Horizon Hills GCC


Very few courses actually make it into our most anticipated list of courses to play in. Tropicana. Glenmarie. Templers. RSGC. Saujana. KLGCC of course. In the southern state of Johor, there is one course that’s supposed to rule them all:

Horizon Hills.

I mean the name already evokes awe. The premise of consecutive Iskandar Opens, the place where it’s supposed to be so pristine, that LPGA and PGA golfers would reroute their journeys to come by this little peninsular called Malaysia. Aside from KLGCC, Horizon Hills, near Nusajaya and in turn near the Tuas exit, captures the imagination as the country’s top tiered golf destination.

So, ten of us woke up at 5 am from various locations, to meet the tee off time at 7:22 am, with all other later tee times ‘Taken up’ according to the friendly neighbourhood reception (do note the sarcasm a little).

Travel (2/5)

You’d think that being such an internationally acclaimed golf course, there would be some sense in direction. We came up from Singapore to play and no where near the exit or along the highway exiting Tuas into Johor did we see a sign to Horizon Hills. We had to depend completely on Google Maps. And that turned out wrong, so we had to depend entirely on Garmin, which led us to such a long and circuitious route that our 30 minutes drive turned into a near 1 hour, and we nearly missed the cursed tee time.

More signs would be nice, Horizon Hills, really.

Price (1/5)

Again, I understand the prestige, and the need to draw more money from our Singaporean brethrens of clubs; so we were willing to fork out RM146 per person to play on the course. Never mind it’s a weekday, off peak. Never mind that we had the Top Premier voucher discounts. Never mind that we were forced to take up caddies whom we did not want. It was all worth it, since this was KLGCC of the south, was it not? This was the Pearl of Johor, right?

With that premise, you would straight away have a forebiding feeling that Horizon Hills, instead of soaring to greater heights and exceed all our lofty and admittedly at times, unrealistic expectations—oh how I wish I could have stated it—Horizon Hills instead descends into one of the most inglorious, most ignominious and most underwhelming experience that we ever had in a long long time. If you are in a hurry and you are not interested to read further, here’s our verdict: Is Horizon Hills worth the money you pay for?

Yes it is, just like how it’s worth every penny to pay RM1 million to eat dried cow shit bred specifically to ingest every sort of parasitical worms into your body, which will destroy your intestines through the most painful and excruciating death possible.

That’s sarcasm. Truth is, simply: No.

First thoughts

It didn’t start out too badly actually. From the second nine, when you stare out from an elevated tee with water on the right and a thin strip of fairway, you could just feel the stirring in your veins that you’re going to have a good game. ‘Could’ being the key word, because I didn’t, and proceeded to hack my drive way out into the water right before collapsing into a triple bogey start. I hate those starts. But I don’t blame the course, it’s simply my inability to get to any kind of comfortable start in golf.

The first impression of Horizon Hills was good, because like Bukit Jawi, from the club house, it offers a great vista of the journey you will undertake in the next four hours. Plus, the clubhouse looked as it it belonged to a James Bond flick, with expensive fittings and a state of the art design. It’s a pity we are not reviewing golf clubhouse architecture, Horizon Hills, I’m sure you would be in the DAGTH status if so. Which makes me wonder, why in blue blazes was so much money spent on the club house? Why not put more into maintaining the golf course instead? It must have been a non-golfing senior management idiot that made that decision.

Service (3/5)

I am quite tempted to give it lower since the caddies we had were practically useless. I mean we ask for reads and they didn’t get it right. They were friendly, yes, but unfortunately woefully underequipped for the price we paid for them. We didn’t pay them to converse. And why oh why do caddies insist on flirting?? Are we that awesome looking with our six pack abs and bulging muscles? We paid them so they make us into golfing machines that would go all out to secure the testy win that will win us RM2!! Maybe we just didn’t get the A grade caddies. Maybe we just looked like cheap Malaysians instead of high class Singaporeans who would tip them SGD40 instead of RM40.

However, the reception lady, although somewhat grumpy, was quick and the lady was friendly, and got us course bound in no time. Plus, the golf bag handling guy was also understanding when we had a mix up with our bags at the end. So a mediocre 3/5.

