IOI Palm Villa – IOI & Putra


I recall in our previous adventure in Johor, we totally got mixed up with Palm Resort Allamanda and IOI Palm Villa. Apparently, naming originality isn’t one of Johor golf clubs’ brightest points. So this time, in our annual pilgrimage to Johor (while the wives battle it out in their Singapore Shopping Spree), we made sure that we will get to IOI Palm Villa Golf, and not another random, similar sounding golf club.

Travel (3/5)

Travel is very simple to IOI Palm Villa. It’s a lot easier to access than the horrendous Legends, or as we will see later, the utterly confusing Horizon Hills.

You can exit at the Kulai exit coming down from KL and go through the familiar Kelapa Sawit township until you hit Kulai. Go pass Kulai till you see a ramp going up that says IOI Palm Villa Golf Resort. Just follow up the ramp and go along till you see a right turn. Compared to Legends, this is a cakewalk.

Price (4/5)

We used the top premier voucher and paid RM43 for our game. Now, this is a great price, not the cheapest, however. There is a golf course called Orchard golf in Kulai that goes to the tune of RM36 per person, which comes to about SGD15, or more or less USD10, or better still, 8 British Pounds. But at RM43, it’s a good price to pay for a reasonable golf course that’s easy to access from Singapore, and that doesn’t force you to drive deep into the palm oil plantation just to tee up.

First thoughts

Wide. That’s what we thought. We didn’t have any knowledge of this course at all, save for the fact that we had wanted to play it for some time. The first tee is a slight dogleg left, with plenty of bailout on the right of the fairway. The second thought comes as flat. You could see adjoining holes in a flat terrain in what used to be a palm oil plantation ground, and there was nothing special about it. But of course, with memories of another IOI golf course, which seem to be a lot better than the Berjaya Junk Courses, we hope this would match up with the now-decrepit and non-existent  IOI Palm Garden. (Why all the Palms?? In case you are a foreigner wondering if these Palms mean the nice ‘Palms’ you see in a desert oasis, I hate to be the bearer of truth, ‘Palm’ in Malaysian colloquy  means Palm Oil trees. Which is a huge difference in terms of looks. Like between Sophie Marceu and an iguana.

Service (3/5)

Again, I can’t comment a whole lot, but they got us to the course quick enough, which is always a good thing and although we didn’t get to play on the first and second nine, we were forced to play on the 3rd nine (IOI course). Now I know the mantra to never play on the 3rd nine as it generally represents the hideous cousin of the first and second: but we were honestly very surprised at the condition of the course on the 3rd nine. Basically, they didn’t even force any caddies on us, so we’re giving this a fair 3/5.

Fairways (2/5)

The fairways suffered a little from the rain, but it was generally in a fair condition. Strangely, the Putra nine seems a little more worse for the wear compared to the usually neglected 3rd nine. The problem with the fairways was simply that some of the grass was not cut, leaving the ball in an oftentimes awkward position of being embedded amongst long grass even on the fairway. Other than that, the fairways are wide and inviting, encouraging you to rip it as hard as you could. Unfortunately I was just having a horrendous time with my drives and constantly pulled or duck hooked my way through the game. I hate it when this happens, and why oh why must it always always occur when I’ve travelled half my country to play in Johor??!?!

Greens (1/5)

Horrible greens. With one look, we knew this was no IOI Palm Garden. This was the ugly stepsister. This was the Elphapa, the ugly half of the good witch. I mean one or two sandy greens could be tolerated, but almost all? Patches of sand as well as maintenance turf made it nearly impossible to putt across, and this really took the fun out of the game in many instances.

Rough (1/5)

Complementing the greens in horrendousity, would be the rough, specifically the bunkers. It didn’t rain on the day we played, so it must have rained the day before, but still, that gives plenty of time for the drainage to get to work. NOT. Some of the bunkers were turned into swimming pool, and in one hole, the par 3 8th of the Putra Course, my partner hit the greenside bunker and he had to leave his ball in there because there was no way to get it without removing his shoes and waddling in! Ridiculous. And this was not a one off problem, several crucial bunkers were just left stagnant with water, breeding aedes mosquitoes and infecting golfers with dengue. Come on, Palm Villa, fix your drainage please.

