UPM Golf


When you speak to a golfer from Malaysia and you mention the word “Combat Course”, there is a high probability that he or she will sigh and say, “UPM?”

UPM stands for University Putra Malaysia. It’s basically a university with a golf course. Yes, apparently this is a concept it took me a while to adjust. I would love to register for a uni with free access to a golf course. In fact, it’s not just a golf course, it’s complete with a driving range, a pro, and locker rooms and showers, just like any club!

I knew of this some time back, where my friend mentioned that in UPM, actual cows actually roam the fairways, like the legendary bisons over American Heartland. I’m like, holy cow, are they movable obstructions, loose impediments?

I’ve played it a few times and each time, I struggled mightily. The combat course is really what it says; you feel like you’re fighting it. It’s a course maintained by a university for crying out loud. What did you expect? Someone to give you a face towel on the back nine?

Travel (1/5)

There are several ways to the University and each ways are wrought with perils. Sorry, just had to say that, it sounds so cool. Anyways, the easiest coming from PJ/KL is to hit the north south highway (by now, this highway is so familiar to golfers, they should be dreaming about it and know every exit more than they know their own mother). Head south to Seremban till you see the UPM exit. This is the easiest. Take the loop, you’ll hit the UPM toll. Voila, you’re there, easy peasy. If you come from Putrajaya or Kajang side, head towards the SILK (or whatever the name of that highway is called), you know the one that heads you to Kajang and IOI mall. There is a turnoff to UPM, watch for it on the left. Immediate left after that and you’re there.

Here’s the best map I can find.



I’ve downgraded this course significantly and will tell you why. The ONLY way into the golf course in UPM is via the SILK way, because that puts you immediately at the entrance with the golf course. I will state this clearly: If you come in via any entrance (including the one that I have cancelled above), YOU ARE DEAD. You will spend eternity circling this god forsaken university looking in vain for signs and asking in vain for directions. It took me 30 minutes of mindless driving to finally spot the golf course. There are a few reasons to this madness:

1) The insistence of UPM to not use signs. Everyone navigates by smell. They must have spent so much in building fancy facilities, that they only have RM150 left for all the signages in UPM. There will be NO signs pointing you to exit, to golf course, to toilet. The only signs there points to boring faculty buildings, no doubt filled with the living dead.

2) The sign fonts are so darn small, it’s impossible to read it. It’s senseless if you put up an unreadable signs. Why don’t just draw pictures like cavemen? It would definitely help more.

3) The directions given by students/faculty members/living dead are as vague as the signs. Or maybe my Bahasa sucks. They would say, go straight, turn left. I do that and suddenly I’m at a crossroad but there were no further instructions. What is this, some kind of Amazing Race crap? Did I miss a checkpoint or something?!?

4) I think it’s UPM strategy to increase their enrollment. You have no way to escape this campus because it’s so darn confusing and the signs are so darn useless, that you go insane and you enroll for life. Yay, now UPM has more students!

5) UPM refuses to set up the course “How to Make Road signs that are intelligible 101” for fear that people would actually escape their campus and their enrollment dwindle to their original number: 2.

Awful directions inside this university, possibly the most confusing labyrinth in the face of this earth.

Price (2/5)

You’d expect student price for a course like this, but I paid RM70 for a weekday rate. That’s because it’s RM30 for the green fees and RM40 for the buggy. If we had split the buggy, it would be RM50, which to me is quite reasonable. Given the course conditions (more of that later), we’re willing to give it an extra divot. RM50 is still a little steep for student pricing.

First thoughts

Now, we’ve played in UPM before. And we didn’t really enjoy it that much I recall. The last time I played 97, and not score any birdie/par. Sounds familiar? Yep, like Berjaya Hills. I know I was struggling with my swing and UPM is a course (especially the back 9) that severely punishes off line drives. And at 6271m, it’s not a pushover as well.

The good news was when we entered the campus, we saw banners everywhere that stated Annual Golf Open in UPM in 3 days. This means that we should expect some reasonable conditioning of the course at least! The best time to play, remember, is always before or after a competition. That way, the course is primed to its best. I recall playing KGNS old course after the National Amateur and nearly died. The rough was just impossible to play from and the greens were glass. I was four putting like a dodo bird flying into a propeller. I think the Stimpmeter was like, what 20?

It was just pure luck that we happened on a course right before their annual tournament, so we expect some good experience here.

Service (2/5)

Maintenance was being done on the course, although this is a little biased since we’re looking at a few days before the competition. Checking in was a breeze,a dn the guy at the counter was a very articulate fellow who spoke perfect English (it being a University and all). They don’t waste time with golf insurance, caddie fees and all that hocus pocus. You enter the new club house, you pay 30 bucks, you get out, you pay another 40 for the buggy and they pack you off. There’s no halfway huts, it’s just pure golf.

The one thing I have to nitpick on is this: I don’t know what is it with our government or education institutions that love SMALL SIGNS. I have very good arguments on this. I entered into their old clubhouse (it was never stated as old clubhouse), which was deserted except for two guys talking. They must have saw me coming in, but simply paid no attention as I scamper around looking for the changing room. There was a sign that said Men’s changing room, so I opened it and voila, I’m in a Surau. A Surau is a prayer room for the Malays. Holy place, you know, not where you want to be stepping in with your stinking golf shoe that hasn’t been washed since the last World War.

And there I saw it, in a small dark corner, a little A4 print out pasted on the wall (Only God knows who is it for, hidden away there). It’s like a treasure hunt clue: Go to New Clubhouse. And why the heck are those two guys ignoring me? Can’t they point me to the right direction? Am I like Bruce Willis and they don’t see dead people?!

The reason why I drag government institutions into this is easy. Try driving to Putrajaya, our administrative capital in Malaysia, the place where all ministry and government buildings reside. The signs are not just small, they are MINUTE. I have to slow down and nearly cause pile ups everytime I pass a darn sign because they cram everything into a small space that nobody but pedestrians can read. Do they think it’s dainty to have small signs or what? What the heck is going on?

Fairways (3/5)

Once we hit the course, there’s where it gets better. Well, at least for the first nine anyway. And I know this has a lot to do with the upcoming tournament. The first tee off is to a huge fairway-which, for once, I found with my tee shot, so I guess I am slowly improving-a reachable par 5, which I pushed my 3 wood but still parred it. It was a sunny day, so I didn’t expect it to be bad. It wasn’t, and UPM is a course where hitting fairways is your primary goal. It plays not that long, but some of the holes, notably the signature Par 5 16th requires a bomb to reach the ravine and then a carry. Grass was cut for the tournament so it was as best as it could be.

Greens (2/5)

I was tempted to give it a 4 after going through the first nine. Really, I thought I was playing in KGNS or Rahman Putra, because the fairways were great and the greens were just superb. I hit an approach to the 3rd and it spun back. To the 4th and 5th and the greens just gripped the ball. It was soft, it was receptive, it was un-UPM like, and more Impian-like. Most greens here are table top, so please don’t run low balls into the greens! It played slow though, probably due to the watering of the greens in the morning but I’d say, UPM greens on its best days, beats Impian greens on its worst. It’s like the plain Jane upstaging the Belle of the Ball who had a bad hair day. Hey, that happens.

But Jekyll and Hyde. Or rather, front nine and back nine.

As good as the front nine was, with newly paved buggy tracks, someone forgot to include the back nine in the budget. Back nine plays wild. It’s much much tougher, much more undulation and less maintained. I suspect the tournament is only for front nine, because once I hit the back 9, the greens were back to their sorry state. The 16th was sanded and unputtable. The 13th likewise. It’s a pity because the back 9 is much more enjoyable and more memorable, but I guess they haven’t got down to maintaining it. Now, this is more like the UPM we recall from our previous visits!

What a waste, so we just have to split that 4 into 2. Still, the front nine shows promise of what the greens in UPM can become!

Rough (2/5)

The rough is punishable by death…of your balls, that is. The front nine is quite benign, and reasonably allows you to score well even with crooked driving. Once you make the turn, it’s as if you’ve crossed the gateway into destruction. From Hole 10, to the narrow 12th, then to the long 13th, the 15th and 16th, you will be framed with jungle from all sides. I don’t know what’s a rainforest jungle doing in the middle of a university, but there you have it. Even the par 3s are inhumanly long: 183m, 171m, 154m (but plays to 160 since it’s a severe uphill) and the most scenic 17th, playing at 170m downhill, where I lost my 5 iron shot into the oblivion beyond. Even my six iron was over. Bollocks!

The downpoint were the bunkers. Probably they were a little too wet and packed, but it has always never been very well maintained. I suppose it being a University, there’s a course on ‘How to Make Good Bunkers 101′ as well as ‘Constantly Frustrate the Stupid Golfer Advanced Course’.

Aesthetics (2/5)

I’d like to give it a good score here but the honest truth is that, the course is just not pretty. It’s functional, yes, but the front nine plays very boringly, if there’s such a word, except for the 7th, which is quite a nice hole to look at. The back nine plays almost claustrophobicly, due to the framing of the jungle. We hardly get to see the whole course in one view and sometimes it plays like Datai Bay in a sense where every hole is self contained. But Datai Bay had the view. UPM doesn’t.

Fun Factor (3/5)

Despite of it all, we believe that UPM can offer a measure of fun, given the right conditions. Good weather is paramount. And before tournament conditions also help. The front nine could have been more exciting, but it more than makes it up with some of the most challenging holes you will never play in other courses. The par 4 13th is a driving hole over a massive ravine at the tee box. After that, you’re faced with the short 14th. A good tee shot places you about 50 meters away if it catches the slope, but the green is just demonic to putt on. The 15th is also severely undulated to an elevated green. But the 16th is the most fun to play. A good tee shot can catch two terraced slopes leading down to a landing area right before a huge ravine. From there, a risky 3 wood should give you a two on and a putt for eagle.

The ending hole is a par 5 where a slope runs your tee shot down to 3 wood range. You can eagle this as well.


I think we caught UPM on a good day. No doubt about it. The pre tournament conditioning worked well, but I’ve almost always never do well on this course. I’ll be the first to admit it’s no pushover, even for a university course, neither is it a pretty course. But if you can play the back nine reasonably well here, your game is pretty much ready to go.

The good: Good fairways, great greens on the front nine, memorable par 5s that will definitely be quite fun to play on the back nine, a functional course on a good day.

The bad: Lousy greens on the back nine, par 3s are long and except for one, not very scenic; price is a little looped out of a student budget; lousy bunkers; not a pretty looking course. Plus, 5 year olds can make better signs and give better directions than these so called university staff.

The skinny: 19 of 40 divots (47.5%). We caught UPM on its best day, so we’re recommending it. But take heed of the entrance and bring a flare gun in the event you get lost or have to fight off the living dead in UPM. Don’t blame us if you come out cursing the course and Gilagolf!

UPM Scorecard


UPM Information


Unit Golf, Bahagian Pembangunan UPM,

43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor.

Contact: +603-8946 7996

Fax: +603-8943 3972

Website: http://www.upm.edu.my

Kinrara Golf Club


Before there was Bangi, there was Kinrara.

