Gilanalysis 24: Rahman Putra Lakes


Gross: 93

Net: 73

Verdict: Finally, a good round at KRPM!

What Happened

The new swing has been coming together over the weeks…I’m a lot more confident hitting my 3 wood off the deck and hitting my driver. I now carry 2 drivers: my S9-1 Cobra for accuracy, and my old Hi Bore when I need to blast it. Kinda works. Kinda. But better to get a driver that does both, right? Great excuse to go shopping.

Anyways, remember those times when we see Tiger play horribly with his new swing and yet he keeps saying, “I am almost there, I feel good etc” and we think he’s on weed or something since he keeps shanking the ball? Now I get it…you can have a not so good score (like today) but yet know that you’ve played well and except for a few brain farts or stupid stunts you wanted to pull because no wager was on the table.

First nine was pretty controlled. Double bogey on 2nd was with a way ward pull, and on the 4th, I drove the ball and it reached the water again by bouncing off the cart path! So I 3 to the fringe, four on and two putted. The other double bogey was on the tough index 1 when I hooked into the woods.

Back nine, again, I drove the ravine and failed to clear. But after 3 pars straight, the game kinda collapsed a little with triple on the tough 14th–I pushed into the trees and couldn’t escape alive–and the easy 15th, after dunking my ball into the water and 3 putting like an idiot.

The last 3 holes were the toughest, and I hit a drive that again hit the cart path but this time ended up 110 metres from the hole, which I proceeded to fat my pitching and waste a good chance to par the tough hole. 17th was just a stupid mess, because lying 220m I just tried my luck with my 3 wood to clear the water, about 190 – 200 to clear. I can do that about 1 out of 300 times probably….and today wasn’t the time. Normally I would have laid up but what the heck, I only play so often without a wager, so lets try the impossible. I still escaped with a double so it was ok I guess.

Last hole, I actually lost my first ball with a slice with my Hi Bore. Bye Bye HiBore, no more use for you then! My third off the tee with my cobra was fine, then hit a pure 3 wood to 80 metres from the hole. And a so-so sand wedge to about 25 feet, on one of the toughest contoured greens in KRPM. From the top tier, I watch my putt roll, hit the hump and curled all the way in for the one of the finest feeling in life….a long, curling putt on a multi tiered green. Ah.

Why I Sucked

Probably I was half-serious but that’s a bad excuse. If I hadn’t tried some stupid stunts, I would have probably scored better. But the driver was working fine…my KPI these days is to hit 50% fairways and 5 or more GIRs. My putter was hot, so the only issues were my iron plays again that sucked. Definitely not Iron Man.

Not So Sucked

Putter hot. Driver S9-1 was hot. Hi Bore was unfortunately crap. Time to get the One Driver to rule them all.

What to Work On

Waiting for the new driver to arrive. Should be fun!

Gilanalysis 23: Rahman Putra Lakes


Gross: 97

Net: 77

Verdict: Getting there, could have been a lot better

What Happened

So, armed with a new swing, and two drivers now instead of one, I tried a round at my old friend KRPM Lakes….and although the result seems crappy, it was actually a good bad round if there is such a thing. Teeing up the back nine, my drive almost crossed the ravine. Drop for 3, stuck a 3 wood to the fringe, duff a chip and two putted. On the easy 11th, took out a driver and hit it so hard it went into the lake at 220m. Drop for 3, 4 on two putt. 12th, pulled my six, duffed another chip and 3 on two putted. On the easy par 4 13th, it’s easier now, with the huge tree chopped down, opening up the tee shot immensely. By habit, we all hit our ball right nevertheless. I had a good lie, in the rough, but jammed my wedge shot twice into the tree, and four on two putted.

So without actually hitting a bad drive, I managed to double bogey the first four holes! The last three holes are traditionally the toughest, and played that way, en route to a 51 on the front. Thanks to some really stupid 3-wood shots. However, I played a lot better on the back and didn’t mess up until the last hole, when I sliced my second shot hybrid to the bushes on the right and couldn’t get up and down. Otherwise, believe it or not, I was driving solid. It’s just too short to tackle Rahman Putra.

I’ll probably need to look for a replacement driver that is accurate and long. Ebay, here I come!

Why I Sucked

Chipping and pitching was off and on. Weirdly, the two pars I got was from my PW pitches. But countless duffs and tops is really annoying the heck out of my game.

Also, I changed putters again, and obviously didn’t work very well especially my front nine.

And the 3-wood, for some reason killed me, as I topped several shots especially on the closing holes on the front nine.

Not So Sucked

Driver. Or rather, Drivers. Like the tubby Phil Mickleson, I have now jammed two drivers into my bag. The Cobra with the whippy shaft cheated to me by that unprofessional MST guy, and me being the bigger idiot to listen to MST salesman–and my ancient HiBore…which honestly is so long, it’s ridiculous. It just can’t fly straight and the sweet spot is so tiny! The Cobra flies with a fade and reaches the upper stratosphere, and pops down with almost no roll, about 200m or less, but it’s straight.

What to Work On

Chipping and pitching, and stop being such a epileptic chimpanzee 50 meters into the green.

Gilanalysis 22: Tiara Melaka – Woodlands + Lake


Gross: 90

Net: 70

Verdict: Finally, a good round put together!

What Happened

Tiara Melaka has always been somewhat of a good hunting ground. There are just certain golf courses that ‘fits’ the eye, and this particular one is. We teed off from the Lakes and immediately, the comfort level was evident. While in Orna I was hitting 10 of 14 fairways, but still found hybrids and long irons into the green, the shorter holes in Tiara Melaka allowed a lot of mid to short irons into the greens, and made a huge difference. I hit half the fairways, but those I missed, were generally still ok, as evidenced by 9 of 18 GIRs, possibly my highest ever. Unfortunately, I three putted two of the GIRs, if not, it would have been an even better score.

Possibly the best shot I’ve hit is at the Index 4 Par 4 11th, to a highly inaccessible tabletop green, elevated from the fairway. I carved a six iron that drew in, and stuffed to 8 feet of the cup. I missed the birdie but that was the best shot I’ve hit in a long long while. Please allow me to brag as I will probably never get another chance to do so. Thanks.

Does anyone notice the par 3 16th at lakes is a carbon copy of the famous par 3 12th at the Augusta? It’s almost the same, with flowerbeds past the green, and a sloping bunker behind, water in front, two towering trees standing guard to the side. I just noticed it. I think it’s cool that Tiara has a little Augusta in it and Orna has a little TPC Sawgrass in it’s par 3 12th. Good work, Melaka Golf!

The only mistake on the front was when I deposited my tee shot into the drink on the 17th. I couldn’t scramble and collapsed to a triple, and lost the game wager there.

Back nine, on the much more difficult Woodlands, I started with a Birdie-Par to give me visions of breaking 80 for the first time. But the horrendous third did me in as I OB-ed my drive, dunked my third into the water, stuffed in my fifth and two putted for triple. After that, it was simply survival mode golf again and my pars all ran out. Woodlands is a lot tougher and reminiscent to the Ayer Keroh holes, surrounded by scary jungle and ball eating roughs. The awesome par 5 4th , index 1, at 506m seemed never ending, as it played uphill all the way, adding at least 50m to it’s difficulty.

Still, pretty promising results to recent swing changes, at least hitting a lot more fairways now.