Aesthetics (2/5)

Here’s what you can do: dig up Bukit Kemuning, transport it hundreds of miles south and plonk it into IOI Palm Villa and you’ll see essentially the similar course. Wide open fairways, flat as an airport runway, and aesthetically emasculated, with just palm trees (iguana palm oil trees, not Sophie Marceau trees, please) dotting the landscape. It might be a welcome sight for hackers, or even for me, the way I was hooking the ball, but it’s not anything special at all, and no holes really jump out at you and makes you go, wow, not bad, I like this course! If you’re here to just play functional golf, then Palm Villa is good, if you expect something that looks like IOI Palm Garden, or even the butthole of IOI Palm Garden, I’m afraid you’ll be a little disappointed. Nothing special looking at all.

Fun Factor (3/5)

Now it might not be a beauty to look at, but like Bukit Kemuning, you can have loads of fun at Palm villa, simply because of the generosity of the fairway. The greens and bunkers really take you out of the instance though, so a mediocre rating here would be fair. We weren’t playing very well, but yet managed to shoot a decent score, which underline the forgiveness of this course, and it might be a very attractive option for beginners, or hacks like me who doesn’t understand the term ‘Course management’ or ‘play it safe’. We go by the rule of ‘let’s hit the most expensive club in the bag’ or ‘let’s hit the loudest sounding club in the bag so it makes us look professional’. Nice.

One instance did occur when we made the turn into IOI course, the third nine. We waited for a while for two guys to play ahead of us, intending for them to ask us to join them. They were playing a little slow, and you could see there was guy A, who was teaching guy B. And we recognized these boys from Singapore, as they took the same route as us out, and drove a Singaporean car. When they were moving away, my first drive took a huge bounce on the road and must have landed somewhat near where they were, but they have already driven off. We played the hole normal, and my friend accidentally overkilled his third shot into the green and yet again took a big bounce on the buggy track and landed near the next tee box, where these Singaporeans were. Mine was on the green in 3.

As my friend approached them, the guy A started saying:

“Is this your ball?”


“Young man, do you know that you are playing a very dangerous game? Can’t you see we are in front of you?? Play the game as it’s meant to be played! OK!”

“OK, sorry…”

“Look, I give you first warning. One Warning. No more after this! One warning!”

“OK sorry….” He picks up the ball and prepares to go away.

“You won’t be sorry if you do it again, I tell you. One warning! You better be careful, ah! I’ll make sure you won’t be saying sorry if you do this again. Listen, one warning, I tell you!”

He makes a threatening gesture, with one finger raised, his voice getting louder and louder.

I was observing from the buggy, about to get my putter to putt, and I got so tired of this jackass riding my friend over one mistake and kept repeating like a paralyzed llama ‘One warning…” that I yelled at him, “OK, uncle, sorry already, play on! Don’t waste time! Don’t get angry, just play on, move!!”

“You won’t be saying sorry anymore if you do this again!”

At this point, I was ready to unload my new packet of 20 golf balls into his throat. I mean, how many freaking times does he want us to say sorry? And why the he*l does he keep repeating himself by saying one warning, when he’s obviously giving more than one freaking, stupid warning? It was a good thing he drove off after that, and when my friend came back to me, I asked, “Is he an old twit or what?”

“No, he’s only slightly older than we are.”

In disbelief, I looked on as the Singaporean drove away.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not denying we made a mistake. But the ball bounced on the cart path, for goodness sake, it didn’t land into your thick skull and caused a brain fracture, which I’d say would do wonders to you since you can’t freaking count anyway. And we said sorry. We were even ready to buy him a drink. The initial reaction of anger is OK. We are all sorry for that incident.

His reaction was as if we strapped his entire family onto the railway track and let the MRT rolled over all of them, and on top of that set up a bomb to desecrate his entire ancestoral tombs. Now, I have loads of good Singaporean friends, and I suppose a few of them also read this blog; but seriously, it’s jackasses like this twat who gives Singaporeans such a bad name and get stereotyped as guys high on testosterone walking around with their colon pulled out of of their butt and strangling around their neck. I’m certain 99% of Singaporean blokes are good dudes, and would not hesitate to just kick the crap out of this jackanape who had just embarrassed your entire nation.