Fairways (0/5)

And here’s what the trouble starts. Horizon Hills, if you are going to look like a high class course, price like a high class course; why on earth does your fairway resemble the rearend of an African Babboon?? One word for Horizon Hills fairway on December 2011:


2nd hole for instance, we saw track marks and mud all across the fairway so much so that we had to implement lift and clean…and it didn’t even freaking rain the day before! Come on! I mean it’s not all bad, as in Selesa Hills bad; but for a five-star course to have this kind of fairway is simply unacceptable. The maintenance guy should be dried out for this. It’s like, if I was backpacking and stayed at a Rm10 per night hostel next to a whorehouse, I wouldn’t complain too much about the bed bugs, the rats, the lizards on the ceiling and the occasional corpse in the closet: but imagine you went and paid for the Mandarin, or Hilton, and you get a bed that’s only slightly more comfortable than a coffin; you’d sure to go barnacles, right? You’d complain! You’d not tolerate that you have cockroaches running around the bathroom!

So why isn’t anyone screaming foulplay over Horizon Hills? Charging the way they did and giving us an experience that we could as soon find in the football field behind my house, where the occasional rusted nails and used underwear can be found near the goal post?? And the gall of it all, was when the grumpy registration lady (to do her justice, I believe she was just completely clueless) proudly declared, when I gave my customary complain of ‘wah, so expensive’: “We are increasing all prices next year for Horizon Hills!”

You’d think this is based on actual studies of product development, but no, it’s probably on the whim of some higher ups, who completes the above sentence with “Because I want to drive a new Audi A7 next year also!”

Huge huge, utter disappointment for Horizon Hills fairway and maintenance. They should have given a discount, an I-am-sorry voucher for having a course that has muddy fairways, thank you, come again.

Greens (3/5)

The greens were thankfully in a reasonable shape. The speed was about 9 on the stimp but strangely played slower than that. But overall the roll was quite pure and the challenging contours and largeness of the greens created some good challenges reminiscent of KRTU. In fact, it boiled down to the final green for my team, when my team mate’s game exploded into undetectable pieces and I struggled to a bogey. With all the stakes on the line, my two opponents were already 3 on. Both lag putted their 4th to 3 and 4 feet respectively and I was about to throw in the towel.

But the blessed contours of Horizon Hills green first made the initial putt veer right, and the 3 footer knee knocker molested the edge of the cup before turning away…giving my team the win! Due to unforced errors. But the green was quite demanding, with lots of precision lags, and 3-4 footers of non-gimmes. Lots of par opportunities slip by but we were generally pleased with the development of the greens.

Rough (3/5)

One of the greatest challenges and aspects of Horizon Hills isn’t the greens or the cowdung fairway; it would be the rough and bunkers. It was just a torture to play on. I was driving the ball as well as I could ever drive, but very often, I either run through the fairway or it lands just off the fairway. There’s no first, second cut. Just fairway, and deep deep rough. I had to literally play the ball off the heel of my right, and power a hook to get it out of the stuff. It was no joke, really, I nearly snapped my wrist at one point to muscle the ball throught the thick stuff. This was the pitbull grass, so much feared and revered through Saujana, that has somehow ended up here.

And that wasn’t even the end of it: Bunkers. EVERYWHRE. This course had more bunkers than the Omaha Beach did on D-Day. Believe me, these were not the nampy pampy bunkers we get back at KL areas, where you could put of it. These were SARLAC bunkers, where once you get in, you ain’t ever going to get out without luck and skill. My triple bogeys aside from the first hole were bunker experiences. At one hole, my drive again flew the fairway and into squishy rough next to the buggy track. I powered my 9 iron through on line and fell literally 1 meter short in flight and rolled back into one of the hungry SARLAC bunkers. Third shot into the edge. Fourth shot didn’t come out. Shot five came out only a little. It was crazy to see a guy hacking dirt into the green but no ball, it was that difficult.

The reason why the score isn’t high is the lack of maintenance on the rough. At some parts they were muddy beyond belief. They were unplayable and we had to take free drops in dry areas. Again, it’s such a pity because Horizon Hills could  have offered an amazing and memorable experience, but instead fizzled out like a moon traveler firework.

Aesthetics (2/5)

Again, I would love to say Horizon Hills is an exciting, beautiful golf course and that everyone that comes here would be overawed. I am a firm believer that the golfing experience must take golfers out of the current mundane world we all live in, and transport them into 4 hours of forgetful bliss from work or any reminder of work. That’s why Datai, not just being a jungle course, but a course that provides that escapism, can score so high.