Why I Sucked

I think it’s one of the better games I’ve played, despite not breaking 90. The back nine was just a few mistakes here and there, bad putting, but overall, the 3-wood and driver came together. Chipping remains an issue, as I’m actually waiting for the return of my beloved 48 degree and 60 degree which I left behind in Permaipura, and I’m currently using a heavy 60 degree Cleveland and my normal PW for chipping. I’m not very good at the first place, and now suck even worse.

Short irons was way better now…the birdie on the 1st came from a SW from the rough, stuffed to 5 feet of the hole.

Not So Sucked

Driver and 3-wood. Wish my hybrid was working as well, but no complaints. Also, sorted my short irons a little, but long irons remain a problem. The strange thing about golf is that on the front nine when I played so well, my partner and I actually lost the game wager and we won on the back nine. Go figure.

What to Work On

I’m still not confident that the driver and 3-wood are good enough, it will probably revert back to its crap status the next game; but slowly the game is coming together. Work on chips and long irons next.

Orna Golf & Country Club


Melaka has always been somewhat of a hidden gem for Malaysia Golf Courses. For such a small state, it boasts of 4 well known courses in Ayer Keroh, A Famosa, Tiara Melaka and Orna Golf Club. There’s also one more obscure one called Golden Valley course which is along the highway, which we don’t really know anything about.

And of course, the great thing about Melaka is that the courses are all located within Bubba Watson Drive from each other (meaning within 300 – 400 meters, give and take. We obviously failed our maths, but it sounds nice: Bubba Drive). With each courses so close, organizing a 36 hole blitz is a piece of cake. Orna – Tiara Melaka – Ayer Keroh are options. A Famosa is a little out of the way though.

We decided on Orna simply because many of us have not played there before, and from the website (again, we say with some caution, having experience the inordinate amount of BS encountered in these so-called websites), they seem to be a little full of themselves, having served as the Davidoff qualifying school venue for 2001 – 2003, which until now, I can only relate to Davidoff as the deodorant I put in my armpits every morning. At least, it isn’t as full of crap as some of the information on some golf club sites; this actually served to be quite informational. I won’t repeat it here, but the designer is Andy Dye, the brother, I believe of Pete Dye. Now if you haven’t heard of Pete Dye, you probably heard of the famous course he designed: The TPC Sawgrass. If you haven’t heard of it, you probably know about the famous 17th on the Stadium Course. If you haven’t, you should just give up golf, wear a tutu and take up ballet instead, because you’ll be very good at it.

While Andy ain’t Pete, we still were pretty excited nonetheless to try out this so-called ‘championship quality’ course.

Travel (2/5)

Like the notorious Tiara Melaka, signs leading to the golf course is as scarce as blue spotted jackals.  For some reason, perhaps due to it being a national heritage, Melaka refuses to put signs up to direct tired golfers coming from KL to Tiara or Orna, or perhaps those cheapskate clubs refuse to pay the Melaka town board to put these signs up. So you need to trust your instinct, or now, in this time and age, the good old GPS.

Orna Location Map

Turn off the Ayer Keroh exit, if you’re coming down from KL. Please tell me that you know how to get to the North South Highway bound for JB and Singapore. If you don’t, perhaps you should ask your mother’s permission for reading stuff on the internet, and go back to studying for your Std 3 tests. I’m kidding. This is a family friendly blog. But I am still not gonna direct you to the North south since it’s obvious you don’t know how to drive.

Anyways, once you’re off, go past the toll and head straight on, until you see the zoo and the Ayer Keroh golf course on your left. Then stay left, and at the main interchange, turn left, go straight all the way, past Tiara Melaka Golf Course on your left, and about 2 km later, Orna is there for you!

Price (4/5)

RM59 per person. Yep. There’s a promotion and yet again, our stupid Top premier voucher booklet is useless, since it’s more expensive with the voucher. Although it’s a dumb pricing strategy, it’s still a ridiculously low price to pay for a round of golf (later, we found from Tiara Melaka, with the voucher is only RM44!! Man, I love MELAKA!). This is good pricing, but then again, RM59 for a piece of cowdung in the middle of nowhere, like TUDM or Frasers might make you wish you invested that RM59 into buying discarded bottle caps instead. As we found out later, thankfully, Orna does not resemble a piece of dung, so it’s definitely worth the price.

First thoughts

I don’t really know what ORNA means, but I suppose it’s supposed to be some Greek sounding name for beauty or something. In my opinion, it’s probably derived from the desperate shouts of golfers who are trying to clear water, bunkers, wastelands in this course to put it on the green: “ON! ON –AH!!” with the ‘ah’ colloquially used by chinamen uncles who think they can clear 230 m of water to put 2-on to the par 5 greens, and failing miserably for the 4,567th time.

Anyways, we teed it up on the back nine (West Course). We avoided the mickey mouse North Course (as was told to us) and decided the championship combination of East and West course was where the bang for the buck was.

Standing on the first tee, it was a short par 4 that had a slight dogleg right. Immediately, you can see the undulations on the fairway, and know that this is NOT a Ginnifer Course, and it’s probably going to eat you up the way KRPM eats up golfers, gargles their blood and spits out the carcass later.

Service (3/5)

Not much experience with the service, except our buggy was awful and we needed to ‘Flintstoned’ our way (using our legs to help move the vehicle) in the last couple of holes. As there were no living souls in the course except for our flight and probably one or two more, we didn’t have any congestion as well, except for the first few holes when this couple took their own sweet time, and played as if they were just waiting for rapture to come. We’ll give a middle score for this one.

Fairways (2/5)

From a far the fairway looks to be in a pretty shape. But on closer inspection, you’ll find it in a below average state, mostly evidenced by the infamous bald spots. Sparsely growing, the Bermuda fairway was mostly pockmarked by sandy spots here and there. On the regular turf without the bald mark, the Bermuda grass was just HARD. As in, for habitual diggers like myself, I end up bouncing back up the grass and turn my ball right to left with a closed face. At least that is what I think. It usually happens in a blink of an eye, and before I know it, my poor golf ball is skittering away to the left into the drink. And ORNA punishes a lot of right to left misses, due to some ridiculous undulation. You will probably never get a flat stance in Orna, so your iron game better come prepared.

Greens (2/5)

Like the fairways, it wasn’t that the greens started out bad, but simply because of the lack of maintenance. Bald spots littered almost all the greens, speed was inconsistent, sometimes slow, sometimes faster (but still slow!), and while the undulation and breaks were fun; still, the lack of maintenance really annoyed us. Another thing, and this has nothing to do with the ratings; don’t even think about putting off the green. I usually practice that, if there’s about a meter of grass to clear before the green, I’d putt it. I’ve done that in other courses, in Rahman Putra cow grass even, and it works. Not in Saujana. And now, definitely not in Orna. The grass around the green literally catches the ball and chokes the spin out of it and spins the ball away from the targeted line. Again, this is more of a characteristic than a feature, but the greens themselves offer an underwhelming experience for us hackers.

Rough ( 3/5)

We spent an inordinate amount of time in the rough. This is primarily due to the undulating fairways, and as well as the gigantic bunkers sprinkled liberally over the course. The rough was generally ok, it wasn’t very difficult to escape from it, but Orna’s bunkers are really a feature itself, and offered some very interesting challenges. Starting from hole 10th, you need to navigate across twin bunkers on the fairways and fronting the green. Even on the par 5 11th, a sandy stretch of bunkers await the wayward hooker on their approach to the green. The index 2 14th is a monstrous par 4 at almost 400 meters, but with a Sarlac sized bunker smack in the middle of the fairway, which one of our unfortunate hacker managed to find enroute to a triple bogey. This is an extremely testing par 4, with a driver and 3 wood to barely find the front of the green.