Doesn’t he realize that he’s a good 60 km into Johor, land of Malaysia, home of people who have high tolerance for everything except idiotic golfers from Singapore who acts like they have their colon yanked out of their a*se and strangling their neck? Doesn’t he realize that we could have been Johor thugs who would have murdered him there and dump his body in the palm oil estate and no one would have missed him one bit? Come on!

We were wrong, he had the right to be angry. Shake hands, play ball. If you want, jug is on us, and let’s share our war stories. But let’s leave it as that. Are you crazy to go threatening two Malaysians in their own country? Is he on crazy pills?? His friend didn’t even squeak a word, probably out of embarrassment of playing with a guy with PMS and too much estrogen mixed into his system or he had the right idea that he could have been killed then and there by two Malaysian thugs pretending to be very good golfers.


IOI Palm Garden’s saving grace is the RM43 with Top Premier Voucher. They will struggle to keep up the crowd if their greens continue to suck and their bunkers represent African Wildebeeste waterholes, but the course show good promises with maintenance on the fairway, a very forgiving gameplay and bailout areas for the beginners or the serial hooker, like yours truly.

The good: Price is hard to beat for a gameplay given like this; wide and flat, reminiscent of Bukit Kemuning; fairways are having good prospect to become better; drive and travel is quite straightforward and accessible from Singapore; 27 holes gives plenty of opportunity of different gameplays and speed of play.

The bad: Horrendous bunkers that are unplayable and has zero drainage; terrible greens that are sandy and bumpy; flat aesthetics might not appeal to some, unmemorable holes; risk of running into crazy Singaporeans who want to pick a fight with Malaysians, and who stroll about with their entire colon scarfed around their neck.

The skinny: 19 of 40 divots (47.5%). You really can’t go too wrong with IOI Palm Villa, if you’re around the Kulai area. Legends is nearby, but it’s more difficult. Orchard is also within reach and is also an option but this is a great course for you to start hunting in golf, and save your precious golf balls. Beware of the water bunkers and sandy greens, however, but for RM43, I don’t think there’s any cause for too vehement of complaints. Recommended a go for this!

Palm Villa IOI ScoreCard

Palm Villa IOI Details

Address: PTD 44500 Jalan Indah Utama ,Bandar Putra , 8100 Kulai

Contact: +607-5999099

Fax: +607-5988101


Email: NA

Legends GCR


Our second leg of our Johor tour took us to Legends Golf and Country Resort. We chose it because it boasted of being developed by three of the biggest names in golf, Nicklaus, Palmer and Player. Although, I personally think it’s a marketing hack: Nicklaus designed the 18 hole course, Palmer designed the 9 hole course, and Player designed the 0 hole course.

As in there’s NO GARY PLAYER course there.

But we didn’t let it spoil our fun. After circling our way around Singapore, we finally got out of Tuas, back into BolehLand and began our merry journey into the blissful unknown.

Travel (0/5)

For those traveling to Legends GCR, it’s as bad as going to Damai Laut. I know, some courses are really worth it, but is it funny putting your customers through such excruciating torture of traveling and traveling and traveling to get to your darn course?? Why is the course buried so deep into the wilderness, is this some sort of Jurassic Park Wildlife preservation centre? Here comes the classic map:

We just love maps that are deceivingly simple, and that has no regard at all to proper reflection of distances. Again, this is mainly due to the fact that most golf course maps are generated by a company called Zoo Negara that employs eight Borneo chimps to draw out the maps.

OK, from Tuas, or from KL, depending where you are coming from, you want to hit the exit 252, to Kulaijaya. Once you hit the Kulai Toll, there’s quite a long straight road, lined with palm oil trees. At the end you will hit a T-junction, with a huge Carrefour (or was it Tesco) on your left. Turn left and you will perhaps undergo the longest, most torturous, most annoyingly signless road ever to be found on earth. In fact, I don’t know what is it with Johor and the extreme aversion to putting up signs. We finally ended up just following this Singaporean car, because we assumed that no Singaporeans in their right barnacles would be coming to such a god forsaken place unless it was to play golf. Or negotiate a kidnap ransom. Or sell palm oil. Easy guess.

