Striking scenery, exotic cultures and cuisines and a variety of tropical courses. Just don’t stray too far from the fairways.
MALAYSIA for golf—halfway around the world just to chase that dimpled ball up and down fairways? The answer is: Yes, if you love adventure. The destination is an intriguing brush with different cultures, varied histories and fabulous food that reflects the Malay, Indian and Chinese population.
There is history here. The Klang and Gombak rivers meet at the city of Kuala Lumpur. KL to the locals, it means “muddy river junction.” When the Chinese arrived in 1857 looking to mine tin, the place was a heavy forested jungle.
There was a lot of fighting over the tin and eventually the British took control. The British influence is still evident in a lot of the city’s architecture. The Indian and Chinese cultures are also very strong throughout the city.
Is Malaysia a hard-core golf destination? Not compared to the Carolinas or Arizona or Scotland. But it does have several outstanding courses among the 200 or so spread along this exotic country. You can also combine golf with trips into lush rainforests, diving expeditions or a rejuvenating beach experience.
If you haven’t been in this type of climate before, a word to the wise. It’s hot and humid, so you have to keep those liquids flowing. Most of the golf courses are walkable and the terrain varies. The hillier courses will give you a good cardio workout.
Just over an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur lies Glenmarie Golf and Country Club. We played the Garden, one of two 18-hole courses, at 7,000 yards from the tips. A good way to shake off the stiffness after several hours of travel, it is lighted for night play.
The A’Famosa Resort in Melaka State, has three distinct nines. We played the Palm and Rocky—not the Crocodile—and found them to be very strong layouts. The golf at A’Famosa is part of a family-styled resort that offers attractions such as a cowboy village, safari, go-karts and rental accommodations.
By far the strongest course we played was at Tiara Melaka Golf and Country Club. The club featured three nines—Lake, Meadow and Woodland. It is consistently rated in the top
10 courses in Malaysia by Golf Malaysia and Golf Digest Malaysia. The capital of Melaka, State is Melaka City, a UNESCO Heritage Site, overlooking the Melaka Straits. Like KL, its fascinating history is worth a tour.
Gunung Raya Golf Club lies on the island of Langkawi. This course is spread over 300 acres of a former rubber plantation. Cut through a valley, it is surrounded by lush forests.
The clubhouses at the courses we played all had full facilities. Green fees ranged between $65 and $85 CDN, less through a golf package.
A few things to keep in mind. If your ball goes into a hazard, bushes or water, you are better off to take a drop. There are snakes you really don’t want to tangle with. Also, watch out for packs of roaming monkeys. They won’t hurt you, but they like to steal stuff from your golf cart.
More Insight: Check out this cool article on how to best experience travel after the vacation!