Again the par 4 15th also has a gigantic greenside bunker which took our guys 2 – 3 shots to extricate.

By now, we had the grim feeling that while water was more or less a feature for Orna, the bunkers were the real culprit to high scores. And nothing is more distinct that the GARGANTUAN strip of bunker found in the par 5 16th, at the side of the water. It’s almost 100 meters long and I had the misfortune of slamming into it with my second shot hybrid, and could only get out in 3 to six on and two putt for a triple. Yikes. The ending holes are memorable, with each having strips of bunker hugging the water, and as you will see later, has an impressionable aesthetic.

The issue is that the bunkers are not very well maintained. In fact, playing into the 8th par 3 and landing into the bunker, my second shot skulled the ball due to the HARD mud under the sand. My third dug too shallow and popped the ball into the water on the par 5 preceeding hole. Drop for fifth, two putted for a quadruple bogey and lost the game. This wasn’t a one-off…lots of the bunkers were in need of proper maintenance. If you’re hitting from Orna’s bunkers, be careful of the hard mud underneath, it’s death to most hackers.

Aesthetics ( 3/5)

Orna is one of those courses where you hate it or love it. The one thing good about the aesthetics is that it really offers an open course for you to view. And we’re very partial to such a view, with the undulating fairways, undulating greens, and bunkers spread around the course, you can really look and say the design is quite nice, given what they had to work with. Especially nice (as long as you avoid it) are the bunker strips around the lakes, and from some good elevated tee boxes, it was an enjoyable view.

And of course, the signature hole 12th on the West Course, a’la the 17th at Sawgrass, Andy Dye copies his brother and gives us the closest resemblance. This is the island green very similar to the one in Sawgrass, a 157 m shot from the blue tee to green. Standing on the tee shot, the whole conversation will surround on the key question: “Eh, what iron you use ah?”. In fact, we like this hole so much, we’re gonna give an aerial shot from the recently launched Gilagolf satellite camera.

So aesthetic wise, there’s much to enjoy…until the weather gets the better of you. The advantage becomes a disadvantage when you hit the 10 am – 12 noon stretch because Orna is HOT. Barely any mature trees surrounding the course, it becomes a killer at the final holes, when you play that stretch of index 7,9,3, 11 and 5 on the east course. And mind you, that index 11 is a elevated 170 m tee shot to a small green with water fronting and that Sarlac bunker waiting to chomp your (golf) balls. So that stretch is really a tough one. If only Orna had managed to keep some trees before chopping all of them down, it would actually be quite a beautiful looking course, especially the design itself is worth mentioning. I don’t know why there are so many mature trees in Tiara Melaka next door or Ayer keroh golf course down the road, but Orna has almost none.

So bring LOTs of water, because you’re going to a fried duck by the time you are done with Orna.

Fun Factor ( 3/5)

The start of the game was quite fun. We hit the west course, and getting past hole 10 and 11, we reached the famed 12th, the copycat of TPC Sawgrass and played good shots in. An eight iron should actually suffice, but it’s just that the water really psychos you.

The fairways are reasonably generous, but slicers do beware, many of the holes have OB right, so take a healthy aim to the left…except that the undulation often bounces your ball into the water or Sarlac bunkers.  The undulating fairways are also another feature to deal with. Depending on where your ball lands, you can either get another 30-40 m roll or a -5 meter roll, as you watch in anger as it hits the upslope of the undulation and rolls pathetically back. And also, the undulation slopes towards the hazards, and in more than one occasion, notably the par 4 10th, where slight draw of the ball lands on the wrong side of the slope and it will bound merrily into the waiting water.

In fact, there’s probably not one spot in the course where you’ll find an even lie, so it truly will test your skill, patience and resistance to start chopping your 7-iron into the fairway and howl in anguish.

The East Course plays shadier, but by then the heat had really gotten to us so much so that we’ve had mirages of Oompaloompahs serving us ice cold Coke and ice-cream chocolate cakes on each green. A notable hole is the horrendous par 5 7th, which demands a good tee shot, and another to the landing area before an accurate to the elevated green.

The course does have character in each of the holes, but I swear as I was chopping out of the largest bunker in the world on the par 5 16th, I’d think some golfers probably didn’t make it out of the bunker alive and had been buried there for posterity’s warning.

Was Orna fun? In part due to the design and undulation. But the lack of shade, trees and the exposure to the sun feels like we’ve just landed in the Sahara and by the last few holes, just couldn’t wait to get our sun-baked bodies into the clubhouse.


As mentioned, there is a love it or hate it feeling for Orna. Some liked the challenge and the undulation and the bunkers, while others probably would want to avoid such torture and sadistic course in the future. For me, the driving was doing fine, as I hit 10 fairways. But with only 2 GIRs, it really brings to pressure the approach shots,  and putting (both my GIRs, I three putted for bogeys). Undulation and bunkers really do play a huge part in Orna, and it’s definitely not an easy course to play in, unlike the neighbouring, friendly Tiara Melaka. It suffers from the lack of maintenance, but it’s a course I wouldn’t mind playing on again.

The good: Pricing is a big advantage, with RM59, it’s worth the travel; undulating greens, fairways add to the challenge of gigantic, Sarlac bunkers; the island green 12th is worth playing for the closest resemblance of TPC Sawgrass 17th; interesting “Mr Dye” design worthy of it’s boast as a championship looking course.

The bad: Maintenance is lacking, causing the fairway to be as hard as tarred road; bunkers will be unavoidable, but it’s densely packed with mud under the sand; without trees, after a while, those Oompaloompahs with coke will hopefully get to you before you collapse in dehydration and carted away to the Melaka hospital.

The skinny: 22 of 40 divots (55%). Orna faces the challenge of the nearby Ayer Keroh and Tiara Melaka, but it stands on its own. It doesn’t force idiotic caddies on you the way Ayer Keroh does, and the character of the course is definitely different from the much friendlier Tiara Melaka. And of course, the bunkers and undulation gives it a distinct feel and personality. If only it wasn’t so dang hot, it would have been a great recommendation. As it is, we’re a little on the fence; love it or hate it, there are some holes you definitely will have fun in, so it’s a recommendation if you haven’t tried it yet. After that, it’s up to you whether to return or not!

Orna GCC  East + West Course

Orna GCC Information

Address: Batu 16, Jalan Gapam,
Ladang Gapam, Bemban 77200 Jasin,
Melaka, Malaysia.


Fax: +606-5210222



Who Wins in the Major?

Now that the British Open is over, and the unlikeliest champion has emerged, we’ll all wind down the year and have a look at it. Wait, there’s still the PGA Championship and Fedex Cup. Meh. We all know that the last major, with flukes like Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem and YE Yang, isn’t as prestigious as the other 3. And Fedex cup? Please. Gimmicky.

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland smokes a cigarette during the final round of the British Open golf championship at Royal St George's in Sandwich

So, the cigaratte chomping (curious, isn’t a cigaratte consider an outside help?) Daren Clarke wins, and I’ll leave to other better writers to talk about the glory of Northern Ireland majors, the odds, the story surrounding Sunday’s win, and the humiliating hacking nonsense conjured up by Phil Mickleson, Dustin Johnson and all the other clowns chasing Daren. It wasn’t so much that Daren won it, but the other fellas lost it. Missing a two footer. Check, Mickleson. Shanking into OB at a critical hole. Check, Dustin. Pulling into weeds and losing grip of club. Check, Anthony Kim. Whacking into the spectator stands. Check, Mickleson. What, again?? What’s wrong with you, tubby??

