Malaysia has more than 200 golf courses and has much to offer to golf enthusiasts of any skill level. The golfing experience in this Southeast Asian country ranges from the top tournaments where skill and mastery is on display, to the luxury beach resorts where one can enjoy an afternoon of recreational golf. Golf is also much more accessible here as compared to other destinations in Southeast Asia such as China and Japan where the fees may be exorbitant. Here are five of the best golf courses in Malaysia.
Orna Golf and Country Club, Malacca
This 27-hole course in Malacca opened in 1997 and has hosted several professional events ever since.It has gained the reputation of being one of the most challenging courses in Malaysia. Designer Andy Dye has created an ideal course for big hitters with bigger fairways and less trees. The challenges come from the creeks, lakes, bunkers and the fairways that head into undulating greens.
The course consists of three 9-hole loops, the East, West and North. The highlight of the East course is the par-5 7th consisting of a double dogleg. The West course is the longest of the three and has the signature hole, the 183 meter par-3 12th that calls for a high degree of accuracy for par. The North course is the shortest and designed as the easiest of the three nines; but its 2911-meter length should not be underestimated. The clubhouse offers recreational facilities such as tennis courts, a swimming pool and even karaoke rooms.
Cameron Highlands Golf and Country Club, Pahang
This course sits in a valley 5,000 feet above sea level and is a pleasant change from the humidity of the tropical jungles. Wide fairways allow the ball to travel further and the thinner air provides greater speed. Most notable is the par-5 15th hole with more than 100 meters of elevation change and scenic views of the mountains on all sides. You can have a truly pleasant golfing experience here with the cool climate and the fresh mountain air. But expect frequent showers here, so carry an umbrella along when you visit.
The Els Club Teluk Datai, Langkawi
In 2009, Asian Golf Monthly accorded this course the title of Most Scenic Golf Course in Malaysia. The Els Club Teluk Datai, which opened in 1992 and was designed by Ernie Els, also ranked among the top ten golf courses in Malaysia.
Renovations were underway in 2012 and 2013 and the course has now re-opened for play. The course still retains its captivating beauty and is contained within a vast 8000-acre preserve. Located in northern Langkawi, the course overlooks the Andaman Sea in the East. Natural streams can be found throughout the course, which ambles down an ancient rainforest towards the sea. Narrow fairways and the surrounding jungle leave less room for error and bunkered greens pose a considerable challenge.
Saujana Golf and Country Club, Petaling Jaya
Designed by Ronald Fream, this course has hosted the Malaysia Open seven times and was also the first Asian golf course to host the European & Asia PGA Tour. Considered to be the toughest course in the country, it has earned itself the nickname ‘The Cobra’. Even professionals face a challenge here with the fast sloping greens and dramatic elevation changes. Especially challenging are the 2nd hole, which is surrounded by palm trees and has a deep ravine and three bunkers protecting the green. The caddies here are trained and knowledgeable and can help you make the most of the experience.
Borneo Golf and Country Club, Sabah
Renowned golfer and adept designer, Jack Nicklaus created the Borneo Golf course, which is situated approximately 70 kilometers from Kota Kinabulu. Suited for any ability level, the design incorporates the natural lakes and lagoons and creates some exciting challenges. Prepare to face stiff ocean breeze while on the back nine where many of the holes are bounded by the sea. There is also a clubhouse, practice area and two putting greens, as well as a hotel for those who want to stay overnight. Golf enthusiasts will definitely enjoy playing here among the lakes, well-placed bunkers and fast greens.
The ever-present winds also contribute to an interesting golfing experience.