Meaning, that as a golf beginner, after haunting Bukit Beruntung and finding that it was so far and so lousy and that I have improved reasonably and can play golf without embarrassing my family name, a course much nearer and easier to access was chosen. And here, we have Kinrara, the course where most beginners can learn, and while it is quite challenging, especially the back nine, it’s still reasonably good to play on, without traveling to the ends of the earth.

We didn’t know which course to select for the Saturday morning weekend, that would be at least reasonably in terms of pricing: Selesa, Beruntung or Kinrara. At the end, as we needed to get home in the afternoon, the closer one was chosen.

The night before, torrential rain flooded the Klang Valley. I’ve played Kinrara a few times and I know that the drainage there was super….lousy. I recall holes where if we were to free drop on casual water, we’ll either be playing off the buggy track or the green. It was waterworld, Disney on ice, or whatever smart alecky term you want to think of.

So with much fear and trembling, we got up to a drenched morning and headed to Kinrara.

Travel (4/5)

One of the major plus point for Kinrara Golf Club is that travel is a breeze. Well, it depends on when you are going. If you took the day off on a working day, there might be a slight jam on the LDP, but most of the jam is going the other way. The best way from PJ is to head down the dreaded LDP to the Sunway toll. After the toll go straight all the way (don’t follow the flyover to Puchong or you are chopped meat). You’ll hit a trunk road and after a one km or so, you’ll see a flyover to Kinrara township. Take that and at the first traffic lights, turn left. Follow the road to a T junction and you’ll see the course in front of you. Turn right at the T junction and Kinrara Golf Club is going to be on your left.

To add more value for our limited readers; I’ll try my hardest to put maps into subsequent reviews as well as phone numbers of the club. Instead of just bashing the course with our intense criticism or loving it with our intense passion, we also want to be slightly useful in terms of course location and getting their contact. You’ll be amazed at how darn difficult it is to get information on Malaysian courses, like a simple map or number. Most of what we google are crappy golf sites that give only general and uninteresting information. Where’s the map? How do we get there? And why is the number no longer working? We believe information is power and in Gilagolf, in order for us to achieve our incredible goal of having at least 10 people reading the crap we write, I think value added services is in order. If we get our readership up to 100, we will even start arranging golf games for you and upon request, dance YMCA on the bar of your choice. We are all men, by the way, so please don’t expect too much from the dance.


Price (3/5)

Another strong point about Kinrara is that it’s one of the most reasonably priced golf course that does not require you to go through horrible jams, or wake up so early that even the school bus aunty has not made her rounds yet. It charged us RM90 for weekend slot, prime time Saturday morning. On normal days, with AGN, we’re paying around RM55 for a tee off, which is very reasonable. The non AGN rates are also reasonable and we are always able to get a tee time in Kinrara. I suppose the reputation of Kinrara as a course that doesn’t have very good fairways deter people, since the traveling is pretty easy.

First thoughts

I’ve played Kinrara probably a dozen times in my short golfing career and it’s a course where you score well at. It’s by no means easy, as some of the par 5s play quite long and narrow, and the killer par 4 18th is a dramatic hole, representing one of the best ending hole I’ve played. Standing early morning in the back 9, faced with a par 5 tee off elevated; it’s a course that initially looks normal to you but as you continue to play it, it grows on you. By no means it’s a top tier course, as we shall soon find out; but due to the sentimental attachment to this course, we tend to be a little easier with it.

After all, after Bukit Beruntung turned into a pile of junk; this was the course I personally adopted when I was clubless.

Service (1/5)

Kinrara was never really big on service. I remember that their F&B is totally crap, and until today remains so. Slow to the point of actually moving backwards, the waiter would saunter slowly up requesting for our orders and take a few years before bringing it. I don’t know what is it with golf clubs and crappy F&B service. It’s as if all the lousiest waiters and waitresses in the world will congregate in golf clubs and collectively make life a living hell for golfers in need of water.

The thing I don’t like about Kinrara is the stupid food vouchers. There’s a fine print there that says vouchers not applicable for juices and coconut drinks, knowing full well that this, along with the soya bean cincau, is the staple drink for all golfers, much like zebra meat for lions. Unsuspecting idiots we were, we finished the round and asked how much for coconuts while putting down the vouchers on the table.

Now you as a waiter would be thinking: “They have a RM10 voucher on a table and asking for coconut drinks. Shall I inform them it is not valid or pretend to be a complete idiot and rub my hands in glee and let them fall into our trap?” No prize for guessing what he did.

Coconut drinks came and when we wanted to pay with the vouchers, he shook his head and said, “Not valid.” That must have given him as much satisfaction as Donald Trump derives when he bellows “YOU’RE FIRED!”. We looked at the fine print and cursed the day we thought coconuts were free and Kinrara was generous. We all paid, and to spite them, just to use up the vouchers, bought 6 cans of 100 plus (which we used in the next round in Tropicana).

We dislike being tricked (see our review of Tuanku Jaafar’s locker room keys incident). But due to the sentimental attachment, we are willing to give Kinrara a 1 in this.

Fairways (3/5)

Imagine going into the cinema and watching a show like ‘Enchanted’ with zero expectations and coming out of it quite pleased with the result. I mean the show still sucked, but it wasn’t as bad as you were prepared for. This is the opposite feeling of going into Star Wars Episode 1 thinking it was the greatest show on earth and coming out half dazed with its pure stupidity on every level. As well as renewed bloodlust to kill Jar Jar Binks and let him die a thousand deaths in the stomach of the Sarlac. Anyways, I quite liked the chipmunk in Enchanted, so I was reasonably surprised at how mildly entertaining it was. You gotta love that chipmunk.


The fairways of Kinrara was our chipmunk. You go there expecting the worst and suddenly, even with the downpour the night before, the fairway was in great condition. I mean, relative to our expectation. It deserves our applause, because we’ve seen Kinrara at its crapiest and you can’t walk without wearing the Phua Chu Kang yellow boots as you wade through 18 holes. Right now, it’s like a different creature. Not super, but unexpectedly good. No plug balls. Limited casual water.

One look and you see maintenance workers working their butts off draining the fairways. An indication was the par 5 14th where the entire hazard on the right side was being dug up, and we saw water being drained from the adjacent fairways. They are hacking up the course and now it looks like crap aesthetically but it’s for the long run.

Greens (1/5)

As good as the fairways were, the greens totally blew away our happiness. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to excel in one thing and once we reach the green, we are like, what on earth is this? And earth is the right word, because even on the 10th green, there was this huge crater in the middle of the green. Serious. It’s as if a giant golfer with a golf ball the size of a bowling ball had teed up and left a gigantic pitch mark on the green. Who’s gonna fix this? Hello??

Green speed, green roll is totally zero. I gave up after a while and simply putted straight and watch it gather sand so that by the time it reaches the hole, the ball is twice its original size. Wow. Great job, Kinrara.

Rough (0/5)

And just when you think it can’t get any worse, we get hit by memories of Bukit Unggul, where the bunkers resemble some of the pictures we see from the Voyager in Mars. Or whatever the name of that little robot that they sent to Mars and got killed by Transformers. You guys watched the trailer right? No? Ok, anyways, the bunkers are crap.

Primary rough reasonably playable, and don’t forget the generous OB lines littering the course. However, it’s not as bad as Monterez or Nilai Springs. It would have been a 3 but we’re merciless if you have bunkers that scratches our precious clubs. Sorry, no sentimentality here. A big fat ZERO.

Aesthetics (2/5)

Kinrara is one of those courses where it’s neither here nor there. It’s good looking without being pretty, without being hideous. It’s like that girl who’s always been your friend, whom you never take a second look, but still find her inoffensive. It lacks the forest foliage that Bukit Unggul or Datai Bay has, it lacks the wide open fairways like Bukit Kemuning. It’s a split down the middle. In fact, we’re willing to overlook the hideous digs currently going on because of the drainage improvement it is causing.

However, points lost because of the workers. We’ve got workers walking all over the place. They are like the Augusta gallery. I’m sure they are there for the maintenance, but it’s quite disconcerting to walk to the green and you see a pack of foreign workers walking down the buggy track with their pitchforks and stuff and stopping to look at you while discussing, possibly about us, in their native tongue.

“You think this weird Chinese guy gonna sink his putt?”

“He stands funny. He won’t sink it.”

“OK, I’ll bet you for a pack of Marlboros.”

“OK. Here he goes.”

“Dammit! Stupid Chinese guy! May your ancestors curse you!”

At this point, I get a glare or a rude sign from them and they continue hiking onwards.

There are so many holes with workers. Don’t they have something better to do than walk around? And stop looking at my putts! I’m good! The greens suck! It’s not my fault!!

Fun Factor (4/5)

We usually have fun when we play well. In our flight, we are very very generous in our fun assessment. Even if I play like a pregnant cow drunk with alcohol, and our playing partner is doing well, we will all agree that the course is fun.

And boy did one of our guys do well.

It started with his back nine, going bogey on the first hole. And that too he missed a 3 footer for par. Then on the 2nd, he missed a 4 footer for birdie. On the 3rd, he stuffed his tee shot so close to the par 3 pin, we were willing to concede for birdie, but he wanted to hear the drop of the ball. Guess what, he pulled the 2 footer and settled for par. The fourth, he almost drove the green and curved a 7 footer in for his birdie. On the fifth, a superb downhill chip, and a tap in for par. On the 6th, he pulled his 5 footer for par and settled for bogey, ending his torrid 4 hole stretch. Next hole par 5, he recovered amazingly from a deep fairway bunker and one putted a 15 footer for birdie.

By this time, our little competition was over. I had 4 pars over 7 holes and still lost. He was even over 7, but could have been -4. Once the game was over, he lost it a bit and on the 8th hole, a perfect tee shot but he put his approach in the bunker. It was impossible to get it out because it was lying against the face with an overhanging lip that blocked the ball. Through some freak of luck, he pounded his ball and it came out. One chip, one putt for bogey and he is +1 over 8 holes.

He regulation on for the last hole and was probably doing a victory lap for the best round I’ve seen any of my playing partners play in 5 years of golf.

Unbelievably, he FOUR putted the last green for a double and a +3 39. Still a great score but it could have been -3. Pro golf standard.

He scored 53 on the first 9 by the way, so it was very much an average 92 score, but man, it was fun watching him beat the crap out of us.


It’s definitely a course that you can make a run like what my playing partner did. It sets up easy on the front nine but gets progressively harder, culminating the signature ending hole, a monster 403 meters par 4 that forces you to tee off over the trees and severely cut the dogleg right to get a chance of an iron into the green, to cross pond. You play it safe, you’ve got a 180m carry over a large hazard. A must play hole for any golfer.

The good: Good fairway drainage; easy access if non working day, reasonable price; one of the best ending holes you’ll ever get in Malaysia; course setup for a barrage of pars and birdies.

The bad: Greens and bunkers are extremely lousy, too many maintenance workers as gallery; bad F&B service that like to trick people, course lacks natural beauty and challenge, except for closing hole.

The skinny: 20 of 40 divots (50%). It’s a course that every golfer in Klang valley should try, just for the great 18th hole. We recommend it but stick to sunny days and when the course is fully ready, and the maintenance workers have all gone back to their homeland.

