Kundang Lakes Country Club

Introduction

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

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


Travel (2/5)

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

kundang_lakes_map.gif

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

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

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

DO NOT SPEED!!

Price (3/5)

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

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

First thoughts

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

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

Service (1/5)

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

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

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

Great service, ain’t it?

Fairways (2/5)

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

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

Greens (1/5)

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


Rough (1/5)

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

Aesthetics (1/5)

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

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

Fun Factor (1/5)

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

I mean, is this course seriously worth dying for?

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


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

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

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

Kundang Lakes Score Card

kundanglakes.jpg

Kundang Lakes Information

Address:

KM 28, Jalan Kundang,
48020 Rawang, Selangor

Contact: +603-60342725

Fax: +603-60342729

Tuanku Jaafar GCC

Introduction

When someone mentioned Tuanku Jaafar golf course, my first reaction was Lord, where in blue blazes is this place? It sounds like it’s located in the remote ends of Papua New Guinea. I mean, there’s one thing to lie about the naming convention of your golf course (look at our writeup on the Seremban 3 course), but seriously, do you think there will ever come a time when an announcement for a big tournament starts like: “And this will be held in Tu-an-ku Ja-A-Far course!” I mean, 9/10 westerners ain’t gonna be able to pronounce that properly. Name it something easy. Name it something attractive. Name it anything except a name of a Malay guy. Or Chinese. Or Indian. Can you imagine a course called Tan Cheng Loke Golf Course or Sundramoorthy a/l Aluchelapan Golf Course?

Well, anyway, naming aside, my friends did mention that a Korean management had taken over the course, so it should be reasonably well maintained, given how crazy Koreans are about golf. Incidentally, we had a Korean in our group as well.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/tuanku%20jaafar/IMG_0864.jpg

Travel (1/5)

Tuanku Jaafar is actually a township located in Negeri Sembilan, a state away from where we stay. To get there, hit the North South highway to Seremban. Take the exit to Senawang and after that take a right turn. Here’s where it goes down hill. Apparently Senawang is still a town with 21st century traffic in an 18th century road. There’s this stretch of road governed by a dilapidated traffic light that conjures an extremely long line of cars jammed like sardines in a can. The road is also lousy, being frequented by trucks, tractors, and the occasional Panzer Tank.

After the nightmare traffic, you need to stay left and look for signs to Samsung. Not Tuanku Jaafar golf course, because there ain’t any. Take the left flyover and you’ll find yourself in the Tuanku Jaafar (you know what, from now on, I’m just gonna refer it as TJ, the name is too darn hard to type, I keep giving it a single ‘a’). The 1st traffic lights, go straight and keep right. You will see a right turning into Samsung. Take that and take the left turning that says Pilosa Ville. There’s like a small sign saying TJ Golf Course, but it’s small, and only meant for ants to read it. If they can read, which they can’t, so I don’t know what the heck TJ Management is thinking. Maybe Koreans can navigate by the smell of cow grass or Tifdwarf greens, but us Malaysians are as dumb as cows without signs. Give us signs, man!

Anyways, here’s the primitive map that might help you locate this confounded place.

tuanku_map.jpg

Incidentally, since TJ Golf course is located in Pilosa Ville, why not name it Pilosa Ville GC? It doesn’t mean anything, Pilosa could be a cuss word in ancient Greek, but who cares? Anything sounds better than what it is now!

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/tuanku%20jaafar/IMG_0861.jpg

Price (3/5)

OK, I admit, I paid cheap, about RM35 I think using the AGN golf membership. And they don’t force any extra baggage like Caddies, food vouchers and all that jazz on you. RM35, get your butt into a large Korean made buggy and you are off to one of the 3 nines we can play from.

Though the price is good and cheap, it always needs to represent the course, and as we will see later, there was a pretty good reason why RM35 is considered justifiable for the course we played in.

First thoughts

Nobody in TJ believes in signs. No, not even for the directions to the course. We had to wander a bit with our buggy till one of the workers pointed us to the 2nd nine. I mean, what is wrong with these people?

The buggy track itself was muddy, so before even the first tee off, we stepped out into mud and waded to the tee box. Staring at the first hole Par 5 10th, it’s running almost 500 yards. The tee area wasn’t maintained and as we looked at each other for explanation, we noticed that finally the management had at least the common sense to put the hole explanation up there on the tee area.

And it was in Korean.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/tuanku%20jaafar/IMG_0863.jpg

Service (-1/5)

Never have we ever encountered a golf course that deserves a minus. I mean, even Frasers, the worst golf course in Malaysia, never had a negative point. Unfortunately, we are so irate with TJ service, a -1 is already a charity afforded to this mockery of a course. Firstly, we started registering. The lady at the counter says that the towels and locker keys are given at the registration. Seriously. They don’t have another counter for all the towels and plastics and stuff. It’s at the front counter. And the towel looked as if it had been used to wipe their buggies. It smells like insecticide, which I confirmed later, after seeing dead ants squashed inside the towel.

And here’s the one bit that totally made us crazy. We asked her for the locker room keys and she distinctly pointed to a box full of keys with numbers on them. Locker numbers, right? So, in front of the lady, we took the towels AND the keys from the box and walked around the clubhouse in search of the mythical male changing room. Remember, there are no signs. They believe signs are evil, and bad. All must navigate through smell.

We reached the lockers, tried all keys on all lockers and nothing fits!

We had to trek back all the way to the registration and here’s what went on, I swear this is the truth:

Conversation in Malay, translated.

Me: None of these keys fit.

Lady: (looking at the keys) For what?

Me: The lockers! We can’t lock any lockers with these keys.

Lady: Oh, these are for the buggy (i.e golf carts), not lockers.

Me: ……

Lady: See, number 43 for buggy 43 and …

Me: But we just took these keys in front of you when we asked for the locker keys. So why don’t you just tell me where is the locker keys?!

(at this point I was wondering how she derived in her brain that if a bunch of guys go off with bags and towels, they need a buggy key instead. What, we change in the buggy and take a piss in the buggy?)

Lady: Umm, most of the lockers are spoiled so we no longer have locker keys for you.

Me: (at this point, just stunned, beyond reason). So, where do we keep our things?

Lady: I think you better keep them in your car.

Serious. The locker room lockers are useless. The three aircond units are useless, because when we went there, no aircond, it was stuffy and smells like crap. No hot water, the water smells funny, and I think there’s probably a few corpse they didn’t clear overnight.

No power steering in the buggy. No rest stop or halfway huts. I feel as if I’ve just been sent to a detention camp in the holocaust. By far, Tuanku Jaafar wins the award for the WORST EVER GOLF COURSE SERVICE IN MALAYSIA. Congratz, Korean management!

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/tuanku%20jaafar/IMG_0859.jpg

Fairways (2/5)

It better improve outside on the golf course.

Things did get slightly better. I was surprised at the fairway; and was wondering is it cowgrass originally and now patches of Bermuda showing or the other way round. It’s a 50-50, which I thought was an interesting challenge. See where your fairway drive will end up: Cowgrass or Bermuda? It has the case of Golf Acne, as we call it, where the grass is neither Bermuda not cow grass, it’s like a hybrid, like how Michael is a hybrid of vampires and lycan in Underworld. Don’t know what I’m yammering about? Never mind. Drainage was bad. Ground was soggy, at times, beyond belief. And mud was just everywhere.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/tuanku%20jaafar/IMG_0877.jpg

The saving grace for the course is probably the generosity of the fairways. And after playing in Nilai and Monterez, the lack of OBs here was a welcomed sight. In fact, I pounded the ball so far right on the 16th that I was parallel to the hole, on the other fairway. That’s how golf should be played! A Driver that we can use without fear!

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Greens (1/5)

We were so tempted to give a negative as well. The greens were probably as bad as Frasers Hill. The grass were too long, so most of our putts were literally bouncing all the way to the hole. It was a good thing there weren’t too many undulations, so the putts went reasonably straight. But the speed was the killer, and not in a good way. Because of the maintenance, some greens went slow, while some were faster. It was just not a good experience with the green.

The green yardage is so way off at times that on the hole 2 par 3, it marked there as 150, while in fact, we were hitting 175. I mean, how wrong can you go?

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Rough (1/5)

Horrendous. Not challenging, but horrendous. Leaves strewn around so finding the ball was quite an adventure. A ball bouncing just slightly off the fairway is as good as gone. One hole particularly, Hole 3, is an elevated green with a narrow fairway that sloped down to the right. I pounded the ball beautifully to cut the dogleg left. When I went there, the ball was gone. Vamoose. Disappeared. I searched and searched and finally had to conclude that it hit the ground so hard, it rolled 40 meters into the jungle. I mean, how else? We couldn’t find anything.

Or the Hole 16th. My pitch was just slightly off, and it took me a long time to look for a white ball in an ocean of leaves. I mean, isn’t there supposed to be a bloke who handles these darn leaves? Hello?

Sand bunkers were neither here nor there. Some were packed dirt that requires a pitching wedge, some were just soft enough to dig. The problem is we don’t know which is which, and I ended up skulling most of them. I played +8 over par 3s, most of them due to my extensive time in the bunkers.

Aesthetics (3/5)

Despite of the really crappy service, fairways, greens and rough, the course is actually quite nice to look at. It’s a classic case of “Good from Far, Far from Good”. I mean, you’ll have to give it to the Koreans. There aren’t many trees, although not as immature as Nilai or Seremban 3. Some holes do give a good impression, like the 6th, a blind dogleg right requiring a brave shot over the jungle, or a fade shot.

Simply based on looks, it’s TJ’s strongest selling point. It’s not holy cow, its beautiful! But it’s ‘hey, this is interesting.’ The golf course itself just plays straight. Not many holes with doglegs. So it’s one straight hole after another, with generous amount of leeway given for wayward shots and an opportunity to recover.

Fun Factor (2/5)

Fun is at a 2. The only reason it’s not given a one is because I managed to eagle the final hole, the par 5 9th. It’s a 480 yard tee off. I hit it slightly left, but it hit the card path and went about 280 yards, leaving me close to 200 yards to go. My hybrid 23 degrees (the same that I two on the par 5 in Tasik Puteri and nearly murdered a man) in my hand, I hit flush that settled 1 feet off the green on the left fringe. It was an elevated green and rain was coming down. Downhill left to right, I played it with less break since this green didn’t roll.

I actually mishit it a bit, I hit it too hard. If it didn’t catch the hole, it would have drifted 4 – 5 feet by down the hill. But as it were, the ball nicely went into the hole for my second eagle. The first I got it from Bangi, but that was really an asterix course, since I was hitting a 9 iron in, due to the mickey mouse nature of that course.

But here, in TJ, I finally recorded a man’s eagle, and bumped the fun factor from a 1 to a 2. I guess it made up for the miserable par 3 record I had.

Conclusion

Tuanku Jaafar is a course you will probably play once and not come back again. It’s not overly enjoyable, but it’s generous, so beginners will like it better. However, the travel is simply not worth it. Jam, getting lost, it’s just not a trip that you look forward to. The service is absolutely disastrous, I cannot recommend it to anyone unless I want them assassinated for some reason.

The good: Some scenic holes, generous fairways, generous to wayward shots, at RM35, it’s one of the cheapest 18 holes you can find; no need for food and caddies.

The bad: Traffic jammed roads, lack of signs and directions; bad drainage; the worst service and locker room of all time; lousy greens and lousy rough; lousy choice of name!

The skinny: 12 of 40 divots (30%).The course itself isn’t as bad as Frasers, but it would be considered maybe a third tier course you want to consider when everywhere else is packed.

Tuanku Jaafar Score Card

tuankujaafar.jpg

Tuanku Jaafar Information

Address:

Sungai Gadut, Seremban 71450 N.Sembilan

Contact: +606-6783088

Fax: +606-6782908

Nilai Springs Golf Club

Introduction

Nilai Springs has always been discussed among us hackers as an ‘alternative good course’. It’s like, say you can’t get the first choice, it’s passable as a second choice. It’s like if you can’t get KFC, you go for MacDonald’s chickens or eating the public toilet seat since the experience should be the same; or you can’t get a Gibson guitar, you get an Ephiphone; or you can’t get Catherine Zeta Jones, and you’ll need to settle for Siti Norhaliza (who’s one of the very very few Malaysian celebrity I actually can remember, although my spelling might be suspect).

I guess I have very vague memories of that place, and I don’t remember getting put off by it, the way a recollection of Bukit Beruntung brings nightmares of sandy fairways, bumpy greens and lousy food. So we took off to check out the course, and to jog back any particular memory filed along with all the other golf courses in my limited brain.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/nilai%20springs/IMG_0845.jpg

Travel (3/5)

For a non Klang Valley course, it’s one of the most accessible golf course available. Take the Seremban highway down south, and make sure you stop by the Nilai rest stop, just past the Nilai Memorial Park to load up on one of the better Nasi Lemak you will taste, a perfect, fiery start to a day filled with golf.

Nasi Lemak is probably the greatest invention…the westerners will say that it is sliced bread, but they are obviously not food crazy people like the Asians, because if you put a hot nasi lemak with spicy belacan, fried egg, curry squid in front of anyone, and a choice of sliced bread, it’s like putting a Maserati and a Proton together and get people to choose. Yeah, sure, take the Proton, huh, go ahead, that’s a real intelligent decision.

It’s a little more than half hour drive from KL, depending on how fast you go; but here’s the map:

http://www.nilaispringsgcc.com.my/map_new.gif

Price (2/5)

I paid in total about RM73 for a weekday game. The whole green fee + buggy package is cheap; around RM50, using the AGN card for me. However they force you to do two things. Buy a RM10 food voucher, and a caddie for a flight. We ended up with two caddies and had to pay and extra RM16 officially and to top off, pay the tips as well for the caddie.