Phil Mickelson Phil Mickelson of the United States misses a birdie putt on the eighth green during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England.

Now, what has this got to do with Tiger? Everything. Since our old friend left the game in shambles, we’ve got all these bunch of pretenders stepping up the plate and taking what they can. It’s like a pack of hyenas, after the lion has finished his fill of the dead elephant and wanders off to sleep, they come and gorge on the remains and take all they can before the old lion comes back and chase them all out.

Without Tiger, majors have seen first time winners piling up. Daren. Rory. Charles. Martin. Louis. Graeme. 6 consecutive first timers, and NOT. ONE. AMERICAN. Face it, for the viewers, supporting the underdog only makes sense if there is a top dog. We ALL want to have a top dog. There’s a culture of heroes in humanity. Hercules. Achilles. The naked guy in 300. Julius Caesar. Douglas MacArthur. Joan of Arc. King Arthur. Hang Tuah. Or, looking at sport heroes: Muhammad Ali. Michael Jordan. Maradona. The one person that stands above the rest, that says, “Don’t eat my elephant until I’m finished, you pack of hyenas!”

Tiger Woods, love him or hate him, is one of them. He is the Top Dog. He’s the Alpha Male. And he doesn’t like to share.

Once the Top Dog goes, you’ve got these hyenas going for the majors and the number 1 in the world. Luke Donald aka Justin Timberlake Lookalike. What a joke. A world number 1 CAN’T make the CUT??!! Lee Westwood, another joke. Martin Kaymer? He can’t draw the ball. Rory? We like him, but too streaky, just like a hacker.

Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood - Singles Matches-2010 Ryder Cup

The real winners are all the PGA players, because since Tiger left, their chances have improved like 5000% to win a major. Also, the sport writers, because now they have more stories to write about, aside from the normal “Tiger Wins.” or the Horrendously overused, “Tiger out of the Woods” or “Tiger in the Woods”. Recently they have gotten a little creative thanks to his liaisons with pornstars, and have cheeky titles like “Tiger getting Woody” or “Tiger shows his Wood”. But still, over used. Now, with these new batch of hyenas, writers can be more creative with their headlines, such as:

If Rory wins: “Ror-ring victory”

If Daren wins: “Clarke of the Devil”

If Sergio wins: “Serg-ing to victory”…and my favorite:

If Thomas Bjorn wins: “To Infinity and Bjorn!”

Gilanalysis 21: Tasik Puteri


Gross: 97

Net: 77

Verdict: 3 Putts Galore…

What Happened

It has been some time since we headed to Tasik Puteri and now we know why….the journey there is akin to putting your head into a radiatation chamber and being continuously radiated until your hair falls out. It’s so far inside, it’s ridiculous. And it used to be better maintained, now the fairways and tee areas have certainly gone down the toilet. Remember, Gilagolfers, DO NOT play on the 3rd nine! They will try to force you to play, but ignore them and pretend you do not speak any Malay, English and to be safe, even Chinese or Tamil. Speak gibberish, they will think you are Papua from New Guinea.

Also, the caddies haven’t changed a bit. Still smell of cheap cologne, and still thinking they are so attractive as to offer to converse with you or talk back (I think it’s a form of flirting lost during the cro-magnon era 15 million years ago), until at one point, I told her to shut her gap and stop commenting and pretending to know the putts etc. The caddies here are absolutely, completely and genuinely useless.

Anyway, my game was also a genuinely useless, especially the 3 putts. I actually played pretty normal. I could give a lot of readymade golfer excuses like:

1. I am migrating back to my old driver

2. I jammed my left thumb opening Durians and now I can’t move it well

but I’ll spare myself and just say, 7 3-putts is completely inexcusable.

Teeing off the back tee, I three putted after a great drive and regulation on. I went through a string of horrendous holes after that, but then played normal, except for 3 putting for both my double bogeys on 16 and 18. Then started the front nine with two three putts, even after my best drive of the day on the 2nd.

It doesn’t even tell the whole story. I missed easy 3-4 footers as well on several holes to save Par, like on the 5th and 8th and lipouts on 12th, 15th, 17th. The only good putt I made was the one on 7th, a curling 10 footer dead in the middle of the hole

Why I Sucked

This is what you get from changing putters everytime you play. I used an old Rossa Modena today, instead of my Monza or Odyssey DFX, and it will go back into the closet for good now, I guess.

The driver is slowly getting back in shape. I’m making more mistakes than using the whippy Cobra S9-1 (this is an old Hi-bore with very little room for error), but when I contact it, it feels absolutely SWEET.

My irons improved a little in terms of contact, but because I have been playing so horrendous before, I’ve developed a habit of compensating my set up to the right (as my misses are pulls), so most of the well hit irons just went straight right…and slam into bunkers, roughs, greenside hills, but unfortunately not the Cro-Magnon caddy.

Not So Sucked

I don’t know. It would have been a mediocre game in the low 90s I feel, if not for all the nonsensical putting and lip outs etc. Tee to green, ok. Green wise, like a monkey being strangled by an anaconda. That’s golf, I guess.

What to Work On

Maybe not being so promiscuous with my putter (the golf club, I am talking about) and stick to either my Monza or Odyssey. But….what about the rest???

Gilanalysis 20: Seri Selangor


Gross: 98

Net: 78

Verdict: Darn, this course is tough!

What Happened

After a long absence from the most constipated course in history, I came back to hack Seri Selangor and got bloodied and bruised all over again. I started well enough, after a crap drive on the 10th, a hybrid, and stuffed my approach 5 feet from the hole and putted in.

11th hole, I drove amazing, and left me about 3o meters to the green. I proceeded to duff my pitch, three putted for bogey. Same as 12th hole, edge of green, but messed up my chip. Could have started par-par-par. From there, all downhill. Hazard off the tee on the 13th. Lost balls on 14th and 15th. Duffed approach on the 18th into bunker from 90 meters.

The first nine is supposed to be easier, and again I started well on the 1st. From there, crapland. Even in par 5 hole 5, I drove so well I had a six iron into the green. Hit an ok shot to the fringe, and proceeded to mess my chip and two putted!

The rest of the way was cases of lost ball, duffed shots and missed opportunities. Ah, Seri Selangor, how I miss thee.

Why I Sucked

I am migrating back to my old school driver with a stiff shaft. I decided the new regular shaft is really not my type (thanks so much to MST for such a STUPID recommendation. That MST “pro” in the UOA building in KL really really suck, I think he’s actually the ball picker from a driving range and knows crap about golf…and I am even stupider to listen to him! Argh!) With the stiff driver, I was pounding it 10-20 meters longer than normal. It just wouldn’t fly exactly straight and I had quite a fair bit of OBs. So kinda defeat the purpose….but man, pounding a perfect drive on the par 5 5th and the 1st, and the 11th…those are what you live for in golf.

So, direction of driver definitely sucked, but mainly, I was a huge failure in my irons…again.

Not So Sucked

Driver was long today. Except it’s not so good news in Seri Selangor when you go a bit off line, it’s welcome to the jungle. Putter was also doing ok, and Seri Selangor greens are in great condition…meaning…SUPER FAST!

What to Work On

Migrating back to driver for distance. Now, just to get the ball on the fairway!

