILL want to exit in a hurry), you can’t get back on the road you came from without U-turning. And there’s only one U-turn. At the PD toll, a small opening between the dividing poles to cut back. You miss that turning and you will need to pay for the toll to Port Dickson, and drive all the way into town and make a U-turn there. There are no signs, so it’s just really up to your observation. I mean would it kill them just to make an opening in the divider in front of Seremban 3 for cars to turn back into the main road without going to the toll? Jeez.

Price (3/5)

The price for weekdays is about 70RM all in (with buggy and insurance) but our flight had a special voucher and I only ended up paying 50RM for the day. Weekends are slightly a bit more, around 90RM. I think it’s pretty reasonable, at least they are not charging like cut throat pricing the way Datai Bay was doing.

First thoughts

Right on the first tee, images of Meru Valley were immediately replaced by images of Gunung Raya. Elevated tee box, sharp dogleg left, narrow fairway with OB right and hidden green. We looked at the course and there was just this sinking feeling (which was correctly justified later) that this was going to be a long day, filled with missing balls.

We struggled through the first hole and immediately get whacked by an Index 1 on the second. Now, I’m not too much of an advocate with bringing out the toughest hole on the second hole of the day. Obviously the designers thought it would be fun, the way how pulling out fingernails and placing your face in boiling water was considered quite fun in the middle ages; but no, I can’t say I found it very amusing at all. The second hole was a long carry over water about 180 metres, and then an elevated green (and I do mean elevated, it’s like trekking up a freaking pyramid) all for a par 4. Oh yeah, water on the right too. And OB right. Add to the fact that you haven’t even warmed up from the long journey, you really know you will screw up this hole. Which all of us did.

If you think Rahman Putra has a lot of water, Paradise is a course with patches of land in the midst of a giant mining pool. The water is not even nice to look at. At least, in KRPM we have water lilies and some plants to brighten up the golfers day after they have lost their entire cache of balls within. Paradise’s water just sits there gloomily, devoid of life, sucking the very soul of golfers who draw near. And you will hit a lot into the water. The fairways are built as if they only had space to build a nine hole course but instead wanted to suck more money out of unsuspecting golfers, so they crammed in 18.

Long day, long game and a whole lotta balls to play it.

Service (1/5)

I didn’t like the service. Ordering food was excruciatingly slow. I mean we were the only clowns in the whole club you know; why does it takes half an hour for fried rice to come? And the car park was like a 150 metres away from the entrance, so it was a long walk back to the car from the club house. Why did they do it like this? I suppose they expected like thousands of people to flock to the club and hosting the Ryder Cup or something, to make the car park so huge. Hey, it’s just our cars and the observing maintenance guy in his beat up buggy, why can’t you make the car park NEARER??! I mean, its ok if I am headed to play golf, but after 5 hours of extreme torture, under extreme heat, you want me to trek back to my car and risk dying of dehydration along the way? I don’t think so.

The guy handling our bags didn’t come till we called. And he didn’t move a muscle to drive us to our car until we insisted. Nobody was at the counter for inquiries when I wanted to get extra score card; in fact, I am so anal now that I’m peeved that they didn’t have someone salute me when I drove my car past the guard house!! What kinda service is this? Hey, a little respect here would be nice, even though we are cheapskate golfers with a voucher to get RM20 off from normal price!

Fairways (2/5)

The fairways in some holes weren’t too bad actually. Condition wise, it was maintained reasonably well. Other fairways totally sucked though, with cart grooves all muddied around it and no GUR sign or chalk to indicate a free drop. Another thing I didn’t quite like about the fairway was the occasional dog shit lying around. Ok, that’s fine, because KRPM also has that. But huge chunks of cow shit? I mean, what is this, a zoo? What am I gonna see next, a mound of triceratops crap I gotta hit from? Give me a break.

The challenge was that the fairways were tight. I didn’t think they were unfair, like Frasers, it’s just the feature and the characteristic of the course. If you like tight fairways and precision hitting with the 5 wood and wimpy irons off the tee, the same way you’d like your feet fitted into a shoe 3 sizes smaller than yours and made to run a marathon in it, hey, you know it’s your call. For me, I am supportive of huge fairways with a little leeway to land on another fairway in case my shots go awry, which of course, doesn’t happen too often, maybe 17 times out of 18 drives. But I’m a hacker and if you’re Mr Tight Fairways, you must be a PGA pro, which begs the question: Why are you even reading this? Shouldn’t you be making tons of money right now? Go away!!

Greens (3/5)

The greens in some holes were very well manicured. It has that unmistakable spongey feeling to it when you walk on it and you just know your ball is going to bite when it hits the green. However, just when you think you got it figured out, on the next hole, the roll changes and it becomes quicker and faster and more three putts are on the way. There were a LOT of 3 putts because we just didn’t know if it was going to be fast, slow or whatever. That, coupled with the undulation makes these greens less than fun to putt on. Most of the time, it’s putt and pray, that the speed was right, since we couldn’t really gauge from the previous hole. I don’t think they had a lot of control over how consistent the greens were.

Rough (2/5)

You just pray you don’t hit the rough.

Lalang, the grass that we have been introduced to in Frasers makes an unwelcomed return. As we’ve mentioned, rough that allows us to hit from but penalize us somewhat is acceptable. Rough that virtually grabs your clubs with the explicit intention to break your wrist is another story. There was a par 5 (which I thankfully found fairway, fairway, green), where one of my playing partners took 4 to get out of the rough enroute to an 8.