Now I ALWAYS have a problem with clubs forcing us to take caddies. I don’t care if they are considered pretty (which they are, as I said, reasonably presentable, like how a loaf of bread is presentable), a caddie means two things. Extra cost, and….extra cost. That’s it. Why do we need to tip them? What sort of practice is this? Don’t they like get paid or something? Why not just tip the registration lady? Or the waiter? Or the maintenance worker? Heck, why not tip the guards at the gate to give you a salute and sing a song when you go off? The point is: WHY are we practicing tipping only on golf courses? Do all the kiasu, cheapskate Asian people suddenly become generous and kind westerners, like our colonial masters in the past, simply because we’re holding a stick and hitting a white ball in the hole?

No I didn’t like the pricing. You can’t force people to take the caddie. Worse, you also force people to eat your crappy food, when we can go somewhere else to eat. RM10 voucher? We ended up buying a jug of soya bean cincau and some ice cream just to make use of it.

First thoughts

I honestly expected a better experience, but on the first tee itself, we were faced with a Par 5 requiring a 7 iron tee off, since it was about 170 to the water, and 350 to cross. I’ll say one thing about this course and get it over with.

It’s like Monterez, Seri Selangor and all the other accursed courses that likes to put OB signs everywhere and gleefully goad you into the wilderness. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s narrow. Not only that, this course has fairways that run away into jungle and hazards.

Feature wise, I am reminded again of Gunung Raya. Young trees dots the landscape, barely providing enough shade for weary golfers. It was obviously originally in a wasteland, where the inhabitants of Nilai probably deposit their sewage, old furniture and dead cats. At some holes, the smell of shit was literally so overwhelming, you just have to hold your breath, tee it up and scramble into your buggy and speed off. I think they were fertilizer smell, but hey, shit’s shit, you know.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/nilai%20springs/IMG_0844.jpg

Service (3/5)

Ok, I admit, their locker room was pretty good.

Their caddies were pretty helpful as well. They don’t know how to read greens, so don’t bother (at least the ones we got). I found them very useful particularly in cleaning my clubs and making sure I don’t leave any clubs behind. They also do the little things like marking my ball and cleaning it. I suppose all caddies are like that, but it helps to have caddies that don’t comment so much on your game, or give pointers when none are needed, or don’t engage in internal caddie betting.

But points loss in terms of halfway huts being deserted. I don’t know what is the point of having a halfway hut when there’s no one there. We were fortunate the day was generally overcast. If it was a hot weather, not a lot of golfers will make it out alive. It would be the Seremban 3 experience all over again.

Fairways (2/5)

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Not particularly great fairways, frankly. It has what we call complexion issues. Like the face of an adolescent, spotted with acne, the Bermuda fairways here have spots of cow grass growing here and there, and making things more than a bit uneven. That’s really not the main issue. Another issue is that for a course this exposed to the sun (and we have quite a generous amount of sun, although slightly cloudy), having puddles of water is really a testament to horrendous drainage. I mean, even on the 18th, when we are almost done and the sun was finally blazing down, casual water was still evident on the fairway. Bad drainage, bad grass maintenance really offsets the other good points on the fairway, where in some holes, the ball can be found sitting up reasonably on a mat of Bermuda. It really tips slightly from mediocre to below average on the Gila Scale of Fairways (which just officially existed 3 seconds ago).

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/nilai%20springs/IMG_0857.jpg

Greens (3/5)

Like the fairway, the green is harmed with complexion issues as in being patchy with different coloured grass, some dried patches here and there. However, maintenance wise, it was reasonably average. The grass was pressed down, giving evidence that the maintenance guys were doing more than just picking their nose and poking fun at golfers. The roll wasn’t exactly true, but then again, we’re not really like expert putters. I just recall we didn’t really complain too much of the green and we did managed to hole in some long ones.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/nilai%20springs/IMG_0851.jpg

Rough (2/5)

Ok, having a challenging rough is one thing, I completely appreciate it, like what KGNS is, even though I sucked at it.

But Nilai gleefully attaches OB hole after hole after hole. I am so tired of the caddie saying, “OB kiri kanan, beyond buggy track.” – translating, OB left and right, beyond buggy track. I’m like, darn it! Yes, I know I suck at my driving direction, but give me a chance to recover! I recall Tiger Woods can push his first tee shot so far right that he had to hit from the 18th fairway in one of the majors. So, treat us like Tiger Woods and give us a chance to recover!

Nope, the rough is ok, but too little rough makes it almost negligible. If you miss the fairway, you’re 50-50 gone. Unlike Monterez which featured mainly straight holes, Nilai Springs chucks in slight doglegs with humps that causes unfriendly bounce to the ball.

Oh, yeah, lots of water too, but not as crazy as Monterez where it requires carrying water almost every other hole. Nilai Springs have a reasonable mix of dry and wet hazards. The bunkers were crap though, but the rain probably cause the hardness, but hey, it’s still crap.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/nilai%20springs/IMG_0847.jpg

Aesthetics (3/5)

Nilai Springs can be quite pretty at times. It really depends on the weather. It’s like how some girls are prettier in cold weather, they have rosier cheeks, more radiant complexion and generally a more bewitching look. I think it’s the fact that in hot weather, the T zones are more obvious. It’s really awkward when a girl’s oily areas are prominent, it makes them look shiny, like a how my clubs are shiny after a coat of WD-40 has been applied. In the clubs case, I simply can wipe it down with a dry cloth; in the other case, I cannot possibly go up to them and wipe their face and say, just getting the lubricants away. There is a guarantee slap in the face there and depending on the subject, a kick in the nuts is also a high probability.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/nilai%20springs/IMG_0846.jpg

So it was that Nilai Springs did look pretty at some holes, especially the Par 3s, and the 17th hole that requires a carry over water. But perhaps due to cloudy weather in the first nine and the fact that OB was littered all over the course, kiri kanan and all that, we didn’t appreciate the full beauty of Nila Springs. It’s not a matured course, so don’t expect the Clearwater, Datai Bay kind of scenery. It’s more of Gunung Raya, Seremban 3 style. Small trees, surrounded by low scrubs.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/nilai%20springs/IMG_0854.jpg

Fun Factor (2/5)

Whatever small fun we had was completely wiped away on the 18th, when a bunch of clowns coming down form the parallel 15th ( I think) came into our fairway and hit our balls. We know because we found their cheap ball later. I mean, seriously, why is this happening? Can’t people just identify their ball, or are they so evil that they would trade in their ball with a Newing brand for a titleist Pro-V1x? I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if I did, I would have wish them reincarnated as the materials used to make the golf balls (if there’s such a thing) so I can spend the rest of my other life pounding them into smithereens.

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The 18th hole is a toss in between brilliantly challenging hole or a brilliantly stupid one. It requires a draw off the tee, as there’s tree branches covering your sight about 20 meters from the tee box, and the fairway doglegs left. I hit a flush shot, the best I’ve hit, and it just sailed and sailed and sailed….

It must have hit the cart path, because it landed almost 320 meters way, in the rough and yes, on the right side of the buggy track.

Here’s the thing I don’t get it. The ball didn’t even reach the parallel hole. It was just in the rough on the right side of the buggy track, with a possibility to hit over the trees with my 60 degree and regulation on. Theoretically, I would find it a challenge but at least the course would be saying, well you suck at driving, let’s see how you get out of jail with an amazing recovery. Now, probably about 1 out of 100 times, I can recover. And why do we love Tiger so much? Not because he looks buffed, or has Malaysian blood (yeah, Tiger is Malaysian!!!), or snarls at everyone, or drives long. We love him because of the impossible, crazy, magnificent, intelligence-insulting recovery shots he conjures from places where normal golfers would break down weeping and cradling their clubs in agony. Please don’t say you love golf played from the fairway. And please don’t tell us that we should fix our drive first before commenting about the course being unfair. We are weekend hackers, missing fairway is what we do very well, so get used to it. Besides, it’s not that Nilai Springs is unfair in it’s OB mentality.

Nilai Springs is saying instead: “You suck at driving, so too bad, we don’t like to see heroics on our golf courses. OB! Take another.”

But the ball is still playable, its not interfering with another hole or whatever. It’s still playable…

OB! Take another!

Nilai Springs officially join the ever increasing courses labeled “Accursed Courses with too many OB stakes to use up”, like Monterez and Seremban 3 course.

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Conclusion

Nilai Springs is hard to judge. At some points we liked it; but mostly derived from our intense internal competition of RM5 per hole, matchplay style. It doesn’t have the character we expect it, instead we get a typically narrow course, immatured with no shade and possibly the most OB stakes ever seen in a course throughout Malaysia.

If you want to play it proper (and I probably will), leave the big dog in the bag and negotiate with your woods. It doesn’t play extremely long, so course management is really vital here.

The good: Access is easy, nasi lemak stop in the morning, greens are reasonably maintained, aesthetics passable

The bad: Narrow like Borat’s G-string, caddie and food compulsory, OB doesn’t give much recovery chances, bad drainage and fairway, and idiots playing your ball and refusing to admit later. Please bring a shotgun to settle cases such as these.

The skinny: 20 of 40 divots (50%). If you want a quieter course outside Klang Valley to play precision golf (this experience is similar to having your toe nails pulled out by a plier), Nilai Springs is for you. Otherwise, give the course a miss but not the nasi lemak.

Nilai Springs Score Card

nilaisprings.jpg

Nilai Springs Information

Address:

Pt. 4770, Bandar Baru Nilai,
P.O.Box 50, 71801, Nilai, N. Sembilan.

Contact: +606-8508888

Fax: +606-8503388

Website: www.nilaispringsgcc.com.my

 

GUEST REVIEW

Introduction

I played at Nilai Springs on Sunday the 15th of November 2009.

Played on the Pines 9 & Mango 9
I must say i was not disappointed by the Course or the Service.

Service

The service was reasonable although our 08:30 Tee off was during the peak hour.
Our tee off was delayed due to congestion of about 4 flights before us.

Initially they could offer only 2 caddies to our two flights, but then after requesting the Caddie Master, he did find two more for our two flights which made it perfect.

The half way huts were manned as well and the caddies were not the best but not bad either.

Fairways, Greens & Bunkers
When i saw the practice green look like a sandy beach, i remembered the Gila Golfer comments and was regretting the decision to play there, although it was not mine.

But was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Fairway and the Greens.
It has rained a fair bit over the last week, but must say that the fairways did not show it. The quality was at least the same that we expect to see in a very good club. No uneven or squishy patches.

The grass was in good shape and i didn’t see any signs of Elephant grass as in the picture above.

Some tee boxes looked like the lunar surface though, but over all it was good.

The Greens were playing slow at first and became hard once the sun started peeping through and then it became hard to stop the ball on them with anything less than a perfect shot.
The ball was rolling nicely and no signs of any bumps.

The Bunkers were in fairly good condition as well.

Also didn’t come across any undue OB’s except at the last hole of Mango, where there is no need to have an OB right of the cart path.

Conclusion

Overall it was not a bad experience and wouldn’t mind going back there and playing another round .

Regards
Khawar (khawarak@gmail.com)

Monterez GCC

Introduction

When you say Monterez, the most likely response you will get is a grimace on the face, followed by, “Short and narrow,” before the said person goes back to doing whatever he was doing. I haven’t found a person who actually liked the course a lot, and I have played a few times on that course, without much memory of it. So armed with a camera and a flaky swing, I decided to give it a try and see how it goes. I had an initial feeling that it was one of those courses that do not offend, yet do not provide the fun we deserve, taking Sunday afternoon off to play.

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Travel (3/5)

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Now that the whole stretch of road at Bukit Jelutong is built up, the easiest way is to take the NKVE and head towards the Jelutong Exit. After the toll, take the second left turning. You will pass a short par 3 course on your left. Keep going straight, stay on the left lane as there will be a sign that directs you to Monterez. Take the left turn, you will hit a traffic light and from there, a right and left will put you in the old Sungai Buloh road. You will pass a petrol station and at the traffic light, take a left and you are there. Travelling was fast. It took us only 15 minutes from the Damansara toll to the front gate of the club. It used to require a 4×4 to get through to it, but these days, the word Sungai Buloh no longer evokes memories of cannibals living off the palm oil trees and preying on the estate workers. Malaysia, at long last, is taking baby steps to civilization!

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Price (3/5)

With AGN, we paid just RM77, which could have been cheaper if we had a fourth ball. As it was, it’s a pretty reasonably price to pay for a weekend round. Without AGN, we probably need to pay about RM120 or somewhere in that region. There were no extras as well, unlike some clubs where they force you to take caddies. Especially talkative ones who can’t shut up.

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First thoughts

Monterez is probably familiar to most golfers in the klang valley area, it being one of the more accessible golf courses around and relatively short, hence quite playable. It’s a narrow course, so it’s not the best course to bring a crooky swing into, like the one I was bringing in when we played it. I knew I would struggle massively as I’m trying to hit straight shots.

Monterez derives the name from the ancient Maya civilization. I read this from their website:

“Monterez Golf & Country Club adopted the concept of Maya civilisation, renowned as one of the most advanced civilisations the world has ever seen.

The essence of these ancient traditions is reflected in Monterez’s architecture, lifestyle and culture. The traditions of an ancient world are rediscovered to create an unforgettable experience in modern leisure living.”

Actually, to a certain degree, ancient traditions of Mayans include human sacrifices via decapitation, and the removal of the heart. After that, the corpse is thrown from the pyramid where it will be skinned and worn by the priest. At the end, that poor guy would be chopped up and eaten by the spectators. I mean, I think that was how it was, according to Apocalypto. Unforgettable experience in modern leisure living? Come on, seriously. It’s marketing babble. Lifestyle? What lifestyle? It’s a golf club for crying out loud!