Anyways, from the map on the Legends website, this trunk road from hell is only approximately one inch, which is about the same length as the road coming in until Tesco. The real map in google maps is almost 2.5 times the distance. There you go, another reason why Borneo Chimps are proven to be poor cartographers. You need to drive past this town called Kelapa Sawit. No kidding. They named a town after a tree. As in, translated, the town is called ‘Oil Palm’, and they deservedly won the nation’s most creative naming of a town. It’s like calling your town, ‘Cow’ if there are many cows, or ‘Coconut’ if there are many coconuts, or ‘Sand’ if it’s next to the sea. Well, at least they are descriptive.

Anyway, after Kelapa Sawit, you will eventually see a right turn into Legends GCR. You immediately go past the guard house, yaaay! And find out that from the guard house to the actual club house, is about 10 kilometers, making it the world’s longest drive way for a golf course.

It’s an absolutely stupid travel experience.

Price (1/5)

Finally reaching the spot, we were welcomed to quite a nice view of the club house. We registered ourselves using the Top Premier Voucher for RM87 each. I thought, hey, wait a minute, isn’t the green fee complimentary? Why did I have to pay RM87?

“For the buggy,” replied the sleepy eye registration lady.

“So 87 for the buggy? 40 something per person?”

“No, it’s 87 per person.”

“For the buggy??!? So it’s…(calculating) 174 per buggy???”


Congratulations, Jack Nicklaus, Palmer and Player, you guys have officially won the world record for not just the longest drive way, but also the most cutthroat pricing ever for a golf buggy. That 170RM buggy better have GPS. And Turbo Nitro. And wings.

Later, I found out the truth. Legends charge RM85 per game per person with buggies etc included. Because we used the voucher, we weren’t eligible for the RM85 promotion, so we had to pay the cutthroat price instead.  If you wanted to play 9 hole, you also need to pay RM80. So to break it down for the confused:

Walk in – RM85 promotion, all in

With a complimentary Green Fee VOUCHER – RM87 for buggy, per person

9 Hole – RM80

Now, why didn’t they tell us not to use the damn voucher, when a normal walk in was only RM85? With a voucher, I paid RM2 more!! Why did I spend my money to buy vouchers, when it made me LOSE money?

Completely daft pricing arrangement, Legends. We are giving you a one, because at least it’s still not over RM100 to play. But still, please change your management to people who can actually understand what numbers are.

First thoughts

Not great first impressions, isn’t it? Once you get out of the changing room, turn left, and immediately the course opens up to the view of the Palmer 9.

And you go: “Aaaah.”

You are standing on an elevated platform, with an entire view of the course, and you suddenly forgive the darn Borneo Chimps, the idiots that price the course and you think, “Heck, this is why I pick up Golf.”

We got into our RM170 buggy (it looked like a normal buggy, by the way, in fact, slightly retarted driving wheel), and we chugged to the first hole on the other side.

Service (1/5)

I’d like to give high scores for the service, seeing that the caddy master (I think it was a girl, but I swear, she looked, sounded, walked like a man) was very efficient, got us out into the course at maximum efficiency.

But two things bothered us.

One, the fact that we were not informed of the promotional rate and using our vouchers, we got the worse end of the deal. Why, why do you want to purposely cheat your customers? What joy does it bring? Isn’t it enough that we had to travel through Mordor to reach your clubhouse?

Two, if you happen to eat your lunch there, good luck. Legends GCR is the land of the flies. As in once your food arrives, there are literally hundreds of flies swarming around you. I HATE FLIES. Because they’ve been in a lot of shit. And Legends GCR, for all your premium pretension, you are NEVER gonna make it if I have to eat with one hand constantly moving to swat flies away. Get those electrical blue lights that zap flies! Or hire a guy to walk around with the electrical badminton racquet to save your patrons. Don’t ever eat anything there, because it’s a filthy place to eat.

