Imagine teeing off from the perch of a mountain, across a jungle filled valley to a green nestled adjacent to the sea. Just you, nature and a strip of land so beautifully cultivated that your challenge of putting that tiny white ball in that little hole is no longer a part of golf, but an adventure.
Golf in Malaysia offers an experience like no other. With over 100 courses to choose from — many in places you never thought possible — Malaysia is the perfect place for your next golfing getaway. Here’s a guide to the most breathtaking golf courses across Malaysia.
Shan-Shui Golf and Country Club
Where: 15 kilometres from Tawau town, Sabah
Golf in Borneo is a match made in heaven. This 18-hole championship course sprawls majestically amidst the mountainous backdrop of Tawau’s rich land in the state of Sabah. The undulating terrain and lush surroundings also serves as a natural habitat for wildlife such as exotic birds, monkeys, squirrels and a resident crocodile. Opened in 1998, Shan-Shui quickly rose to fame courtesy of its 15th hole — The Creek — named as one of the Best 500 holes and Top 250 par 4s in the world by US Golf Magazine. It was also awarded the “Best course in Asia” by Golf Monthly magazine in 2000.
Cameron Highlands Golf and Country Club
Where: 10 minutes from Cameron Highlands and 3 hours from Kuala Lumpur
The forest-clad mountains of the Cameron Highlands form a spectacular backdrop to this panoramic golf course, providing what is probably the coolest and most pleasant golfing environment in Malaysia. The fairways are wide and forgiving and coupled with the thinner air – the ball travels faster and further – a round here is quite relaxing. The course is not without its challenges, particularly the 15th hole with a dramatic elevation drop of 100m. The course is open to the public, too.
Els Club Teluk Datai
Where: 40 minutes drive from Langkawi International Airport
This Ernie Els piece of mastery was voted World’s Best New Golf Course at the inaugural World Golf Awards in 2014. Prior to Els’ renovations, The Golf Club Datai Bay was already considered the Most Scenic Golf Course in Malaysia by Asian Golf Monthly and is often labelled Asia’s best golf course. Its website says it all, “Welcome to Golfing Paradise”. You’ll be greeted by breathtaking vistas of marbled mountain peaks, virgin rainforest and the emerald-green Andaman Sea. And if that’s not enough, the Els Group is opening two more courses in Malaysia just for your enjoyment; the spectacular Desaru Coast and the sublime Desaru Valley, both in Johor.
Hornbill Golf Jungle Club
Where: About 70 kilometres from Kuching, Sarawak
Another gem from Borneo, this time in the state of Sarawak. Hornbill offers a true paradise for avid golfers with its brilliantly designed 18-hole layout perched high in the Borneo hinterland. “Golfing in the Clouds” is quite literally the theme, with guests often hitting from above the canopy down into the mist of the valley below. The climate is more friendly too, making it a popular all-year choice for golf vacationers.
Saujana Golf Country Club
Where: Shah Alam near Subang Airport, Selangor.
The crown jewel of Malaysian golf. Offering two 18-hole championship layouts just 20 minutes from the heart of KL, Saujana is a must for all élite golfers. “Deadly but beautiful” and “Jungle golf at its best” are just some of the adjectives used to describe this beast. The Palm course hosted the Malaysian Open between 2001 and 2005, with champions including Thongchai Jaidee, Vijay Singh and Arjun Atwal. The second hole on the Palm course is among CNN Travel World’s 18 most beautiful golf holes.
Awana Genting Highlands Golf Country Resort
Where: Genting Highlands, 55 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur
Set at 3,100 feet above sea level, Awana provides a new experience for the golfer. While not on the same par as Saujana, this masterpiece nestled elegantly in the Genting Highlands is a refreshing getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. But don’t expect an easy stroll around the high country; the fairways are narrow with anything slightly off target sure to find thick jungle or the many water hazards.
Royal Perak Golf Club
Where: Ipoh, Perak
Ipoh Golf Club, as it was originally known, is one of the oldest courses outside of Britain and along with Royal Selangor is an icon of Malaysian golf. Formed in 1879, it started as a humble nine-hole course on the race course in Ipoh. It was destroyed during World War II — used as a tapioca farm — and was only restored its current state in 1947. Although not as breathtaking as some of the other courses on this list, it certainly makes up for it in history and prestige.
If you want to know more about the best golf courses in Malaysia, please visit www.playmalaysiagolf.com