Nothing on the course resembles the Mayan culture. Maybe the tight fairways do make you (the ones who are extremely violent and sadistic) want to rip out the hearts of your partners, but if you expect something Mayan in Monterez, it ain’t got nothing, except for the clubhouse that looks like a wedding cake. Otherwise this is just another course, with no visible beauty and a very bad naming choice.

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Frankly, if I was given a chance, I’d put some skulls (well not human, silly, I mean goats skull) on the stakes surrounding the green, and have the course marshal randomly throw a spear at us at the tee box as part of the course obstacle. Maya culture? I’ll show you Maya culture, darn it!

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Service (4/5)

I must admit, the service was excellent. I went to register and it took me like 5 minutes. After that, in another 3 minutes we were already on the 10th tee, ready to go. No fuss, no red tape, their idea is to simply get you out onto the course and play golf. It loses a bit of points as it allows people to randomly tee off anywhere they choose. The marshals don’t seem to practice any sort of rules here.

For instance, we were about to tee up our back nine on the first when this Chinese uncle just barges in and announce they are teeing off first, since they started at the 4th. Really, who gives a darn? Chinese uncles who play golf are the worse lots. They are usually either contractors, hawkers, construction workers or retired/jobless elders who doesn’t have anything better to do than to smoke and attempt to whip a golf ball. And talk loudly. And be rude.

Chinese uncles should be tranquilize on sight or better, as the ancient Mayan culture should dictate, be decapitated and thrown into a ditch. I doubt anyone will want to cannibalise them though.

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Fairways (2/5)

Ah, the fairways.

Monterez is build with space issues, so much like the Nameless Course in Seremban 3, so the fairways are tight, narrow and full of OBs. I honestly hate courses that have OBs all over the place. I for one, was already struggling with my drive, so if we could resort to a 5 wood it’d be good, but no, the course has to put in so many holes with 170 – 180 to clear water from the tee, forcing us to go for driver. I understand that’s the course challenge, and I can hit my 5 wood about 190 m, but still a mishit will land it in the drink. I understand the course wants us to manage it, to think our way around, but seriously, most men are wired with one thought, take out the One and hit it. I’m quite smart I think in general, but when it comes to golf, I’m an imbecile. Like Curly, I’ll keep doing the one thing that gets me into trouble over and over and over and over….

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I won’t mind that much if the fairway was at least reasonably maintained, but Monterez is supposed to be a Bermuda course. Instead on the fairway, large patches of cowgrass was growing, showing a lack of maintenance on the course. It also has patches that should be marked GUR due to the mud and lack of grass but instead just left there. Definitely not up to mark.

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Greens (3/5)

The greens have two things here: bad maintenance and good contours. It kinda offsets the other. GUR should be marked in bald patches on the fringe (and we have plenty) but the large greens are a challenge to putt. It wasn’t well maintained, the grass was too long, too uneven to recognize the speed properly. The good challenge was that the greens were large, so regulation play might also mean 3 putting, thanks to the hilly contours the greens are built on.

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Rough (1/5)

Not much to say here. With the amount of OBs around this course, it’s tough to navigate for people wanting to take out their big Dog. As in the driver. Also, sand and water plays a big part on this course. Most of my holes either bombed into the sand or flirted with disaster. The bunkers were also uneven, some were wet and hard, others just kinda wispy. We’ve already decided we’re not into courses that are stingy on their spaces, and Monterez is definitely one course that’s absolutely, the epitome of stinginess.

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Aesthetics (2/5)

Elevated tee boxes do give the course a reasonably nice view of things. Also, the trees and plants surrounding the course adds to its geniality. Is it pretty? No, not really. On close up, you’ll find that the water stinks. Perhaps that’s where the Mayan tradition of body dumping comes in.

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Some holes do stand out a little; but too many holes play too similar, as if the designers have run out of ideas. In fact, the 9th and 18th plays exactly the same, except that there is OB on both sides, so you can’t borrow fairways. I borrowed twice, so I OBed both holes! It’s parallel and everything is just too similar. The par 3s are reasonably short, but the par 5s can be reached in two. In fact, the first par 5 I met, I used driver and a 6 iron and I was already next to the green. Kinda like Bangi isn’t it?

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Fun Factor (2/5)

It’s hard not to have fun when I’m with my normal group; we did play quite well. I struggled predictably with my crooked swing, but at least I scored reasonably and did get an escalation par on the first nine. The weather was great so I don’t exactly know why we didn’t have fun. I think likely, every hole lacked character. If we play Datai Bay or KGNS or Meru, there are holes you know and will remember for this and that. In Monterez, all the par 4s are like twin brothers to each other. We didn’t get any, “Wow, check this hole out!”. I know space is an issue with this course, but seriously, we didn’t find much to have the wow factor going.

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Also, I was stressed with my swing. I kept hitting into the other flights and once nearly killed the group taking their tee off on the next hole. There are hardly any borrowed fairways here, so we just got to keep it straight and long.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj282/gilagolf/monterez/IMG_0830.jpg

Conclusion

The good: Good accessibility, great service from registration to the 1st tee off, reasonably priced golf course; challenging for accuracy and recovery; putting and bunker play must be sharpened for this course

The bad: Narrow, narrow course; loads of bunkers all over the place; stinking water harboring disease; fairways and greens are not properly maintained, OB is a constant feature and holes are basically similar to each other in design. Also, a lousy name.

The skinny: 20 of 40 divots (50%). It’s not the best choice out there, but if you’re in a hurry to finish the round on an afternoon, it’s a course to improve your accuracy golf, not your bombing. It’s a boring course, no ‘WOW’ factor, and we recommend a miss on Monterez. Unless they bring in the goat skulls on the green.

Monterez Score Card

monterez.jpg

Monterez Information

Address:

No 1, Jalan Merah Kesumba U9/18,
Seksyen U9,
40000 Shah Alam, Selangor.

Contact: +603-78465989

Fax: +603-78467881

Website: http://www.monterez-golf.com

Subang National Golf Club

Introduction

Courses in Petaling Jaya, the satellite hub of KL, are usually expensive and often times overrated. Premier courses such as Tropicana, KLGCC, Saujana are difficult to get in, and KGNS (which stands for Kelab Golf Negara Subang) is no exception. This translates to Subang National Golf Club, in Malay language, we just need to flip everything around, like how Master Yoda speaks. It’s very easy.

It’s a long story why I am not a member of KGNS while my family is. Suffice to say, at an age of idiocy (about 18), when I could transfer my junior membership to full membership, I stoutly declared I will never play golf and gave up the membership. Six years later, I picked up the game and now there is a 10 year waiting list for the club. Unless there is a major epidemic strikes and half the golfers expire prematurely, I will never get to be a member here.

Thankfully, my brother is, and he brought me in one gloomy morning, with rain pelting on all sides.

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Travel (4/5)

Travel is a breeze. It’s right in the heart of PJ and since the review is based on accessibility, you can come in from Subang side using the federal highway, where you need to turn off before the Sunway bridge turnoff. Or from the LDP, make a U turn at Western Digital and turn left at PKNS field. It gets a minus point for the fact that the usual way to enter s either by Federal or LDP. Both highways really suck on a bad day, especially the LDP. People who built the LDP are the same ones who architected your company’s toilet, meaning, they entirely lack the expertise to build a highway. Two lanes, no emergency lane, and constant traffic floods the LDP at all times. Bottleneck is everywhere, and throw in a silly train stop on the highway and cars piled 3 – 4 deep in temporary parking, has made the LDP win the “Highway most likely to be cursed at” award.

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Price (2/5)

Weekdays is around RM120 per person, and that’s excluding buggy fees. I decided to trolley my bag around to save some money, and that’s one thing good about KGNS, they do allow walking for even the main course. Most courses forces you to take the buggy and some even the caddie, at gunpoint. Unfortunately, all the points scored by allowing walking is lost when KGNS falls into the latter category, where all guests MUST take a darn caddie along.

Now, while I do realize the benefit of a caddie in many cases, especially around the green, it’s quite annoying when you get one who can’t seem to shut the heck up. He seems to have comments on every single aspect of your game, till the point you just want to stuff the driver down his throat and tee him up with the ball. The problem is this: Not only do you need to pay for the caddie, you need to tip him as well and the going rate is around RM30 – RM40.

In this aspect, the pricing in KGNS descends into the realm of stupidity. It’s a nice old course, don’t get me wrong, but seriously, paying RM150 a round per person on a weekday? And for a course with cow grass? Well, you decide.

First thoughts

I remember playing a few times in KGNS. It was never really an enjoyable experience, much like KRPM, where functional golf was the order. I don’t really enjoy cow grass golf, and with rain for the past two days, the course was wetter by the minute.

But KGNS is steeped with tradition and that’s one of the main reasons to play it. It’s like how some people come back from playing at St Andrews and say it wasn’t much of a course, but since it’s the birthplace of golf, it’s like a pilgrimage for all golfers to try it. KGNS is absolutely no where near the magnitude of St Andrews, but still it’s one of those courses which demands respect. Whether you like it or not, you can’t insult it that much, no matter how it insults you, simply because it’s supposed to be a top tier club. Obviously, in GilaGolf, no matter how top tier you are, if it’s a lousy experience, it’s a lousy experience.

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However, the course is also championship material, with a few national opens being held there, so you know if you play well on this course you will survive in pretty much everywhere else. It demands seriousness from golfers, not your typical weekend hacker who doesn’t practice, hooks and who can’t break 100. If you birdied in KGNS, you get at least some respect, as opposed to having eagled in Bangi.

Unfortunately, I was in a midst of a swing funk when we played; and couldn’t seem to fix it, so I fall nicely into that typical weekend hacker category.

In KGNS, a swing funk is a recipe for disaster.

Service (2/5)

Frankly I didn’t really experience much of the service. I know nobody is going to help you take your bags from the car. So everything is judged by the caddie I got, an old dude by the name of Eddy. He has a mouth that can’t seems to stop jabbering and I guess I should have been careful to select any guy by the name of Eddy, Murphy, Chris, Rock or Sienfield. Giving advice is one thing. Commenting on every shot and analyzing your game is another. Why does everyone thinks they know how to fix your swing? It’s crazy. It’s as if they know you for your whole life! “Your first steps, yeah, your first word, yeah, been there. First clubs, yeah, was there. Oh I know you for so long, why don’t you do this and this to fix your swing? Trust me, I know you well. Coffee later, as usual?”

Jeez, you’re a caddy. And I don’t know you. You might play better, but why don’t you just lug the bag and give me my clubs. Save the lessons another day.

And it’s not as if he’s a single handicapper as well. I know some caddies are, and I appreciate it. I saw him swing and it wasn’t that great. As I said, I was in a swing funk at the worst possible moment; where we played with a 8 handicapper that just ran us out and killed us. Of the foursome, another guy was having a more spectacularly hard time than me, but I wasn’t playing remotely well at all, and I didn’t need a caddie to tell me that. I need some quality range time to fix my swing.

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Fairways (5/5)

Much like Tiara Melaka, KGNS experienced a flood of rain over the past days before we played it. Literally, it was raining non-stop and even raining when we played it. Miserable and soggy, we went through the whole course and the fairway was remarkable. I don’t usually rate cow grass fairways high, but the drainage was first class. No puddles or casual water at all. Aside from that, the fairways were challenging, some wide and others narrow, but the design of the course was the main challenge; doglegs to uphill greens, elevated par 3s, blind par 5s. If your drives are ok, you’ll be ok. Unfortunately I wasn’t. Aside from a par-birdie start, when I started missing fairways, my scores shot up. You need to play the fairways here, it’s unforgivable. And you can’t really take out a 5-wood except for one or two holes. Most holes are just too long. Par 3s here average out to 170-180 meters so it’s absolutely critical that you are able to hit straight playing at KGNS.

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It’s a championship course, designed for top players, so there’s no mulligan in the course design. We played it as hard as it can get, with almost no roll due to rain. And as mentioned before, hitting from cow grass isn’t all that fun.With rain, they grow like beanstalks and although the fairway was kept short, once it rolled into the rough, ain’t no way you gonna get out.

Greens (4/5)

The greens were in a very very good condition. Solid roll, and consistent and even due to the rain, reasonably fast. It was well maintained, and a few crucial putts at least gave me needed pars and a birdie. The thing about the greens in KGNS is that once you are on, you’re on. There’s really no great contours here and there. Most are relatively flat putts, so it’s not difficult as long as you get the speed right. Breaks are not usually that severe and most of the time, I overread the breaks too much. There were hardly any 3 putts, but still it was challenging just to find the green.

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Bump and run is not really the option as the cow grass near the fringe will catch your ball, so not only must your drives be accurate, anything 100 meters in or your pitching must be A grade.

None of these were working for me, and it became what I call ICU golf. I was just trying to stop bleeding all over the course.

Rough (5/5)

You want challenge?

KGNS is absolutely a killer when it comes to the rough. This course gets it right. If your drives are awry, there’s hardly a chance to come back, unless you take creative shots. The maturity of the course gives a certain imposing look in some holes. Giant ferns line the fairway. Even if you hit the fairway, you’ll need to shape some shots into the green. Course management and accuracy is vital here, and the rough is just a Punisher. Grass is thick, and most of the solution is simply punching the ball out and working your way to the green over again.

This is how a rough should be designed.

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Aesthetics (2/5)

Not much points here. KGNS, being smack in the heart of the city of PJ doesn’t boast of any nice scenery or rolling mountains or what not. It has parallel highways running around it so please don’t hook or slice the ball into the cars!