Fairways (4/5)

Finally, to the course itself. And whatever sins Legends GCR has caused in service and travel, it made it up a bit by giving us the finest patch of fairways we’ve seen in a long while. It reminded us of  Bukit Jawi, not as pristine as Tropicana, but very very nice. Coming from the hell hole called Royal Johor, we definitely agree to good fairways.

Greens (3/5)

The greens were not perfect by any means. It didn’t look very good either, with small patches of bald turf and sand appearing, but the roll itself was reasonably good, and definitely a lot more easy to predict and putt on. Mediocre Green, coming from better fairways. The greens also lost some points due to some Blue Grass disease that popped up, notably on the 9th and a few other holes. As in, these are literally BLUE patches, as if someone spilled a bucket of paint on it. I can’t understand why, but I guess it didn’t really affect the greens too much, except now, we need to call them ‘blues’. Get it? Stupid joke, I know.

Rough (4/5)

Rough was actually qute well preserved. The leaves were annoying, but the bunkers were pretty good where we played it. Well conditioned, it retained a lot more fluff despite the rain. This meant we could actually use our sand wedge with more bounce to get out as opposed to our 48 or 60 degrees for more dig. It really sounds like I know what I’m talking about, but honestly, I have a golf digest next to me, and I’m just randomly selecting some key words to give golfers a boner. Which by the way, have you noticed how many key words in golf resemble innuendoes? Soft and hard shaft. Lots of bounce. Get your wedge in there. Get in the hole. Good with your putter. Long and hard. Your club has a big head. I think those Scottish folks that invented golf could also be quite perverse.

Aesthetics (4/5)

We like the aesthetics. Even though I was having a complete melt down in my game, I still managed to take a walk and enjoy the scenery when I could. The first hole is a relatively simple shot, get up the slight knoll and you have a nice view at a lowered green that is generous on the misses to the left. Unfortunately I shanked my second shot into oblivion and started one of the worst games in my already patchy career.

The par 5 hole 3 is a very good looking tee off, both intimidating as well as precise, a 500m monster that plays long and straight.

The index 1 hole 5 is also quite a monster, fading shots will be guided into the oil palm hell by a ravine slipping away on the right of the fairway. Aim it too far left like what I did, and you are in OB land. It’s actually a very annoying view, because you think it’s wide, when actually it’s not. The elevation gives you that trickery, very much like the illusions we have playing KGPA. Hole 6 is another elevated tee box staring down at a fairway with bunkers dotting the right, a jungle waiting left and right. This is actually a fun hole to play because you can route your second shot over the water to another strip of fairway, or you can play it safe, and hit the 3rd shot over the water. In fact, hole 6 is considered the signature hole and we liked it, even if we were playing like wookies having too much sa-ke.

Hole 8 par 3 is a nice little number nestled in a dale (wow, my description is truly getting more and more Enid Blytonish!) I like it simply because I managed to get my first par there. No big deal right? BIG DEAL for me. I was shanking and topping my way furiously, losing a great deal of moolahs on the way.

Hole 9 plays pretty long but we found the fairway and from there, the trip coming in was a nice lofted 7 iron into the centre of the pin. Not. I topped the ball on the way to another bogey. AUGH!

The aesthetics continue to be impressive on the back nine, you have an elevated fairway to negotiate on the 10th,  and the 11th is where the crap hits the fan. It is an extremely elevated tee box with a view of the pond on the left and a very very narrow landing zone on the fairway. The back nine, though pretty is a HOOKER’s nightmare. I was having a terrific hooking day, and almost every hole had ponds running the left side, and on 13 and 14th,  my tee shots all found watery graves. 15th was a nice par 3 with water on the right (at least), but hole 16th and 17th were back with water on the left.

Aesthetically, I liked the 18th best. Because it didn’t have water. But it also required a long carry over a network of bunkers to have a sight of the green. I cleared the bunkers and my second almost carried to the green. However, I duffed my pitch and ended up with a bogey. Nice end to a horrid nine.

