Rasa Sayang Pitch and Putt



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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, you think these were the other two courses?

Think again.

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

Travel (NA)

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


Ah heck, it’s just for fun anyway.

Price ( 3/5)

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


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


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


First thoughts

Umm. You take one look and that’s it.


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

Service (3/5)

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


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


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


Fairways (NA)


Greens (1/5)

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

Rough (3/5)

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

Aesthetics (1/5)

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

Fun Factor (2/5)

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

Rasa Sayang Pitch and Putt Scorecard

Bukit Jawi Golf Resort (Lake)


Ah, Penang, the Pearl of the Orient. Where  Pulau Tikus, Fettes Park, McAllister Road, Gurney, New Lane, Green Lane occurs. Who in their right mind will not adopt Penang as their second home if they are not already from there? Penang has always been a favourite destination for food lovers, and is generally considered the greatest island ever created by God, more famous than the isle of Elba, Patmos and Shutter put together.

What about Golf? Of course, you have the Jack Nicklaus built Bukit Jambul near Bayan Lepas, the airport. Then the lesser known Penang Airport. And going back to mainland, across the bridge, we have this course called Bukit Jawi.

Some gilagolfers found ourselves in Penang for food and sun over four days and decided to drop by Jawi for a visit.

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Travel (2/5)

This is quickly becoming pretty obsolete. Now with half the world population on Iphone and the other on Blackberry and the rest with the other loser phone companies (I mean serious, anyone still using Panasonic?), GPS and google maps have created a new generation of golfers who will quickly skip over this part of the review, assuming that there are any generation reading this anyway.

But like an old itch, this section cannot go away, so here’s the deal with Jawi.


Don’t you just love B-grade maps drawn by 10-year old primary school dropouts?  I think the map speaks for itself. Anyway, like that idiotic Staffield course that also employs some endangered orang-utans to draw their maps, Jawi map is also pretty misleading. It’s not so bad actually, but we did get turned around using google maps because there has been some road changes there. Plus, the road to Jawi isn’t so short as the map suggests. It’s quite deep inside. We wanted to give it a 3, but the driver of our group got so flustered at the stupid road changes, we decided to lower it. I know, it’s unreasonable but who cares, this section is probably skipped anyway and nobody is reading this part.

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Price (2/5)

We used the Top Premier voucher and still had to fork out about RM150 on a weekday plus caddy and no food. Listen, golf courses, forcing players to have caddies when they don’t want is tantamount to a violation of our human rights. Why would four shockingly handsome men like us want anything to do with 2 women who don’t speak English, dressed up like colourful clowns and one of them looking like she had been secretly snacking between meals and totally unable to find my balls (golf balls) or even bother to give me a good read on the greens?

We don’t like courses that force caddies on us. Plus, as a Rahman Putra member, I was an associate club, so I’m almost like a club member. What’s the deal? And not just one, TWO of these!!

Price-wise, it’s expensive. Bukit Jawi isn’t exactly the premier sounding course of Malaysia, and it’s not like there are a whole lot of people bothering to come out of Penang to play there anyway…so why not just drop the darn price??!

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First thoughts

Bukit Jawi actually looked pretty good. We played on the Lake Course, and once the nightmare of the registration was over with (see below) we were left with a very picturesque view of the course, including the incoming holes of 18th, where the lakes were then glistening in the sunshine. It can make anyone forgive anything. It looked pretty, but does it play well? Or will it be like Damai Laut, where it had so much promise but completely failed to deliver the tremendously and unreasonable high standards that Gilagolfers have come to expect?

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Service (0/5)

So much for northern hospitality. Here’s our experience.

Happily we arrived alive at Bukit Jawi, ready to play some golf. One of my pals started the registration process while we got all the buggies ready. And  waited. And waited. As my beard started to grow, I finally stepped out and at the registration found my friend absolutely livid. A young guy was at the registration frantically typing on the keys. I think he was new, because I suspected he kept pressing the spacebar and pretended he was typing some stuff when he wasn’t.

Anyway, finally a supervisor saunters in and again proceeded to type stuff on the computer. It’s like they were writing a thesis. I mean, just put four names and print the darn thing woman!

System problem, apparently. That’s normal, ok, I admit. But here’s the shocker. The supervisor looked at the time and said she had to go for lunch. WHAT THE %#^*??! While customers are waiting, SHE HAD TO GO FOR LUNCH. Thankfully there was a glass panel between us, because my friend had nearly wanted to physically assault her and pull her head through the tiny round hole in the glass panel and drive a rusted seven iron into her ears.

Bukit Jawi, you are STUPID. That’s all that’s left to say about your service. I am not even going to go into the completely useless caddies they have.

Through some miracle, we finally got through the registration nightmare and started playing some golf.