Horizon Hills tries. The first nine (back nine) was reasonable enough with good mixture of nature and functional golf. But from hole 12 onwards, we could just sense the construction going around the course. Make the turn and all the illusions of escapism is gone. The sky line of Horizon Hills is reprehensible. Houses being built by the course, in hole 1, the constant banging and shouting of workers and machinery at work as you putt on the first green. And from there, every hole, almost, houses staring vigil at us hacking up the beloved game of golf. It descended from a KLGCC wannabe to a Bukit Jalil replica. And we don’t like it one bit. Especially since it exthorted money from us the way it did.

Disappointing backdrop to an otherwise reasonable looking course. But really, the house development simply takes away the experience of golfing. It’s just not great to survey the hole from the tee box and have the caddie say, “Target the crane.” As in construction crane, not the nature bird-crane, you know.

Fun Factor (3/5)

Horizon Hills do have some fun holes. Be on your A-Game to tackle the par 5s, expecially the closing and snaking 18th. It has to be the grandest and toughest hole in the entire course. There are islands of landing spots meandering across the lake. The first one on the left, and the second landing spot to the right has a rivulet cutting across, requiring a 230 meter carry, according to the caddy. I borrowed my friend’s R11, and whiplash it across, as did my other friend. Unfortunately, those were our test balls, having already played safe to tee off at the nearest landing spot. We all proceeded to completely unwind in this par 5, and everyone ended up in the water somehow or another.

The fun factor is always there when you have two or more flights and friends just jabbing at each other. There’s a lot of thrash talking going on which I like, and even though the stakes weren’t big, our pride was more than enough for us to become ultra competitive.

Horizon Hills is very contoured,  with the water easier to navigate compared to the awesome Legends Golf Course with all the mass of water around the course. Horizon’s main defence lies in the Sarlac Bunkers. Every bunker is a freaking adventure, and many of our challenges today and assault on the greens were rudely halted by one of the sarlac bunkers dotting the entire course and messing around with our minds. I tried my SW, my Approach wedge, my 60 degree, my chipping 40 degree and still struggled to get anything out of these bunkers. Thankfully I didn’t spend a lot of time in it…the time I spent in there was severely penalized, unfortunately. Some of my other friends had a better time however, including one guy who had a miracle bunker out to 1 feet on a crucial hole.

It was a fun time indeed, and the weather held up it’s end of the bargain by only raining after our game. The only drawback was just the fairway condition, which is absolutely inexcusable for a course of this magnitude.


I will struggle to outright recommend this course to Gilagolfers. Simply due to the price. If you can tag this down to RM100 or below for an offpeak rate, then it would be reasonable. But at RM150 almost, adding the caddie tips, and with no food voucher? You can play Orchard 5 times for this amount and you’re likely going to have more fun there! So unless they discount their prices, or give pristine fairways and not the cowdung they have pieced together so far, I’d say stay away from Horizon Hills, it ain’t worth your money or time. Better go over to Johor Premium Outlet to shop than to waste your hard-earned money on a course that is obviously living off its reputation, but doing nothing to fulfil the same reputation.

The good:Famed golf course, challenging rough and bunkers; countours on greens and fairways offers a very unique gameplay; good looking clubhouse and reasonable service.

The bad: Completely overpriced; the fairways are one of the worst I’ve seen, and this includes fairways on UPM, which doubles up for cows to eat from and shit in; caddie services have no value other than looking like they think they are pretty (they are NOT); travel remains a drag; aestethically more of a Bukit Jalil than a KLGCC.

The skinny: 17 of 40 divots (42.5%). It’s unbelievable that Horizon Hills can only muster up a sorry score the same as these hall of famers: UPM, Kulim, Harvard, Cameron Highlands. Like Glenmarie, Horizon Hills fails to impress and is one of this years’ most disappointing golf course and golf experience. In fact, Daiman, Palm Resort, Palm Villa are all more recommended than this orverpriced and overhype piece of…course. It’s a no-go as far as I’m concerned, but the potential is there if they buck up on their service and maintenance. Maybe try again in dry season next year and don’t expect so much. Don’t expect caviar and lobster termidor, just burger and fries, and you’ll be ok then.