Signature hole would definitely be the par 4 18th, the ending hole that requires a solid drive down the hill which opens up to an elevated green. A good drive still requires at least a 160 meter shot in, so it’s a dramatic hole which thankfully, my game came back and I won the last two holes to stem the losses from building up.

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Par 3s here as absolutely killers. Only one of them was about 155 meters. Others are over 170, or 180 and requires absolute precision in hitting it. I blew up on a few par 3s. It’s a challenging design, absolutely but I was just playing awful and in Par 3s, you ain’t gonna recover at all.

Fun Factor (2/5)

Was it fun?

If I was swinging better, or have a caddie who would just shut up, maybe. But I did play KGNS before when I was on my good day and I never really remembered having buckets of fun at the course. Like the players who play the course, it seems like a serious place, where you hardly hear shouts of joy or frustration or the ever present curse word. Everyone seems so staidly. The 8 handicapper looks as if he’s in a coma. A nice comment on his shot only evokes a bare nod, not a grin or smile. I think everyone starts thinking they need to act like Tiger Woods when they play a good shot, which frankly to me, it’s quite anal. Enough of these snarling, ‘I am good’ competitive spirit. Heck, we just want to play the darn course and have fun after that.

If I played better, I would probably have just the tiniest more fun than I did, I think.

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Conclusion

If you want a good challenge, this course is for you. It’s probably the best cow grass course you are going to find in the Klang Valley. It’s challenging without being pretty, much like Rahman Putra, but the rough here is so much more punishable. It’s championship material, no doubt, but is it a hacker material? Perhaps not.

The good: Travel is easy, smack in the heart of PJ; greens are immaculate; fairways are nicely designed and have excellent drainage; rough is a template for all golf courses to base on, a mixture of long grass, use of matured trees and course angles to punish the wayward drive; championship course material that you can walk and save $ on the buggy fees.

The bad: Blabber mouth caddies; scenery as nice as a public toilet; stupid way for the club to force blabber mouth caddies that you need to pay to annoy you; price is steep for a cow grass course-yes it’s championship material but face it, it’s not exactly the nicest course around anyway; Par 3s are just inhumanly long.

The skinny: 26 of 40 divots (65%). A quick round of golf is great, since it is so accessible. Also, it’s must play course simply because of the history and tradition, plus the upper echelon of society gathers there. But if you want a pretty looking golf course with memorable holes, give KGNS a miss and go outside the city for nicer golf courses.

KGNS Score Card

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KGNS Information

Address:

Jalan SS7/2
P.O. Box 151, 46710 Petaling Jaya
Malaysia

Contact: +603-78760381

Fax:+603-78755267

Website:  http://www.subanggolf.com/

Tiara Melaka GCC

Introduction

Melaka, the historic town of Malaysia, can boast of a few really nice golf courses. Tiara Melaka has always been favourably reviewed, so when I was given a chance to join a group of 8 hackers, I jumped to it. Besides, with Rahman Putra, it was an associate club with 50% off green fees, and seeing that it is Melaka, I don’t expect much traffic on the course.

Unfortunately, one thing that we cannot control was the weather. It was just absolutely horrible. Rain swept the cities the night before and as we headed down south under gloomy conditions, the rain continued pelting down, with no signs of abating. How will the course hold up under such ungodly weather? Will we see a course flooded, wet and dirty like a newborn baby’s diapers?


Travel (2/5)

Melaka isn’t that far but for some strange reason, it took us the whole day to finish our game. We teed up at 10:00 am and ended the game at 3:00 pm. I mean, what the heck? What was holding us up? By the time we reached back to KL, we were all caught in the crazy jam (we played on a weekday. Yes, we are lazy cretins who refuse to work. Sue us!).

Take the north south highway and turn off at Ayer Keroh. You’ll hit the town of Melaka going straight and past the Ayer Keroh Golf Course (which we hope to review soon!). You’ll reach a roundabout, take a nine, hit another roundabout and take a 12. There aren’t a lot of signs, but just follow the old Malaysian adage: “If there are no signs, go straight.”
Tiara is opposite another course, Orna. What I like about Melaka is that all golf courses are so close to each other. You can do a speed tour and play 3 courses in a day with minimum traveling!

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Price (5/5)

I paid RM33. You heard me.

Tiara is one of the participating club of AGN (Asia Golf Network) which I just joined. It’s also one of the obliging clubs that allow vouchers to be used, which most of the people in our flights used, and hence, it’s possible to pay such a minimum fee for 18 holes. It’s inclusive of buggies as well, although the buggies are more likely to kill you than transport you, since they are so old. And, on top of it all, they don’t force guests to have caddies. I mean, clubs that do that are a royal pain in the behind. Why the dickens should I pay for a guy who hangs behind my buggy, make unwelcomed comments on my already crappy swing, and have to pay him RM20 – RM30 on tips? Why is there a tipping policy for Caddies and not for hot looking waitresses in Malaysia? Don’t the latter deserve more of our tips? Isn’t this country such a strange place to live in?

I would like to not tip a caddy one day and see if they maul me with my 7 iron or not.

Anyways, this is a great value for Tiara.

For non-AGN, non voucher holding members, sorry, I don’t know the price. I don’t think it’s that expensive.

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First thoughts

Water, water and water.
I mean there’s quite a lot of water here, and I’ve already had enough of this from that Nameless Course in Seremban 3 we reviewed before. From the clubhouse, we have a view of the 17th and 18th hole of the Lake 9. It’s parallel fairway split by the same lake, absolutely beautiful, but I just knew a few of us will be depositing our nice little white dimpled balls into that lake.

We were more worried about the amount of water and drainage in that course, with the rain coming down non stop. At 10 am, we finally decided to just play in the rain, so with rain jackets and umbrellas, we teed it off.

I promptly hooked it and we are off.

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Service (0/5)

For a club with so little traffic, so much rain, and so much free time, you’d expect people to be jumping around helping us out and breaking into the song, “Be our Guest, Be our Guest, put our service to the test”, and have that annoying candlestick fellow prance around. Actually, that would be quite disturbing. But you know what I mean.

Instead, we arrived and have to take out our own bags, while the workers at the counters just sit buffoonishly looking at us, half drugged with sleepiness and rain. I mean, don’t you think we deserve some respect, even if we are discount grabbers paying RM33 for 18 holes? Don’t remind us of our stinginess! The registration was more straightforward, but as we waited at the buggy station, it took them a long time for to get the bags.

When they finally came, we saw 5 of our bags crammed into the passenger side of a buggy, with my bag straddled across the front panel and the seat. That means, my driver, or one of my woods, is actually holding the weight of my entire bag. How incredibly moronic is that?! The first buggy didn’t work. The second also felt like crap; tyres are out of air, and no grip and basically a piece of junk.

Not the welcome we expect.

It gets a resounding 0 because the halfway huts are also empty, devoid of living beings. I mean, where we gonna get our banana fuel halfway, huh?

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Fairways (5/5)

Thankfully, once we teed off, things got a lot better.

For the fact that almost the entire ocean has been deposited into Malaysia for the past two days, we expected puddles here and there and some ad-hoc lakes housing sea monsters on the fairway.

We walked the first hole and … nothing. Almost perfect fairway conditions, if a little soft.

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We wanted to play winter rules. Not once did I have to extract my ball from the ground or dig it up with my shovel, as I am apt to do in my own club. We weren’t just surprised. We were dumbfounded. How do they make their drainage so dang good? You have to remember the amount of rain we see to fully appreciate the fairway condition, it’s remarkable! We played 18 holes in the rain and only once I had to drop for casual water. Once! And that was right next to the pond so there’s a cachement area there.

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Greens (4/5)

If you got good fairways, you’ll likely get good greens as well.

We got a lot better than good greens. These were great greens.

We thought the ball will run slow due to the rain; but my first putt from 10 feet slid by and by…and by…and by. Suddenly I have 12 feet back up and I am like, if it’s wet and it plays like this, what, when its dried it’s putting on glass?

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I don’t know how they do it, but Tiara has got the right formula of keeping their greens. The speed was quick and bit the ball. A few shots spun back, and we were high fiving like excited kids in the playground. Wow! We are like that half Thai, half African American, half Chinese, half Malaysian World Number 1 player, whatever his name is! Without the consistency! Without the skills! Without the endorsements! Without a hot babysitter for a wife! In retrospect, the only thing we have in common with that guy is we have two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth. The rest is really debatable, since he’s really an Robot, sent by sentient beings from outer space.

But wow, back spinning!

The greens lose a point because one of the green had a pool of water in it. I happen to birdie it, but you can see how unbiased we are with our reviews. We don’t just give a good score, because we’re not pissed off, or because we play well in it (although it’s very rare—the playing well bit, I mean, not the being pissed off part).

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Rough (3/5)

The rough wasn’t punishing enough.

Yes, we are officially insane. And yes, I know you are asking me to play in Frasers and look for challenge that way. But see here, a rough is supposed to be penalizing, or at least force you to play shots that are difficult. Here, the ball basically sits up and can even be an advantage for us to hit a wood off the deck. I reached a few greens in regulation due to this. Of course, we don’t get much spin off it (now we’re bragging like professionals), but hey, whatever works.

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Aesthetics (3/5)

Tiara Melaka’s Woodlands nine was closed. I hear that’s where most of the beauty lies. But what we played at was reasonably attractive. No holes really shoot out at you but I recall a few that had massive trees framing the fairway. The index one is a horrible hole with a huge bush and tree smack in the middle of the fairway. Most good shots will need to negotiate either through, over or occasionally, some attempts under, this obstacle.

I almost reached the Par 5 also in two, but fell 2 meters shot, into the drink. I most certainly would rate the aesthetics higher if I eagled it. Oops, I mean, we will continue giving an unbiased review.

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It’s not a particularly long course. Not mickey mouse like Bangi, but not a monster like Clearwater as well. It’s pleasant to play in, easy if you keep it on the fairway, which is the biggest challenge.

The 8th and 9th in the Lake Nine are the twin terrors, sharing a huge lake. The 8th needs to clear 160 meters or so. No issues (I hooked it in, though), but the landing strip is as narrow as a thong. Too much juice it runs into the trees, and you don’t want to go there with water guarding the green. The ninth is likewise a Thong Fairway as well, a good shot will squeeze in about 6-8 meters of space, with jungle on the left, and water on the right.
You’ll get your share of birdie chances, so make sure you take it.

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Fun Factor (4/5)

We definitely had a good time together. It’s also because our foursome was playing well. I was playing great until triple-triple spoiled the day for me at the end of the first nine. A course that plays this soft, and allows us birdie opportunities is a course that will do well in our estimation. It’s not too tough and remember, we’re reviewing this from a hacker perspective, not a championship perspective. For guys who want championship material course, please ask yourself if you are a single handicapper, 5 or below first. If you are, then you’ll most likely find all reviews from this site utterly meaningless and annoying. In fact, I wouldn’t be reading further if I were you. I’d be out there, training, so that one day you can beat that guy with a hot babysitter for his wife.

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Conclusion

It’s short and relatively friendly, although it’s like an acquaintance kind of friendly, not the, “Hey buddy, we know you suck so this course is to ease your deflated (and obviously, undeserved) ego” friendly, such as Bangi. For a good time, and if you’re near Melaka, Tiara is a good choice, bringing a good blend of challenge, precision, good driving as well as forgiveness. Quite a lot of holes allow recovery, due to the friendly rough and softer greens.

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The good: Great green and fairway condition, challenging end holes involving water hazards, rewards both distance and shorter player with different choices to attack the holes

The bad: Incompetent staff that does not lift a finger to help and then thrashes our clubs by driving with 5 bags in the buggy, rough isn’t tough, halfway hut empty except for scavenging hyenas. Travel is a drag from KL as well, unless you factor in the great food in Melaka.

The skinny: 26 of 40 divots (65%). Recommended to take a day trip to Melaka. Play golf, have a nice chicken rice ball lunch, see A Famosa and eat some seafood there.

Tiara Melaka Score Card

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Tiara Melaka Information

Address:

Jalan Gapam, Bukit Katil
P.O.Box 473, 75760 Melaka

Contact: +606-2312366

Fax: +606-2314122

Website: http://www.lion.com.my/TiaraMelaka/TiaraMelaka.htm

Cameron Highlands Golf Course

Introduction

After the debacle at Frasers, we weren’t quite sure what to expect from the golf course in Camerons. While the Frasers Course was named something cryptic like FHDC, Camerons course has a more imaginative name, “Padang Golf”, or translated, Golf Field. The only other time I’ve encountered such remarkably creative naming is at UPM, a university course that have actual cows as hazards. Needless to say, I hope that I never have to step foot on that course ever again, unless under compulsion of a 9mm Beretta Handgun.

But Cameron Highlands deserve a chance. We already stated the great benefits of playing in the highlands. With the thinner air, your drives can really be ridiculously far, thus giving us the illusion of greatness. I can’t wait till the day we are smart enough to build a golf course on the moon, and find a way there. The travel will definitely suck, but think of the distance you get with the driver!

And of course, more realistically, since we never really got a feel at Frasers, Camerons was the next in line as a highland course.

Travel (1/5)

If you had trouble getting up to Frasers, there’s news for you.

This is worse.

There used to be one way up to Camerons, and that’s via the old Tapah road. Basically, turn off at Tapah from the North South Highway and just follow the signs. Now, there’s a new road up, turn off at Simpang Pulai, turn right at the traffic lights and you’ll be on the old Ipoh road. Watch out for huge Cameron Highlands signs and there will be a right turn eventually. You won’t miss the signs, so do yourself a favour and follow them!