Battle of the Seoul Sisters

I’m watching the LPGA US Women’s Open and two Korean girls just finished tied on top, heading into playoffs. I’m usually not very fascinated with the ladies game, but after watching these two players, So Yeon Ryu and Seo Hee-Kyung, I am pretty much positive that they are twins separated at birth. I mean, I am an Asian, so I generally won’t think that we all resemble Vietnamese like some of my American friends think we do. The only people I can’t tell the difference are Singaporeans and Malaysians.

Koreans? Sure, I can probably differentiate most of them, but when it comes to these two, I’m pretty much bewildered at how similar they look. Except that Ryu seems to have slightly bigger eyes, but maybe because Seo keeps grinning in every shot. Either way, I’ve decided to support Seo, simply because I like her Polo Ralph Lauren outfit. It’s nice. I might get one for my wife. And frankly I think Seo dresses a lot better.

Ok, Seo vs Ryu. Check it out yourself.

Seo Hee Kyung

Hee-Kyung Seo Hee Kyung Seo of South Korea hits her tee shot on the seventh hole during the second round of the Kia Classic Presented by J Golf at La Costa Resort and Spa on March 26, 2010 in Carlsbad, California.

Hee-Kyung Seo - U.S. Women's Open - Final Round

Hee-Kyung Seo - U.S. Women's Open - Final Round

Hee-Kyung Seo - U.S. Women's Open - Round Three

Hee-Kyung Seo - Ricoh Women's British Open - Round Two

So Yeon Ryu

So-Yeon Ryu - Kraft Nabisco Championship - Round Two

So-Yeon Ryu - U.S. Women's Open - Final Round

So-Yeon Ryu - U.S. Women's Open - Final Round

So-Yeon Ryu - U.S. Women's Open - Round Three

So-Yeon Ryu - 2010 ANZ Ladies Masters - Day 2

Note: Wow, Ryu just Shoryuken-ed Seo in the playoffs with Birdie-Birdie on 16 and 17.

Rats, Seo, you lost, but you still have a great Polo outfit!! And you speak better English. But your eyes are still smaller because you’re always grinning.

Congratz to Ryu with a Birdie-Birdie-Birdie finish. With a name like this, sure can win any one on one matchup, until you meet a China Golfer called Chun-Li.

Royal Selangor Golf Club – East Course


Note: I was informed by a contact in RSGC that the 1st Nine Old Course and the 2nd Nine New Course constitutes what is known as the ‘East Course’, while the 2nd Nine Old and 1st Nine New is the ‘West Course’, so for the ease of rememberance, this article will be on the 1O/2N, East Course of RSGC.

When Gilagolf started 4 years back, we started with a simple mission: To give readers honest reviews on the golf courses we play on, scrubbing away the prestige, the pre-conceived ideas of the course, the traditions, the marketing drivel and getting down to the facts: how hackers in their teens to 20s handicap play the course.

Through this journey, we’ve faced many disagreements from loyal members from courses such as KRTU, Bukit Unggul, TUDM etc, but these reviews remain mainly in the realm of personal opinion or experience; it’s by no means set in stone. If the courses suck, then at least there’s an imperative to improve. If you don’t agree, what the heck, it doesn’t really matter what a bunch of 20 plus handicappers who duffs, hacks and digs golf courses around Malaysia think, does it? Gilagolf provides what no other sites out there provided (which was the reason for the inception of this blog anyway), that is a look from the eyes of not-very-good golfers (hackers), which constitutes possibly 99% of the fearless joes who deign to pick up this blasted, cursedly addictive game of golf.

Through this journey, we have come upon courses we never thought we’d play on: Saujana, Glenmarie, Mines, Tropicana. Prestigious clubs like KGSAS, Bukit Jawi and Clearwater didn’t get too great a review while gems like Meru Valley, Staffield were uncovered. Our favourtie Bangi also makes it in the top-10 list.

And now for the 59th course to be reviewed, we’ve added Royal Selangor Golf Club, the country’s most prestigious golf club, and possibly a cultural institution forming the very backbone of the modern society in Malaysia. How will we approach such a reverent subject, as holy as the nation’s constitution itself?

Why, by hacking it of course.

Travel (4/5)

Traveling to RSGC is a simple feat: every golfer in Malaysia probably knows where RSGC is: along Jalan Tun Razak, right behind RHB headquarters. From almost every sky scraper you’ll be able to find the former tin mine area designated eons ago by the government for one of the oldest golf course in Malaysia.

In case you’re still blur (and we have in one instance an intrepid fella in our group who mixed up RSGC and KGNS and went over to the latter, and who have since received such a resounding lecture on such criminal negligence of reasoning, that he no doubt will know where and what RSGC is for the remainder of his hopefully very long life), here’s the map.

But seriously, if you call yourself a golfer and have no idea where or what RSGC is, it’s probably time to explore another game like lawn bowl or curling, where you mop floors for a challenge.

Price (3/5)

We were brought in by a member – in fact, short of breaking in and climbing over the electric fence and illegally teeing off – you have no choice but to have a member bring you in. Thankfully, over the course of playing this game, we have made acquaintances that have been very useful. However, RSGC yields a hefty price even for the member guest. The green fees are over RM200 on a weekday (the website rates has probably not been updated since the last World War), and add in the caddy, and the tips, you’re looking at high RM200s to RM300 range. It’s still not as STUPID as some pricing like Mines or Datai, which can hit RM400 on a given day; and after all, RSGC has probably earned the right to charge these fees: we’re talking about the local Augusta, the national heritage; and we’re going to hack it up in our blasphemous interpretation of this divine game.

So really, it’s not too bad price to pay, just don’t expect hackers to play there often. For the novelty of 18 holes on the very course that Walter Hagen used to hack? Hey, a little premium for tradition doesn’t hurt.

First thoughts

We are going in without any knowledge or reverence to RSGC’s tradition. This might probably go down wrong with our purists readers (which is estimated to be 1% of readers to this hacker blog); but RSGC’s first impression is pretty flat. Literally flat. From the lounge, you can look outside across the practice green to the course and count the number of fluorescent yellow flag sticks (which to us is a smart idea) stuck all over the course. There’s not much elevation, or self contained holes; it plays like a traditional golf course: parallel fairways, bail out areas left and right and thankfully a healthy absence of the dreaded white OB stakes.

You can’t write about RSGC without first giving a little history lesson. Of course, in full knowledge that any history lesson would be the best way to tune off readers and put everyone to sleep, instead, I’ll direct you to a very good book called “An Informal History of The Royal Selangor Golf Club: A Royal Heritage”. You can probably buy it from the club or get it off a member. If not a condensed version is found in The website, however is sorely in need of restoration, since it somewhat resembles my first website project about my Westie Terrier back in 1996, but I doubt that’s their priority.

As for novelty, RSGC has on the record, as the second oldest golf club in Malaysia, with Taiping Golf Club pipping it as the oldest, when they were established as an 11 hole club in 1885. In fact, Taiping Golf Club is the oldest in Southeast asia. I heard that it has been shut down, unfortunately, and I can’t imagine which idiotic non-golfing descision maker would deem it anything less than a national crime to shutdown such a club. Anyways, RSGC has no problem on this, as this club is teeming with life. Even for a weekday, you will find many people on the grass only range (they deem range with mats for wimps and for golfers with as much self esteem as a piece of carrot), on the practice green and teeing up on the first…which kind of makes you wonder: don’t these flers have work? Until you realize that they are probably thinking the same thing about you.