Horizon Hills GCC ScoreCard

Horizon Hills Details

Address: No. 1 Jalan Eka, Horizon Hills, 79100 Nusajaya, Johor Darul Takzim

Contact: +607-2323166

Fax: +607-2323919

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

Email: general@hhgcc.com.my

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

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

Email: NA

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

Email: golfbooking@palmresort.com

Website: http://www.palmresort.com/golf-country-club-41.aspx

Daiman 18


Last year, we headed down to Johor/Singapore to explore some of the golf courses there. I believe there are more than 30 golf courses in Johor itself, possibly making it the Malaysian state with the most golf courses and least work done per capita compared to the rest. With so many courses to choose from, how can you ever get tired of playing golf? Likely, the explosion of golf courses here was contributed by the number of Singaporeans willing to take the drive across the border to play cheap golf. Singapore dollars now trade at almost 2.45RM, making a 100RM golf course rate slightly less than SGD40, which is really a steal. Unfortunately, for Malaysians, we see this contributing to the trend of increasing green fees from this golf courses, even if they generally suck.

After our harrowing experience with the RM100 caddy in Royal Johor, it was with some trepidation that we once again embarked on playing golf in Johor. This time, due to time constraints, we had to choose one that was relatively close to Singapore. There were two choices: golf Courses from the second link exit in Tuas, or golf courses nearer to the Woodlands-JB exit.

We chose the Woodlands-JB exit. The closest was the dratted Royal Johor Country Club, which we will now avoid it like the bubonic plague after our awful experience there. Moving further east, we have to choose Permas Jaya, Ponderosa, Daiman 18, Octville. Tanjung Puteri was a little too far so we’ll need to KIV that one. The norther courses like Austin Hill and Star Hill were also possible selection. At the end, we decided to head to Daiman 18 simply because we have the vouchers from the Top Premier Voucher book…and also because we previously thought Royal Johor was better than Daiman 18. I mean, really, the name of Daiman 18 evokes as much inspiration as watching bat shit dry in the sun.

Travel (2/5)

Daiman 18 is not very far from the JB/Woodlands causeway into Singapore. I am assuming that you would be taking the same way as we did, coming up from Singapore, unless you’re staying in JB itself. From Singapore, there is no way around it. Exiting from the JB/Woodlands checkpoint is as close as intravenous suicide as you can probably get, due to the absolute stupidity of Malaysian organization. Now, I love Malaysia, don’t get me wrong. But when it takes you a few minutes to exit Singapore and the next 45 minutes stuck in a jam, on a Sunday lunch time at the Malaysian side, you seriously need to question the lack of efficiency in Boleh Land. There are only 2 lanes for cars to queue in a snaky route to the checkpoints. Some heroic drivers took the third lane, meant for trucks I believe and ran smack into a group of traffic police and summons. Most of the perpetrators were Singaporean cars, so it’s definitely a welcome to Malaysia present for (from) them.

Anyways, if you manage to escape the checkpoint within this year, here’s the direction to Daiman, 15km away.

1. Head northwest on Singapore – Sultan Iskandar Ciq Jb     1.7 km

2. Keep right at the fork to continue toward Jalan Yahya Aldatar    200 m

3. Turn left onto Jalan Yahya Aldatar            750 m

4. Turn right to merge onto Lebuhraya Tebrau           5.9 km

5. Continue onto Jalan Pandan           3.0 km

6. Turn left toward Jalan Masai Baru 350 m

7. Sharp right toward Jalan Masai Baru          41 m

8. Take the 1st left onto Jalan Masai Baru      2.8 km

9. Turn left toward Jalan Pesona        70 m

10. Turn left onto Jalan Pesona           190 m

There is a small trickiness here, when you need to exit Jalan Pandan. There’s a small left turn before the flyover right at Carrefour (or was it Tesco??) which will allow you to go under the fly over and hit Jalan Masai Baru. We missed this turning and had to take the next left and go a big round behind the supermart. Beware.

Price (2/5)

We played on a Sunday afternoon, and was charged RM110 for our troubles. There’s a special promotion going on, which rendered our weekend top premier voucher at RM120 pretty useless. Now RM110 is about the same price we pay for Bangi on a Sunday afternoon package, which generally puts Daiman in comparison with our beloved Bangi, and which invariably Daiman falls short. I know we can’t expect cheaper prices , but still, from what we see in Daiman and what we compare with Bangi, these courses are world’s apart. Daiman 18 pricing just doesn’t cut it. And what is with the voucher then? Shouldn’t something we pay for allow us to have special pricing? This reminded us of the horrendous pricing strategy of another Johor Course: Legends, which actually cost more to use the discount vouchers than it would be NOT to use them. It makes no sense. Then give further discounts on the vouchers, darn it!