Frankly, both ways are just as bad. The Tapah route is shorter, but if you end up behind a bus and lorry, woe to you, you’re screwed. There’s hardly any way to overtake, so be prepared for a long journey. The Simpang Pulai way is a lot wider, but the turn off is much farther down the highway. Also, the road is longer than using the old way. Still, it could be a better idea since you can still overtake that accursed lorry hogging up the whole road. Basically, you taking a big U-turn to approach Camerons from the ‘back route’.

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Frankly, I prefer the old road coming down. It’s very fun, if you can take the twists and turns, dropping of gears, racing with other drivers and avoiding the occasional falling boulder from crushing your vehicle. I don’t recommend to beginners who like to brake and take it slow, or people who tend to enjoy vomiting; but if you’re with your golf mates, there’s a good chance they are naturally resistant to nausea. (We are usually only nauseated by one thing – the dreaded shank.), so go ahead and drift down the old road. Just be careful of oncoming buses and lorries. You can likely make it all the way down to Tapah in about 45 minutes to an hour from Camerons, mileage may vary depending on level of sanity.

Price (3/5)

For weekdays, it’s similar to Frasers, in fact, better, since it’s 18 holes. You pay only 26.50RM to get a voucher that enables you to play the whole day. That’s really excellent, in fact, I think I’ll lower Fraser’s ratings. The only thing against Camerons was the weekend rate is ridiculous at RM84. RM84??! I can play in a whole lot of better courses with that kind of money paid!

I tried talking to the lady there to allow me in for the weekend at weekday rate, but even in this part of the world, they are quite strict about freeloaders like me. She has probably been briefed to avoid all eye contact with Chinese ah peks like me who likes to bargain anything and everything, from golf fee to underwear prices. If the ah pek continues to bargain, pretend to be mute and deaf or fake epilepsy. If all else fails, spray ah pek with mace and beat him senseless with the handy 7-iron.

First thoughts

The course always looked more appealing to me than Frasers, because here, we actually have proper fairways and such. There are holes that resemble a golf course, unlike the Frasers course, where it is a jumbled mess, with holes far apart from each other and looked to be patched up randomly, and holes dug from the ground by gophers, and a flag accidentally placed in there.

Here, we have the 10th fairway, with the 18th fairway parallel, so if you do hook the ball or whatever, you can still play it off the other fairway. There’s a wider area for a golf course, which generally means that they did plan to have a course here, not as if they had a small piece of land and was deciding between a parking lot, an amusement park, or building a mansion for one of the government officials. Clean money of course, how dare we think of corruption in our lovely land?

My last view of this was from a bungalow overlooking the course, and Camerons is not a jungle course; it has wider landing areas and gives more opportunities to play golf, instead of hacking and cursing like the other highland course that we’ve rated as the lowest of the low.

Service (2/5)

I was actually up in Camerons for a company team building exercise and didn’t really expect to have time for golf. I brought my set up just in case, and reaching Camerons in the late evening, we had about an hour or so to kill before the bus ferrying most of my colleagues were to arrive. The plan was to head to the range with two more guys (non golfers who just want to learn) and kill time there.

There was obviously no space consideration for a range, you dimwit.

Feeling defeated, I was planning to trudge back to join a few others in the night market; but finding out that the weekend rate was so high the next day (I was there on a Friday), I decided to pay RM26.50 and see how many holes I can finish before the sun gave out on me. Mind you, no buggy, so it’s all walking. Bring up a trolley, it will infinitely help you instead of lugging your bag around.

I had one hour of sunlight left; and the reception lady gave me a small shake of her head, saying I can probably finish 3 holes before calling it a day.

She obviously have not heard of run and gun golfing.

The only problem is that I didn’t have a camera, so the photos you see is due to me using my lousy phone camera, not a drastic drop in my already limited photography skills.

Fairways (2/5)

I didn’t really expect a lot from this club, honestly. Drainage is a drag for highland courses, due to the amount of water from rain, clouds, dew and what not. And there were no pleasant surprises here either. My first tee shot predictably hooked left, but not so hard that it couldn’t be salvaged. It was on the other fairway but try as I might I couldn’t find it at all. The ball just went right into the ground, never to see the light of day again. Drainage wasn’t as bad as Frasers (I’ll keep bringing up that defilement of a course because that’s the only comparative reference we have so far), but I could still see puddles of water around, and my shoes were like combat gear at the end of the round.

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I hit a few good shots that I completely lost, perhaps due to the added distance and subsequently wrong estimation, but also due in part to plugging into the fairway. The rule for all highland courses apply here: Bring loads of balls, and finish up your old ones.

Greens (3/5)

I was quite surprised at the green; it was pressed down and kept reasonably well, given the conditions. There’s obviously people to maintain the course here, and the roll was quite tricky; a few birdie putts I had just got turned away at the last minute. I think it’s commendable that the grass is kept short, and the wild boars kept at bay from digging extra holes on the green ( I will not name which course has this).

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Rough (2/5)

The rough is extremely tough. Not because the grass is long, but the ball is hard to find. Also, the fact that I’m playing nearly without light doesn’t help anything. And the fact that I am running between shots and not spending more than 10 seconds to look for a ball really doesn’t give me the right to have a fair judgement on it. All I’m saying is that, if you think the ball is good, look properly. A few holes had fairways that dropped off into drains and ditches and if your ball is not plugged, God help you as you try to retrieve it from the rough.

Aesthetics (2/5)

If we were to take a gigantic wok chan and dig up the whole course and put it somewhere in the lowlands or Klang Valley, I’d probably give it a 1 or something lower. There really isn’t much memorable holes here, except for maybe the Par 5 15th, that has a drastic change in elevation. It also gets pretty confusing. While not as bad as Frasers where balls are flying all over you due to the shared fairways and all, there are instances here, such as the 12th, where there are two fairways, borrowing with the 17th. Then after the drive, I saw a green maybe 200 metres away and went for it. After that I realized that I was hitting to the par 3 13th green, where we would tee off above the 12th green, only about 50 meters from where I was. The course itself is quite bare, so there’s nothing really special or scenic about it, but you cannot beat the weather here. Cooling, breezy, it’s a course where you can play 36 holes without any issues at all. It can turn out chilly or have sudden showers, so make sure you have an umbrella handy.

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Fun Factor (2/5)

It’s hard to rate something as fun when you are running around between every shots and taking just 5 seconds to address and hit. I managed to complete 9 holes in 1 hour or so, but skipping one hole. I had two non-golfers tagging around, but aside from butchering the 1st and 3rd hole I played (I teed up from the back), I played pretty decent, with 2 sand saves, a birdie miss, a few good flops with my new Cleveland RTG+ and a monster drive on the 14th that reached the fringe about 280 metres away. I nearly birdied the 17th after a flop over the bunker to 5 feet but missed the darn putt, in the dark.

We reached the 18th tee and there were sparse lighting for the final hole. Very sparse. Anyway, we proceeded to use the hole as our driving range as I taught the other two some basics; hitting balls into the fairway. Suddenly the lights were switched off and we were left looking for our balls in pitch blackness, with only the moon and our handphone lights to illuminate the way. Out of 10 balls, I lost only one.

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Conclusion

Camerons plays much much better than Fraser’s Hill, so if it’s a toss between these two places, Camerons is way better. The problem is the traveling. It’s even more difficult to access and I’m not sure if it’s entirely worth it to drive all the way up there when you can just spend the extra cash and play in Awana or Bukit Tinggi. By all means, if you’re up there, play and take advantage of the weather and the fixed price per entry, but forget about the weekend rates; it’s way over priced and it’s not worth it, unless they offer free scones, strawberries and a glass of Chateau Blanc at every teebox for free.

The good: Superb weather, thin air makes you look like a professional when you hit it flush, wide greens and receptive and reasonably maintained, great price for weekdays, no red tape: you can play in your underwear if you wish.

The bad: Bad drainage on the fairways, constantly plug up balls and make them unfindable, no driving range, too expensive over the weekend, rough makes the ball simply disappear, bland hole designs, difficult drive there, no-bargaining with ah peks policy.

The skinny: 17 of 40 divots (42.5%). If you’re willing to take the nauseating drive to Camerons and want to experience the thin-air phenomena on your golf balls, and too cheapskate to pay for Awana or Bukit Tinggi, then this course is for you.

Cameron Highlands Information

Address:

P.O Box 66
39007 Tanah Rata
Cameron Highlands
Pahang Darul Makmur

Contact: +605-4911126

Fax: +605-4911728

Website: http://www.pahangtourism.com.my/sport/golf/cameron.html

Tasik Puteri GCC

Updates on the 3rd Nine

We replayed Tasik Puteri again and was forced to play the 1st and 3rd nine. Now, we’re not going to penalise Tasik Puteri for the introduction of this nine holes of pure torture, but we’d like to make a note of it. (We’re penalising Tasik Puteri for having stupid golf marshals who doesn’t understand how to service people).

As the Gilagolf theory goes: For a golf course with 3 nines, forget about playing the 3rd.

Nothing is more true here.

If you call Tasik Puteri, ask them which nine they are forcing you to play. Apparently they are pushing everyone to play the 3rd nine (the new nine just opened). If they are, forget about playing there because, pardon my french, it’s a truly the biggest piece of crap ever invented on the face of this planet. In fact, it makes no difference if you were to dip your entire head into a burning vat of oil, than to try play this sorry excuse of a course.

It’s hot like heck, because for some strange reason, they have chopped down all the trees, so exposure to sun nearly killed all of us. In fact, I lost 15 pounds of water alone. THERE IS NO SHADE. Compounding the stupidity of chopping all trees down, they make the holes extra long (a par 4 was 430 meters). I know we are good, but with a 12 noon sun beating down on you and faced with a 200 m carry over water, I’d rather poke myself with an electric baton in a bath tub filled with electric eels.

Don’t waste your time with the 3rd nine, because it has no character, no shade and no chance we will ever come back to play it.

We especially detest articles like this found in the Star newspaper, giving us more motivation to tell the truth about sh*tty golf courses in Malaysia. Check out what is said:

“Even the most avid fan of the Rawang course will admit that it isn’t championship standard. However, the new third nine, or Tasik Nine, can certainly be considered a true golfing test.”

Sure, if a true golfing test means to trudge across something resembling the Sahara, playing one stupid hole after another that looks the same, plays the same and requires at least 250 m drive to make regulation. You know what, I paid 80 bucks to play a nice round of golf, not try to survive dehydration and halucination. To heck with you, Tasik Puteri.

“So, all in all, this third nine, designed by Australian Tim Woolbank, should prove to be a stern examination of your golfing skills,”

Now we know who to whack with our 7 irons when we go Australia. Apparently this is the guy that came up with Clearwater Sanctuary as well, which was pretty crap as well, so it’s real convenient that we go and get this guy for giving us such a lousy experience on both courses.

“The third nine is now ready, and we have opened it up to golfers. However, the thousands of trees we have planted will take a little more time to mature,” said Y.P. Tan, Tasik Puteri’s director of golf, adding that the course will be in better condition for the Asian Senior Masters in October.”

Well, Mr Y.P. why the blazes did you tear down all the trees in the first place?!? Thousands of trees?? Our last count was about 5 trees. The whole area now resembles a freaking desert. And I can’t wait for the Asian Senior Masters to be played also, because these old chaps are definitely going to drop dead before even touching the 27th tee. Trust me, go there and scavenge for their clubs, because there will be only corpses left to rot in the blazing sun.

“Golfers standing on the first tee (or hole No. 19 on your scorecard) will be treated to a sweeping vista, with views of practically all the holes.”

This is a lie. If you were to stand in the middle of a public toilet seat in Chow Kit road and we level the entire KL into rubble, you will also be treated to a ‘sweeping vista’, simply due to the non existence of any obstructions to your view. You’ve chopped down all the trees, Tasik Puteri, of course you can see all the holes. Sweeping vista my foot.

“The other par-3, No. 6 (or No. 24) features an island green that plays to about 146m from the black tee.”

This is also another lie (whats wrong with you, Star newspaper??!? Can’t you get ANY report right??) because it’s measured about 170 from the black and you should be hitting a 5 iron in. Darn, they can’t even get the blasted distance right.

“The Tasik Nine has the perfect final hole to end your golf game. It’s a par-5, 485m beauty.”

No, it’s another lie. It’s not a perfect final hole. NEVER say a hole is a perfect final hole unless you’re talking about the 18th on the Augusta. The final hole is reasonably nice, but with a teh tarik coloured stream dissecting the fairway, I would be hard pressed to find it anywhere memorable. In fact, by then, most of us are already having mirages about cold iced tea than to care much about this ‘perfect final hole’. Another outright lie about Tasik Puteri!!

““This is the best time to try the Tasik Nine because we are still offering golfers our special promotional rates.,”

Sure, they obviously need to entice unsuspecting golfers into a trap. As mentioned, we’re not penalising Tasik Puteri from the original review, the Gilagolf has put up a warning sign; if you need to play at Tasik Puteri, avoid the 3rd nine or face death under the blazing sun!!

Now on the original review:

Introduction

I’ve heard quite a fair bit about Tasik Puteri Golf Club and thought of just giving it a try, since one of my vendors wanted to buy a few of us a game. Tasik Puteri means Princess Lakes (or something to that effect) so I expect a wet affair right from the tee. From the word Lakes, not Princess, you cretin. Like some of the courses we’ve played-Meru Valley, and the more forgettable Paradise Valley-Tasik Puteri is located within a town ship as part of a feature for the residents there, bolstering up, I suppose the value of the property in that area, enticing more people to buy property that they can ill afford, and generally pushing Malaysia into a developed nation and a military powerhouse. Hey, I’m a golf hacker, not an economist.

