Bali is situated at the western end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, with Java to the west and Lombok to the east and is arguably the most famous of the Indonesian islands in terms of tourism. The capital city is called Denpasar, which can be found in the southern part of the island and the estimated population of Bali is close to 4 million people.
Tourism is a very important for Bali and makes up 80% of their economy, which includes visitors playing golf on the island.
The island itself is home to a several impressive mountains and volcanoes, the largest of which being Mount Agung at an impressive 9,944 feet. The volcanic nature of the island has helped in the growth of many crops including rice and coffee.
When visiting Bali, tourists enjoy the resorts, beaches, diving, yoga and golf, with many stunning courses to enjoy across the island.
Geography and Travel
Bali is located just 1.6 kilometres east of Java and the two islands are separated by the Bali straight, which is a narrow stretch of water.
The Bali area is 5,780 square kilometres and majority of people follow Balinese Hinduism, with over 80% adhering to the religion. Muslim, Christianity and Buddhism make up the remaining population.
This island is surrounded by stunning coral reef and many people choose to visit the island to dive and enjoy the marine life. A diving experience can easily be included on any Bali golf holiday and makes a great addition.
If you are travelling to Bali to play golf from a different country, chances are you will arrive at Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport. Many international airlines fly to this airport including Emirates, KLM, Qantas, Qatar Airways and Virgin. You may need to stop in Singapore on many routes coming from Europe and United States.
The international terminal was opened in 2013 and provides international passengers with an easier route out of the airport upon arrival. You are best advised to use a prepaid taxi service to leave the airport unless you have travel arrangements booked with your accommodation on the island.
If you wish, you can use the bus service called Trans Sarbagita which has several stops around the island but this can be inconvenient, especially when carrying luggage and golf clubs.
Where to Stay
Bali offers many interesting places to stay when playing golf on the island and you are spoilt for choice when it comes to the quality of the accommodation.
The island is split into different areas based on their geographic location including Central, South West, North, East and the South-eastern Islands, each of which have various locations in which to stay.
Seminyak is a popular choice for accommodation in Bali thanks to its choice of upmarket resorts and quiet beaches. Many of the islands top restaurants are found in this area and you will find designer boutiques and branded shops. If you are happy to splash out, Seminyak is a great place to stay.
Heading away from the coast and into the central highlands of Bali, Ubud is a small town with a collection of exclusive five-star retreats. There are some great museums and art galleries in Ubud plus a thriving café scene which is a good place to meet local people following a round of golf.
Kuta is Bali’s most famous beach and if you have seen photos of Bali beaches online, there is a good chance many of them were of Kuta. The surfing on this beach is tremendous and the nightlife, restaurants and shopping malls in addition to its proximity to the airport make Kuta a popular choice among travellers.
You also have the option to stay at Bali golf course accommodation and while this may limit you in terms of other activities on the island, you will be close to the golf course you want play and not have to worry about transportation.
Weather and Best Time to Travel
Bali is very close to the equator and therefore has a tropical climate. This means the weather is hot all year round but there are two distinct seasons, with April to October being regarded as the best for playing golf.
The weather in Bali between April and October remains mostly dry and while there can be showers, these do not tend to last long and will not disrupt a round of golf. Even in the rainy season which falls between November and March, the sun comes out quickly following wet weather and this makes it possible to enjoy a golf holiday in Bali at any time of year.
Temperatures tend to average around 27 degrees in the day time for much of the year.
Things to do Away from the Golf Course
If you can tear yourself away from the golf courses on Bali, you will be rewarded with some great activities and sightseeing.
Tanah Lot Temple is perhaps the most iconic temple in Bali and is perched on top of a rock surrounded by the ocean. To see it at sunset is a breath-taking moment and you can visit the temple along with the smaller shrines which surround it.
However, if you want to see a truly magnificent temple, which is the largest of all the Balinese temples, you must visit Besakih Temple which can be found on the slopes of Mount Agung. The three main temples are surrounded by 18 sanctuaries belonging to different caste groups and the size of the complex is a sight to behold.
If you are interested in wildlife, the Ubud Monkey Forest is a great place to visit. Here you can see the grey long-tailed macaque in its natural surroundings in addition to other animals.
A trip to Bali would not be complete without taking to the water and the coral reef is beautiful and just waiting to be explored. You can book a scuba diving trip with one of the several professional companies on the island, whether you are a beginner or export and explore the clear blue seas surrounding Bali.