First thoughts

First thoughts that hit us as we teed up on the back nine: It looks a little bit like KRTU, a little bit like Perangsang. It’s probably a mixture of both; the slight elevation of Perangsang, the oil palm trees of KRTU. First hole was a dogleg left, and here’s where I found out that both my precious 60 degree and 48 Cleveland PW were missing! I must have left it somewhere at the other courses or at home.

Without these two clubs, I was literally incapacitated. Even with these two clubs I play like a monkey being dunked into a boiling vat of fire; what will I do without them?? So, proceeded to hash my chip with my normal PW, which just doesn’t work for me. Because of the weight, the shaft, the feel, the looks: like any good hacker, I grabbed on the first excuse I could find for playing badly: missing clubs. If only I had these clubs, I would surely have scored 75, at least!

Service (3/5)

Except for the awkwardness of explaining to us that the price of the discount vouchers are actually more than the normal price, the lady behind the counter was good enough to get us on the course quickly. She also was very efficient in providing me with a letter that stated that my clubs were missing, for a possible claim, if I don’t find them. The buggies were in good condition as well, so merrily we went on our way for our second stint in Johor golf.

Fairways (2/5)

The fairways, especially the back nine, were bald in many patches, and grass uncut. They looked good from far, but once on the fairway, it was tough to hit if there’s no grass, only soil where your golf ball is sitting on. We groaned if this was going to be the norm, but the fairways did improve slightly as our game progressed. Instead it’s likely due to the fact that buggies can drive onto these fairways.

Greens (2/5)

If anything is more annoying that bald fairways, it would be sandy greens. Number one, the greens were SLOW. As in, it’s hard to judge as well, since the greens are very inconsistent, sandy and slow, and varies quite a lot from hole to hole. These doesn’t make the greens tough, but just difficult to predict. The roll was also inconsistent, and in many occasions, I saw my 3 footer bumping and grinding it’s away from the hole. Hmm. That sounded a little weird.

Rough (2/5)

Daiman will have a lot of rank 2/5 in the categories. Simply because Daiman doesn’t suck as bad to deserve a 1; but at the same time, fail to raise its game to level 3 and beyond. So we see a lot of these so-so course conditions, rough conditions as well. The bunkers were useful enough. The primary rough however was a different tale. The ball sat down in almost all our shots in there, and at some point took us a long time to find the ball: which we all saw dropped and bounce!

Aesthetics (2/5)

I was ready to give Daiman a 1/5 for aesthetics, based on the experience on the back nine. However, once you made the turn, the course became something different altogether. Suddenly there was landscaping and beautification.  This was the front nine. It was as if the management spent all its landscaping budget on the first nine to entice the unsuspecting golfer into thinking this is like an Impian standard course, only to have a reduced budget of RM2.99 to do landscaping in the back nine.

The back nine did have a few reasonable looking holes. The elevated par 5 13th was nice; except that you had to hit it long and straight to navigate it. The par 3 17th was a knee knocking hole, with water all over and a tee off accuracy required. The last hole 18th wasn’t so nice; simply a straight shot pass the lone tree and entrance into a downhill hole.

Make the turn and you see the difference. The first tee box was a very narrow tee off, that opens up at the fairway. It’s like going through a narrow, constipated colon area before getting to the opening, and I’d even have to admit that that was a very strange simile indeed. But you get the picture.

The par 5 2nd is a long, tough monster and the next par 3 was similar to the 17th, in which you have crisscrossing of water at the front from an elevated tee position. It is also at this hole that I noticed that the club is starting to look much better. Some landscaping elements were in play, turning the characterless Daiman into something more palatable. The next par 4 4th also has a tree in the middle of the fairway, and this was followed by the fearsome index 1 par 5, in all its 472 metres glory. Elevated tee shot will stop short of the water. I hit my 3rd into the bunker on the right, but the trick about some of these Daiman bunkers was that the lip was very shallow. In this instance, I putted my ball out of the bunker, over the short lip, and onto the contoured green, watching it turn into the hole for a miracle Birdie.

