Rasa Sayang Pitch and Putt



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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, you think these were the other two courses?

Think again.

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

Travel (NA)

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


Ah heck, it’s just for fun anyway.

Price ( 3/5)

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


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


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


First thoughts

Umm. You take one look and that’s it.


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

Service (3/5)

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


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


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


Fairways (NA)


Greens (1/5)

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

Rough (3/5)

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

Aesthetics (1/5)

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

Fun Factor (2/5)

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

Rasa Sayang Pitch and Putt Scorecard

An Open Letter to Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang

Dear E & O Management,

I would like to feedback on my experience of staying at E&O Penang, Malaysia for the first time last week (23 November – 25 November 2013), and hope that you will be able to address some concerns I have.

There are basically 2 things I want to comment on your hotel; both of which stems from our (my family) experience there. Last week, we stayed in E&O Penang from Saturday to Monday, as one of our dearest friend was celebrating his marriage with a dinner at your respected hotel, on Sunday evening. Our stay in your hotel was absolutely wonderful and me, my wife and my 17 month old child certainly enjoyed it there. After dinner and all the celebratory pictures, when my wife returned back to our room, she realised she could not find her mobile phone, a HTC One X, that contained not just private and confidential data in her email, but also much of our family pictures, videos and what we regard as precious information. We immediately went back down to the ballroom to hunt for it in case it dropped. The person in charge also did a quick search amongst the waiters but to no avail. We searched for hours and was told perhaps it’s in our room and we accidentally left it in our bags etc. We already turned the room inside out looking for the phone.

It was a depressing time for us, but I thought it was our own carelessness, so there was nothing much we could do. However, my wife was adamant she did not lose the phone, the last rememberance was that she left it on the dinner table while taking care of our very active son and she was convinced that one of your waiters have taken it. Without proof, it was difficult to pinpoint. Thanks to technology, I was able to track the phone using GPS on my computer and found that it was still in the hotel premise. Again we launched a search in the ballroom and hotel room. However, we still could not find it. After many hours, we gave up due to exhaustion and decided to search it again next morning, with at least the confidence that it is in the hotel premise.

Early next morning, I did a search on the GPS function again and to my shock and horror, found that the phone has travelled across the bridge into mainland Malaysia to a place called Pangsa Sri Bagan, still in Penang. This was clear evidence that  it had been stolen from the table while everyone was not looking. I immediately reported this to the hotel, who called up Captain Kunalan, the head of security. I spoke to him, and to cut the long story short, he managed to track down a few ‘casual workers’ that were hired to be waiters that night for the dinner who lived in Pangsa Sri Bagan. One of them have indeed stolen the phone, and Captain Kunalan managed to retrieve back the phone from the thief and sent it back to us (we have gone back to Kuala Lumpur that day) via the groom, who stayed an additional night in Penang.

Unfortunately, the thief had wiped out our data completely, destroyed my wife’s sim card, and damaged the phone and had even installed his own Digi sim card (and taken out before returning) as evidenced by the software changes on the phone.

My two comments are these:

1)      On the positive side, Captain Kunalan went through a lot of trouble to get back our stolen property. Once I gave him the GPS location, we were 100% certain our item was stolen, and to his credit, he did not delay in doing what needed to be done to get it back. He could have easily delayed, or opted not to follow through, but through his persistence, we finally got back our phone, although everything valuable in it is now destroyed. I want to commend him, and hopefully he can be recognised for his efforts. Its only because of him that our negative perception of E&O has somehow been softened. He has given great credence to your brand.

2)      On the negative side, I cannot fathom how a hotel as upscale as yours can hire casual workers who are so brazen in their crime that they STEAL our properties from our table! Of course, you can argue that we need to be more careful and aware, but this is a wedding dinner, with a perception that it is a safe, trusted environment, a family environment…how is it possible that we would be on our guard against thieves and criminals? Plus, if you ever handled a 17 month old boy running around, you will know that protecting your phone is definitely not number 1 in your agenda. We took our safety for granted because we assumed the environment offered by your hotel was safe. We were wrong. You can ask, was there any way at all this could be avoided? Is it E&O’s responsibility if their casual worker steals our goods? I say yes. It does not matter if it is your staff or casual workers. The moment they work for you, they represent E&O, regardless. You cannot escape that accountability to provide your hotel guest with the assurance of our safety. If a crime occurs in your premise by a casual worker, E&O is responsible for that crime. In fact, the innkeepers act clearly states that where any goods is stolen, lost or injured (damaged) through a wilful act of any person under the hotel’s employment, the hotel is responsible for liability. This could just be a phone. I am sure they have stolen before and will steal again. It starts with a phone, a handbag, car keys, and in the future, even heaven forbid, abduction of a child. You must stop this before it escalates into something far more serious than lost data and phone! This theft, that we never think possible, but has occurred, and in our eyes, has tarnished your good name.

What can you do? I am a business owner, and I make sure my customers are always given the best quality service. If there is anything less, I will forsake all regards to my costs and bottom line to set it right. There is a cheap way to do things, and there is a right way to do things. If you cannot control your casual workers, I recommend you to properly source through proper agencies or have more due diligence done. I cannot imagine that you allow any person to just come in, sign their name and they don E&O apparels and represent your company. You then hire crooks and thieves who in turn prey upon your hotel guests without your knowledge. If costs are needed to get the right people in, even 2 -3 times the cost, then sacrifice your margins and stop hiring any street criminals and properly filter these people! There MUST be a change, for the sake of future guests who WILL fall prey to them again. You cannot expect redemption on their side, these are people who are conditioned for crime. You must not allow them to every step foot into your hotel and destroy your reputation that you have so painstakingly built up. As a board of director for companies, I understand fiduciary duty. You must put in operational controls to address this risk, this is management duty and must be regarded with all seriousness. If it wasn’t for my technology knowledge, we would never have pinpointed these criminals and you would have hired them again for the next wedding dinner, and other people would have been victimised!

I have written a very long email, but one that I think is necessary. If it was any 3 star hotel, I would not have spent so much of my time in feedback. I would have gone through the normal channels of complain through social media, which as you know is extremely powerful in brand creation and dilution. But because I believe E&O is one of the most respectable hotels in this region, with an absolutely commitment to customer experience, that I spend so much time in this email to you. Because I know that you WILL make a change. Because I know you will take to heart here this feedback by your guest on how to improve your services and safety of your hotel. Because I know it makes a difference, and that E&O will learn from this and become even more respected as an organisation in dealing with it.

I am not pursuing monetary repayment, even if we have a case – I am not a lawyer and I am in no mood to discuss if we have any case in the innkeeper’s act to pursue or not. It’s irrelevant. What we have lost, we will never gain it back. We have lost memories of our family and friends, precious confidential data, damaged phone and what is supposed to be a joyous weekend, wrecked due to such a awful experience. And this, because we trusted in the umbrella of safety that the hotel should be providing to the guest. We can only hope that we are the last ones who will fall prey to criminal activities under your roof and that you will do ALL you can in your power to improve what all of us have taken for granted: your guests’ peace of mind.

I do expect an acknowledgement to this email to ascertain that it has reached the right level of management, who can make decisions and at least assure me that if I ever intend to stay in E&O again, this concern would have been fully and completely addressed.

**It took them 1 and a half months to formulate a response back to me**