If this was Canoustie or St Andrews, we will readily overlook this point. But this happens to be Paradise Valley and (later we will see), it does not match up to one iota of the standard of those courses, so there has gotta be some redeeming factors in it. You make a course that’s this hard, with so little maintenance, and don’t give us eye candy for it, and you’re definitely gonna score low.

Aesthetics (0/5)

We always try to look for a signature hole.

This course has one signature hole.

Hole 19.

And it ain’t the Datai Bay type of hole 19. It’s the hole 19 where you sit under a fan and eat fried rice and drink gallons of soya bean with cincau (the de facto golf drink for Malaysian golfers to the uninitiated)


I don’t remember playing a golf course that played so difficult, so long, and so hot. This makes Gunung Raya feel like Antartica. Seriously. I don’t know why is it so hot. The course is not matured, so there’s no grow in of shade and trees, I guess, but I’m not a golf garderner. I’m just a hacker, so I don’t need a reason to call this golf course the hottest course on earth. I just need to show them my first degree burnt marks from the sun.

I see those blasted trees around, but most of them are not even remotely close to the fairways or rough. They are just sort of standing around there, the shade out of reach from us, like some kind of mirage in the desert. We are mainly left to fend for ourselves against the extreme heat with our caps, umbrellas, portable fans. The ponds, as we’ve mentioned, doesn’t make the course any cooler. In fact, it just reminds you, reflecting the glaring sun into your eyes, how nice is it to sit at home with your air condition and a huge mug of root beer in front of you.

Because the course was so narrow, with severe drop offs from the fairways into the rough, a good part of our time was spent hiking up and down the terrain, which contributed to fluid loss and an occasional heat stroke, or epilepsy. But still we had golf to play, and when someone says, “Gosh my knees are so wobbly,” on the 13th hole and it has nothing to do with the beer girls, you know it’s about time we checked out of the course.

And as we’ve pointed out, we are very anal about the name. We don’t like names that mislead us. If you call it Clearwater, I wanna see water so clear you can peer in and watch a giant crocodile feeding on a cow at the bottom of the lake, if not, it’s not gonna cut it. If you call it Paradise Valley Golf Resort, you have a few things to live up to.

Paradise: No, it’s not. In fact, it’s the opposite. Unless it connotes that after playing this course, your next destination will likely be in heaven when you die from that heat stroke or epilepsy. As for it being a Paradise, come on, let the golfers decide before you name it that way, ok? This is definitely not a paradise, with its lack of wildlife, lack of beautiful trees, lack of shade and lack of character.

Valley: No, it’s not. This is a big lie. I don’t see rolling hills like Meru, I don’t even see why is it called a valley? All I see is a characterless course with 18 holes jumbled together in a mess, with lots of brown, murky water. Where are the hills? Why the dickens is it called Valley then? It’s next to Port Dickson, the beach place in West Malaysia. Do they think we are actually stupid?

Resort: No, it’s also not. A resort means it’s a place you can stay, or have an attached hotel, like Equatorial at Bangi or IOI at Palm Garden or Mines at, well, Mines. This is not a resort, because it just has a club house that is too far away for the car park and crappy service! Unless if it means staying inside one of the garden sheds would qualify it as a resort, this is another blatant misuse of a naming convention.

So out of the 4 words about this place, only one is true: Golf. And that too is contentious because that’s also a struggle, playing in a place where the cows and buffaloes roam, depositing their crap on the fairways.

We’re so annoyed at this naming heresy that we’re going to give it a 0 for aesthetics. Take that, you Paradise Valley liars. We’re going to call you The Nameless Course in Seremban 3 from here on, or the Nameless, for short.

Fun Factor (1/5)

It almost gets a 0 for these points:

1) Course that is so hot, most of came out looking like lobsters. I’m serious, we looked like someone just magic inked us red or black and we were the same colour as the maintenance workers. They almost passed us brooms to get us to sweep the cart path.

2) Fairways so tight that we were almost killed by balls from another hole. Which happened to be also our friends. But that doesn’t matter.

3) Carpark so far away we need to hitchhike to it.

4) What the heck is cow dung doing in the course? You mean there are freaking cows hanging around here? Actual cows??!

5) Messed up fairways with cart grooves and bad drainage.

6) Murky water breeding disease. The next epidemic will happen right here. We need to contact WHO and blast this course out of the face of this planet as soon as possible.

7) Inconsistent greens and lalang rough. And reminding us of that jackal of a course in Frasers.

8) A name that misleads and woefully, absolutely woefully falls short of its lofty suggestion.

9) Thinking that us golfers are stupid. Actually the golf course can’t think, but we mean the designers, or the guys that named this course.

It gets a point just because we still had a bit of fun, with two flights. You really can’t beat a morning hanging out with golfers (even if you don’t know them at first), and having a good time jabbing each other after that.


The Nameless Course in Seremban 3 requires a lot of precision, patience and energy to play it. It saps you like a sponge, drawing away your soul with every shot until you struggle up to the last hole, devoid of life or remembrance of the past.

Did we enjoy it? The consensus was a resounding no. Will we return? We can’t wait to get the heck out of there and blot this memory forever from our lives.

And it’s not finished. We still have that long, long trek back to our cars.

The good: It’s pretty accessible, just watch the U-turn to get home; price is reasonable, very challenging to some and attractive for precision hitters who are also known as the officially insane.

The bad: Terrible choice of names, all the above points under Fun Factor.

The skinny: 14 of 40 divots (35%). Play without expecting too much and you might find it tolerable. For us, this is the first, only and last experience with the Nameless Course of Seremban 3.

Paradise Valley Score Card