Fun Factor (3/5)

Technically, I didn’t have so much fun because I just couldn’t figure out my game. I have now, sort of, but at that point of time, playing this course, I was taking it too deep inside on my backswing, which caused me to reroute tremendously coming down and ‘getting stuck’, and continuously toeing the darn ball and hooking it badly.

Did we have fun? Our fourball weren’t playing too well, only one guy managed to break 100 (we don’t know how, since he lost as many balls as we did, but hey…) However, due to the nature of the course, it’s definitely worth another try when the golf swing is back. I’d like to take on the prodigiously difficult holes with left water again and the layout of the course was something that you would definitely equate with ‘good design’. Hole 6 was very fun, with each of us choosing different routes to the green and of course, hole 18th was bewitching with its series of bunkers.

As for my game, my pars all came in the par 3s, and the explosions came primarily due to either water balls, or OB balls. Tough game, but good course, nonetheless.


Even if we have only tried a grand total of 2 courses in Johor so far, we believe that Legends could be a top tiered course in Johor, and definitely recommended to be played. The course visuals are reminiscent of Bukit Jawi, but a little better, with a mixture of tight fairways that reward precision, and open savannahs for the basher. I prefer the hills course than the water, but strangely, I scored better (or not so bad) in the water course. (likely due to my balls being in hazard as opposed to OB). While the course experience is good, stay away from the F&B and its flies infested food; and try not to get cheated by the people at the counter.

The good: The course is aesthetically pleasing; well preserved fairways, rough and reasonable roll on greens; a good mixture of precision and basher; elevated landing areas allows you to open up the courses with some well placed shots.

The bad: The travel experience is horrible; the Borneo Chimps really messed up the map badly this time; be careful of the people behind the counter and their RM170 buggy hoax; flies are all over the clubhouse, making it more of a toilet than a food place; greens had a bit of blue, but otherwise is fine.

The skinny: 20 of 40 divots (50%). The course itself actually scored a lot of high marks, but a pity on the pricing, service and travel though. If you could look past these transgressions (which we could not), you can definitely have a good golf experience in the Legends course. Just pray that your hook doesn’t kick in during the back 9, and you should be fine! Recommended if you can take the travel and eat somewhere else.

Legends GCR  Scorecard

Legends GCR Information

Address: Lot 1302, Kebun Sedenak, PO Box 11

8100 Kulai, Johor, Malaysia

Contact: +607 – 6524388

Fax: +607-6526388



Royal Johor CC


Every end of the year, my wife makes her pilgrimage to the sacred and holy grounds of Orchard Road, Vivo City and Suntec City, the holy trinity of shopping in Singapore. This pilgrimage is usually set on the week after Christmas to the 30th or 31st. This year, instead of slowly rotting a slow and sure death in the one of the many Coffee Beans and Starbucks lifelessly browsing the net, I decided to arrange a few rounds in Johor with some mates, and hopefully can cram in a 36 holes while the ladies do their shopping.

So, with the many golf courses in Johor to choose from, we decided on three: Palmville, Legends and Royal Johor. The first two was because we had vouchers, the last one was because it was close to Singapore and we only had about 3 hours of daylight and it was a toss between Daiman 18 and Royal Johor. We chose Royal Johor because of it’s apparent association with royalty, which we associated (later, we found out, mistakenly) with quality, and because KRPM was an affiliate club, so I didn’t need to pay any green fees. Oh yeah, also, there has been tournaments there like the Iskandar Open from 2007 to 2009. So it has to be good, right?

Travel (1/5)

Immediately, we were slammed with reality. Going to their website, we looked for the location map and ended up downloading this HUMONGOUS jpeg that was simply lifted out of Google maps, with a tiny RJCC somewhere in the middle with no directions whatsoever. OK, guys, number 1 lesson in internet stupidity: NEVER put a gigantic 1.2M picture map with no directions as your main location map…we’re downloading via our berries and iphones on pathetic Celcom and maxis broadband lines, so cut us some slack. Seeing how useless the silly map was, we took to our own google maps and it led us to the general vicinity of the club. The problem with google maps is that it doesn’t rightly know where the entrance was, so it led us to the backside of the club, along Jalan Datin Halimah.  From there there were absolutely NO SIGNS to the club, so we had to do some guess work, including turning into the palace gates and being hailed by bullets from the Johor Royal Guards. We beat a hasty retreat and after seeing the golf course but not being able to access it from Jalan Datin Halimah, we finally wised up after 2 U-turns, took a small road at the circled red into Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and finally saw a sign saying Johor Country Club. What happened to the Royal?

