Danau Golf Club (UKM)

Introduction

Ok, very quickly, I’m going to say a word and tell me immediately what comes to mind.

Danau.

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking beach and water. Perhaps due to it sounding a little like Datai or Damai, both of which are beachside courses. So when I say “Danau”, you wouldn’t be thinking of some combat course in the middle of a university premise, would you?

Welcome to Danau Golf Club, aka UKM golf club. UKM here stands for Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, which sounds a lot like UPM, which also have a golf course. I won’t be surprised if there’s a UKM vs UPM Tavistock  cup, where each university pits their best golf players who don’t need to study to pass against each other.

UKM definitely gets more points for being creative about their names. Face it, Danau sounds a lot more impressive than, “Lets have a tournament in UKM!”. Why doesn’t UPM come up with something, like Eoworth Woodlands Club or Falling Vale Hills Club, instead of, umm, let’s play at UPM. It’s very unprofessional and unglamorous!

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Travel ( 3/5)

Golf courses must, by default, consider golfers as a bunch of yahoos, whose intelligence in directions is severely limited by the stimulant endorphins that are clogging up their brain cells in anticipation of a round of golf. It’s been proven by various scientific bodies that when someone is at a heighten state of mind, such as anticipating a round of golf or having sex, the human mind is incapable of focusing on anything else, particularly roads and directions. Hence most accidents in 2009 occured when the car involved was on their way to the golf course, or a brothel. Check it, it’s true.

Hence, idiotic golf courses like Bukit Unggul and other hard to find places like Damai Laut violates the first rule of golf courses: Make it easy for these yahoos to find. Thankfully, Danau is easy to find. Just head along the North South highway, take the Bangi turnoff and immediately, you will find what is known as the largest roundabout on earth. It’s true. It’s so huge that you’ll feel like you’re going into a different timezone by the time you exit. Anyways, head straight from the largest roundabout on earth. You’ll hit the second round about, and this time, take a 3 o’clock. Go straight and voila, you’re in UKM!

Danaumap

Now, this is VERY important. NEVER EVER enter into a university. Remember UPM? The stupidity of Malaysian universities is that they make the signs so small and filled with so many words, you need a bookmark to read it through.

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Instead, at the traffic light before UKM, take a left. You will go past a field on your right. Watch for a right turning and take it. You will be on a small road and just head straight all the way until you see Danau on your left. Kudos to UKM for allowing golfers to NOT enter the university to get to their course!

Price ( 2/5)

We managed to play for free green fee that day due to some inner connections, but here’s the actual price:

Weekdays:84RM

Weekends:147RM

Sunday afternoon:98RM

Is it a good price? I mean, sure, it’s Saujana running the place, the folks that gave us the crazy greens in Beringin. But at 84, it’s almost RM20 more than Beringin, and the weekend rate of RM150 is ridiculous. Sunday afternoon at 98RM? Some might be off to Bangi then, which is next door.

Of course, if you have the SSG Links Card, it’s a lot cheaper as this is a home course, but without it, you’re forking out a lot of money for a university course. UKM needs to understand that in that area, there are a lot of golf courses competing, closest being the god forsaken Bukit Unggul, which of course, Danau is a lot better, I’ll say it up front. But still, you’ve got the palatable Bangi nearby, which a lot of people would prefer, how can they compete?

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First thoughts

First of, if you want to compare Danau to UPM, don’t. Because Danau looks way better. I say ‘looks’, because at least for one, it has a nice club house, which begs the question: where the heck does a university get so much money to build one like this?? Anyway, the buggy stations are well maintained, the sign in was quick and without fuss and before you know it, we were nicely chugging along to the tenth tee box for our tee off.

The 10th tee box was a great welcome for us, with the word ‘Danau’ staring right at us, with OB stakes. We found out the OB stakes was for the next hole, not this one, so feel free to whack the ball over the ravine!

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Service ( 3/5)

We didn’t experience much service, except for when our buggy was dying halfway through our 14th hole and we called Danau and in 10 minutes, the guy came with out buggy. Nice. We’ll mark at as a three, at least, nothing really pissed us off about the service.

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Fairways ( 3/5)

OK, here comes the review. Were the fairways good? Yes, for cow grass. At least it didn’t have any bald  patches that made it so annoying at Bukit Unggul. In fact, maintenance and drainage were pretty good as well, and we didn’t have any issues getting slushed in as we do in other courses like Kinrara and so on.

Fairways toughness? Tough, especially for the first 9 (we teed up back nine first). Some of those fairways, like the one on the second is skinnier than an Ethiopian Kate Moss…serious! We had such a psycho time, the first three guys that teed off sent our ball way right into the jungle. The only one that made it was the clown that topped his drive and zipped the ball like 50 meters. We’re not saying we don’t like it, but you better bring your A-game driving here to Danau.

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Greens ( 2/5)

The greens were mediocre. My flight mates hated it, especially one guy that 4 putted from 4 feet. I’m serious. He putted downhill, missed the hole, ended up 6-7 feet, then slammed his other putt past to where he began, and missed the third and by the time he was finished, the words coming out were as flowery as all the flora and fauna in Danau. The greens were also hard. I think it was made of marble, the ball just bounced and flew off the greens most of the time. Compared to Beringin greens, Danau was no where and was just a huge disappointment. This was because I was such a big fan of Saujana greens, I was trumpeting the greens to be as good as Beringin and it wasn’t. So I had to eat my words. It’s like promoting your kid to be the next Beethoven and getting your entire family and friends to watch his first piano recital and all he can play is Baa Baa Black Sheep. It’s still nice, but man, what a let down, or as we say in Malaysia, potong stim la. Remember KRTU and it’s greens of death? Well, we have a challenger. Danau greens are amazingly contoured. I personally liked it, especially some of the freens that had two-three breaks and several mountains for your ball to climb and three or four-putts are the order of the day. Get your putter ready, because Danau will kill you on the greens especially if it’s playing as fast as it was when we played.