Kinrara Score Card


Kinrara Information


Jalan Kinrara 6,

Bandar Kinrara,

47100 Puchong

Contact: +603-80762100

Fax: +603-80707822

Website: http://www.bandarkinrara.com.my/kgc/aboutus.htm

Palm Garden Golf Resort


Palm Garden.

If there were 10 courses in West Malaysia we always wanted to play, this would definitely be there. Kota Permai, Mines, Saujana, Sungai Long and Bukit Jambul in the top 5. Clearwater, Templer’s Park, Datai Bay, A Famosa would be the others.

Well, at least we’ve got 2 from that list.

Actually I’ve played in Palm Garden before and shot an 86 with 8 pars, one of the best rounds I’ve played. So I’m naturally excited to be back there after 3 years and as I remembered, the course is really forgiving. Undergoing some major swing changes, that forces me to fade on the good shots and push on the bad, a course like Palm Garden is a welcomed sight after playing OB happy courses like Nilai and Monterez. I have nearly eliminated by dreaded duck hook, but was still in the midst of the changes, which I hope would help me play more consistently. Hey, even hackers want to play some dignified golf you know.

Travel (3/5)

You can take a few ways to Putrajaya. Whatever the case is, whenever someone mentions Putrajaya or Cyberjaya, the natural reaction is a gag and subsequent fake death/fake vomit stunt. Everyone thinks it’s located in the next galaxy which simply isn’t true. I know, since I have the pleasure of driving to Cyberjaya every weekday for work. It’s located 35.5 km away from where I stay in PJ, and it flows against the traffic so the drive is only about 30 minutes; same time as those poor souls who must brave the jam to go to KL. Hey, we’re all in the same boat!

You can either take the LDP to Putrajaya, i.e passing through Puchong heading towards Cyberjaya. However, the best route is via the North South Highway, and turn off at our favourite interchange, Kajang. There we meet the famous forks: Right to Cyberjaya/Putrajaya; middle to Bangi, left to Kajang. Take the right this time and you’ll be on the SPRINT highway. I think. Actually I have no idea what highway it is; I’m just guessing.

Anyways, keep going and you will soon see IOI Resort and take a left. They’ve got pretty good directions here:


Easy drive, good accessibility!


Price (4/5)

It’s unfortunate that for most of the top tier golf courses, the price often sets them back early. I mean I guess you get what you pay for and for a good golf course like Palm Garden, you’d expect them to chop you up and leave you to dry, much like how we paid 350RM for Datai Bay. Darn, I could have bought a new second hand driver off ebay!

The pleasant surprise, which enabled me to organize two flights of AGN member and non AGN member, was that Palm Garden had a brilliant promotion of just RM100 all in for walk in. That’s for weekdays but it’s a ridiculously good price for such a course. With AGN, we paid about RM70, a heck of a deal. Sure it’s weekday, but it doesn’t get better than this. A top tier course for RM100!

First thoughts

Our first concern there was that we didn’t hold up the queue. This was important. Playing in Palm Garden is like meeting Diane Lane in person. You want to leave a good impression with her so she gets to remember you when you bump into her again. Likewise, we’re all a little more polite with our thank yous, a little more gracious with your pleases and a little more lower in our bowing. Palm Garden is like golf royalty, one of the top courses in the country, so respect must be given.

We broke up our AGN flight; and paired two beginners with the other two walk in beginners. We put that flight in front of us to ensure they don’t get too pressured by strangers. Also, it’s a little more fun playing with players within our standard; the wager becomes more fair, the game gets a little more exciting.

We teed up on the 10th and predictably pushed my tee shot to the right. Ah, Palm Garden, the sanctuary for recovery. Having a good shot over the trees, I shot an approach that stuck 4 feet from the pin. Birdie? Nope, missed, settled for a bad par and boom, we’re off.

Service (3/5)

The registration took a little longer than it was supposed to. The lady was a little busy with too many requests and didn’t seem to handle stress well. However, it was very sweet of her to provide us with 3 sleeves of balls for the walk ins and a bottle of water. Another good experience with the service was that on the 1st tee, when we made the turn, the marshal came up to us with face towels for a wipe down. This is strange to us, as we mainly experience marshals being mad at us instead. On the 9th hole, our last, we saw as many as 4 maintenance workers with mowers working on the course. The maintenance is absolutely tip top.

The only incidences we had was when our buggy broke down on the Par 3 5th. We had to let another group pass us and we called the club house.

When our replacement buggy didn’t come, we had to pack our bags and two from our flight walked to the green. I called the clubhouse, urging them to hurry and that it has been 10 minutes since we called, and the lady on the other line snapped back, No, it’s only 5 minutes, and its on the way!

Jeez, take it easy, you grinch.

She obviously is not a golfer. To a golfer, every minute is twice as long waiting. This is because we are waiting most of the time. Waiting to tee up; waiting for the green to clear; waiting for the other guy to putt; waiting for the darn buggy to be delivered. She was clearly correct; but the delivery was unnecessary. I’m here for a golf game, woman, not to pick a fight. It’s your fault anyway the stupid buggy broke and we lost our flight slot. The correct response? “Yes sir, it’s on the way. Sorry to keep you waiting.” There’s no need to argue with me that I was mistaken in the minutes. Customer is always right. Live with it, you strange woman on the other line.

Because of broken buggy and Grouchy Woman, Palm Garden loses a little in terms of service. Still it’s a heck of a club.

Fairways (5/5)

As mentioned, the amount of mowers on the course was amazing. It seems like every hole was being manicured to perfection. The fairway was excellent condition. Ball sits up, divots taken we immediately replaced; and there was a harmonious co-existence between the golfers and nature, finally. The fairways were generally wide; but hookers and slicers as usual might find it a little tough. I was blasting the ball well though, and constantly had approach or pitching wedge into greens.

Greens (3/5)

Like Datai, the only let down in Palm were the greens. I suppose that is why they gave the RM100 promotion. Most of the greens had traces of sanding, although some already recovered. But definitely, the green was under maintenance and it showed and played that way. The sand made the roll a little inconsistent and wasn’t soft enough to land on. Greens here are generally a joy to putt, aside from that. There’s not much undulation and after some trials here and there, I managed to putt from the fringe and even on the fairway just off the green to save some pars.

Rough (4/5)

I would like to proudly add that I hit 8 out of 14 fairways and 7 of 18 greens in regulation. The fairways I missed was just off in the primary cut so it sat up nicely. Only a few times I found myself in difficult positions, on the 1st, 6th and the 16th. All inside trees, sparse enough to recover but like the monkey I am I couldn’t. I double bogeyed all of it, so it was quite challenging despite it’s appearances. I like the rough here because it gives you a chance to play the risky shot; like on the Par 5 4th when another push cause me to hit my second on a root, squeezing between trees to the fairway. Unlike Nilai or Monterez, the rough here suggests recovery and persuades you to take the risk.

And the bunkers were top class. Despite the rain they still managed to make it that fluffy sandy condition that allows you to blast out with satisfaction.

Aesthetics (4/5)

I’d like to have given it top score, but I’m afraid Palm Garden, while pretty, just isn’t in the same class as Datai Bay. In fact, Impian looks slightly better too, simply due to the variety. Palm Garden offers brilliant elevation pictures, like the 9th, or 12th, with the signature bunker in the middle of the fairway. The par 4 16th offers a generous run of fairway. A guy from my group blasted the ball 270 m on that hole. The fairways generally rewards the drive that runs and draws. So for me, I played it longer since my drive tends to balloon high and fade.

The Par 3s have so many opportunities to look good but they generally play the same; a carry over water, all playing 150m and longer. Without hills or tropical forests; it would have been tough for Palm to score a 5 here, Impian does it; but Palm falls just short. It’s still an awfully good looking course, but not exceptionally breath taking.

Fun Factor (5/5)

Here’s the stats for the day in our flight.

24 pars between four of us; 10 coming from myself, a record of sorts. How can you not have fun on this course? On the 12th, the elevation was drastic from the fairway to the green. At 140 meters, I was hitting an approach wedge and still flew the green. The course demanded a lot of good precise shots, but allowed the recovery to happen as well. I know that the beginner group in front of us was also having a truckload of fun judging by the yells and laughter. I’ve had some agonizing putts shave the sides for par saves and birdie chances.

We played sixers, i.e partnership with everyone in the foursome; and we were just going back and forth like pros. I would par, and the other guy would par to square. I bogeyed, my partner parred, but the other group saved par. Par, par, par. They were just falling from the sky. At the end, our scores of 84,89,93 and 94 were probably the best foursome score I’ve had in ages.

At the clubhouse, everyone was raving about the club. Fun factor was just over the roof. An easy 5/5.


It’s rare that we can get to play on a course as great as Palm Garden and for a price of a middle tier club. Face it, the promotion might not last, but we’ve got the pics, we’ve got the memories. It’s not an extremely challenging course; neither do I think it is championship material, as suggested by the website. I think it’s a nice, not too tough course, built for people who wants to have fun and who are hackers like me. It’s excellent to bring your boss to, or business partners or customers for a nice, stress free round of golf, just make sure you don’t get the grouch girl at the counter to spoil your day.

What a great end to 2007! Here’s to a better 2008 filled with pars, birdies and eagles; and perhaps a sub 80 round!

The good: So many things, great course maintenance; easy accessibility next to the highway; superb promotion pricing; memorable holes and a guaranteed fun experience for all level of hackers.

The bad: Service of buggies not up to par; Grouchy Woman must be removed at all cost, preferably with a tranquilizer dart; sanded greens took some fun away

The skinny: 31 of 40 divots (77.5%). If you haven’t played this course yet, with the current promotion, please stuff your 7 iron inside your nose as punishment. And if you have read this much without strapping on your bags and jumping over to your car to head out to Palm Garden, then that 7 iron should be stuffed up some place else. GO GO GO!!

Palm Garden Score Card


Palm Garden Information

IOI Resort Batu 7,
Jalan Kajang Puchong,
62502 Selangor.

Contact: +603-89487160

Fax: +603-89422844

Website: http://www.palmgarden.net.my/course.htm

Bukit Unggul Country Club


Ok, this is one of the reasons why gilagolf site was setup. We find most golf reviews just extremely polite and untruthful about the course being reviewed. Face it, we are mediocre golfers, cursed to the very last breath to work on our swing, and fixing a slice and donating thousands of balls into the lakes and jungles in hundreds of courses. We’re never going to be in the PGA tour. We’re never going to beat Tiger unless he is 99 years old, half-blind and can paralysed from neck down. And by then I doubt any of us will even be alive. We’re never ever going to wear the green jacket in Augusta. Those are kid’s fantasies. Many people will say I give up my dreams too easily. Actually reality makes it easier to play golf and more enjoyable. I used to get really angry about my swing until this new philosophy settled in. Hey, you suck, anyway. The good shots are bonuses. Let’s all get along and have a good round of golf. And wouldn’t you know it: I got a whole lot better after that.