Travel (3/5)

To get there, you need to get on the north south highway and take the Rawang turn off. From there, take a left turn at the traffic light (not heading into Rawang town) and just follow the old trunk road. There’s hardly any development on this road, so you will be traveling quite a bit and might find yourself stuck behind a huge trailer and not be able to pass. You’ll see occasional signs that point to Tasik Puteri Golf Course, but the directions aren’t very good so keep an eye out for the signs, but for heaven’s sakes, don’t crash into anything because it’s a single trunk road and you’re going to cause a massive traffic jam. You don’t want to be chased around a palm oil plantation by angry golfers wielding their 7 irons, now would you? So be careful!!

You’ll need to turn off into Bandar Tasik Puteri and from there, go quite deep into the township to finally see the resemblance of a golf course. Turn in and you’ll be greeted by a very nice club house, with friendly caddies to handle your bags for you.

Price (2/5)

Tasik Puteri is not cheap. On weekdays, its RM90 per person and RM25 for a compulsory caddie. On the weekends (which we played on), we needed to fork out RM150 per person, with caddies optional. You might want to fork out extra for the caddie, as we will soon find out. There are quite a lot of blind corners and yardage is of utmost importance. The Tasik Puteri caddies are all women, and quite popular to some golfers, I suppose for extra activities outside of golf, but I won’t speculate on that. There were some reports on how caddies would break up a family sometimes, or that husbands spend too much time on the golf course, enticed by these lady caddies.

Seriously, they are not exactly the mythical Sea Sirens you know. Most of them are so caked with make up, they resemble geishas in feudal Japan, but hot Zhang Zi Yi they ain’t. They are reasonably pleasant looking, the same way a loaf of bread is reasonably nutritious but for a man to break up his family for a girl who can speak only roughly six words of English, wears a caddie uniform and hangs at the back of a buggy for life as we drive wildly around the course: that man has to be either extremely desperate or extremely blind. Can you imagine this conversation:

Man: I want to leave you now, wife, you can have our 3 million RM home, our Mercedes and our 3 splendid kids studying to be a doctor, a pilot and a lawyer specializing in divorce settlement.

Wife: Who is it? Who is this woman?

Man: Ummm….it’s a caddie at this golf club of mine.

At this point, stunned silence by wife followed by uncontrolled laughter and the realization how much a loser her husband is. She takes everything, he becomes insolvent and lives with the caddie working at the clubhouse for 400RM a month.

Can you imagine that actually happening? At least, if you want to mess up your life, mess it up with dignity. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it sounds a little more dignified to say, “Oh, I had an affair with Ms World, and Ms Universe” as opposed to, “Umm, yeah, I had an affair with Caddie Number 42 at this club. Oh, wait, was it number 33? Darn it, they all look alike!”

Anyways, since we are all cheapskate golfers, we want to save up a bit and went on to tee up without any caddie. Or any complications attached to that.

At RM150, it’s a reasonable weekend rate, and this is one of the more attractive course we played in. What we didn’t like was the fact that they had a couple of temporary greens being done. The rule here is, if there’s sandy greens, temporary greens or any kind of maintenance to the course, hey slash your rates. You gotta be honest with your customers, you know. Gunung Raya, a relatively crap course compared to this, and Clearwater, at least had the decency to inform and to discount us before hand. We were a little surprise to face temp greens on the first and second and not at all amused that we had to fork out full rates on it. It’s like buying a bottle of coke, to find it filled up with half coke and half soy sauce, and get charged for the coke. Darn it!!

First thoughts

Weekends here are packed. You’ll need to call up in the beginning of the week to get a good tee time. Unfortunately we got caught by a tournament and nearly lost our tee time because I didn’t pick up their confirmation call. With much persuasion, they relented and gave us an 8:50 tee time. We only really teed it up at 9:15 am or so.

We teed up on the front 9 and Tasik Puteri is more like Tropicana, in terms of the layout. It’s very short if played from the Blue Tees, so for a challenge, some testosterone charged golfers might tee it up at the black tees, that plays about 300 metres longer, and good for wagering-whether on money or caddie, although the latter is not recommended.

But it was a good feeling, standing on the first tee and letting rip a drive down a spacious fairway. It’s by no means easy, even if it’s short. There are OB stakes left and right, just like Tropicana and that’s why having the eyes of a caddie would significantly help reduce the number of lost balls. Actually, that’s speculation. I have no idea how good the caddies in Tasik Puteri are; I’m assuming they are reasonably adequate since most flights have a caddie.

Service (2/5)

Right when you pull up to the shaded club house, you’ll be greeted by a host of lady caddies (this word seems to be used a lot in this review), coming to take your bags out and welcoming you with a smile. Definitely a welcomed change compared to say, Paradise Valley where a guy resembling Gholum limps up to your car with a ciggy in his mouth and demands you to pop your boot. Service also gets a thumbs up because I’ve actually lost my tee time and they were kind enough to reinstate it (admittedly after much persuasion and promises to return). They put us almost an hour later, but at least we get to tee up the ball. The food there was pretty good as well and the club house was first class. We sat at a table overlooking the range, under an archway in the open air, like some druglords in a Spanish hacienda. Other amenities were slightly lacking, like how they put us in a changing room where everyone faces each other. Admittedly we’re all guys, but come on, I admit I still get a little uncomfortable if I see another guy striding around with his dongle for all to see.

UPDATE!!

It’s quite rare that we make changes to the original ratings after playing a golf course again but Tasik Puteri gets a hit. We’re downgrading this club from a 4 to a 2 in service. We replayed this club and this time was moved to the play the 1st and 3rd nine. We are not going to rate the 3rd nine, because our theory holds true. FORGET ABOUT PLAYING THE 3rd NINES on golf courses with 3 nines.

Anyway, concerning the service, after struggling like cows in the Serengheti playing through the 3rd nine, I asked a Marshal, the tasik puteri chap who was in charge of caddy distribution for the new nine score card. This is because when we made the turn, the starter hut had no scorecards (and no starter, probably he had died of thirst) This chap rudely waved me away without even looking, while grunting something under his breath. Now, while we understand he has an extremely stressed out job thinking of which caddy to attach to which golfer, we are not quite ready to forgive the lack of respect even to golfers who had stumbled in looking like fried lobsters from the sun. We’re slapping Tasik Puteri with a 2/5 because of this lousy chap who doesn’t know how to service people properly. What an idiot!

This is a real pity, because due to one fellows disregard for service, Tasik Puteri has dropped from the Gilagolf Must Play category to the mediocre Not too Shabby category.

Fairways (3/5)

The fairways are Bermuda, and very similar to the fairways we get at Bangi. I think there was a good mixture of broad and enticing fairway, wide enough to land a plane on, and fairways requiring a tighter approach. The course favours the swing that draws, except hole one, where you can run out of fairway and land on tough hard mud. Generally, the drainage and maintenance was good, well cut grass, but still a little lacking in terms of consistency. Some holes I remember lobbing in with my Sand Wedge and just completely slided under it and went like three quarter of my predicted distance. The fairways are also generally flat until you hit the second nine, where you’ve got some elevated greens to deal with. I didn’t quite like their yardage. Somehow, some holes played nearer than what was predicted, and some holes longer than usual. I remembered hitting a 9 iron into a 130 meter par 3 at the 14th and like the par 3 nightmare at Meru, deposited 2 balls into the water, short of the green. Again, if we had the benefit of the caddie, it would have saved us much angst around the course. But then again, it would really not be us now would it?

Greens (2/5)

Green speed was a nightmare. In a good way. This just proves that we don’t rate stuff as low just because it kills us and we don’t really enjoy it. Even on the practice green we knew the putts were really rolling fast. Take away the two temporary greens, the normal greens were well maintained and manicured. The fringe looked deceptively short, but it catches the ball so you’ll need to play it with more loft and land on the green. Balls played low and running (my style) will seriously have a hard time here because it just runs away. Couple that with the undulating greens and a wager, and you have very testy putts. I three putted from 6 feet twice, and just contributed to a super frustrating afternoon on the green. It doesn’t catch your ball the way Meru or Impiana does, but it’s reasonably soft.

Mediocre putters like us (ok, ok, I’m a lousy putter!) will lose 4-5 strokes to the course all due to those short putts, due to the speed and the breaks to it.

We definitely would rate the greens higher but we still can’t get over the fact of the temporary greens situation. Apparently we found out that the ‘temporary’ has been the story of this course for a long time, and that is the major complaint. Call first and check and try to get them to charge cheaper!

Rough (3/5)

The rough in Tasik Puteri is penalizing but not cruel, like Paradise Valley or sadistic, like Frasers. I did hear the occasional rustling of snakes but did not see any, and thankfully, the course played quite wide in the fairways and OB was pretty much in play so I didn’t really spend a whole lot of time in the rough. Even if you do hit the rough, you can dig yourself out of it. Bunkers however weren’t very well maintain, with rocks in it that kills your clubs. You want to avoid greenside bunkers (as if we want to hit it in the first place) because its usually a very testy shot to pull off, and will rack up your score and make you look bad. You skull the ball and water awaits you the other side of the green. I ended up with 3 triple bogeys due to tough recovery shots!

Aesthetics (3/5)

There were quite a number of memorable holes in Tasik Puteri. 16 out of 18 holes has water features, and the one that does not have requires precision hits. It has an index 1 as a second hole (a strict no no) but due to the temporary greens, a good drive only required a 60 metre shot into the green. I played one OB, 3 off the tee, 4 on and two putted for double. Rats!

I tripled bogey 2 par 3s, mainly due to the water surrounding it. Hit one into the bunker and you better get the next shot proper. But the par 3 17th is a beautiful hole, elevated tee shot with a view of the entire golf course and a green down below, about 190 meters away. It’s highly intimidating because water awaits you on the right, which one of my partners pushed into. I hit a risky draw that landed on the front and two putted for par. It’s a hole you want to take pictures of.

Beyond the holes, the water makes the course very lively. Instead of the still and murky waters of Paradise Valley, Tasik Puteri designers were smart enough to put fountains to churn the waters and provide more live to it. I mean seriously, comparing those two courses were like comparing the current Arsenal first 11 vs the current Malaysia first 11. Malaysia’s like ranked, what? 1000th in the world in terms of football, behind the war torn nation of Zakathstan, which only have 16 people overall population, and only 2 able bodied men there? Malaysia Boleh!

Unfortunately, Tasik Puteri scores lower due to the stupidity of design at hole 14 and hole 15. We were putting at hole 14 and suddenly this red ball comes zinging from nowhere and lands on the green. At first, we wanted to snap in our shotguns to have a shootout with the flight behind but looking around we saw we were right next to the driving range. I’m serious. Anyone that hooks a little from the range will hit us. There is no NET! None! What is wrong with them? Can’t they just fence up the range instead of subjecting people putting on 14th or teeing up on 15th to the most harrowing experience of their life, by ducking incoming red balls from the sky?

And which sadistic designer would design two holes right next to the driving range? Doesn’t he realize how dangerous it is to provide 100 balls to a Malaysian and completely nothing between him and a few others teeing up on the course? If he’s on the range, he’s either

  1. Working on his game
  2. Really pissed off and wants to release some tension

For A, he’s probably struggling and will start hooking his balls and proceed in killing a few golfers at the tee box. For B, he’s probably so far gone and boiled up, the moment he sees someone enjoying themselves on the course with a good putt or drive, he’ll start realigning himself like a WWII turret and let fly as many balls as possible at the offensive golfer who just celebrated. Take that, you lucky twit who just hit a good putt/drive! <Evil Laughter>.

Come on, Tasik Puteri, have some brains in the design, please.

Fun Factor (5/5)

Did we have fun?

Heck, yeah.

I’m not too sure about the flight in front though.

It all started when one of my flight mates accidentally made off with the other flight’s golf bag, (which was the same brand) and had to be chased and called back. He also accidentally took the glove as well and had to gingerly hand it back to them with apologies.

Then we were all playing happily when I hit a drive on the par 5 4th that sailed closed to 260 meters out in the fairway. I had about 180 to go (now I realize) but at that time, from the markers, I thought it was about 210, 220 meters out. I took out my hybrid 22 degrees and let it ripped. It was hit so flushed that as it sailed through the air, zeroing into the green where the flight was just putting, only two thoughts came sequentially to mind.

1. “Wow! What a shot!”

2. “Oh, crap.”

I didn’t even call because I never expected the ball to reach. It hit the green about 3 feet from a guy in red shirt and spun about 15 feet away from the hole.

Expletives followed and I had to rush to apologise.

They weren’t too amused, to say the least and the face of that guy was as red as his shirt.

I must say, it was entirely my fault, and it was a good thing I wasn’t killed in the process but this was the first time I almost killed another golfer, so admittedly I missed my eagle and settled for a birdie.

Hole 10, my flight mate let rip a super tee shot and while it’s still up the air, who comes out of the trees at about 230 metres but the guy in red. It lands like 5 feet from him and nearly kills him. Again. Expletives followed.

I mean, at that time, even though we were having so much fun, we were thinking of just calling it a day and quitting. Not because we were scared of the flight in front, but it was seriously not fun to almost kill people twice, and the same guy!! I mean, how much insurance do you want me to buy? And why is it that our ball was zeroing on the guy in red? Does he resemble a front pin placement?

There was no shootout at the club house after the game, we all made peace and proceeded on with our individual golfing life, thank goodness.

Conclusion

Aside from the near murder incidents, Tasik Puteri is a fine course and very much recommended. It’s short, but it makes up for it with a whole lot of water, so you better hone your bunker shots and par 3s and approach shots properly. Is there repeated playability? Yes, we definitely want to come back to the course again and hopefully play it better, now that we know the course a little better. It’s not too far from the beaten track and once you’re seated at the clubhouse verandah with a coconut drink and nasi lemak to start your day, you’ll know it’s all worth it.