Finally, if you are searching for a traditional souvenir or gift before you leave Bali, head to Ubud Art Market which has handmade silk scarves, shirts, woven bags, baskets and hats.
Top Golf Courses
Bali National Golf Club
There is no better place to begin playing golf in Bali than Bali National Golf Club, which is regarded by many as the best golf course on the island.
This 18-hole golf course was designed by Robin Nelson and Rodney Wright and it re-opened in 2013 after undergoing extensive renovations. Bali National Golf Club is on the southern end of the island, close to some of the best hotels and just a 20-minute drive from Kuta.
The course has a great history and previously hosted the 1994 Asian Dunhill Masters, which was won by Nick Faldo. Since then, the golf course has been lengthened, meaning is stretches to over 7,000 yards plus it now features new Paspalum turf.
There are two distinct sets of nine holes at Bali National Golf Club. The outward nine is played through hills and tropical jungle, offering great views of the Indian Ocean and the stone walls which have been built give a sense of being in a typical Bali rice field.
The back nine holes play through a serious of lakes on flat land, with a cracking island green on the 17th hole which is reminiscent of the famous 17th at TPC Sawgrass.
Following a round of golf at Bali National Golf Club, you must enter the clubhouse and enjoy a bite to eat in the restaurant. Not only is the food good but the views of the golf course and the ocean are spectacular and it’s a great way to end a day at one of the top Bali golf courses.
Handara Golf Resort Bali
Moving from the southern tip of the island into the mountains of Bali and here you will find the superb Handara Golf Resort Bali.
This golf course nestles in the crater of a volcano and upon arrival you will soon understand why it is considered one of the most breath-taking golf courses, not only on Bali but the in the whole of southeast Asia.
Due to the locate of the course, it can take a one hour journey to reach Handara Golf Resort Bali but once there, you are fully rewarded with mild temperatures and incredible views of lush tropical forest. In fact, the drive to the golf course is a great experience itself, passing traditional villages and rice paddies.
The golf course was designed by the duo of Peter Thompson and Michael Wolveridge in 1974 and features tree-lined fairways with bunkers and water, the latter of which comes into play on three holes. The signature hole at Handara Golf Resort Bali is the par-3 14th hole, which has an uphill tee shot to the green with stunning mountain views in the background. This hole sums up the golf course beautifully and you are sure to be reaching for your camera.
The practice facilities at Handara Golf Resort Bali are very good, with a driving range, putting greens, chipping area, and several bunkers. The clubhouse is not very modern but does not detract from a hugely memorable round of golf.
Heading back to the southern coast of Bali and for an excellent links golfing experience you cannot leave without booking a tee time at New Kuta Golf Club.
New Kuta Golf Club
This golf course is part of the Dreamland Beach complex and was created amongst limestone and between the ocean and white cliffs of the coast. Shortly after opening in 2007, New Kuta Golf Club, designed by Ronald Fream, was awarded the Best New International Course by Links Magazine and in 2009 the Asian Tour Indonesian Open was hosted by New Kuta Golf Club.
The waves come crashing in close to several of the holes and with rolling fairways and undulating greens, accurate tee and approach shots are required to score low. However, there are five sets of tees on each hole, which makes the course a great place to play for golfers of all abilities. Be prepared on the back nine holes, which usually have a strong breeze blowing across them and this adds to the challenge of a round at New Kuta Golf Club.
Not only is this course a great place to play golf in Bali, it has received awards for being environmentally friendly, including the certificate of “IGOLF Laureate Course” from the International Golf and Life Foundation (IGOLF) for environmental conservation. So, you can enjoy a round of golf at New Kuta Golf Club without feeling guilty about the impact on the environment.
The sunset from New Kuta Golf Club is amazing so if you book a round for mid-afternoon, you will get to enjoy one of the best sunset viewpoints on Bali.
The above-mentioned golf courses are some of the best in Bali and provide a fantastic variety of golf on the island. However, you are not restricted to playing only these golf course and you have others available which you can add to make a tremendous Bali golf holiday.
Bali Beach Golf Club and Bukit Pandawa Golf Country Club are two additional Bali golf courses you could add to your itinerary and they combine with those highlighted above to make a special golf trip you will never forget.