Anyways, back to Bukit Unggul. Here’s what the website says:

“Very few golf courses in Malaysia leave a lasting memory… Bukit Unggul Country Club is one of them. Craved into a 65-hectare valley, the par 71 5,858-metre long 18-hole course is a natural wonder created by renowned American architect, Ronald Fream. Golfers who play here for the first time instantly fall in love with each hole of varying character and challenge.”

This is like going up to a girl at a bar and saying: “Hi, I am so and so. I am very impressive, I have a good job, six figure salary and every girl says how wonderful I am and sing my praises. They instantly fall in love with me, I also have a 15 inch dongle. Please sleep with me.”

Seriously. Self promotion is no promotion. Actually, some girls might go for it; but you know, it ain’t the kind you want to get married to and live with. Your mom will disapprove.

More of it:

“Playing he (sic) hilly course demands patience and precise club selection. Here, a comprehensive fairway and green maintenance programme by the management ensures a satisfying round for golfers of all levels. Its undulating Bermuda Tifways fairways and tees, and true-rolling Tifdwarf greens exist harmoniously among a luch, majestic tropical rainforest to make play a true test of accuracy.

Bukit Unggul Country Club is simply an unforgettable experience.”

What the heck is luch? Rich you mean? Or lunch? What’s the key word here?

Spelling errors are sure signs of amateurish wrks. Who wold pozt ip something thjat dosent get run though the spll chcker frst?

We generally dislike courses that blow their own trumpet and cannot spell correctly. Please, let us be the judge of your so called unforgettable experience. Tsk.

Travel (1/5)

I’ve played more than 5 times at this place and each time I have no idea how to get there. It’s one of those courses that’s like a twilight zone experience. You’ve been there, you did something but it doesn’t leave any impression on you and you leave with absolutely nothing in your mind. Unforgettable experience? I can’t even remember the location of this dang place!

Easiest way is to take the North South Highway to Seremban and turn off at Bangi. You’ll immediately hit a big roundabout, so take a 3 from there. Follow the road and take a left at the T junction, a mosque would be in front of you. Now you’re on a little road with loads of holes so drive carefully. You’ll hit another T junction eventually, so take a right. Now you’re in a small road heading to Bangi. It’s quite windy and there are loads of trucks here. Look out for a right turning after the Nuclear Institute. It’s funny since there is a Nuclear and Atomic institute there, and these look like secondary school dormitories, that’s how advanced they look to me.

Anyway keep on that tiny road and eventually you’ll see Bukit Unggul on the left, after the driving school. From the Bangi toll, it took us about 15-20 minutes further into the rural area to get to the club. It’s like Kundang Lakes. Why do you need to make it so dang difficult to access??!


Price (4/5)

If there’s one thing Bukit Unggul does right, it’s the price. With AGN, we’re paying only about RM50 and that includes RM10 voucher for food (which sucks, and is really expensive, so don’t ever eat at Bukit Unggul!!). Even walk ins pay around RM70. The price for Saturday morning is steep though, but that’s prime time, so we expect to pay about RM150. They also don’t throw any caddies at you, which is very positive and why we like such golf clubs. As mentioned, the food is probably leftovers used to feed monkeys and giant lizards; but aside from that, pricing is almost as good as Bangi.

First thoughts

For some obscure reason (please refer to twilight zone experience mentioned above), I always thought Bukit Unggul played easy since it was a short course, on paper. Sitting at the clubhouse, the course is seen built inside a valley; not a mountain, or hill, as the name Bukit implies. It should be called Unggul Valley.

We teed up on the 10th, a scary looking par 5. As usual, I pushed the ball way out into the 18th fairway, played back onto the fairway and struggled to the green in 3. Surrounded by lush rainforest (LUSH! So that’s the key word! Well, that part of the advertisement is true!), any ball that hooks, slices is headed to an early death.

Now I know why this course plays so tough, despite its meager 5858m appearances. Many of the greens are elevated, or located far below the fairways; so judging the distance is a cracker. Also, this course delights in giving you doglegs after doglegs, so a solid drive, like the one I had on the 1st, will be sent into oblivion (in my case, almost killing the guys teeing off at the 3rd hole)

Service (2/5)

The F&B service was just massively slow. We ordered drinks and it took them aeons to deliver it. In fact, I think the waiter started a family and had kids and forced one of his kids to finally deliver the coconuts to us. Maintenance of the course was also non existent. No marshals were in sight and I was almost killed at the 5th, a drivable par 4. Balls were raining down from the 4th tee box, where slicers sliced OB into the green on the 5th. No amount of shouting helped. To cap it all, I was leaning on the sign depicting the 14th hole design and the whole thing tumbled down, nearly taking me with it.

Fairways (1/5)

Sorry, this gets a resounding 1 from gilagolf. Even on the first hole, we have evidence of golf’s eternal nemesis, the wild boar. I think that’s the whole problem with having a course built around the jungle. If there’s a lack of maintenance (a problem that Datai Bay did NOT have), generally you’ll face some holes that you just gotta let go. Berjaya Hills had that problem. Frasers Hill had that problem and now Bukit Unggul has the problem. That’s a given. What we cannot excuse is plain neglect on the fairways and bad drainage. It didn’t rain the day before but the ground was still soggy and on some holes, casual water was still there. I don’t want to know how it would be if it faced the rain Tiara Melaka faced. The fairway was also patchy, with just mud, in some instances, the grass was dead. It wasn’t all bad, at least the ball didn’t plug in like Berjaya Hills, but still, for a course that sees so much traffic, I’d think more effort should be involved in upkeeping this course.

Greens (2/5)

The greens are playable. Undulating, as expected for a course that dubs itself Bukit, meaning hills. Elevated greens makes it awesomely difficult to judge the distance. On the 8th, for instance, a solid drive found me about 140m away from the green, judging by the distance markers. A flush 7 iron should have gotten me there, but left me short. Seeing how stupid I am in chipping, I ended up with a bogey. Many more holes played different from the yardage and just confused the dickens out of me. The greens don’t hold, and was generally patchy but at least they were playable.

Rough (0/5)

Wayward balls are dead. I can’t say anything that would save it. From hole one to 18, slicers and hookers will be in for a hard time. The par 5 15th was butchered when I sent my tee shot into the woods. Forget the doglegs, don’t play it; it’s too risky to carve your ball around the hazards unless you are Tiger, which you are obviously not. If you are, hey Tiger, you rock. Why the heck are you reading all these stuff?

My other triple came on my final hole. I was playing solid golf for 8 holes then and was only 2 over. Darn, I pushed my ball into oblivion, and my second ball as well but managed to recover it, I was 5 on after that, and two putted. I thought I couldn’t break 90 but found out later it was a par 35 on the front, and that gave me a respectable 89. Hey Michelle Wie can shoot that number, so can I. Yes, I like to challenge 18 year old girls in golf. No, I don’t feel emasculated at all. Any more questions?

I don’t really have that much complains against the rough, my major grief is on the bunkers. This is by far, the worst bunker maintenance I have seen ever. Worse than Frasers, worse than Berjaya. Not only was the sand hard packed like your pavement, it was filled with stones and rocks. Not the small type, but the type that scratches and chips your wedges. Seriously, what the heck are they intending to do? Make us claim insurance for broken clubs? Some bunkers still had water, so obviously it wasn’t maintained at all. But rocky bunkers get an automatic 0 from us.

Aesthetics (4/5)

Like Berjaya, this is a bimbo course. Looks good on the outside, but crap from within. Anything built around tropical forests will look good. Any course sporting monkeys and giant lizards for wildlife will generally be appreciated. Bukit Unggul is pretty, although not mind blowing as Datai Bay. The lousy fairways detracts the looks abit but if you stood high up on the 4th hole and take a picture, it really really looks nice.

But as the old adage from your mother goes: “Looks ain’t everything, boy.” It certainly applied at Berjaya Hills, it certainly applies here. Listen to your mother, she is always right.

Fun Factor (2/5)

Even though I ran into a hot streak and started bombing my drives and getting to 2 over through 8 holes, it wasn’t as fun as I thought. This is a course that DEMANDS accurate tee shots. And it plays pretty long too. Don’t ask why. I don’t know how 5858m extended itself but looking down on the 8th hole valley that plays on paper 375, I drove as well as I could and still had 150m to go. I think the distance is screwed up. I don’t think I am so lousy in my drives, right? My flight mates were all struggling in the back nine as well, and there wasn’t much talking going on. I think we were all embroiled in our own internal frustrations.

So, let’s rewrite for these clueless marketing people at Bukit Unggul:

“Very few golf courses in Malaysia leave a lasting memory… Bukit Unggul Country Club is NOT one of them. Craved into a 65-hectare valley, the par 71 5,858-metre long 18-hole course is an unnatural piece of crap mutated by renowned American architect, Ronald Fream, who is also a suspect in the latest crime of defacing golf courses around the world. Golfers who play here for the first time instantly realize how screwed they are with each hole of wrong yardage and sadistic treelines that eat your balls. Golfballs, that is..”

“Playing he (sic) sadistic course demands a beretta 9mm and a precise shot to the head to end all misery. Here, a non existent fairway and green maintenance programme by the management ensures a muddy, dirty experience for all golfers, and especially for beginners, remind them just how lousy and useless they are and that they should stay home and curse the day they took up a golf club. Its un-maintained Bermuda Tifways fairways and tees, and bouncy Tifdwarf (do we actually give a darn what Tif actually is??!) greens exist harmoniously among a luch, majestic tropical rainforest, filled with wild boars and monkeys who will not hesitate to attack and kill golfers, simply to make play a true test of agony, like middle age torture, or wearing a corset at your crotch.

Bukit Unggul Country Club is simply an forgettable experience. However it will often return randomly as a nightmare that will revisit you night after night until your dying day.”

There, now that is what I call truthful advertising.

Butchering the last wasn’t fun, but the general consensus of the group is that it would be a long time before any of us come here again.

By which time, I would have completely forgotten any experience of this course. Or the way to it.


Given the price, it seems like a good candidate to be at least a middle tier golf course, but instead it scratches the very bottom of the middle class courses, where Gunung Raya and Cameron highlands congregate. It should be placed in the class of Monterez and Nilai but the looks couldn’t save it. Unggul could have played a lot better, but lousy fairways and greens and the worst bunkers in Malaysia turned out to be its undoing.

The good: It’s like a poor man’s Datai Bay in terms of looks; pricing is as good as it gets in prime spots in Malaysia; good place to hone your 3-wood tee off to manipulate doglegs.

The bad: Journey is like to the center of the earth, i.e it sucks; service for food is bad; rotting signs can kill golfers; so-so greens and bad fairways; possibly the worst maintained bunkers in Malaysia. If you’re in it, God bless your clubs. And balls.

The skinny: 16 of 40 divots (40%). It’s hard to put a ‘never’ at a club offering such a good price, but it is offsetted by the course and travel. Play only if you got nowhere else to go or forced to visit your mother-in-law, but trust me, it’s nothing like what the website writes it out to be. Go somewhere else if possible.