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Fairways (4/5)

For what Bukit Jawi lacked in common sense of the staff and capabilities of caddy and the inability to ignore lunch when faced with a customer problem; it made up for it’s golf course. It makes sense. Spend 99% of the budget in golf course maintenance and beautification and about RM29.90 per year to pay staff, because I think that would be roughly how much they are worth. Before EPF. Before Tax. Oh wait, nobody taxes on a RM29.90 per year pay.

The fairways were in excellent condition. Especially since our game was interrupted by a thunderstorm for about 45 minutes. When we got out, we still had a great course and by the time I was hitting my last chip of the day on the fairway 30 meters from the green, the fairway was in a perfect carpet-like mode. Until I chunked 20 inches of turf out and proceeded to play my last hole like a tapir on marijuana.

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Greens were in great condition. Or perhaps my putting finally came in order. I’ve been putting like a duck for the past couple of weeks, but for some reason, I always seem to play slightly better in outstation courses. Perhaps because my money mindedness reminded me that I’ve paid so much to travel so far, that I better been playing some non-humiliating golf.

Greens were slightly undulating and large, but the roll was there and although 4 is a generous number to give, I’ll do it, as it more than made up for Jawi’s pathetic service. By the way, the caddy will be of no use to you.  She’s a free loader, most of their advice only serves to help confuse the Russian out of me.

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Rough (3/5)

No complaints for the rough either. Before the rain, the sand was in great condition. I didn’t spend a lot of time in it, but my friend did. On the signature hole 15th for instance , a total of 4 bunkers surround the island green, and he managed to play in ALL of them. I have never seen it before, he hit from one bunker to the next until he played all and finally ended on the green.

The rough wasn’t really tough, unless you hit it so off line that you end up at the back of a palm tree. However most of Bukit Jawi plays pretty broad and you just get a feeling of expansiveness in the course.

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Aesthetics (4/5)

Very Nice. Some courses, like Ayer Keroh or Seri Selangor, gives a feeling of claustrophobia to a golfer. Each hole there is like self contained experience, in Ayer Keroh’s case, something challenging to every hacker; in Seri Selangor’s case, creating an experience as fun as Chinese Water Torture. But it’s preference, and for most of the gilagolfers I play with, we prefer to have a vast vista of the course around us, to experience the full joy of the created golf course and the sacrifice of thousands of trees, some extinct, never to be heard of again on this planet. This meant elevation, and Bukit Jawi has plenty of it.

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I suppose this is why it’s called Bukit Jawi, since Bukit is ‘hill’ in Malay.  For instance the awesome hole 15th was something we all enjoyed, with the tee off plunging down into the semi island green. The par 4 14th is also another beauty, with the ravaging lake on the left and a thin strip of fairway to drive to. We all got eaten up on the 18th, requiring a good drive to cross the lake and an equally good second to climb to the green.

The par four 5th is probably one of the best and most exciting holes on the course. It’s a straight L dogleft right, covered by forests on all side. If we are brave enough, we can tackle the one-on by driving over the forests, which one of us tried…and failed. But it’s definitely possible. And the elevation changes in this hole is so great your ears can pop just walking down the fairway. Very enjoyable hole, this.

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Wildlife here is also extremely interesting, with monitor lizards the size of alligators crawling up and down the fairway in pairs and family.

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Fun Factor (4/5)

Par four 5th, as mentioned is very fun to play. The 15th is beautiful, and requires several playing of it. And I had a birdie to go as well, because the green was very well maintained and the fairway was excellent as far as I can see.

This is definitely a course that we will have fun with, even with the rain threatening to wash us out, but because of the view and the largeness of space, it’s a very enjoyable experience, to just stand on one of the elevated tees and let it fly.

If not for the stupid service, which we have almost all but forgotten, this would have been a perfect score.

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Bukit Jawi is a scenic course. Simply because of it’s wideness. You can see a lot from the elevation and almost every hole is visible. Some like it this way, some like the isolation of other courses that’s constipated like Seri Selangor. It’s a pity they don’t have good service though. It would have been absolutely stunning if they had just trained a couple of chimps to register for us instead, I think this would have been bumped into the higher category of Must Play.

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The good: Great layout; course condition is very impressive; elevation and expansiveness of the course is a great turn-on; greens well maintained; passes the thunderstorm test with flying colours.

The bad: Service, service, service-pathetic registration process and violation of human rights by putting two women on four outstandingly gorgeous men; pricing is still steep for second tiered course; drive there might be a challenge as roads will randomly appear and disappear depending on seasons, like some sort of magical wonderland.

The skinny: 23 of 40 divots (57.5%). We recommend Bukit Jawi for the experience of playing. If you like service, trust me, the kueh teow seller in Pulau Tikus is a million times better service-oriented than this pathetic lot.

Bukit Jawi Lake Scorecard


Bukit Jawi Information

Address:Lot 414, Mukim 6, Jalan Paya Kemian Sempayi
14200 Sungai Jawi
Seberang Prai Selatan
Pulau Pinang, MALAYSIA

Contact: +604 – 582 0759 Ext. 636
+6012 – 495 6685

Fax: +604-582 2613

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