Our pick from more than 200 golf courses from some of the world's leading golf course architects
Malaysia is a fantastic country, full of diversity and thus delivers a great selection of golf courses, which challenge and delight in equal measure. The country itself is a popular travel destination, due to the many things it offers visitors, including great golf courses. Away from golf, there’s a great selection of beautiful beaches to enjoy, in addition to a fascinating history and culture to explore, the modern city of Kuala Lumpur, with the famous Petronas Towers, amazing wildlife and nature and delicious cuisine to sample. What more could you want from a golfing destination? World class golf courses perhaps? Fortunately, Malaysia has some tremendous golf courses to choose from, including Els Club Teluk Datai.
Els Club Teluk Datai, Langkawi
A perfect combination of golf and the natural environment - from jungle to ocean
For those who know their professional golfers, the name Els is stands out in the name of this golf course, which is in Langkawi. Designed by four-time major winner, Ernie Els, Els Club Teluk Datai is golf course which begins in the ancient Malaysian rain forest and winds its way down to the Andaman Sea. The overall environment and setting is lovely and it’s easy to gaze at the features of the course, such as the natural streams and take your eye off the action. Impact on the environment was one of the key features when the course was created and opened in 1992 and it continues to set the same standards, having been completely renovated in 2013 and opened again in 2014. Local nature is apparent at every turn, including bougainvillea, palms, ferns, parasitic vines, tropical hardwoods and broad-leafed plants, with monkeys and other native animals often coming into view. With undulating fairways and greens, expect to be playing your ball from various lies throughout the round but with the course in such great condition, you can rely on a making a true shot, every time. With golf and nature perfectly combined, Els Club Teluk Datai is one of the best golf courses in Malaysia.
Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club, Johor
Another great championship course in Johor designed by Ross Watson
Moving from Langkawi to Johor and another great Malaysian golf course is Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club. Designed by Ross Watson and opened in 2008, this 18-hole, par 72 international championship course features many significant elevation changes, between tee to green on several of the holes. With bunkers, man-made waterfalls, lakes and ponds providing the hazards, Horizon Hills offers a challenging and varied round of golf. There are many risk-reward holes throughout the course, a good example being the par-5, second hole which has two creeks to navigate and those who are unsure about taking them on, would be well advised to lay up short. The final hole, which is also a par-5, has an island fairway, which can be found from the tee, but is a risk at 250 yards and sums up exactly what Horizon Hills Golf Country Club is all about.
Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, Kuala Lumpur
A Max Wexler masterpiece - 36 holes of rolling hills and moderately undulating terrain
About 30 minutes’ drive from the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur, is Glenmarie Golf and Country Club. This 36-hole course, is regarded as being one of the best in Malaysia and it’s to see why, with great conditioning and lovely landscape throughout. Designed by American Max Wexler, on what were rubber estates in the past, there are two, 18-hole courses with rolling hills and moderately undulating terrain throughout. Both courses are similar and the Garden Course comes complete with a nice array of local flora and fauna and a large lake, which is home to several species of bird. The course is open and well-spaced and the main test is judging approach shots to the greens, which are fast and undulating. The Valley Course has pine trees framing quite narrow fairways, with water coming into play on several holes. However, it’s perhaps the changes in elevation which are the most challenging factor on the Valley Course, with blind tee shots and tight drives throughout. Glenmarie Golf and Country club is home to two of the best golf courses in Malaysia.
Kota Permai Golf and Country Club, Kuala Lumpur
An 18-hole championship course which has hosted numerous professional events
Located in the township of Kota Kemuning, just 20 minutes from the centre of Kuala Lumpur, is another example of a great Malaysia golf course, Kota Permai Golf and Country Club. This 18-hole championship course, designed by Ross Watson, has played host to the Asian Tour Masters on multiple occasions and was used as a venue for a qualifying event for the World Cup of Golf. The golf club has earned several top awards over the years and continues to offer visitors a fantastic round of golf. The course is suitable for golfers of all abilities and blends in nicely with the surrounding nature and wildlife. Always in tremendous condition, water hazards and bunkers make for a strategic and pleasing round of golf on a course which continues to set high standards.
TPC Kuala Lumpur
Two superb courses and the host for several major PGA events
Another course within easy reach of Kuala Lumpur city centre, the renamed TPC Kuala Lumpur boasts two champions golf courses. Having recently joined the PGA Tour’s TPC network, the first club to have this honour in Southeast Asia, TPC Kuala Lumpur has hosted some great events, including the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia and the European Tour’s Malaysian Open, between 2013 and 2015. The club is also the home of the CIMB Classic, winners of which include Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore. The East Course provides the perfect blend of length, layout and strategy, with well-maintained fairways and greens. The bunkering, rough and water hazards become more severe as the course develops. The West Course is the longer and more testing of the two courses at TPC Kuala Lumpur and was totally revamped and reopened in 2008. The views of the holes and scenery around the course are gorgeous and combine with the quality of the fairways and greens, to produce one of the best golf courses in Malaysia. Just be aware of the water, which comes into play on 13 of the 18 holes.
Sungai Long Golf and Country Club, Kuala Lumpur
The first Jack Nicklaus designed course to open in the country
Just a short distance from downtown Kuala Lumpur is Sungai Long Golf and Country Club, which forms part of a modern township community. This was the first Jack Nicklaus designed course to open in the country, in 1995 and soon established itself as one of the best golf courses in Malaysia. A parkland style course, which has often been voted as the most well maintained in Malaysia, it features four different lakes, which come into play throughout the 18 holes and a number of bunkers, many of which protect the greens. Having been subject to a major renovation recently, Sungai Long Golf and Country Club is well worth making the short trip from Kuala Lumpur to play.
Saujana Golf and Country Club, Kuala Lumpur
One of the most testing layouts in the country - especially the "Cobra" course
The first home of the Malaysia Open, is Saujana Golf and Country Club, which is situated 17 kilometres west of Kuala Lumpur and like TPC Kuala Lumpur, is home to two excellent golf courses. The Palm Course, nicknamed ‘The Cobra’ was the first course in the country to host a joint European and Asian Tour event and although it is not the longest course in the county, the layout is certainly one of the most testing. Undulating fairways, with big changes in elevation and sloping greens are aa challenge for professionals and amateurs alike. Although the Palm Course hosts the big events, the Bunga Raya Course has remained popular with the locals and it’s easy to see why. A more undulating and tighter course than the Palm, half of the front and back nine holes, are played across old railway tracks and there is plenty of elevation on the fairways, in addition to the fast and sloping greens. With the surrounding jungle and wildlife, Bunga Raya competes well with the Palm, for not only the title of top course at Saujana Golf and Country Club but as one of the best golf courses in Malaysia.
Damai Golf and Country Club, Sarawak
The first Arnold Palmer designed golf course in Malaysia
The first Arnold Palmer designed golf course in Malaysia, can be found 20 minutes from Kuching, on the South China Sea. The Damai Golf and Country Club in Sarawak, plays along a peninsula, with beaches, mangrove forests and the foothills of Mount Santubong providing the perfect backdrop. Split into two sets of nine holes, the Mountain and the Ocean nine are quite different from each other. The Mountain Course, is played close to the foothills of the mountain and is situated in rugged terrain, whereas the Ocean Course plays along the South China Sea, with beaches and scenic fairways to enjoy. Watch out for the greens, which can be quite small and require accurate approach shots.
With such a great choice of golf courses in Malaysia, it’s tough to single out one as being the best. The only thing to do, is try and sample as many as time allows and make up your own mind, on which are the best golf courses in Malaysia.