Bukit Unggul Score Card


Bukit Unggul Information


Lot PT 2180, 2181 Mukim,
Dengkil Daerah Sepang,

Contact: +603-89202888/2188

Fax: +603-89267870/79

Website: http://www.bukitunggul.com

Bangi Golf Resort


If we had a home course for our group, Bangi Golf Resort would probably be the best candidate. Every golfer has what I call the orientation course. This is the course where as beginners, we would play most of our rounds. These courses are usually either very far away or very lousy; so as to minimize traffic and to save the embarrassment of a whiff or the ignominy of not crossing the ladies tee box on our drive. Mine was Bukit Beruntung, I hear that it completely sucks now. Most of my flight mates learned how to fly in Bukit Utama, the 9 hole course that nobody likes to play but everyone is forced to because of its location.

Then we have the hunting course. This is the course where we truly play golf. Where we learn how to read the greens, the doglegs, the course management. And for many of us, this is Bangi. Due to the reasonable location but more for the kick ass pricing, this course has given us some of the best memories of our otherwise tragic golf careers.

Travel (3/5)


Usually courses out of town is really a challenge in terms of accessibility. But around the Kajang district, we have a slew of courses that are top class: Impian, Kajang Hills, Palm Garden and Sungai Long. We know them as the four heavenly courses. Their little cousin is Bangi Golf Resort, a 27 hole golf course built around Equatorial Bangi. To get there, take the North South Highway headed to Seremban. Exit at Kajang, and after the toll, it forks three ways: Right to Cyberjaya, Middle to Bandar Baru Bangi and Left to Kajang. Take the middle and straight all the way. You will eventually reach a T junction at the end of the road and take a right. At the second lights, right after the petrol station, take a left, and a second to the right. There will be signs to point you in case you get lost. From PJ to the course is about 20 minutes, on a nice Sunday morning traffic.

Price (4/5)

This is really the main reason why many of us made Bangi our home course. For walk in for Sunday afternoons (non members), we paid about RM90 each. It used to be the same for mornings as well, in fact, cheaper at RM85 but I think there was a recent change. Before AGN, this was the most affordable course for us during the weekends. We spent many Sunday afternoons here, honing our drives, improving our putts and just progressing in terms of golf. With AGN, it gets better. We only pay RM70 for Sunday afternoons. In this region of good courses, Bangi can’t really measure up to the four heavenly courses, but as a cheap alternative with equally impressive maintenance, it’s a perfect course for intermediate players who are without clubs.

First thoughts

Seasoned golfers-you know you are seasoned when your skin color has 6 different tones-have the same impression on Bangi.


Well it really depends how you play it. There are actually 5 tee boxes in Bangi: Gold, Black, Blue, White and Red so it really caters to all kinds of level. We usually play off Blue, mainly because for the other courses, Blue is typically the second toughest aside from tournament tees. However in Bangi, Blue actually plays as White and Black as Blue, in terms of difficulty and distance. Golfers being golfers, we are unable to adjust to the changes, and our preset minds cannot handle the sudden change in paradigm. That is why you see most golfers are really anal about their game: you have to wear certain colours, have a ball in the right pocket, must waggle twice, must have silence, must not have their shadows over the ball etc etc. Basically, golfers are just a bunch of mentally paralysed nutcases unable to operate outside of their comfort zone. Tee off at black tips? What, are you freaking nuts?!? I don’t care if that is really blue, it’s coloured black!!

At blue, Bangi plays the shortest: 5465m for the 1st and 2nd.

Important note: Playing Bangi, always play the first and second. It is the most scenic and nicest. The third is quite crappy aesthetically, although it does play ok if you don’t have a choice. For now, we will review our preferred 1st and 2nd nine.

This is by far, the shortest of all courses we have played on. In fact, from the black, it plays almost 500 meters longer. This has a 68.5 course rating, the lowest we find and a 122 slope, which plays tougher than Palm Garden. Actually, we have very little idea how those figures relate to our game, but we just want to make this review sound professional, see.

We also call this an asterix course. This means all great achievements in Bangi (and we will have them for sure) comes with an asterix. You birdied the 4th? Well, now, that’s great! Where? Bangi? Hmmm. I take it back. Eagle in Bangi? Meeh…You made out with a caddie on the 4th green? In Bangi? Caddie’s probably a dude…

It’s not truly a championship course, after all, it’s just a hunting ground for most aspiring golfers. The tutorial level before we head out into the big bad world.

Service (3/5)

As many times as we have played in Bangi, we have never really experienced the caddies. But check in is quite simple, as long as there is no queue, and the buggies are reasonably cared for. The plus point is really the food. It’s one of the better club food we have and by saying club food, we are comparing it with other golf clubs that usually serve ground nuts mixed with wild boar crap for sauce. It’s not superb, but at least, it’s edible and reasonably quick on the service.

The minus points are the guys at the locker rooms who would rush out to grab your shoes to wash and shine. Now, the first few times, I thought this was a great service, until I realize that when they returned the shoes to me, they weren’t expecting a thank you, which I would generously give them. Part of the service right? I was wondering why they threw me this dirty look. I realized after a few times, that those outstretched palms weren’t a foreign sign of gratitude or a request for high five.

As I said, we are not in a culture of tipping. If you wanna wash my stinking shoes, do it with dignity and not have something attached to it. I already paid. It’s called a golf fee at the counter. I don’t understand why I need to tip you to wash something I can wash at home. Will you zip my fly and ask me for a buck after that?

So after the game, walk straight to the locker and ignore all pleas, hand grabbing for your attention. Pretend to be either mute, or fake cardiac arrest. Whatever it is, don’t pass them your shoes. Well, ok, if you do and wish to be labeled the second most hated customer next to me, go ahead.

Fairways (4/5)

I like them. For a cheap course like Bangi, I always wonder how they could get the cash to maintain it as well as they do. Although my home course is Rahman Putra, my preferred turf is Bermuda, not cowgrass. It sits up, ready for you to blast the ball high into the green. I’ve played Bangi in all conditions available: soggy, damp, flooded, dry, baked, perfect; and so far, it has withstood the test. Sure, there are some drainage failures here and there but overall, the fairways are in great conditions.

Greens (3/5)

The greens are generally well contoured, with subtle breaks and consistent roll. It’s not tip top shape like Impian on its best days and your balls will probably not land and stick, as it plays harder, but it still adds a different challenge to the game. A well placed second shot to the front of the green can sometimes offer a more advantageous chip than a regulation with a lengthy putt. You can roll it pretty well on the fringe but the rough surrounding the fringe is pretty nasty and your balls can really get buried there if you’re not careful.

Rough (3/5)

The rough in Bangi comes in play a bit but from it, we still have a hope for recovery. Unlike courses built around a limited space like Monterez and Nilai, Bangi offers a good mixture of wide fairways and holes designed to punish wayward shots. Bunkers are generally well kept, if a little hard, so if there’s rain, dig it in with less bounce on your wedges.

Aesthetics (2/5)

Bangi has the misfortune of competing with the four heavenly courses: Sungai Long distinguishes itself by being a Nicklaus-designed course; Impian has top class greens and maintenance; Palm Garden is a hacker’s dream in terms of forgiveness and Kajang Hill is simply beautiful in its serenity. For Bangi, it had to find its own character and in that sense, it failed. The par 3s weren’t anything special; crossing lakes or hazards. The par 5s were simply too short; and it made us into heroes by attempting to two on from the blue tees. I’m not complaining obviously, but in terms of overall looks, it was simply quite normal and in this region of golf courses, normal ain’t gonna cut it.

Fun Factor (4/5)

Bangi is a fun course. Fun because the first nine has 3 par 5s. The first is a reachable one with a sharp dogleg almost 90 degree to the left. In one mighty stroke, you can cut the entire dogleg over the trees and land with an 8 – 9 iron distance for eagle. The second par 5 is also reachable with a good drive and roll; and a wood or long iron into the green guarded by two front bunkers. Finally the par 5 9th plays the easiest. An easy cut of the dog leg left will catch the hill and roll down. I was hitting a 9 iron into the green way below and hit a chip in for my first eagle there.

The second and third nine were more traditional, in a sense of regulation golf.

Possibly the most memorable par 4 is the 13th. It’s 260m to cross the pond onto the green, or you could go for a safer route to the left fairway where a long iron or wood would be enough.I took out my driver and blasted one of the best drive of my life, that floated high with little spin and landed on the green, one on, 12 feet away from a historical eagle.

In fact it was the most disappointing birdie I ever had. Why don’t we ever hit putts firm enough I will never know.


Bangi is like an old friend. There is already familiarity there since this was where we honed our skills (or lack thereof).We can always depend on how the fairways will be dry or how the greens will roll. Bangi always welcomes us with open arms and you’ll appreciate the shortness of the course if you are playing with beginners. It’s the perfect course to break in newbies to the game.

The good: Many challenging holes and opportunities for eagles; great price; generally good maintenance on fairways and greens, good balance between risk and reward.

The bad: Asterix course so my first eagle, my birdies and eventually my sub 80 round will be asterixed. Par 5s might play slightly too easy, even from the black tees; locker room boys haunting you for tips.

The skinny: 26 of 40 divots (65%). Bangi is easy to recommend to everyone, of any level. It’s a course that allows semi-newbies to have a taste of course life. Welcome to your lifelong prison called golf.

Bangi Score Card


Bangi Information

Address: No 1, Persiaran Bandar,
Bandar Baru Bangi,
43650 Selangor.

Contact: +603-89253728

Fax: +60389253726

Website:  http://www.equatorial.com/bng/

Bukit Kemuning GCC


This is a little known course located in Bukit Kemuning, often overshadowed by its more illustrious brother, Kota Permai. In fact, if it wasn’t listed in the AGN clubs, I wouldn’t know of its existence. I’ve played in Kota Permai before (the course they have the Volvo Masters for the Asian PGA tour), but it was just too darn expensive to try out a whacky swing. With a whole day free, we decided to head towards Bukit Kemuning Golf and Country Resort, with little expectations on how it would be.

Travel (4/5)

We have no idea that Kemuning was so close. I mean it wasn’t so close that you could cycle over from KL or PJ, but we were settling in for a long drive, and before you know it, bam, you’re at the club. We’ve concluded that all clubs that are located near the highways are easy to access, but there are some that requires additional traveling inside, like Bangi and Kajang Hills; and some that requires a whole lot of driving before we can reach it, like Bukit Unggul.

The best way is to use the Kesas Highway to Kemuning, via LDP. Instead of turning at the Kemuning interchange, go further and turn off at Bukit Rimau. First roundabout, take a 12 and the second roundabout take a 3 and voila you’re there. In fact, the trip to return home only took us 17 minutes flat.

Here’s the map for easier reference:


Price (3/5)

We paid a reasonable RM50 ++ on a weekday, using out AGN cards. It does shoot up over the weekend to more than a 100 RM, and we were a little surprised at the pricing package. Honestly, we expected something like Kundang Lakes or something, but instead we got quite a nice course, and with the condition and maintenance, the price was fair, unlike the ridiculous sum of money we have to fork out to play in Berjaya Hills.