Anyways, RSGC was established in 1893, a very interesting history ensued, surviving the war, restoration, relocation etc. It’s amazing to know that Lake Gardens also once had a 9 hole golf course and RSGC almost ended up taking that over. See, Malaysian history is so darn interesting when we don’t need to remember all the sultan’s similar names and whether the Bugis, Dutch, Portugese or Eskimoes came to colonise our beloved nation.

Service (5/5)

Except for the fact that you cannot use your phone in the main lounge (likely a Steve Williams look a like will dump your phone into the pond), the service is expectedly exampalary for a club with this much prestige. You really feel like you are part of history, sitting at the terrace or lounge, cross legged, wishing you had don on a pair of white Englishy pants and sipping some Englishy tea while chatting quietly in an Englishy way. Instead we were all in our oversized shirts and pants and looking like the chinamen we all were.

While the service was generally good, it is the caddy service that really take the cake. We usually don’t like caddies tagging along, one because there are actually very few good caddies in this world; and two, we suck at golf. With a gallery of caddies, it’s even worse. Especially if caddies are like those in KGNS, who are all single handicappers, who really pressure the dickens out of you and even at one point scolded me for messing up my shot…hey, thanks but no thanks.

But RSGC caddies are mainly senior guys who will lug your bag or manage your trolley for you, and give you excellent advice on course navigation. We all had A-grade caddies with us, and it makes a huge difference. I know my score still requires a calculator to add it all up and resembles an arithmetic nightmare, but think about it, it could have been a lot worse if not for some timely tips from my caddy, an old, wizened Yoda. His reading on the greens (and later you’ll find these greens devilishly fast, making Sri Selangor’s greens a walk in the park) was spot on; and you’re gonna need all the help you can get in this area.

Probably the best experience of caddies we’ve ever had. Plus, this caddy of mine has been with RSGC for 48 years. We spent a lot of time walking (no buggies here to desecrate the course) and talking and he told me long histories of the club, which I found very interesting: in fact, I wish he was my history teacher, I would have scored a lot better for my SPMs in form five.

Fairways (2/5)

Ah, where the rubber meets the road. We still need to tell it as it is, and as much as I would love to say RSGC has the most pristine fairways ever….it doesn’t. In fact, RSGC fairways seemed very very much mediocre for the price you are paying, resembling the much cheaper and much maligned Seri Selangor. I’m not a course expert and I wouldn’t know what sort of issues they are having, but it doesn’t look like this is actually what they desire to achieve. It might be work in progress, but the fairways were sparse in some areas, bald patches in others and even affected with what we laymen term as fairway acne, where cowgrass has started to grow in patches on the fairway. A quick look at their website describes the fairway as ‘Seashore Paspalum’ which could very well be Latin to me for my understanding. The rough remains as familiar cowgrass and the greens are Tiffeagle, similar to Beringin greens.

Back to the Papadom fairway, I asked Yoda why it was so, and what was RSGC trying to achieve, and he barked back at me, “Do or do not, there is no try!” while meditating in the Force. He did add that there was not enough sand on the fairway for the grass to grow in a more compact manner, and that the grass was only recently changed to this Papadom variety and they would need some time (and possible additional budget) to get it perfectly mat-like like those we find in Tropicana.

The plus point was that we were detained for 45 minutes on the 14th by rain after the rain, the fairways held up very well, with no sign of casual water. Still, bare patches gives this a disappointing minus on the course.

Greens (5/5)

As disappointing as the fairways were, the greens were a joy to behold. Not to say we did extremely well on the greens and we were playing, likely at the speed of 10, which I am thinking has gotta be pretty fast, since in my home club we are playing at 8. The greens in RSGC are in perfect condition. The roll is perfect, it is fast; and most featured table top greens, meaning a bad approach (which I had A LOT) does not have any bail out areas. These raised greens are hellish to stick to, and even then even more crazy to putt on. Eventually, psychologically you are so weakened that you are basically panic putting, i.e you don’t dare to putt with confidence and you end up just molesting the ball with the putter and groan when you miss that one footer knee knocker. The rain helped stymied the speed a little, but by then we were so utterly confused that I actually managed to putt worse after the greens slowed down!

But this is where Master Yoda kicked in. Over the course of my back nine, after my game stabled out after an outward 50 on an otherwise ‘easier’ Old course, his breaks and reads were essential and led directly to Par on 11th and Par on 13th and saved bogey on 14th and 15th. I one-putted 5 out of 9 holes, at one point one-putting four in a row. And this included an off the green putt on 12th that stopped literally 1 cm from the cup. Easily would have been a blown out game if not for him.

Rough (4/5)

The rough was cowgrass, and I found it quite fascinating that they are able to demark the cowgrass from their fairways so nicely. Cowgrass fairways were not unfamiliar for us, having hacked around KGNS and KRPM and for RSGC, there was a good balance between challenging and bail out roughs. The problem wasn’t so much of the grass, it was the number of trees in your way. And these trees are huge, mature ones, cropping out and blocking your shots and you need to play a variety of punches with your 5/6 irons or going over with your 8/9 irons. The bunkers were in good condition as well, after a heavy shower, not water clogged bunkers to be found.

Aesthetics (3/5)

RSGC will not the the prettiest course you laid your eyes on. It might carry a whole history of tradition, but at the end of the day, the flatness of the terrain makes very few elevated views of the course (at least on the ones we played on). We didn’t get to try the signature 17th hole on the Old Course, having played the first nine Old and second nine New, but the overall looks of the course wasn’t breath taking. A view of the Twin Tower and KL Tower could be seen on the first few holes of the 2nd Nine New Course, and the mature trees do cast some grand views of the course. The caddy mentioned some of these trees were donated by members; while others were as old as the course itself, carrying with it the entire history of the inception, the Japanese occupation and direlection and the restoration to modern day. I half expected him to touch the trees and connect himself to Ehwa and start chanting in Na’vi. Which he didn’t of course.

KL Skyline is definitely part of the course, and I am sure on a sunny day would have afforded some great camera shots. As it was, overcast skies didn’t inspire us too much, and as mentioned, there are many prettier courses out there, compared to this Malaysian Augusta.

Fun Factor (4/5)

Fun indeed. The greens were the primary driver of fun, because it’s truly great to see true roll for a change, after having played on nonsensical greens elsewhere. We’re not great putters by any stretch of imagination, but if you see your curling 10 footer go in not once, twice, but more times, you can be sure you’re enjoying it. As we were wagering a little, it was simply who putted better, and our groups were like boxers, trading blows by dropping good putts to square, to win. Never mind the double bogeys to win it. The course itself is an enjoyment. Now, even if the aesthetics isn’t much to shout at, the course set up is a different matter. I remembered looking around at the first tee (before knocking it OB to the driving range), and thinking, “This looks pretty flat. How difficult can this be?”

For some reason, it seems to play a little longer than it should. At about 6171m for the 1st Nine Old and 2nd Nine New, it seems to be average. Perhaps it’s the yardage that throws us out a bit, or the fact that we are so afraid of the greens we’re all hitting a club less; or the fact that a stray shot requires you to navigate through the mature, donated and the Ehwa trees, but with just two GIRs, it just means, it ain’t easy! Not because we suck, of course. How can that be?

But the fun was that OB stakes were rare and the course allowed all kinds of creative escapism. I was really funneling into a crap mode in my first five holes. OB hole 1. Three putt hole 2, Water in the pretty looking par 5; duffed chip in the nice par 3 4th and a topped drive to 50 m in the next hole. My caddy must have thought I was the dumbest golfer around, but I managed to right the boat a little and clear out my jitters eventually.

The 9th hole in the Old course was an awful one for a sliced drive and I deposited my third into the bunker and couldn’t get it up for bogey.