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We’re still giving it a 2, because I’m using Beringin as a reference and I just can’t take Baa Baa Black Sheep when I’ve promoted the Ninth Symphony you know.

Rough (2/5)

OK, I know you think Gilagolf always exaggerates stuff, but you won’t believe how many GURs are there in the rough in Danau. As bad as the wildboars were in Bukit Unggul, I’d think some university students are rearing wild boards and letting them loose on the course every night in UKM. Of course that’s illegal, what do you think! The wildboar patches were present in almost every hole in the first nine, especially hole 8. Here’s what we saw:

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But seriously, UKM needs to do something about this wildboar problem. It sucks. Rough gets a 2 also because of rocky bunkers. Now we all hate rocky bunkers, because we’re already as bad as a drunk squirrel trying to do algebra when it comes to bunkers, but c’mon, rocks?? Our scratch up, sorry piece of equipments can only take so much abuse!

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Aesthetics ( 3/5)

OK, UKM has two different nines. The first is jungle, Ethiopian Kate Moss fairways, while the other, we’ve got nice water features coming into play. Is it a beautiful course? Not by a long shot, it’s not. Is it better than UPM, heck, yeah. The variety was very welcomed and we especially liked a few holes:

a)      Hole 12, the par 5 with island tee off. This really is a hard tee off because you basically need a lot of confidence. Take a driver and blast it too safe, your ball might end up OB. You mishit, you are in the water, baby!

b)      Hole 18th, this is a great ending hole (for us, it was a 9th hole), because a narrow tee off opens up into a green nestled between four bunkers. Hit the green and you still have multiple tiers to play with.

c)      Hole 3 has to be a signature hole. It’s a 160M par 3, with a huge elevation difference. It’s like that 7th hole in Bandar Utama. The turn off was of course the multiple chalk lines for GUR found here.

d)     Hole 4 is a killer 590m par 5. It’s never ending, lined with jungle on the right.

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Fun Factor ( 4/5)

Even though I am convinced all of us involved might be closer to skin cancer thanks to our exposure to the sun in Danau, I believe we all had a lot of fun. It was hot, make no mistake and a few of us had mirages of lakes and middle eastern belly dancers doing their thing on the greens (which obviously affected our approach shots, what do you think?), but overall, thanks to the variation of greens and fairways and holes in Danau, we were able to keep our morale up (except for the guy who four putted from four feet).

One thing: if you are a newbie, please be careful when implementing the dreaded “One Jug of Beer if don’t drive past ladies tee” rule. If you’re not sure of yourself, declare that you don’t want to participate (and you probably will be castrated emotionally by your flightmates for the rest of your life), because in some holes, the ladies tee is like 100 – 150 meters away. Serious. Don’t say we never warned you.

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I think some of the holes certainly made us think. Most hackers are mentally emasculated as evidence in the Ethiopian Kate Moss Hole on the 2nd.

Golfer 1 blasts his drive into oblivion in the jungle to the right.

Golfer 1: ***$&*!!!

Golfer 2: Eh, this is short hole, only 280 meters only. Just use iron, hit fairway la.

Golfer 3: Eh, but you can one on

Golfer 2 stops and thinks. It does not occur to him, of the 2,347 times he has tried to one on a par 4, he has only achieved that feat once, and that too when his sliced ball hit a bird, bounced off a branch, hit a tapir and landed short but had a monkey pick up the ball to place it on the green. He believes that might happen again. He whacks his driver into oblivion.

Golfer 2: **&#$&#!!!!!

Golfer 3: Hahaa! (Takes up a 7-iron)

Golfer 4: Eh, no balls ah? Play 7-iron?

Golfer 3 is clearly miffed by the question on the validity of his testicles. He immediately takes up driver, measures and blasts into oblivion.

Golfer 3: *&$*&#$^!!

Golfer 4 picks up his driver, mishits and rolls 50 meters on the fairway, best shot of the day.

Everyone laughs and have fun, and have astronomical scores.

Why are we so stupid when we play golf??

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Conclusion

By the time we approach the last hole in Danau, those middle eastern belly dancers had turned into gigantic hydras with fire coming out of their nostrils. We were almost all delusional, and stumbled with barely a concern for our scores. All in all, if you were to play I suggest you play first nine, second nine, instead of backwards like what we did. The second nine is a lot easier on the heat due to water in 4 of the holes.

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Overall, Danau proved to be an extreme challenge, especially if you are a newbie. Watch those ladies tee, and just get past those. If you can play in Danau and score well, you’re set to play anywhere.

The good: Accessibility; reasonable service; good variety of holes makes it interesting and memorable; contoured greens are hellish to putt on but still fun when you see opponent four putt from four feet; definitely fun if you have a bunch of gilagolfers who don’t mind having astronomical scores

The bad: The greens are disappointing for Saujana; rough is totally hacked up by wild boars, price is not very competitive given the proximity of Bangi, IOI, UPM etc.

The skinny: 22 of 40 divots (55%). The price at the moment might serve as a turn off, because unless you are SSG Links member, I don’t see how someone will pay RM84 for weekday without food. Bangi is too close geographically and serves as a competition…and they have Food! But try this course, and see if you can score and survive the Ethiopian Kate Moss Hole number 2.

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Danau Score Card

scorecard

Danau Information

Address: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Contact: +603-89258953

Fax: +60389250855

Website: http://www.danaugolf.com

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