First thoughts

Honestly, we thought Bukit Kemuning was a poor pretender to Kota Permai. You usually have these so called inferiority complex courses; whenever you find a course next to a big name, they tend to be really crappy: case in point, Kundang Lakes: Crap; Rahman Putra: Good. Perangsang: Crap; Templers Park: Good. So there was a pleasant surprise when we drove up to the front of the club house and found it quite classy. Any clubhouse with a working fountain at the front is classy to us.

The surprise extended over to the easy registration, the clean lockers and once on the first tee, faced with a large tract of land for a fairway, we knew that this course would be fun to play on.

Service (1/5)

Here’s the golden rule. If there’s anything wrong with the course, or if it is in maintenance, you need to inform the customer. I mean it’s like renting a car and not telling them their indicator isn’t working. Or the front tyre is punctured, or you have a leak in the carburetor. I mean, wouldn’t the customer eventually find out? What’s the point of hiding?

No information about temporary greens was provided to us. That’s a minus.

Cramming 5 – 6 golf bags into a single cart like Tiara Melaka is not only stupid, it’s dangerous for the clubs and the driver. Come on, don’t be so darn lazy and make multiple trips to get our bags. Not taking out our bags for us shows us that this looks like a first class club with third class service.

Fairways (3/5)

First impressions go a long way. After the bad service encounter, we were pretty much in a ghoulish mood as we stepped onto the first tee. And then we smiled. Nothing is more welcoming than a huge fairway looking at you in your first tee shot. Well, waking up to French toast breakfast in bed is a close second. But broad fairways are first. Especially on the first tee off of the day. Predictably, I started the day with a big push into the next fairway, but this wasn’t Monterez or Berjaya Hills, so a second shot pitching wedge over the palm trees found me near the green for a bogey start.

We played in a slight drizzle but the fairways held up quite well, hardly any casual water. But mainly we liked the whole open concept golf course. It feels a lot better than courses that narrows everything down and have OB stakes all over the place; as if golf wasn’t so hard already. This course plays more like Palm Garden without the looks, in direct opposition to narrow courses that we have reviewed; aptly named the Terrible Trio: Nilai, Nameless Course in Seremban 3 and Monterez.

Greens (2/5)

I hate temp greens. In Tasik Puteri, we were given two holes with temporary greens but at least the club informed us at the registration. In Bukit Kemuning, they didn’t even bother telling us. They just sent us on our way to the first and second tee where we were hit with temp greens, and on top of that, the 10th also had temporary greens. Eventhough I birdied the 10th, it was an asterix birdie, as a solid drive found me just 20 meters away from the ‘green’. Obviously there is no roll on these greens. Even the real greens weren’t remarkable, but we were already put off by the three unannounced temporary greens, so obviously we are already biased against the greens. All the points this course got from the fairways, they offset it with their greens.

Rough (3/5)

Getting it into the rough isn’t punishable in this course. In fact, I had a lot of drives trickle out of the fairway to the rough and still managed to shoot regulation. There are a few holes bordered with OB but overall, it wasn’t challenging enough in a lot of holes where our drives couldn’t find the fairway. The sand was reasonably maintained but due to the rain, everything was typically hard packed.

Aesthetics (3/5)

Charming. That would be how we would describe it. Of course, we had the best weather possible for golf. Slight drizzle in the morning and an absolutely fantastic weather after that. Breezy, wasn’t too humid, I don’t know what people do if they don’t play golf in this weather. It’s not a beautiful course, but the wide fairways and slight elevation makes it a course you want to walk on, it makes you look forward to the holes that are about to come. It’s something in between the boringness and wideness of Tuanku Jaafar; and the sheer prettiness of Palm Garden. A little of both.

Memorable holes? The 10th forces you to hit a dogleg you can fly over the trees; and land less than 100 meters from the hole. Unfortunately, this hole was screwed up with the darn temporary greens.

Most of the holes sport runway fairways, named such that a 747 can land with space to spare. For some mystical reason, that small little white ball can’t seem to find it!!

I got a feeling the course plays really hot if we get caught in the sun, something like Gunung Raya or the Nameless course in Seremban.

Fun Factor (4/5)

After slogging through a series of misses in our golf tour, like Monterez, Nilai and Berjaya, coming back to open areas like Bukit Kemuning was like water in the desert. Don’t get me wrong, Bukit Kemuning isn’t superb or anything; there are a lot of things that could be wrong with the course, but we just caught it on a good weather day. The greens took away a bit of fun, but overall, any golfer of any level would find this course fun. It’s not sadistic, realizing that weekend hackers are not very comfortable playing championship material course; so it sort of dials down the hazards and the toughness. Don’t you love courses that condescends you?


It’s a course, when done, we all had something to talk about. Different levels of golfers can recall one or two or more memorable shots that we managed to pull off. This is why I think golfers are generally delusional and optimistic. Both characteristics go together. Delusion in their own skills and how they execute shots; and optimistic when the shot is NOT executed, that it would definitely be, in the next attempt. With the wide fairways and generous rough, and the course playing shorter due to the temp greens, Bukit Kemuning is definitely a course we want to come back again for another visit.
The good: Generous and well maintained fairways; easy accessibility, near to highway; course that doesn’t beat down the golfers too much; caters to golfers of all levels; reasonable pricing and aesthetics make it a course to return to.

The bad: Bad bad management doesn’t inform us of the temp greens; unchallenging rough; terrain is flat and mainly the same style; bad service, bad handling of our golf sets!

The skinny: 23 of 40 divots (57.5%). Recommended course to all levels. It plays easier than most courses, Bangi included, because of the flat terrain and vast fairways. Easy drive will definitely put you in a good mood before and after the game.

Bukit Kemuning Score Card


Bukit Kemuning Information


Lot 6031, Batu 7, Bukit Kemuning
42450, Shah Alam, Selangor.

Contact: +603-51217188

Fax: +603-51216416

Website: http://www.bkgcr.com/

Berjaya Hills GCC


I’ll be the first to admit that the only downside to Malaysia golf is the weather. I mean, we’ve got some A grade courses but when it comes to the weather, we’re cooked beyond recognition by the time we’re done at 18. Many PGA pros come here and they are completely drenched in sweat and play like 18 handicappers. A few people can handle the heat as well as Malaysian golfers can, so we’re a different breed.

Still, the weather really sucks sometimes. Hence, the only way we can escape that is to find a course in the highlands and play it. So far, the experience in the highland courses have been sadly disappointing. Frasers has officially become the WORST COURSE IN MALAYSIA. Camerons have been so-so but there’s nothing really much to shout about.

When I saw Berjaya Hills (it was formerly known as Bukit Tinggi) on the AGN list of clubs, I’ll tell you, I was pretty excited. I never played in here before but the previous times that I came (non golf purpose, please don’t do it, as it will bore the dickens out of you), I saw a lot of Japanese and a reasonable looking course.

Now we all know Japs and Koreans are golf crazy and if they play at a course, it ain’t so bad. So we all had a certain expectation of Berjaya Hills and was hoping (since we couldn’t get to play in Awana Genting) that it would be the best highland course experience we have.

Travel (2/5)


The thing about highland courses that puts it immediately to a disadvantage is the traveling. Unless for some reason you’re staying at the foothills of Genting or hanging around at Selesa homes, city rats like us expect a long windy drive up to the course. Camerons and Frasers are massively crappy in terms of traveling ratings, but Bukit Tinggi drive is a lot easier. We used the Kepong way to get out of town, heading towards Batu Caves. From there, we followed signs to Genting Highlands. Bukit Tinggi is about the next stop from Genting, so it’s mainly highways, and once we turn off, it’s about 15-20 minutes drive up a gradual ascent with not too many sharp corners.

You can stop by Janda Baik for some good durians and food to fuel up for a game of golf.

Price (3/5)

We paid RM48 for AGN members. The reason it gets a middle rating is that for non members, on a weekday, they need to fork out RM160. WHAT?!!? After traveling all the way up here and you get extorted that amount to play on a course like this? Unless this is St Andrews or Pebble Beach, it’s daylight robbery to charge so much. Even Palm Garden or Saujana doesn’t charge this much and those courses are about a million times better than this. AGN members get almost RM120 off. That’s a 75% discount, so obviously we’re happy. But imagine if we had a non AGN member. Sorry, bro, please wait in the car or go sit on the horses till we are done with our round.

First thoughts

With high expectations, we headed to the first tee. There were two things we can be certain of: The weather would be good; and we would lose a lot of balls. The latter prophecy was given to us by a guy we bumped into at Impian. We were at the locker room just washing up after the game and upon hearing our discussion on Berjaya Hills golof, he ominously declared, like a crazed sharman: “Bring lots of balls, you will lose ‘em”. I’m not sure if he hexed us that way but one of the guys in our flight sliced his tee shot into the rough and it was gone.

I was lucky to find mine in the rough.

And also found 3 other lost balls.

Service (1/5)

Based primarily on the course maintenance, we were in for a long game. The course was a mess. Not only was the rough a jungle, the fairways wasn’t cut and was filled with long grass as well. The check in was quick enough though but the basic course maintenance was simply absent. Even the bad courses like Tuanku Jaafar had some dignity in upkeeping their course (let’s not go into the heretical course in Frasers), so some semblance of activity from the maintenance workers, who sat around with a finger up their nose most of the time, would go a long way in convincing us that, yes, don’t worry, we’re fixing up this mess you just paid RM160 for. For non AGN members that is.

It’s really annoying and disappointing because with the type of people here (Japanese and Koreans) who play, you’d expect a little class in the course. But like all Berjaya projects, it’s simply a mess that someone needs to clean up. Bravo, Berjaya for being so consistent!

Fairways (0/5)

It’s a resounding 0. When I step out of the buggy into the fairway, I went, “What on earth is this??!” You know those long irritating wisp of grass that sticks to your socks and is a devil to get out? The whole fairway was littered with these grass, along with mud, and water. True, it is the rainy season, but it was like stepping into a combat zone, with absolutely zero drainage available. You can’t play golf like this. It’s unreasonable. It’s also unfair that on the fairway, your ball is resting between these long grasses that when you address, you need to press them down, only for them to spring up again on your backswing. Do you know how irritating it is to a golfer to have that? We golfers are so easily annoyed with anything. I have a golfer friend who simply cannot swing if he sees his shadow. He claims his shadow is annoying him. Can you imagine what the wisp of grass would do to his entire mental faculty?

Drainage was so bad that on more that one occasion we had a lost ball on a fairway. We all saw it hit the fairway. And then it was gone. Vamoose. Vanished into the depths of the earth.

Greens (2/5)

Strangely, as bad as the fairways were, the greens were in a reasonable condition. Reasonable meaning, no, not consistent, but quite well kept. I’m sure all of them were not pressed yet, because it played excruciatingly slow, but somehow, it wasn’t overgrown like Frasers. Perhaps it’s the type of grass used to grow it. Generally, they rolled slower than normal but there were some that were unpredictable. Undulation is expected on a highland course, so overall, it was a pleasant surprise compared to the fairway mess we just trudge through.

