It may be a long way from the traditional tourist centres in Nusa Dua and Ubud (up to 2.5 hours), but a deserved place in Golf Magazine’s “Top 50 Greatest Golf Courses in the World” means a trip to the world-class championship course at Bali Handara Kosaido Country Club is well worth the effort.
Bali’s oldest course also has the most spectacular setting: inside the crater of a dormant volcano at an altitude of almost 4,000 feet, surrounded by lush green mountains, crater lakes and an equatorial rainforest. This is the dramatic backdrop to some spectacular holes full of severe elevation changes and thoughtfully located hazards. Wayward driving will at times be heavily punished, but overall the course is challenging but fair, and a lot of fun to play. The elevation changes mean there are a few blind drives, so we’d recommend that you book more than one round here if you are determined to set a good score – it’s easy to get into needless trouble the first time around.
You’ll appreciate the way the course eases you in with a short, friendly par 5 where only a couple of straightforward shots around the bunkers and the ditch are needed before you have to find your first green. After that, it gets a little trickier, notably on the dogleg par-4 3rd where you’ll need a mighty crack of the driver to clear the creek that guards the corner. Better to play it straight, avoiding the thick bushes on the other side and trying to get far enough down the fairway to be able to reach a green guarded by water. The signature 14th, an uphill 203 yard par-3, will stick long in the memory – hopefully because of the spectacular mountains that frame the hole rather than the dreadful mess you make of trying to land your ball on the well-protected green.
The Bent grass greens run fast and true, with plenty of undulations to keep you guessing, although at no point do you feel like the challenge is over the top. You’ll likely three putt a couple of times, but you’d have to be unlucky to putt the ball off the green.
There are a lot of hills here, so unless you are a purist we’d recommend taking a golf cart, although the finishing holes are generally downhill so walking it isn’t out of the question. If you do, you’ll certainly have earned some time in the sauna or a post-round drink in a pleasant clubhouse that is reminiscent of the type of mid-century houses that dot Palm Springs - architecture buffs will love it. Also available are some excellent practice facilities – 3 putting greens, chipping area and practice bunker, and there is plenty of food on offer, from light snacks to international, local and Asian cuisine.
Overall, this course comes highly recommended for anyone on a Bali golf holiday and it's well worth the extra travel time required to reach it. As the course can be shrouded in mist in the early morning, we’d recommend booking a tee time a bit later in the day if you want to fully appreciate quite how spectacular this challenging course is.
Tee Time Bookings at Bali Handara Kosaido Country Club
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You can read all about the golf courses in Bali here.