I recall in our previous adventure in Johor, we totally got mixed up with Palm Resort Allamanda and IOI Palm Villa. Apparently, naming originality isn’t one of Johor golf clubs’ brightest points. So this time, in our annual pilgrimage to Johor (while the wives battle it out in their Singapore Shopping Spree), we made sure that we will get to IOI Palm Villa Golf, and not another random, similar sounding golf club.
Travel is very simple to IOI Palm Villa. It’s a lot easier to access than the horrendous Legends, or as we will see later, the utterly confusing Horizon Hills.
You can exit at the Kulai exit coming down from KL and go through the familiar Kelapa Sawit township until you hit Kulai. Go pass Kulai till you see a ramp going up that says IOI Palm Villa Golf Resort. Just follow up the ramp and go along till you see a right turn. Compared to Legends, this is a cakewalk.
We used the top premier voucher and paid RM43 for our game. Now, this is a great price, not the cheapest, however. There is a golf course called Orchard golf in Kulai that goes to the tune of RM36 per person, which comes to about SGD15, or more or less USD10, or better still, 8 British Pounds. But at RM43, it’s a good price to pay for a reasonable golf course that’s easy to access from Singapore, and that doesn’t force you to drive deep into the palm oil plantation just to tee up.
Wide. That’s what we thought. We didn’t have any knowledge of this course at all, save for the fact that we had wanted to play it for some time. The first tee is a slight dogleg left, with plenty of bailout on the right of the fairway. The second thought comes as flat. You could see adjoining holes in a flat terrain in what used to be a palm oil plantation ground, and there was nothing special about it. But of course, with memories of another IOI golf course, which seem to be a lot better than the Berjaya Junk Courses, we hope this would match up with the now-decrepit and non-existent IOI Palm Garden. (Why all the Palms?? In case you are a foreigner wondering if these Palms mean the nice ‘Palms’ you see in a desert oasis, I hate to be the bearer of truth, ‘Palm’ in Malaysian colloquy means Palm Oil trees. Which is a huge difference in terms of looks. Like between Sophie Marceu and an iguana.
Again, I can’t comment a whole lot, but they got us to the course quick enough, which is always a good thing and although we didn’t get to play on the first and second nine, we were forced to play on the 3rd nine (IOI course). Now I know the mantra to never play on the 3rd nine as it generally represents the hideous cousin of the first and second: but we were honestly very surprised at the condition of the course on the 3rd nine. Basically, they didn’t even force any caddies on us, so we’re giving this a fair 3/5.
The fairways suffered a little from the rain, but it was generally in a fair condition. Strangely, the Putra nine seems a little more worse for the wear compared to the usually neglected 3rd nine. The problem with the fairways was simply that some of the grass was not cut, leaving the ball in an oftentimes awkward position of being embedded amongst long grass even on the fairway. Other than that, the fairways are wide and inviting, encouraging you to rip it as hard as you could. Unfortunately I was just having a horrendous time with my drives and constantly pulled or duck hooked my way through the game. I hate it when this happens, and why oh why must it always always occur when I’ve travelled half my country to play in Johor??!?!
Horrible greens. With one look, we knew this was no IOI Palm Garden. This was the ugly stepsister. This was the Elphapa, the ugly half of the good witch. I mean one or two sandy greens could be tolerated, but almost all? Patches of sand as well as maintenance turf made it nearly impossible to putt across, and this really took the fun out of the game in many instances.
Complementing the greens in horrendousity, would be the rough, specifically the bunkers. It didn’t rain on the day we played, so it must have rained the day before, but still, that gives plenty of time for the drainage to get to work. NOT. Some of the bunkers were turned into swimming pool, and in one hole, the par 3 8th of the Putra Course, my partner hit the greenside bunker and he had to leave his ball in there because there was no way to get it without removing his shoes and waddling in! Ridiculous. And this was not a one off problem, several crucial bunkers were just left stagnant with water, breeding aedes mosquitoes and infecting golfers with dengue. Come on, Palm Villa, fix your drainage please.
Here’s what you can do: dig up Bukit Kemuning, transport it hundreds of miles south and plonk it into IOI Palm Villa and you’ll see essentially the similar course. Wide open fairways, flat as an airport runway, and aesthetically emasculated, with just palm trees (iguana palm oil trees, not Sophie Marceau trees, please) dotting the landscape. It might be a welcome sight for hackers, or even for me, the way I was hooking the ball, but it’s not anything special at all, and no holes really jump out at you and makes you go, wow, not bad, I like this course! If you’re here to just play functional golf, then Palm Villa is good, if you expect something that looks like IOI Palm Garden, or even the butthole of IOI Palm Garden, I’m afraid you’ll be a little disappointed. Nothing special looking at all.
Fun Factor (3/5)
Now it might not be a beauty to look at, but like Bukit Kemuning, you can have loads of fun at Palm villa, simply because of the generosity of the fairway. The greens and bunkers really take you out of the instance though, so a mediocre rating here would be fair. We weren’t playing very well, but yet managed to shoot a decent score, which underline the forgiveness of this course, and it might be a very attractive option for beginners, or hacks like me who doesn’t understand the term ‘Course management’ or ‘play it safe’. We go by the rule of ‘let’s hit the most expensive club in the bag’ or ‘let’s hit the loudest sounding club in the bag so it makes us look professional’. Nice.