Rough (-1/5)

As soon as we thought everything was looking up, we’re slammed rudely back to earth. Ah, the rough. You though Frasers was bad? At least in Frasers, we didn’t expect any sort of recovery. When the ball went it, we were, well, ok, we’re screwed, play another. Here in Berjaya Hills, it deceives and disappoints. You see the ball going in. You see the long grass – the lalang – rustling and you go into the thick rough looking for it. And look and look and look. It’s just painful. We spent 6 hours in total on a nearly empty golf course and I can safely say, 2 hours or more spent looking for the bloody golf balls. We found a lot more lost golf balls but somehow ours always eluded us. Hey, no golf course should be like this. I hit one shot that was just a little off line, bounced off the fringe of the green into the primary rough. And it was GONE! Unless there’s some kind of hairy green creature tracking us down and stealing our balls, I don’t know how a course can be so devilishly evil. Wild boar activities littered the whole course. No GUR signs posted up so we had to devise our own rules on it. And on one hole, the drivable 247 meters par 4 7th hole, I swear, wild boar shit was set up as integral part of the course. I tripled bogey that one. I drove into the greenside bunker, blasted out into a tree. Two out of the rough where the wild boar shit was and one chip two putted. That hole really really stinks.

Aesthetics (4/5)

While the course wasn’t so appealing to my sense of smell, it was a lot better to the eyes. This is the ONE saving grace of Berjaya Hills. It has the looks. It’s another classic case of Good from Far, Far from Good. I’ll admit, standing up on elevated tee box on the 12th hole, seeing the green 290 meters way down where we are, and recognizing the thin air might help the carry, we were excited. We wanted to fly the ball to the green. We wanted to feel the invincibility of “One On” for a par 4. We wanted our names to be written by bards and put into the lore of golf. We wanted to become legends. Suffice to say, none of us made it, but I was close, hitting with just 30 meters to go.

Aside from that, another memorable hole were the ending 17th and 18th. Both are devilishly difficult, the 17th require a carry of over 220 meters over a river and an uphill approach while the 18th is just ridiculous. A narrow fairway with bunkers littering the sides, and approach to the green that’s protected by water and bunkers and rough all around. It plays to a 14 index, so imagine, how difficult the other holes are on this course.

Berjaya Hills is a pretty good looking course, don’t get me wrong. It entices you to play, and once it has you in its grips, it shreds you to pieces. Merciless.

Fun Factor (1/5)

I did achieve a record of sorts for me. I didn’t shoot par or better on any holes. I can’t recall a time where I didn’t manage to get at least one par or birdie in a round. Berjaya Hills completely debunked that myth and will give me something to remember by. It’s one course that I will never forget, in terms of how frightful it is, and how agonizingly unfair it is set up.

Did we have fun? Well, probably in the first few holes. Once it dawned on us that the course wasn’t getting any easier, we were in for a long day. 6 hours of golf, and this is on an empty course, is not fun. It’s humiliating. We spent more time in the jungle than amazon natives. We even took one of the bunker rakes and used it as our hacksaw to clear the grass and lalangs in the rough.

The eerie thing about it? When the last putt finally dropped in the final hole and we turned to go, we saw a maintenance worker start up his mower and with a faint twinkle in his impish eyes, he started mowing the rough to playable condition. You can almost hear the background Twillight Zone music and a fade out of the narrator saying: “Perhaps with a mowed down rough, there is a slight chance for the weary golfers to return to redeem themselves on this course….”

Perhaps. We’re not counting that out yet.


It was a monumental disappointment. We expected so much more out of Berjaya Hills Golf Course, something that would vindicate tragic highland courses like Frasers and Camerons, but instead of redemption, we find more or less the same utter nonsense that we found in the other courses: lousy maintenance, lousy drainage and overall, lousy experience. We have about two more highland courses to go; Selesa Hills and Awana but so far the hit rate for Malaysian Highland Courses has been a despondent 0 of 3.

The good: The weather; the elevation that makes your ball go farther, the memorable aesthetics that does justice to a highland course.

The bad: Disastrous rough and fairways; horrible drainage; absolutely unplayable conditions in some holes, with wild boar markings and crap all over the place; ridiculous pricing that cuts your throat and leaves you gasping for air.

The skinny: 12 of 40 divots (30%). It’s slightly better than Frasers, but it’s still a mess to play. The shorter travel time is offset by the astronomical pricing catered to foreigners. Unless you have an AGN or plan to hold the club hostage; give Berjaya a big miss. It’s an RM20 course pretending to be a premier RM160 course, and failing miserably.

Berjaya Hills Scorecard


Berjaya Hills Information


KM48, Persimpangan Bertingkat,
Lebuhraya Karak, 28750 Bukit Tinggi,
Bentong, Pahang Darul Makmur

Contact: +609-2888890

Fax: +609-2888832

Impian GCC


Two main reasons why we joined AGN was the fact that we could play on Impian Golf and Country Club and Palm Garden. Well, OK, throw in Staffield and you got a heck of a deal: 3 premium courses for an attractive package. My previous encounter with Impian had been a positive one; and I couldn’t wait to get back to the course. I just recall that it was a beautiful course with superb greens that made your ball stick like glue.

It was in the middle of rainy season when we revisited Impian and it would be a true test on how the course hold up against megatonnes of water deposited into the Klang Valley over the period of a few weeks.

Travel (3/5)


Travel wasn’t very near, but it wasn’t difficult to figure out where the course was. Simply get to the north south highway heading to Seremban. Turn off at Kajang will probably be the safest bet. After the toll, the road forks out to three roads: on the right, it heads to Cyberjaya (NO), the middle goes to Bandar Baru Bangi (NO) and the left goes to Kajang. Take the Kajang fork and once you’re there, you can see plenty of signs pointing to Saujana Impian. There’s where you are headed. It’s a township with plenty of signs, not only on the boards, but on the road. Any township with directions on the road is going to be important. So unless you are riding a blind elephant, you ain’t going to miss it. It’s not very deep in but still the distance makes Impian less appealing in terms of travel time. An update: Just keep following the green Saujana Impian signboards. Don’t ever turn off at the Saujana Impian ‘turnoff’. Don’t ask. It’s one of those Malaysian things where the sign board makers are basically semi literate chimpanzees.

Price (2/5)

Ah, the beauty of AGN Cards. With the card, we ended paying only RM90 for the game on a weekday. Yes, it’s quite pricey, but for a premium course, its actually cheap, and that’s inclusive of the food vouchers and the compulsory caddy (more on that later) Non AGN members have to fork out RM140, and that’s for a weekday! So unless you have an AGN card, it’s just a tad bit expensive to play, and with RM140 weekday, you can look at other courses that are nearer, possibly with better experience.

First thoughts

As mentioned, Impian left a lasting impression on me the last time I played there. I shot an 84 with 5 pars and 2 birdies, 9 birdies and only one double and one triple. It’s actually a darn good score, considering how wild I am off the tee and how crappy a putter I am. But the greens in Impian are the ones that are famous, and the previous time I played, the greens were truly an awesome sight to behold. It was like carpet; but fast, yet soft enough to hold the ball.

A wild first tee off started our round on a soggy morning and with rain slightly falling, we began our Impian experience.

Service (2/5)

Impian doesn’t score that well in this regard. For a course and for this kind of money, the facilities and equipments and maintenance are pretty good. But the caddy truly sucks. I don’t know if it’s fair to judge the club service by the caddy, but hey, it’s unforgivable. We got this lanky chap, young fellow, and us being cheapskates only decided to have one caddy per flight. Well, we are all paying for him, so he is OUR caddy right?

In our flight, we usually play with a friend of mine we refer to as ‘Dato’, in other words, a title given to someone of significance in Malaysia. It’s like ‘Sir’ as in Sir Anthony Hopkins or ‘Lord’ as in Lord Jeffery Archer or ‘Baron’ as in Sascha Baron Cohen. When you call someone ‘Dato’, it’s someone that’s more important socially than the normal golfing scum who likes to write reviews and take pictures.

As soon as we called him by his title, you can literally see the caddy’s eyes light up and he completely attached himself to my friend. So much so that when there are two balls on the green, he would pick up my friend’s ball and wipe it and leave ours there, muddied, rejected and alone. When we teed off, we were left to find our own balls while they happily moved on. I understand that yes, it’s tough to caddy for 4 people at one, but hey, punk, we’re all pitching in to pay for your miserable service, so at least, help out the others abit. When we asked him where our balls went, he would give a nonchalant response. At one hole, an easy dogleg right, I hit a flush shot that rounded the bend, and the caddy assured me it was ok. Well, we couldn’t find the darn ball and I ended up escaping with a bogey with 4 on and 1 putt.

Now, shouldn’t caddies be moving ahead of us at the bend to make sure they can view the landing area? What kind of idiot did we pay for?

It came to a point where we had to request Dato to get his caddy to help us look and clean our darn balls. Seriously, we’ve been discriminated at work enough, you know, without having the caddy play favouritism. What are we, cattle class citizens?

Oh, and caddies who smoke immediately gets the ban where I used to play. This one goes around with a ciggy in his mouth.

Fairways (3/5)

It’s slightly unfair to judge the course at this juncture, during the rainy season, but we don’t have much of a choice in giving out the fairways ratings for Impian: it’s pretty normal. Not exceptionally good, drainage was passable but still patches of water could be discerned. The fairways of Impian is a mixture of narrow ones with OB stakes and broader ones, with doglegs and elevation to confuse you even more.

Greens (5/5)

I really expected the greens to be in superb condition for some reason. Perhaps it was a little too much expectation, too much rain. Don’t get me wrong, the greens were a million times better than say Tuanku Jaafar or other B-grade courses, but in terms of a premium course with the greens as its main selling point? It’s like a movie starring Tom Cruise and you find that he really wasn’t that involved in the character. He’s still good, he’s still Tom, but he’s not up to par. Your expectations are naturally higher than if you watch a show with Dolph Lundgren playing the role of Romeo in a Romeo and Juliet B-flick remake. I mean we all know how Lundgren is Oscar material right? So, the greens were like Tom Cruise not on his best day.

It still gets a 4 because it was slick like glass. We three putted so many times I lost count. The breaks were deceiving and subtle. Many straight putts verred away at the last moment…and kept going and going and going. Tricky but on this occasion, too many pitchmarks. It looked like it was halfway undergoing maintenance.

Update: I played Impian again and this time, the greens were back to it’s excellent best. Although most of the other parts of the course aren’t spectacular, I must say, Impian greens are probably the best I’ve played on. Shots were back spinning, checking on the green, and the putts rolled true. This is what I remember from Impian! Upgrade to a 5!

Rough (3/5)

Impian rough was pretty normal; except on some holes, wayward balls were lost in a pile of leaves but I think most courses are facing this problem due to the season. We could still get out of the rough well enough. Bermuda grass are a lot easier to play on compared to my normal cowgrass experience in Rahman Putra, so on occasions, it did sit up nicely (only for me to skull the shot into oblivion).

Aesthetics (5/5)

Aside from the greens, the main reason why many people play in Impian is the beauty of it. And on this occasion, it certainly more than lived up to its name. Who can forget the treacherous par 3 12th, with carry over water? And then the stretch of holes starting from 15th to the 17th, based around the lake in Impian with the par 5 17th reachable for eagle. The course looks wide open and in some vantage points, you could see the vibrant colours of different trees and plants, and animals breaking out into songs while a rainbow shines overhead. Ok, that’s a little extreme but if you want a course that’s pretty looking, then Impian is the one for you. It’s not just all beauty either because the course packs a punch too and doesn’t play that easy. It’s a little beast if you can’t fix your wayward shots or putt like a nut. But it’s a pretty looking beast at least.