Will it hurt for them to put a few signs to point us to the right direction? And please, RJCC, change the darn location map on your website. It’s stupid. And lazy.

Price (-1/5)

This is where the crap hits the fan. Remember I told you that I had a free green fee because KRPM was affiliate? Well, my other group member had to pay the full price because he wasn’t any affiliate, and they charged us RM87. Well, that’s ok, since this was a tournament course.

Wait for the hidden costs. One, this course does not have buggies. It’s ironic, because we were told this by two guys who were sitting in a new golf buggy, who sneered at us and said, “Walking Course lah”.

Well, it comes with a caddy. Because RJCC was famous for violating every single human rights or working conditions, it forced us to take one caddy to carry two of our cart bags. Poor guy, or so we thought. At the end, we thought of tipping him RM50 for his work. Instead, he told us that the RM87 does not cover caddy fees, and that it will cost EACH of us RM50 to cover his tips and payment.

So, RM100 for one caddy? Sure, he carried two bags, but what the heck, he wasn’t that helpful anyway! So, my friend had to pay RM137 for a walking course, on a weekday, and a course that generally resembles the rearend of a hyena? WHAT THE HECK kind of stupid pricing is this? And we had to WALK, after 3 hours sitting in a car, actually, 4, including of going into Singapore and coming out again. Lordy.

First thoughts

We didn’t know about the pricing arrangement until the end, so we did go into the course without much of the prejudice we had at the end. First thoughts: Lots of trees, cowgrass, resembling UPM and finally, are you serious that some world class players like KJ and Retief actually played on this crap course?

Also, they call it now Johor Golf Course, without the ‘Royal’. When asked, the caddy, Jamal, cryptically said, the Royal was removed when the king died. After a few holes, we concluded that most likely, the king couldn’t stand such a course to bear a royal standard, except for being a royal pain in the ass to play it.

Service (0/5)

Ok, let’s be fair here. Jamal, our caddy, was a lanky, talkative dude who had some golf experience for helping out to organize tournaments. And he was lugging two big bags. And walking. So, he was probably treated slightly better than the southern slaves in Missippi during the American civil war. Yet, his yardage was completely out. Until it came to a point where we had to either overclub on his recommendation or underclub, depending on what we think is right. His green reading was also off.

The worst of course, came when we had to fork our RM100 to pay him. I mean, ok, he worked hard, yes, but I could generally get a Bangladeshi worker to do his job. He didn’t do too much except carry a lot of bags. And that too, we lighten the load for him by carrying our water bottles.

According to the website, a class A caddy costs RM40 including tips. We each had to pay him RM50 and he was no where close to a class A caddy, so we consider this a rip-off. If you happen to play, please negotiate the caddy pricing before teeing off, and make sure you get a class A caddy that can do more than carry two bags and wipe your balls. Golf Balls, not your other kind.

Fairways (2/5)

Aside from being cow grass, it actually wasn’t so bad, and the conditions (rain coming down in a miserable drizzle) made it difficult to enjoy the game thoroughly. But the fairways, while not being exceptional, did hold up to the rain a bit. Don’t expect pristine, mat like fairways though.

Greens (1/5)

For a tournament club, the greens are seriously in need of restoration. Or perhaps they were in the middle of doing that. Sandy to the point of having your ball bumping up and down into the hole; the reads were useless because you couldn’t get a good roll on it. It was hugely disappointing to come to club that had Retief and KJ putting on it only a year back, and now it resembles, again to use our amazing metaphor, a hyena’s backside.

Bad greens.