One instance did occur when we made the turn into IOI course, the third nine. We waited for a while for two guys to play ahead of us, intending for them to ask us to join them. They were playing a little slow, and you could see there was guy A, who was teaching guy B. And we recognized these boys from Singapore, as they took the same route as us out, and drove a Singaporean car. When they were moving away, my first drive took a huge bounce on the road and must have landed somewhat near where they were, but they have already driven off. We played the hole normal, and my friend accidentally overkilled his third shot into the green and yet again took a big bounce on the buggy track and landed near the next tee box, where these Singaporeans were. Mine was on the green in 3.
As my friend approached them, the guy A started saying:
“Is this your ball?”
“Young man, do you know that you are playing a very dangerous game? Can’t you see we are in front of you?? Play the game as it’s meant to be played! OK!”
“Look, I give you first warning. One Warning. No more after this! One warning!”
“OK sorry….” He picks up the ball and prepares to go away.
“You won’t be sorry if you do it again, I tell you. One warning! You better be careful, ah! I’ll make sure you won’t be saying sorry if you do this again. Listen, one warning, I tell you!”
He makes a threatening gesture, with one finger raised, his voice getting louder and louder.
I was observing from the buggy, about to get my putter to putt, and I got so tired of this jackass riding my friend over one mistake and kept repeating like a paralyzed llama ‘One warning…” that I yelled at him, “OK, uncle, sorry already, play on! Don’t waste time! Don’t get angry, just play on, move!!”
“You won’t be saying sorry anymore if you do this again!”
At this point, I was ready to unload my new packet of 20 golf balls into his throat. I mean, how many freaking times does he want us to say sorry? And why the he*l does he keep repeating himself by saying one warning, when he’s obviously giving more than one freaking, stupid warning? It was a good thing he drove off after that, and when my friend came back to me, I asked, “Is he an old twit or what?”
“No, he’s only slightly older than we are.”
In disbelief, I looked on as the Singaporean drove away.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not denying we made a mistake. But the ball bounced on the cart path, for goodness sake, it didn’t land into your thick skull and caused a brain fracture, which I’d say would do wonders to you since you can’t freaking count anyway. And we said sorry. We were even ready to buy him a drink. The initial reaction of anger is OK. We are all sorry for that incident.
His reaction was as if we strapped his entire family onto the railway track and let the MRT rolled over all of them, and on top of that set up a bomb to desecrate his entire ancestoral tombs. Now, I have loads of good Singaporean friends, and I suppose a few of them also read this blog; but seriously, it’s jackasses like this twat who gives Singaporeans such a bad name and get stereotyped as guys high on testosterone walking around with their colon pulled out of of their butt and strangling around their neck. I’m certain 99% of Singaporean blokes are good dudes, and would not hesitate to just kick the crap out of this jackanape who had just embarrassed your entire nation.
Doesn’t he realize that he’s a good 60 km into Johor, land of Malaysia, home of people who have high tolerance for everything except idiotic golfers from Singapore who acts like they have their colon yanked out of their a*se and strangling their neck? Doesn’t he realize that we could have been Johor thugs who would have murdered him there and dump his body in the palm oil estate and no one would have missed him one bit? Come on!
We were wrong, he had the right to be angry. Shake hands, play ball. If you want, jug is on us, and let’s share our war stories. But let’s leave it as that. Are you crazy to go threatening two Malaysians in their own country? Is he on crazy pills?? His friend didn’t even squeak a word, probably out of embarrassment of playing with a guy with PMS and too much estrogen mixed into his system or he had the right idea that he could have been killed then and there by two Malaysian thugs pretending to be very good golfers.
IOI Palm Garden’s saving grace is the RM43 with Top Premier Voucher. They will struggle to keep up the crowd if their greens continue to suck and their bunkers represent African Wildebeeste waterholes, but the course show good promises with maintenance on the fairway, a very forgiving gameplay and bailout areas for the beginners or the serial hooker, like yours truly.
The good: Price is hard to beat for a gameplay given like this; wide and flat, reminiscent of Bukit Kemuning; fairways are having good prospect to become better; drive and travel is quite straightforward and accessible from Singapore; 27 holes gives plenty of opportunity of different gameplays and speed of play.
The bad: Horrendous bunkers that are unplayable and has zero drainage; terrible greens that are sandy and bumpy; flat aesthetics might not appeal to some, unmemorable holes; risk of running into crazy Singaporeans who want to pick a fight with Malaysians, and who stroll about with their entire colon scarfed around their neck.
The skinny: 19 of 40 divots (47.5%). You really can’t go too wrong with IOI Palm Villa, if you’re around the Kulai area. Legends is nearby, but it’s more difficult. Orchard is also within reach and is also an option but this is a great course for you to start hunting in golf, and save your precious golf balls. Beware of the water bunkers and sandy greens, however, but for RM43, I don’t think there’s any cause for too vehement of complaints. Recommended a go for this!
Palm Villa IOI ScoreCard
Palm Villa IOI Details
Address: PTD 44500 Jalan Indah Utama ,Bandar Putra , 8100 Kulai