Malaysia, two-time winner of World Golf Awards for Asia’s Best Golf Destination, has become a favourite getaway among golfers lately. With the appealing combination of great weather, delicious food, exotic culture, natural attractions, value-for-money shopping and modern fairways, it’s easy to see why more golfers are not just lugging their golf bags onto airplanes, but their families as well, for the trip.
But with almost 160 top golf courses in the country to choose from for international play – many of which are award-winning – how does one choose?
Here’s our top five picks of great golfing holidays for everyone in the family.
A holiday in Langkawi Island conjures images of a tropical sun, white, sandy beaches, swaying coconut trees and the beautiful blue Andaman sea stretched out as far as the eye can see. If beach-side lazing is not your thing, then glide down the island’s mangrove rivers to see the gorgeous limestone landscapes of this UNESCO geopark or trek deep into its mountainous jungles to experience nature at its best. (naturallylangkawi.my)
Best golfing: The award-winning Els Club Teluk Datai, nestled between the Andaman sea and the lush mountains of Langkawi island, features an amazing 18-hole challenge designed by South African legend Ernie Els.
GEORGE TOWN, PENANG
This UNESCO Heritage City is brimming with so much life and activity, no visitor will have time to get bored. From a walking tour of its street art to admiring the architectural beauty of its colonial past to sampling local food along with the locals, there’s simply so much to do. Families will especially love its variety of historic and contemporary museums, the ride up to the top of Penang Hill, a city ride on the three-wheeled trishaw and a leisurely stroll in its many gardens. (mypenang.gov.my)
Best golfing: Stay on the island for a round of golf at Penang Golf Club where you will tee off from as high as a hundred metres above the greens and fairways, or cross the iconic Penang Bridge to the mainland’s Bukit Jawi Golf Resort to experience a thrilling game by the lake.
Voted as one of the world’s best shopping destinations and magnificent cities to visit, Kuala Lumpur is a must-stop on any itinerary to Malaysia. It’s a shopping paradise alright with designer goods going for less due to the currency exchange rate. The best IT gadgets, shoes, fashion and knick knacks are also here to bargain over at the many shopping malls, pop-up bazaars and night markets. (visitkl.gov.my)
Tip: Purchase a Hop On Hop Off pass for the entire family to explore over 50 major sights and attractions in the city so you don’t miss iconic stops such as the Petronas Twin Towers, the Lake Gardens, Independence Square and Bintang Walk. (myhoponhopoff.com)
Best golfing: Tournament Players Club (formerly known as KL Golf Country Club), designed by Australian architect Ted Parslow, is the site of numerous high-profile tournaments, serving up a challenge to golfers with its length, water hazards and sculptured bunkering.
KOTA KINABALU, SABAH
Adventure awaits in this Borneo paradise and visitors can take their pick from gentle explorations of the sea world – snorkeling and guided scuba walks at the easily accessible island marine park – to an exhilarating climb up Mount Kinabalu either by trekking through its jungle to the peak or clinging on to its granite surface on the via ferrata walk. (sabahtourism.com).
Best golfing: Play at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Borneo Golf Resort and you’ll have to battle with the ocean winds and the beauty of this seaside location to focus on your game. Alternatively, take your game to the wetlands and tee off at Dalit Bay Golf Country Club, bordered by the Tambalang and Mengkabong rivers.
The word “Kuching” is Malaysian for cat, but it is the orangutan that has attracted many to this Borneo state, specifically to the rehabilitation centres of this beloved great ape. Other natural attractions easily accessible from Kuching city – Bako National Park, the wetlands of Sibu Laut and Salak rivers and the Bau limestone caves – will keep the family firmly occupied. (sarawaktourism.com)
Best golfing: Enjoy a round of golf in the shadows of the Santubong Mountain where Arnold Palmer has designed a fantastic course around rocky outcrops, ponds, mangrove forests and the South China Sea.
For more information on Malaysia’s golf courses, visit playmalaysiagolf.com or malaysia.travel.