Making the turn to the new course, we teed up on a wide and inviting fairway on the 10th, under a humongous Ehwa tree. The second par 4 result was from my caddy’s wonderful and perfect read, missed my par on the 12th by 1cm, and parred the index 2 par 5 13th after wildly driving it so far left that I borrowed a fairway from the old course.

The closing 18th on the new course is worth mentioning because it’s a monster. A good drive still left me a 3 wood in and predicatably when all was at stake, I sliced it into water on the right and knocked my 4th into the fronting bunker, losing the wager. It’s a tough cookie to crack but it’s a very good ending hole, and I can just imagine the other drama that has unfolded here, especially ones involving larger winner purses than our RM4 per hole. There, we are playing in RSGC but we’re still cheapskates.

At the end of the day, RSGC definitely gave us the lion share of fun in our group.


It was indeed with some regret that we came to the end of our round with RSGC. Unlike other high expectation courses, RSGC didn’t disappoint overall. Fairways could use improvement, of course, but given the vicinity and accessibility in the heart of KL, and activity teeming around the club, and of course the rich history surrounding the club, it’s definitely a great experience to have a game here. Of course, it’s out of bounds usually to people like us hackers, unless you have a member friend.  It doesn’t blow you away with looks, but the good design, character of holes and amazingly manicured greens make up for mediocre aesthetics and mediocre fairways. And of course, with Yoda beside us: fear not we do, confidence we have, putting we will be good in, also, big our tipping will be.

The good: Geographically one of the most accessible course we know; though socially it is locked-down like Alcatraz to only members; great service especially from Master Yoda; greens are probably the best we’ve experienced; flat aesthetics belies a challenging course design surrounded with mature Ehwa trees; historical heritage that anyone with an opportunity should definitely play on.

The bad: Fairways are really not up to par for a course with such a reputation; aesthetics are not mind blowing; pricing could be mighty steep for the member guest and hidden costs like caddy tips could very well have you taking a policy loan out from your kids’ insurance and eating peanuts for the week.

The skinny: 30 of 40 divots (75%). RSGC’s long history has its pros and cons; many modern clubs might surpass it in terms of looks and gimmicky holes, but this is the original, the Augusta, the hallowed history of our nation’s love for golf imbued into its very fairways and greens. Where the Haig has treaded, and Bobby Locke himself has played on, what more is there to ask for the golfing afficiando? For the course to withstand the test of time and still have so much activity around it is a testament to the course design, club management and club members. It’s a must play for all Malaysian golfers simply for the historical influence on the game and we can finally now say, Gilagolf has hacked RSGC.

RSGC East Course Score Card

RSGC Information

Address: Jalan Kelab Golf, Off Jalan Tun Razak
55000 Kuala Lumpur

Contact: +603-92063333

Fax: +603-92853939



Palm Resort GCC – Allamanda


So far Johor, the golfing state of Malaysia has yielded one pretty good course in Legends, one mediocre one in Daiman 18 and one simply unrecommended in Royal Johor. So we were looking forward to add another good golf course into our Gilagolf bag of reviews, and we were pretty certain Johor would be able to cough up the majority of good courses for this country, it being so close to Singapore, the capital of robotic efficiency. The reasoning would be that Johor courses would cater to Singaporeans as well, so it does bear some weight that they would be slightly better than most courses if they want to capture a market as fussy as our brethrens in Kiasuland.

If you look at google maps, you’ll find one huge sprawling mass of golf course near Senai airport, called Palm Resort Golf and Country Club, and this was where we were headed for one night stay and golfing in the morning.

Travel (3/5)

The travel is very straight forward from Singapore at least. Take the Tuas exit and just go straight, follow the destination Senai all the way. The key is that you exit Singapore from Tuas, which is about 100x better than  going through the torturous Woodlands/JB Causeway (see the previous post on Daiman). The Palm Resort is right next to the airport, which technically doesn’t make it very peaceful, but in reality, with the amount of planes flying into Johor everyday—probably just 2—it didn’t make much of a difference. We did see the airport for the first time though and it was a state of the art facility.Too bad no one flies to Johor. Here’s the map from the website:

There is a slight confusion however at the entrance, stating that Palm Resort is straight on, while Palm Villa Golf Course requires you to turn right. It’s two different courses. It’s annoying in a sense, I don’t get why two courses would want to confuse the dickens out of golfers by naming themselves so close to each other. In utter confusion, we thought Palm Villa (Voucher from Top Premier Voucher Book, free green fee) and Palm Resort were one and the same course! Because in google maps, it looks like they are in the same vicinity.

This confusion carried over to the next day when we headed over to Palm Resort Golf Course with the resort buggy. One of our guys forgot to bring the voucher book so he had to rush back and ran back all the way, about 300 metres to the club house. Only to find that Palm Villa and Palm Resort were two different courses, and the discount did not apply to Palm Resort. What? Annoyed, we were already prepared to play so we just paid the special guest rate in Palm Resort and muttered our way to the buggy station.

So: Palm Villa NOT EQUALS to Palm Resort. Both are at the same vicinity but different course!

Price (3/5)

We ended up paying RM99 per person for all in package for golf, plus RM5 food voucher for each person. So it’s around RM94 for a weekday rate on a resort golf course, which is slightly high, but then again, a price we gladly pay to experience what was considered as a good course in this area. For walk in customers (non hotel guest), you might need to pay more. But (you didn’t hear it from us), there was no verification done on whether you were the hotel guest or not…so….hmmmmm.

The website was impressive enough, with an offering of 3 18 hole courses for the delight of golfers. And these are really 3 courses, not some fake advertising course like Legends, which had Nicklaus 18, Palmer 9 and an advertised Gary Player course which in reality is non-existent. At least Palm Resort is honest about it. These courses actually exist. Take that, Legends course, you liars.

The problem with courses like this is like the problem with buffet. You don’t know which one to select. The lady gave us two choices, since the championship Cempaka course was closed for maintenance, so it was a toss up between Allamanda and Melati course. Allamanda was recommended as an intermediate course, and also, more people seem to like it, as there were 14 flights already there. Melati had only 2 flights and was considered not as picturesque as Allamanda. But Melati had the Par 3 Hole No 2 with the largest bunker in Malaysia, as well as the longest hole in Malaysia at no. 15, measuring a ridiculous 684 yards from the tip. That puts Air Keroh’s last hole in the pocket.

But we decided on Allamanda as we wanted a relaxing round, and with a beginner on board, it seems like a better choice for now. We can always come back again to tackle the monster courses in Melati and Cempaka.

First thoughts

We teed off from the back nine to avoid some traffic at Allamanda, and we joined a local member to make it a four ball. She was a very nice lady, and complimented our beginner, who was also a lady, and we merrily made our acquaintance. She was also quite chatty and seem to appreciate having a younger group with her, especially us who seem to make fun of everything and laugh at every lousy shot we make. She turned out to be an invaluable resource as time went on, as she found our lost balls, gave us putting tips, gave us some good advice on nearly all the holes on yardage etc. This was key, as we sometimes would get lost converting yards to meters and completely stuff up our sense of distance.

Under the morning sun, we watch our first drives sail delightfully into a big, receptive fairway, that is almost a carbon copy of the first hole in Legends. Ah. Ginnifer courses. How we love ‘em.