Tom Cruise, while not performing, is still quite a good looking chap. And this is what Impian is. While the greens and fairways are clearly far from their best days, the aesthetics remain one of the best in the Klang Valley.

Of course, an idiot as I am, I forgot to bring our Gilagolf official camera and ended up using a phone camera for the shots, which basically sucks. It’s ironic that on one of the prettiest courses we play, we forget to bring a proper camera. It’s like taking a photo with Catherine Zeta Jones and finding out that you only have a stupid phone camera to capture the immortal moment. ARGH!

I hope to update these pictures one day if we play again, but for now, grainy shots is what you have. Trust me, it looks a lot better than it does in these pictures.

I played Impian again and updated with proper pictures! Shot 90 on a day where I struggled with my putts.

Fun Factor (4/5)

We definitely found the course fun and entertaining. It offered some good challenges, some selection off the tee to keep it on the fairway. The rough wasn’t punishable, true, but due to the course designs, some wayward shots were blocked entrance into the green and we had to punch out for a three on or four on or 5,6,7 on or whatever. It’s a smart course that deserves some thinking, unlike Tuanku Jaafar or Bukit Kemuning where you can just blast your balls to smithereens and not worry too much about being OB or blocked. Of course, the great looking course contributed to our fun factor. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera and had to rely on a phone camera for the shots, so I think most likely we will be revisiting this course again, and perhaps review the review if the course plays better.

The only downside was the caddy, whom we wanted to throw into the lake, cigarettes and all. The worse of it was we still had to tip him. In reference to the stupidity of tipping caddy, I think this one should pay me back for not finding my balls and making us feel like cattle class citizens. In fact, he should grab himself and jump into the lake directly.


Impian was a good experience. Not great. Honestly we expected slightly more and we were ready to award it an upper tier golf course review. But somehow, likely due to the weather and the fact we had the worst caddy in the world, it falls back into the middle-uppper strata courses in the company of Meru, Tiara, Bangi and KGNS. It certainly wasn’t as bad a letdown as Clearwater was, but still, we all thought it could be played better.

The good: One of the best looking course in the Klang Valley; challenging holes that are not just long, but requires smart shots off the tee; good greens that will improve to become even better once the weather gets better.

The bad: Worst caddy in the world is here; high price, traveling is quite long; fairways were not up to par.

The skinny: 27 of 40 divots (67.5%). It’s one of those courses where you know it can be better than it is, and deserves better than rated middle-upper echelon. We will definitely return again to play on better conditions (and with a better camera), so Impian is recommended if you’re willing to fork our some $$ or join AGN.

Impian Score Card


Impian Information


Bt. 14, Jalan Cheras,
43000 Kajang, Selangor


Fax: +603-87348133

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

Kundang Lakes Country Club


When the name Kundang Lakes Country Club is thrown to you, you really can’t help but wonder if the marketing director was fired. Say it with me: Kundang. Seriously, I don’t know what is it about that pronunciation or that name, but it just kinda makes you feel like, man, that’s a small village way out in the palm oil estates. It doesn’t roll off your lips the way Hartamas, or Kiara, or Bangsar does, you know.

But giving that it promises to be a Country Club, and having ‘Lakes’ prominently attached to its name, I suppose it was worth the try, and try to make as much use as possible my AGN privileges.

Travel (2/5)

It was quite a tough time finding a map or directions and happened to bump into a map somewhere on the net using the ever faithful google. It’s a map to the fish farm next to the golf course called Tow Foo, giving credence to the fact that the golf course is more useful as a landmark than a destination: it’s always a bad thing if a fish farm is more popular than your golf course. Especially a fish farm called Tow Foo.


It’s actually quite easy to find, although accessing it is another story. You can turn off at Sungai Buloh from the north south highway and head to Kuala Selangor. It’s the same road you take to Rahman Putra, so from PJ side, you can access it using the Bandar Utama->Kepong road and turn off left to the spanking new highway going direct to Rahman Putra.

The easiest way is to turn off to Rahman Putra (using the flyover) and pass Rahman Putra golf club and go all the way to the end till a T junction. Take a left and follow the road. It’s a windy road, mind you and narrow as heck, so if you’re behind a truck, be prepared for a slow one. The roads aren’t good as well! It’s about 8-10 KM from Rahman Putra, going through a lot of kampung areas.

Kampung areas are perhaps the most dangerous. You knock anyone, anything, any animal and you have a whole bunch of people hunting you down. The idea is, DO NOT SPEED in a kampung area unless you have a death wish. Kampung people are very communal so if you mess with their chickens, cats or family, they will likely surround your vehicle and overthrow you. From there, you only have your 7 iron left to defend and let’s see how many you can take out before you’re overwhelmed. Your life will disappear and no one will ever hear of you again.


Price (3/5)

Well, with a price tag of RM35 for weekday under AGN, it’s about the same as Tuanku Jaafar. There’s not much to expect here but at any time a round of 18 cost only RM35 (roughly about USD10), it can’t be too bad, unless they force you to play in that heretical course called Frasers Hill. It has officially become a curse word in our vocabulary, as in, “Man, what kind of Frasers Hill course is this?” or “That hole is such a Frasers Hill, dude.” Or, “Are you Frasers Hilling kidding me?” Or, “Dang, that hole Frasers Hilled me!”.

Yeah, we can’t really get over the bad stuff, you know.

First thoughts

The clubhouse looked as if it was doubling up as somebody’s hut, so dilapidated it was. Certainly not a very good sign to begin with but we like to give clubs the benefit of the doubt. Sure you can have a crappy club house, but I imagined all the money was invested into the golf course.

Incidentally, I was wondering why it was called a Country Club when the only facilities were the golf course, a lousy range and a small terrace, presumably for food. It’s a nitpick I know but there’s a difference between a Country Club and a Golf Club. I’d expect other facilities like massage parlours to be present in a so called Country Club. Just call it Golf Club. No shame in not having anything else but golf there, you know.

Service (1/5)

The counter lady was nice enough and was quite efficient in getting you out on course. She just receives your money and in 5 minutes, you’re ready to go. Nothing much after that, except nobody will help you out in anything. You’ll look for your own turfmate (they don’t have buggies).

Turfmates are actually very cool contraptions that allows a golfer to stand while biking around the golf course. It’s like a chariot, only powered by motor instead of horses. The problem with turfmates is that it destroys the course. That was why my home club did away with turfmates completely and made only buggy strictly on track. So anytime you see a club offering turfmates, you know it’s going to struggle abit on maintenance.

The guy in charge of the turfmate was on his mobile and when inquired which turfmate, he angrily waved away, as if swatting flies. Hey, I guess they don’t really see many people in this part of the world and still revert back to their primitive, monkey gestures to get their point across.

Great service, ain’t it?

Fairways (2/5)

Kundang Lakes have cowgrass fairways; or at least, that’s what I’d like to think. It’s basically muddy and dirty due to the rain and drainage ain’t that good either. It’s a scrappy course, scrappy here designating a course that’s somewhat functional but lacks any proper wow factor in any aspects of the course. The fairways are narrow, but the first nine (creatively named Kundang), has parallel fairways so wild hitters like me are able to recover. After going through such torture from Nilai Springs and Monterez, the friendly first nine was a welcomed sight.

It gets pretty much offset by the second nine, where the fairways are narrow also, but in addition, water and other hazards litter the course, making the 2nd nine a far more difficult experience.

Greens (1/5)

The greens really suck. There’s really no other way to describe it. It’s not nearly as bad as Frasers, but patch of sand, uneven turf and bad maintenance barely squeak a 1/5 rating. Some greens are quick, others barely move the ball and the general lack of consistency makes putting slightly a bit more appealing than connecting to a live socket and have electric current pass through your body.

Rough (1/5)

If the greens are bad, the rough is definitely one of the worst I’ve ever experience. It’s not nearly as bad as Frasers in a sense that it’s not overgrown and have anacondas lurking around. But like Tuanku Jaafar, it’s a course that’s blanketed with leaves. I just missed the green on the 3rd hole and couldn’t find my ball anywhere. I also yanked a few into the rough and riding up there, found nothing but leaves, leaves and more leaves. It’s frustrating especially if you didn’t hit that bad a shot!

Aesthetics (1/5)

The thing about Kundang Lakes is that you do expect to see water as part of the feature. Say what you like about the first name, but you put a Lakes in there, we expect lakes. Instead not one drop of water was seen in the first nine (apparently named Kundang Nine) and the second nine only featured three or four holes with water (named Lakes Nine). Here’s the part I don’t get: If you name Kundang Lakes as a combination of two nines, there is no meaning to kundang, but there is meaning to lakes. Also, what if the decide to open another nine? Adopting the same naming mentality, wouldn’t they need to change their club name?!

That aside, Kundang Lakes plays very flat. Keep it on the fairway and you can pretty much cruise through this course. There’s absolutely no holes that make you go, WOW! There is almost no change in elevation. It’s like playing golf in a football field. In fact, I think it used to be a big field for cattle grazing. With no water, no elevation, nothing that really makes it stand out, Kundang Lakes comes in a generous 1/5 for beauty.

Fun Factor (1/5)

I was tempted to give it a 0. You could play yourself into a coma in this course. Excitement is kept to a bare minimum. Bad greens and fairways spoil any positive experience to be derived from it. The only fun factor you can have is crossing from the first nine to the second nine. For some extremely stupid reason, the course was built with the main road in between the two nines. When I say main road, I’m not talking about a small path ways with bumps and an occasional trishaw on it. A main road is basically the road I was speeding on. The road where a 16 wheel trailer would come barreling down without a regard for your pathetic life; the road with the blind corner and no speed bumps and cars whizzing by. You wait at the road side with your turfmate and when the coast is clear, you slam the accelerator handlebar and hope you get through before disaster strikes.

I mean, is this course seriously worth dying for?

We had low expectations of the course, and boy were the expectations met. The greens were in a terrible shape and the rough was a mess. What we didn’t like was the name Kundang Lakes; it just isn’t right to manipulate your name and make it sound like something you are not. This is basically a characterless course that we might possibly never return again, unless all the other golf courses are bombed out.

The good: Reasonable pricing for AGN Members, flat and featureless might be good for beginners, coupled with complete disregard to the course maintenance.

The bad: Bad fairways, roughs and greens; bad drainage; absolutely confusing naming convention, and worst of all, golfers have to negotiate death and destruction to play on the second nine.

The skinny: 13 of 40 divots (32.5%). If you are around that area, a much better place to play would be Rahman Putra. Unless you are an absolute beginner who wants to risk his neck to play here, go ahead. Otherwise, forget about Kundang Lakes.

Kundang Lakes Score Card


Kundang Lakes Information


KM 28, Jalan Kundang,
48020 Rawang, Selangor

Contact: +603-60342725

Fax: +603-60342729

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