Avoid paying for caddies if you’re a little tight with cash, like us, but if you can afford it, caddies might help in terms of yardage and definitely in terms of putting which is diabolical at some holes.

Just make sure you play golf and don’t end up complicating things with Caddie 42. Or 33. Or whatever.

The good: Well designed holes, greens very well maintained and course has good risk-rewards interchanges. Drainage is very good, considering the amount of water. Par 3s are aesthetically beautiful and also deadly, like Elektra, the ninja woman; par 5s are reachable, just make sure you do not, I repeat, do not kill someone there.

The bad: Temporary greens should have pushed price lower or should have been informed: Tasik Puteri takes a hit for dishonesty! At 5900 meters, might be too short for some, and not so challenging. Stupid design at 14th and 15th next to range. Yardage is ridiculously off, perhaps motivating you to pay for caddie instead, some blind holes makes water really come in play, as well as the itinerant golfer dressed in red, strolling down the fairway. Aim for him and get extra points.

The skinny: 25 of 40 divots (62.5%). Due to the accessibility and aesthetics, this is a course that’s highly recommended for a relaxed round of golf, even if it plays a little easier, and have people hitting balls onto the green while you are putting.

Tasik Puteri Score Card

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Paradise Valley Golf Resort

Introduction

I was invited to a game at Paradise Valley Golf Resort located at a township in Seremban 3. Usually when I hear about Seremban (it’s in the state next to the state I live in), I’ve got good memories of Staffield and SIGC, and some fun games I’ve had with good friends over there. With the name like Paradise Valley, images of Meru Valley obviously comes to mind and I immediately agreed to take a day off to play in a game consisting of two flights. Usually games with two flights of golfers are extremely fun, since you are able to blast a ball on the green while the front flight is still putting and not get sued or killed in the process. They will probably tee up right on the green itself and blast the ball back but come on, seriously, what are the chances of a silly white ball actually hitting a person from 200 metres out, right? It’s a thousand to one!

Travel (2/5)

Paradise is quite accessible from the North South Highway. It’s not too deep in, and quite easy to find. It’s in fact right at the new toll leading into Port Dickson town. Take the Seremban-Port Dickson turn off, turn right at the traffic light and just follow the road. You’ll eventually pass a few petrol stations and there’s Seremban 3 on the left. Turn into it, like Meru Valley, it’s a golf course that’s situated inside a township, I suppose as part of the feature. Hey, we really enjoyed Meru, right, so this is starting to look pretty promising.

The stupid thing about this is when you exit (and as you find out later, you WILL want to exit in a hurry), you can’t get back on the road you came from without U-turning. And there’s only one U-turn. At the PD toll, a small opening between the dividing poles to cut back. You miss that turning and you will need to pay for the toll to Port Dickson, and drive all the way into town and make a U-turn there. There are no signs, so it’s just really up to your observation. I mean would it kill them just to make an opening in the divider in front of Seremban 3 for cars to turn back into the main road without going to the toll? Jeez.

Price (3/5)

The price for weekdays is about 70RM all in (with buggy and insurance) but our flight had a special voucher and I only ended up paying 50RM for the day. Weekends are slightly a bit more, around 90RM. I think it’s pretty reasonable, at least they are not charging like cut throat pricing the way Datai Bay was doing.

First thoughts

Right on the first tee, images of Meru Valley were immediately replaced by images of Gunung Raya. Elevated tee box, sharp dogleg left, narrow fairway with OB right and hidden green. We looked at the course and there was just this sinking feeling (which was correctly justified later) that this was going to be a long day, filled with missing balls.

We struggled through the first hole and immediately get whacked by an Index 1 on the second. Now, I’m not too much of an advocate with bringing out the toughest hole on the second hole of the day. Obviously the designers thought it would be fun, the way how pulling out fingernails and placing your face in boiling water was considered quite fun in the middle ages; but no, I can’t say I found it very amusing at all. The second hole was a long carry over water about 180 metres, and then an elevated green (and I do mean elevated, it’s like trekking up a freaking pyramid) all for a par 4. Oh yeah, water on the right too. And OB right. Add to the fact that you haven’t even warmed up from the long journey, you really know you will screw up this hole. Which all of us did.

If you think Rahman Putra has a lot of water, Paradise is a course with patches of land in the midst of a giant mining pool. The water is not even nice to look at. At least, in KRPM we have water lilies and some plants to brighten up the golfers day after they have lost their entire cache of balls within. Paradise’s water just sits there gloomily, devoid of life, sucking the very soul of golfers who draw near. And you will hit a lot into the water. The fairways are built as if they only had space to build a nine hole course but instead wanted to suck more money out of unsuspecting golfers, so they crammed in 18.

Long day, long game and a whole lotta balls to play it.

Service (1/5)

I didn’t like the service. Ordering food was excruciatingly slow. I mean we were the only clowns in the whole club you know; why does it takes half an hour for fried rice to come? And the car park was like a 150 metres away from the entrance, so it was a long walk back to the car from the club house. Why did they do it like this? I suppose they expected like thousands of people to flock to the club and hosting the Ryder Cup or something, to make the car park so huge. Hey, it’s just our cars and the observing maintenance guy in his beat up buggy, why can’t you make the car park NEARER??! I mean, its ok if I am headed to play golf, but after 5 hours of extreme torture, under extreme heat, you want me to trek back to my car and risk dying of dehydration along the way? I don’t think so.

The guy handling our bags didn’t come till we called. And he didn’t move a muscle to drive us to our car until we insisted. Nobody was at the counter for inquiries when I wanted to get extra score card; in fact, I am so anal now that I’m peeved that they didn’t have someone salute me when I drove my car past the guard house!! What kinda service is this? Hey, a little respect here would be nice, even though we are cheapskate golfers with a voucher to get RM20 off from normal price!

Fairways (2/5)

The fairways in some holes weren’t too bad actually. Condition wise, it was maintained reasonably well. Other fairways totally sucked though, with cart grooves all muddied around it and no GUR sign or chalk to indicate a free drop. Another thing I didn’t quite like about the fairway was the occasional dog shit lying around. Ok, that’s fine, because KRPM also has that. But huge chunks of cow shit? I mean, what is this, a zoo? What am I gonna see next, a mound of triceratops crap I gotta hit from? Give me a break.

The challenge was that the fairways were tight. I didn’t think they were unfair, like Frasers, it’s just the feature and the characteristic of the course. If you like tight fairways and precision hitting with the 5 wood and wimpy irons off the tee, the same way you’d like your feet fitted into a shoe 3 sizes smaller than yours and made to run a marathon in it, hey, you know it’s your call. For me, I am supportive of huge fairways with a little leeway to land on another fairway in case my shots go awry, which of course, doesn’t happen too often, maybe 17 times out of 18 drives. But I’m a hacker and if you’re Mr Tight Fairways, you must be a PGA pro, which begs the question: Why are you even reading this? Shouldn’t you be making tons of money right now? Go away!!

Greens (3/5)

The greens in some holes were very well manicured. It has that unmistakable spongey feeling to it when you walk on it and you just know your ball is going to bite when it hits the green. However, just when you think you got it figured out, on the next hole, the roll changes and it becomes quicker and faster and more three putts are on the way. There were a LOT of 3 putts because we just didn’t know if it was going to be fast, slow or whatever. That, coupled with the undulation makes these greens less than fun to putt on. Most of the time, it’s putt and pray, that the speed was right, since we couldn’t really gauge from the previous hole. I don’t think they had a lot of control over how consistent the greens were.

Rough (2/5)

You just pray you don’t hit the rough.

Lalang, the grass that we have been introduced to in Frasers makes an unwelcomed return. As we’ve mentioned, rough that allows us to hit from but penalize us somewhat is acceptable. Rough that virtually grabs your clubs with the explicit intention to break your wrist is another story. There was a par 5 (which I thankfully found fairway, fairway, green), where one of my playing partners took 4 to get out of the rough enroute to an 8.

If this was Canoustie or St Andrews, we will readily overlook this point. But this happens to be Paradise Valley and (later we will see), it does not match up to one iota of the standard of those courses, so there has gotta be some redeeming factors in it. You make a course that’s this hard, with so little maintenance, and don’t give us eye candy for it, and you’re definitely gonna score low.

Aesthetics (0/5)

We always try to look for a signature hole.

This course has one signature hole.

Hole 19.

And it ain’t the Datai Bay type of hole 19. It’s the hole 19 where you sit under a fan and eat fried rice and drink gallons of soya bean with cincau (the de facto golf drink for Malaysian golfers to the uninitiated)

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I don’t remember playing a golf course that played so difficult, so long, and so hot. This makes Gunung Raya feel like Antartica. Seriously. I don’t know why is it so hot. The course is not matured, so there’s no grow in of shade and trees, I guess, but I’m not a golf garderner. I’m just a hacker, so I don’t need a reason to call this golf course the hottest course on earth. I just need to show them my first degree burnt marks from the sun.

I see those blasted trees around, but most of them are not even remotely close to the fairways or rough. They are just sort of standing around there, the shade out of reach from us, like some kind of mirage in the desert. We are mainly left to fend for ourselves against the extreme heat with our caps, umbrellas, portable fans. The ponds, as we’ve mentioned, doesn’t make the course any cooler. In fact, it just reminds you, reflecting the glaring sun into your eyes, how nice is it to sit at home with your air condition and a huge mug of root beer in front of you.

Because the course was so narrow, with severe drop offs from the fairways into the rough, a good part of our time was spent hiking up and down the terrain, which contributed to fluid loss and an occasional heat stroke, or epilepsy. But still we had golf to play, and when someone says, “Gosh my knees are so wobbly,” on the 13th hole and it has nothing to do with the beer girls, you know it’s about time we checked out of the course.

And as we’ve pointed out, we are very anal about the name. We don’t like names that mislead us. If you call it Clearwater, I wanna see water so clear you can peer in and watch a giant crocodile feeding on a cow at the bottom of the lake, if not, it’s not gonna cut it. If you call it Paradise Valley Golf Resort, you have a few things to live up to.

Paradise: No, it’s not. In fact, it’s the opposite. Unless it connotes that after playing this course, your next destination will likely be in heaven when you die from that heat stroke or epilepsy. As for it being a Paradise, come on, let the golfers decide before you name it that way, ok? This is definitely not a paradise, with its lack of wildlife, lack of beautiful trees, lack of shade and lack of character.

Valley: No, it’s not. This is a big lie. I don’t see rolling hills like Meru, I don’t even see why is it called a valley? All I see is a characterless course with 18 holes jumbled together in a mess, with lots of brown, murky water. Where are the hills? Why the dickens is it called Valley then? It’s next to Port Dickson, the beach place in West Malaysia. Do they think we are actually stupid?

Resort: No, it’s also not. A resort means it’s a place you can stay, or have an attached hotel, like Equatorial at Bangi or IOI at Palm Garden or Mines at, well, Mines. This is not a resort, because it just has a club house that is too far away for the car park and crappy service! Unless if it means staying inside one of the garden sheds would qualify it as a resort, this is another blatant misuse of a naming convention.

So out of the 4 words about this place, only one is true: Golf. And that too is contentious because that’s also a struggle, playing in a place where the cows and buffaloes roam, depositing their crap on the fairways.

We’re so annoyed at this naming heresy that we’re going to give it a 0 for aesthetics. Take that, you Paradise Valley liars. We’re going to call you The Nameless Course in Seremban 3 from here on, or the Nameless, for short.

Fun Factor (1/5)

It almost gets a 0 for these points:

1) Course that is so hot, most of came out looking like lobsters. I’m serious, we looked like someone just magic inked us red or black and we were the same colour as the maintenance workers. They almost passed us brooms to get us to sweep the cart path.

2) Fairways so tight that we were almost killed by balls from another hole. Which happened to be also our friends. But that doesn’t matter.

3) Carpark so far away we need to hitchhike to it.

4) What the heck is cow dung doing in the course? You mean there are freaking cows hanging around here? Actual cows??!

5) Messed up fairways with cart grooves and bad drainage.

6) Murky water breeding disease. The next epidemic will happen right here. We need to contact WHO and blast this course out of the face of this planet as soon as possible.

7) Inconsistent greens and lalang rough. And reminding us of that jackal of a course in Frasers.

8) A name that misleads and woefully, absolutely woefully falls short of its lofty suggestion.

9) Thinking that us golfers are stupid. Actually the golf course can’t think, but we mean the designers, or the guys that named this course.

It gets a point just because we still had a bit of fun, with two flights. You really can’t beat a morning hanging out with golfers (even if you don’t know them at first), and having a good time jabbing each other after that.

Conclusion

The Nameless Course in Seremban 3 requires a lot of precision, patience and energy to play it. It saps you like a sponge, drawing away your soul with every shot until you struggle up to the last hole, devoid of life or remembrance of the past.

Did we enjoy it? The consensus was a resounding no. Will we return? We can’t wait to get the heck out of there and blot this memory forever from our lives.

And it’s not finished. We still have that long, long trek back to our cars.

The good: It’s pretty accessible, just watch the U-turn to get home; price is reasonable, very challenging to some and attractive for precision hitters who are also known as the officially insane.

The bad: Terrible choice of names, all the above points under Fun Factor.

The skinny: 14 of 40 divots (35%). Play without expecting too much and you might find it tolerable. For us, this is the first, only and last experience with the Nameless Course of Seremban 3.

Paradise Valley Score Card

paradise.jpg

Fraser's Hill Golf Club

Introduction

In Malaysia, there are a couple of highland courses that you can go to. Cameron Highlands and Genting have their options, and so does Bukit Tinggi. Generally, highland courses are especially challenging because fairways are usually framed by thick OB forests and streams meander here and there, carrying away golfballs down into the lowlands and into the distant ocean.