Rough ( 1/5)

The rough didn’t fare too well, either. Because it was nearly dark and gloomy, a lot of our balls were lost in the rough due to the leaves and unkempt trees. Foliages, branches, lalang, everything was growing out of it. Once your ball rolled off the fairway, good luck. Of course, you can say it puts  a premium to driving accuracy, but come on, seriously, how many hackers are there that can reasonably hit the ball straight? OB generally lined the entire course, and with a resemblance to UPM, it was yet another gargantuan struggle for a hooker like me to stay on course without exploding, both in scores-wise as well as in temperament.  Indeed, it was a sight to behold, a china-man tomahawking his clubs all over the hallowed royal fairways.

Aesthetics (2/5)

Jungle course. Trees are all over the place, and this makes it as enticing as being repeatedly stabbed in the nostrils with a rusted nail. I mean, I know some people who actually LOVE jungle courses like UPM, but they are generally in the minority hackers categories, probably just as many as the guys who like to eat bat shit. It’s actually edible, no kidding, but seriously, do you have bat shit cravings like you do for chocolates?

The problem with RJCC is that all the holes in the front nine, literally plays the same. Hole one, elevated tee box, dogleg left. Hole 2, elevated Green, dogleg right. Oh, a nice par 3 surrounded by trees with a huge elevation drop from tee to green. Here we go again, hole 4, dogleg left, hole 5 dogleg right, hole 6, straight.

Aesthetically, the par 3s are the ones that stand out as being better than normal, especially the ones in the front nine. Hole 7 is a pretty funky shot across a huge pond fronting a table green. Hole 16 also reminds me of the par 3 in Saujana, with a raving fronting an accessible green.

The two ending holes are nothing much to shout about, simply straight drives, with bunkers here and there making you so eager to get off the course and not come back. We might be missing the whole point here, because I can’t imagine a crap course being selected for an international event for 3 years running, but we seriously cannot see the exceptional character that is at play here. This is just a crap jungle course, as far as we can see! Are we blind? KJ, Retief, did you actually had fun playing and winning here, or were you forced by gunpoint by your sponsors and agents?

Fun Factor (2/5)

Rain. Walking 18. Dim lights. Long travel from KL. Long travel back to Singapore. Was it fun as an experience? No. Was it fun as a golf game? I guess it was OK. Walking on the course actually does something to your game. It actually improves it. Seriously. Try walking instead of buggying the next time. Your muscles becomes less tense, it more loose and you can actually hit the next shot without writhing like a snake strangling a zebra. But for 18, on a hilly jungle course? I think I’ll pass, until I get my fitness level up a little.

Again, the par 3s are pretty fun to play, as of the occasionally hole like the 17th, with an elevated fairway, very much like one of the holes in Danau. But the tree line course makes it excruciatingly tricky for us to play, and in the fading light, and with the course filled with leaves, it got to a point where fun wasn’t how we described it. Another f letter word would probably be a better description.


Disappointing. We honestly thought Royal Johor would be one of the better course in Johor. But except for it’s history, and the tournaments held here from 2007 to 2009, there’s really nothing much to recommend for this course. I suppose, removing the Royal from the club does it justice, since it should really be a mediocre, below average experience. We chose this over Daiman 18, and unless Daiman 18 is like playing in knee deep cow dung, it will probably be a better bet than Royal Johor.

The good: History and the fact that Retief and KJ had planted their sacred shoes in this course a few years back.

The bad: Travel is crap, compounded by the insistence of not having signs to point to the club; pricing is RM130++ for a walking course and a mediocre caddy; buyer beware, make sure you nail down the pricing before the start, or caddy will rip you off and threaten you with a 7-iron down your throat; the course is nothing special, KRTU, UPM will probably suffice at half the price and half the travel agony.

The skinny: 8 of 40 divots (20%). RJCC just made it past the AAC category by the skin of its teeth and on its merit as a host for international tournaments. But this is a club that rides on its past success, because nothing we see indicates any sort of international standards by any stretch of imagination. Absolutely not recommended, unless you enjoy being ripped off and playing the rest of your round completely butt-naked. In which case, you need some serious therapy.

Royal Johor CC Scorecard

Royal Johor CC Information


Royal Johor Country Club

3211 Jalan Larkin, 80200 Johor Bahru,

Contact: +607-223 3322 /224 2098

Fax: +607-224 0729