Fun Factor (3/5)

Fun was again evident, not just because of a blitz of 3 very good holes where I went par-birdie-par, but also because the course sets up quite nicely for my fade/slice shot. I used mostly driver, and the times that I messed up such as the 8th par 4; was when I used my 3 wood and ridiculously pulled it into the jungle. From there, I was like Kevin Na and only got it out near the green on the 5th shot. Two putted for an awful triple. Also, having 3 par 3s on the front brought something more to the game: accurate tee shot. The par 3s are not easy, but at least they were picturesque and it was definitely a fun experience hitting shots in, especially with a wager on the table.

Judgement of distance is key as well. The third hole for instance, the pretty looking par 3 was set as 145 meters with a downhill shot. Because of all the landscaping surrounding this green, one guy from my flight saw it as being like a mile away, and opted not to trust the yardage, instead relied on his experience in the game, which so far has led him to many games over 100 strokes.  He took out a driver and literally blasted the ball 50+ meters over the green into the next fairway, much to the hilarity of all. The distance on the board is slightly off, or they must have moved the blue tees back, because I only used my six-iron and it was stuffed close. Unfortunately, my first shot had already zinged into the fronting water, so I was 3 on and 2 putted for a double. Nice looking hole though, but too few holes were as good looking as this, and Daiman suffers for it.

Also, we observed that traffic for a Sunday afternoon was quite limited. I.e not many people were playing the course, and the only 2 folks we saw were two Singaporeans taking shelter with us from a short bout of lightning. This could be because that many choose to play on other better nearby courses; and also the stupid crossing at the causeway causing the Singaporean golfers to seek out friendlier courses nearer to the second link exit. Of course, these are speculations, but all the better for us to blitz through the half empty course!

Fun was also somewhat limited due to the absence of my wedges. I was doing all I can to use my other clubs, and yes, it’s a poor excuse to use; but like any good hacker, we need to look to somewhere to blame for such lousy golf…because it’s definitely not our super skill level, right? What better excuse than missing clubs??


Daiman suffers the middle review syndrome, like Kulim. It doesn’t suck so much that we hate it, the way Frasers or TUDM does with so much ease; yet, it doesn’t impress enough and we just go along with the course, functional playing, without the critical draw factor, the things that make us go, “Jee, we gotta come back here to play again.” Instead, we were like, “Boy, I’m hungry. Let’s get the heck out of here as quickly as possible as get some chow!”. Should we recommend it? Well, for its vicinity to the causeway, I think it deserves some attention, but with so many courses around, including the Japanese run StarHill course, it needs to definitely do more to draw us back again to play the second time. Furthermore, with the horrific traffic in the causeway, we might from here on play on courses closer to the second link, such as Horizon Hills, Poresia or Pulai Springs.

The good: Daiman is a functional golf course with a few interesting holes; can be quite fun especially with 3 par 3s and a premium on iron shots; first nine aesthetics looks good; but balanced out unfortunately by the characterless back nine; close to town enables those in JB access the course quite easily; but the causeway jam is a common cause of people howling in frustration in their cars and cursing our beloved country’s excellence in efficiency (being extremely sarcastic of course).

The bad: Pricing strategy is reminiscent to the idiots at Legends, where discount voucher costs more than the actual price; travel through the causeway is excruciating; fairways, rough and greens are simply not good (or bad) enough to be memorable, causing golfers to forget how the course looks like or is set up.

The skinny: 18 of 40 divots (45%). Daiman 18 just doesn’t do enough to make us want to try it again. But considering the high price of surrounding courses, with the exception of Royal Johor, (which you should only play if every single golf course in Johor has been blasted to smithereens, and you don’t have anything else to do, such as taking up pottery classes) Daiman might be just affordable for a quick 18, to those who are in JB and the course was pretty empty even for a Sunday afternoon. But if you’re from Singapore, forget about the causeway and play on courses nearer to Tuas second link. It’s not worth going through the horrific crawl from Kiasu Land into Boleh Land.

Daiman 18 Score Card

Daiman 18 Information

Address: No.18, Jalan Pesona,
Taman Johor Jaya,
81100 Johor Bahru,
Johor Darul Ta’zim, malaysia

Contact: +607-3516813

Fax: +607-3533100

Email: daiman18@daiman.com.my

Website: http://www.daiman.com.my/golf.html

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

Website: http://www.legends-resort.com

Email: enquiry@legends-resort.com

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 http://www.royaljohorcountryclub.com, 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

Website: http://www.royaljohorcountryclub.com

Email: rjcc@tm.net.my