Fraser’s Hill is also a destination for golfers hopeful for the killer combination of the perfect course in a perfect weather. I mean, why couldn’t it be done? It’s already cooling, so no worries about chopping a couple of acres of woodlands to make a golf course. The weather, with the thin air that makes your ball goes like 20% further, makes golf almost as obvious as Tiger’s red on Sunday. Actually seeing your ball soar through the air is probably the only reason why highland courses are so attractive, since it gives us a false illusion of our greatness. Now our 250 metres into the right side of the fairway is translated to 280 metres into the jungle instead. Marvellous!

So away we went to Frasers, to have a true highlands golf experience.

There were 2 courses I wanted to try, but I found out the the 18th hole course, Fraser’s Hill GCC had been closed down, probably due to poor maintenance and lack of funding. It has been closed since goodness knows when. Don’t you hate it when sites advertise:

“Frasers Silverpark Resort Fraser’s Hill Malaysia offers two golf courses, the 18 hole championship golf course, rated among the most challenging course in Malaysia. Well manicured greens and tight fairways provide the golfer an ever challenging and exciting round.”

Come on, it’s closed. Update your site for goodness sakes!

So I was left to play the 9 hole golf course at the town centre.

Travel (1/5)

Getting up to Frasers used to be a pain in the a*se, with the frequent turns and narrow windy roads. It’s still a pain, except now the so called Gap has ceased to exist. Instead, they (I guess the tourism board or whatever) became smart after 50 years and decided to make another road up and use the old Gap road to get down.

Basically, get to the North South Highway and turn off in at Rawang turn off. From there, turn right and run through the town, as well as several others. Your aim is to get to this place called Kuala Kubu Baru, or KKB which is at the foothills of Frasers. You’ll see numerous signs there. Just make sure you see Ipoh signs and you know you’re on the right road, on the old Ipoh highway. You’ll see a big Kuala Kubu sign to turn right eventually (watch out for it!) and once you do that you’ll enter into town and you’ll see plenty of signs to point you to Frasers.

The trip sucks. I mean there’s no way around it. Unless there’s like a giant ice cream all you can eat festival up there with the Goo Goo Dolls playing, there’s simply no reason why you’d want to subject yourself, or your poor family (if you have one) to one of the worst, windy travel experience found in Malaysia. I mean, do you want your car to smell like vomit (from your kids), your ears with endless complaints (from your wife) and your life with endless regrets (from your inner self who is committing suicide by the second)?

After an hour of torture as bad as the Chinese middle age implements, you are rewarded by the famous Frasers clock tower, all 7 feet of it in its finest glory. It’s a small round about, consisting of a few stores to buy things, and to eat and of course the Frasers Hill Golf Club. Other than that, there’s a prominent sign pointing back to KL, which after maybe 20 minutes sitting around the town centre, you’ll be packing up and heading home.

The golf better be good.

Price (2/5)

Frasers Hill Golf Club cost me RM21 to play the whole day. You heard right. Apparently, in this part of the world, they don’t care how many holes you play. This is primarily due to a few reasons

1) It’s an attractive package to promote golf in the highlands

2) They will go by the assumption that you will lose all your balls, and your mind by the time you are done with 9 holes.

Is this a good price? With RM21 I could have watched two movies, or bought 21 Maxfli balls from my supplier, or buy my dog a nice chew bone. I could do a lot with RM21. Was it worth it?

You can’t really fault RM21 for a whole day golf experience, so it’s a 3/5. Good, because it’s a good package that all courses should adopt when I go, but bad, because well, we’ll see later.

First thoughts

Standing over the first tee, you actually feel a little nice about the broad fairway facing you. You feel even nicer when you let your first drive rip and see it soar a whole lot farther than your crappy swing actually deserve. Especially when there’s a gallery watching you, since the entire town has a nice view of the first tee, so don’t get too pressured and duff it. The kacang putih seller might actually burst out laughing, prompting you to quickly jog away into obscurity.

But first impressions don’t last. After crossing the bridge, I squished into what passed as the fairway and found my ball caked with mud.

From there, I kinda knew where this whole thing was going.

Service (0/5)

I strolled up to the counter to find a half awake lady accepting my money. When asked if there were balls being sold, she yawned and said, “Sold out.” I asked for a card and she looked at me quizzically and said, “What? We don’t have a card!” So how do you keep scores? On a piece of leaf? What kind of course does not bother to even have their own darn card for goodness sake? It’s like having a baby and then going, what the heck, let’s not bother about his name.

No card, no balls, no lockers, no maintenance, no nothing.

Fairways (0/5)

I can’t even comment on the fairway. Because there’s no fairway. Either that, or there’s no rough. Everywhere is overgrown, weedy, soggy, muddy and crappy. The fairway eats your ball up. In fact, if they bull dozed the fairways over here, they will probably recover enough golf balls to build the second Taj Mahal. Because the course was narrow, I teed up with a 6 iron. With a higher loft, my ball flight obviously was a lot higher. It lands without a bounce, and the next appearance would be in the centre of the earth. No way to recover it. So, shifting to a 3 wood, 5 wood or driver makes a lower trajectory, but because the darn fairways are so narrow, you can run out of fairway and into the first cut, which is about waist high grass with deadly snakes and a giant wombat with boxing gloves about to knock your other balls off.

Fairways? After a couple of holes, I am trying to avoid fairways and roughs as well, and was just praying my ball will fly 370 metres in the thin air to land on the green. Oh yeah and also for the ball to bend miraculously around the dogleg. Some prayers will probably never see the light of day in God’s prayer queue, and I think this is one of ‘em.

Fraser’s un-fairways get the lowest of the low. 0. What a mess.

Greens (0/5)

What greens? Oh, I get it. They used the fairway grass for the greens because that’s what it is. Someone got mixed up. I mean, there has got to be an explanation why there is a tuft of cowgrass right in the middle of my putting line right? And how my ball will roll anywhere except straight when on the green. I mean what the heck is this? Aim 20 feet to the right and hopefully it will bounce and rebound like a pinball into the hole? You can’t putt, it’s soggy, and we’ve got pitchmarks the size of a China on the green.

Some greens are marked with GUR, so only half the green is accessible. This is because wildboars have actually dug up the entire green in search for grubs, potatoes, acorns, anything that greedy pigs will feast on. Some of us understand that eating pattern quite well. While I do believe wildboars are pests and should be shot and cooked and boiled with herbs, that’s not an excuse as to why the greenkeeper should not be doing something with it. That sign has been so long up that there are moss growing on the board and plants using the sign to creep upwards to the light. The definition of GUR is Ground Under Repair, not Greenskeeper Under Retirement.

Rough (0/5)

Generally, we applaud the rough that makes it difficult for us to hit from. Some sort of penalty, right. But this rough takes the cake. It truly is ‘Rough’. Actually, it’s more like Unchartered Territories of the New World. The lalang grass is so long, it threatens to envelope my playing partners and take forever to digest them. It’s like the Sarlac in Return of the Jedi, you know the one that Bobba Fett fell into. For non Star Wars geek, it’s quite an inconvenient way to die.

And the worse thing here is that there’s no first cut. In fact, the fairway (which as we’ve gone through is long grass), just makes way to longer grass and an obscure drain that threatens to break your ankle. What kind of course is this anyway? Not only do we need to deal with un-fairways in Frasers, we need to deal with roughs filled with potholes, quicksand and the occasional king cobra nesting her eggs (I didn’t see any, but I would guess she’s somewhere in there.) And of course, wild boars digging up the entire course like there’s no tomorrow. I hit flush a beauty on the par 3 sixth for it to land on the upslope of the green.

It disappeared. I mean, the entire upslope was dug up by wildboars, what the heck was I to do? I give up. It’s a ball eater. It’s ok to punish, but to render players half mad with frustration is simply not a golf courses’ job. That job belongs to the new driver you paid a thousand bucks for and play like crap. Or slow flights on a Saturday morning. Or nasi lemak without sambal. It’s simply not done.

Aesthetics (1/5)

If you expect a course that entrances you like the Alps in Switzerland, boy, you’re in for a reality check. After the first hole, you come to the second hole and you realize you need to tee off back into the fairway of the first hole. What? Hey, man walking with your walker, I’m gonna hit my ball back to you, so please duck ok?? What? I can’t hear you, so fore!!!

The course is so tight on budget, it has to use the same fairways for different holes, and the same tee box for different holes. I mean, I could be twacking a 6 iron and beside me, another guy is launching into the next par 3. Did I pay 21 bucks for a freaking driving range? And come on, seriously, what is this, borrow the fairway concept? It’s taking it to another level. Don’t buy into their “Oh, we want to preserve nature so we don’t want to knock down too many trees.” That’s all bosh. They should have thought of that in the first place and built a nature reserve instead of a stupid golf course. No, it’s because the developers decided to stick some cash into their pockets and make us think they designed the course with nature on their mind, while driving their BMWs to the bank and cackling in pure evil. Anyone that advertises golf courses in harmony with nature is officially insane. Really. There’s no such thing. Golf and Nature will contend and war against each other till the Trumpets sound in the second coming.

The signature hole 8 is an elevated tee off to 240 m. It’s a par 4 you definitely can drive. Only problem is, right below you is the 7th green, at the left side is the main road, winding down next to the horse paddock, so you have tons of cars parked there. And you are actually using part of the fairway of the 7th. Imagine if you topped the ball, you kill the guys on the green. You sky the ball, it lands on the guys on the fairway; you hook the ball you either cause a major death on the road, or you kill Black Beauty. You push the ball and you will kill the guys teeing up on the 9th. Either way, you’ll be tried and sentence 40 years for negligence and insanity, or animal abuse. Standing over the tee shot, it’s like your entire life of freedom flashes before you and you know, this is your last tee shot as a free man.

There is also a dog that will follow you around. This is especially annoying since you’ll be on your backswing and he comes bounding out of nowhere to sniff at your balls. Golfballs, that is. I nearly mashed its head a few times. The positive thing is that he would chase after the lost ball like some kind of retriever, but not go into the long grass due to the cobras. I mean, if you chase it, chase it all the way, right? And I don’t remember paying for a dog!!

And also, what the heck is it with F.H.D.C? Shouldn’t it be FHGC for Frasers Hill Golf Club? What’s D.C? Did someone order the wrong alphabet and now they call it Frasers Hill Death to all Clubbers? I know it doesn’t fit, but seriously, what is it with FHDC??! It bugs us, because it’s like a treasure hunt clue that does not make any sense whatsoever.

Argh!! Now please proceed to Tee Box 8, and go and kill Black Beauty.

Fun Factor (0/5)

It’s rare that we don’t have even one single bit of fun on a golf course. The drivable hole 8 would have provided enough drama for us to actually give it a decent rating, but the setup is too dangerous for the world at large. There is simply no way I am going to play that tee shot again, unless I want to go on the lam and be hunted down like a wombat. The other holes played too narrow, too unforgiving. There’s a difference between challenge and sadism. This is the latter. The designers of this course clearly has no idea where the line is. For example, hole 8, a par 3. Elevated tee box, 100 metres away. Couple of trees, well, that’s normal.

No, the trees are in the middle, as in, we have to hit OVER these trees to hit the green. Either that or aim far right and hook the ball back into the green. Since we are clearly not PGA professionals (and if we are, we are probably terrorists hostages forced at gunpoint to play on this course), we have to resort to hitting it over the trees (which usually ends up rebounding back and cracking the skull of our partners). I am not kidding, we have to hit OVER. And these are not your tiny trees found at the roadside of a highway. These are trees born and bred to destroy your golf balls. Standing massively high, these pines grow every day, year by year, bigger and bigger. I wonder what the course superintendent (who is probably the kacang putih seller at the entrance) plans to do. Soon, we won’t be able to see the green anymore and we can abandon the hole for dead, or use our 7 iron to chop it down.

Seriously, do they actually think that’s fun? It’s possibly one of the worst designed holes ever! I managed to fly my PW over the trees but forgot to calculate elevation and thin air and sent it crashing into forest oblivion beyond. I just hope I killed a wild boar with that shot. Curses to you, wild boars, our eternal foes!

Conclusion

I think one of my playing partners succinctly described the course. “This is by far, the <expletive> course I’ve ever played on.” Expletive here means it’s so bad, the words are not fit for consumption. We usually want to find at least one or two positives about the course, but we’re hard pressed to do so. It would have been ok if the course was in your backyard and the golf balls you would be missing be funneled back somehow into your garage by some sort of magic. Other than that scenario, I cannot see who would be crazy enough to drive all the way up here to play on this sorry excuse of a course. It’s not a golf course, it’s somebody’s backyard that so happens to have a few flags sticking out of the ground and a hole you can attempt to whack your balls into.

You will lose a lot of balls, seriously. Don’t bother searching for lost balls, because it’s too dangerous and it’s not worth it. Take the oldest balls you can find and the oldest clubs you have as you will subject them to much humiliation in this course.

If you have 2 hours to kill in Frasers, I’d think sitting at the clock tower and watching flowers grow by the nanometer is more satisfying than playing on this piece of highland junk.

The good: Good weather. For a cup of tea!

The bad: Too many. Everything here basically sucks. Don’t waste your time on this course. If you want highland golf, skip Frasers and head to Genting. At least, no wild boars, borrowed fairways, death trap tee box and par 3s that require you to hit over trees. And no stupid dogs that don’t collect our lost balls from the rough.

The skinny: 4 of 40 divots (10%). It’s impossible to recommend this course to anybody, except people who intend to commit suicide. Terrible, terrible experience.