Service (4/5)

The service was excellent; the lady behind the counter gave us very good description of all the courses, how many flights were there, and what was recommended. The marshal ensured that everyone moved along as quickly as possible and made sure to distribute the flights evenly on the back and front nines. In fact, we didn’t even get jammed up once, and we allowed a bunch of Koreans to go past us on our third hole. Buggy was in excellent condition as well. This is typical of the service found in resort courses: very good, very efficient, and very much catered to our fussy brethrens across the causeway. For us more relaxed Malaysians, this was a huge bonus compared to some of the service atrocities reminiscent to concentration camps we are so used to in the courses we play on.

Fairways ( 1/5)

And just like that, the entire perception of Palm Resort fell in a resounding thud. Once we teed up and went onto the fairway, I was in shock at the condition. Divots chunked up, not replaced, balding patches all over, skid marks from previous buggies, uneven groups of grass….it was shocking because it looked good from far, but now it’s far from good. It’s like seeing a girl from a distance sitting at a bar, dressed nicely, beautiful hair, nicely shaped face, great body…and when you get closer, you see, wait a minute, there’s some zits on her face and her arms and legs are too skinny…and when you get even closer, you see she has extremely thick eyebrows, lazy eyes, buck teeth and a beard. And just as you try to steer away and escape, she catches you and you see hairy arms, smell foul breath and hear a voice as deep as James Earl Jones. WHAT??

We immediately asked the local what the meaning of this was and she sagely says that the maintenance contract for the course was in transition. They have not renewed the previous contractor due to pricing issue, and instead have agreed with a Singaporean contractor to take over. The new contractor would take over in about 2 weeks from now, so until then the course was literally NOT MAINTAINED. Which explained the horrendous rough and the ugly fairways, as well as the less than pristine greens. I asked how much was the previous Malaysian contractor charging and she simply said, “Too Much for such a service.” For a malaysian golf course to choose a Singaporean golf contractor and choose to pay in SGD instead of RM is a testament of the atrocious business practices we unfortunately have in this country. How much markup do you think the previous contractor is charging, for this course to opt to pay Singapore instead?? Malaysia Boleh! Mesti Boleh Markup and make a killing one!

Greens (2/5)

The greens suffer the same fate as the fairway. There are some slight maintenance, you can see some parts are pressed down, but these are done as afterthoughts and probably not regularly. And it’s such a pity, because we saw that the greens were actually in fine condition before, and in some cases still are. The greens itself were quite easy to putt on, not much undulation, and had resemblance of better days in that the roll and consistency were still there, if not barely.

Rough (0/5)

Probably the worse feature of Palm Resort Allamanda. The rough is just inexcusable. You can tell it’s been thoroughly neglected as grass was allowed to grow to deplorable lengths and thickness, causing balls to disappear completely under. It was lamentable, so much so, it reminded us of the horrors of Bukit Beruntung, the mother of all crap course. This was very much the same experience. The second hole par 5 for instance, both myself and my partner lost our balls in the rough, not because of a bad shot, but just a skittered shot into the first cut. And they were gone. My second triple bogey on the 14th was the same story: not a bad shot in the rough and boom, was gone.

Bunkers were so-so, but the kicker was really the thickness of the rough, that made it almost impossible to find, and when we did find it, impossible to hack out.

Aesthetics (4/5)

Looks wise, this was most certainly a very pretty course. If you neglect to play on the rough, you can actually see great landscaping all around the course. In better days, this would have been a much better course than Legends for instance, but unfortunately fall short due to non-existent maintenance. The 11th hole par 5 is a challenging dogleg to the right to a receptive green. Par 4 13th is an extremely challenging hole with a bail out on the right, but any hook will end up in OB jungle.

The very pretty par 4 15th is reminiscent of the A Famosa Crocodile Hole, where a 3 wood positions yourself on the right fairway and allow you to hit into a green across the water. Hole 18 is a tough one, with the fairway sloping to the right, and balls to the right will be in heavy rough, as one of us found out and lost another ball, contributing to the overall frustration.

Hole 1 is a wide open Ginnifer hole but not so easy to get up, as it hits to an elevated tee. Hole 2 is a nice looking par 3 that drops down to a green fronted by a moat, surrounded with pretty landscaping. The last two holes, 8 and 9 are probably the exciting ending holes of the course: Hole 8 is an awesome 180 m par 3 to cross the water at about 170m. It takes guts to take on the green instead of bailing out on the right. A perfect hybrid sailed into the large green and I managed to two putt par there.

The final hole actually crosses back into the resort (and unknown to me, right next to our room), where a dogleg left cut allows you an access into a receptive green. Cut it a bit too much and you might end up OB. From 100 meters, I short sighted to the front of the green, but a chip to 6 feet and a good putt gave me my fourth par of the day, on an otherwise bad score of 96.

Fun Factor (3/5)

As long as we stayed out of the rough, we were ok with the course. In fact, the course plays pretty easy, if not for all the lost balls and lost strokes when our balls are in the rough. If given proper maintenance, it’s a close resemblance to resort courses like Palm Garden or Bangi.

The course generally have wide fairways, and gives a sense of largeness to the course…no narrow navigation with the 3 wood, just take out your driver and blast it all the way down. Having a local ‘caddy’-cum-player was also key to the fun we had, as she was able to locate some crucial lost balls and also helped us in professional advisory in navigating the course. Most of all, she helped our beginner relax and we all enjoyed her company immensely.

The fun generally improved as we moved to the first nine, and we were able to drive in the buggies onto the fairway after 10 am. We spent less time in the rough, and the two ending holes on the front 9 were certainly worth playing for.


Palm Resort course is a missed opportunity. Allamanda could have been so much better than when we played it, simply because of the lack of maintenance. We came during a transition period and I think it should be fair to the course if we had another go at it, when they have recovered the conditions of the greens, fairways and for the love of God, the horrendous rough. I believe that once they get the new contractor in, Palm Resort can probably be elevated to a must play course. As it is, and as Gilagolf unbiased review would have it, this is a supposed premier course that somehow manages to shoot itself in the foot and getting ranked as Not Too Shabby, the same with the likes of Kinrara, Nilai Springs and Monterez, definitely unflattering company for a course with this much of self claimed prestige.

It’s good from far, far from good; it’s that good looking woman at the bar that turns out to be a bearded man with thick eyebrows and voice as deep as Darth Vader.

The good: Pretty pretty course, the landscaping is picturesque; holes are generously Ginnifer-like, easy for the newcomer to the game; the course set up is friendly; service is excellent; good promotion prices for those staying in the resort itself; good course marshalling, throughout the game, we didn’t have to wait too long, even if 14 plus flights are in the course.

The bad: Greens and fairways are not well maintained; rough is Bukit Beruntung style, which means it sucks sucks sucks bad; for lack of maintenance, they should have dropped price a little to commensurate for the bad experience.

The skinny: 20 of 40 divots (50%). Palm Resort Allamanda is like that promising young golfer that grew up and didn’t amount to anything, and became a ball boy. Wait, that’s Ty Tryon. Well, we are rooting for Palm Resort’s new contractor to come in and do a makeover, so by no means this course should be given up on. Instead, maybe plan elsewhere for the next two months, wait for the course to recover and come back and play one of the three 18 hole courses. As a golf facility, I have no doubt Palm Resort will improve; now it will just be the growing pains. Recommended in the future; for now, maybe try Palm Villa, the confusing golf course name next door.

Palm Resort Allamanda Score Card

Palm Resort – Allamanda Information

Address: Jalan Persiaran Golf,
Off Jalan Jumbo, 81250
Senai Johor, Malaysia

Contact: +607-5992000

Fax: +607-5991370