Penang Golf Course
A well maintained championship course, which plays short and tight and poses a real challenge for more expert players.
The Penang Golf Course was once 130 acres of jungle, now it’s the Bukit Jambu Country club and one of the most successful golf courses in Malaysia. It was once home to the Malaysian Open in 1992 which was won by Vijay Singh. This is one of the top ten courses in the country so it has a lot to live up to. Having said that, it’s won awards, so there has to be some truth in its reputation. There are wonderful views from the top and it’s worth a game while you’re here. The undulating course plays tight, your shot needs to travel just over 6,000 yards – hit hard. There are some sharp little dog-legs at the par-4 1st, and a really tight 4th, so be careful where your ball lands because if it lands in the jungle say goodbye to your ball forever. The smallish greens are fast and the designer, a Robert Trent Jones Jr has cleverly disguised the bunkers so they cannot be seen, from a distance all you see is a grassy mound, until you’re up close and personal trying to retrieve your ball if you’ve miss-shot.
The course is kept in excellent condition and challenges golfers from relatively new to well-seasoned players. It could be a long day, but come along and enjoy the challenges it offers.
Bukit Jawi Golf Resort
Bukit Jawi offers two superb championship courses in excellent condition with ample opportunity to try both on the same day. Bukit Jawi is 30 minutes away from Penang on the mainland near Sungai Bekap. IT boasts 36 holes which is spread just over 300 acres of mountain. There are some top notch layouts that give the golfer plenty to grapple with. The fairways are in good condition with Zoysia Matrella grass with a luxurious carpet feel. The rolling greens are fast and the ball travels over the Bermuda Tifdwarf grass, so no heavy shots. There’s little in the way of rough terrain, and the elevation changes aren’t too difficult to master with some first rate views over the course. The course is particular good from the par-3 15th where you will hit your shot towards the island green. The par-4 5th is a really difficult hole with a 90 degree dog-leg, with trees coming in at all sides of the fairway. You could put for an eagle if you have a good drive. The par-4 14th provides a tee shot that must cut the lake to land safely on a strip of fairway and then on to an island fairway with a difficult approach to a small sloping 18th.
The Hill Course is similar to the lake course in that it has wide fairways but the elevation here mean that many tee shots are played uphill and blind. The par-3 12th has a small lake as its guard and the bunkers and elevation changes can give you more challenges before you’re finished. The 17th will test you with a slope that steers steeply from the right and to the left and could be four putted. The wildlife is stunning and there are some monitor lizards that are often seen crawling along the fairways. This is an excellent course and the Bukit Jawi should provide a few hours of pleasurable golf.
Penang Golf Resort, East Course
The Penang Golf Resort is a flat course with some superbly designed holes with bunkers to grapple with, providing both a challenge to professional and amateur players. The Penang Golf Resort is situated on a former palm oil plantation which is an exceptional course. There are two championship courses here, East and West. It has been host to the prestigious Malaysian Amateur Open and many others. You’re tested from the beginning with a par-4 that dog-legs near a lake. Yes, you’ll have to flirt with water, hopefully getting over the fairway bunker on the other side. There’s water near the 2nd, with a short par-5 that can be done in two. Pot bunkers then become the enemy with greensides hiding on the 5th and 6th which could leave a dangerous shot to the pin. The 9th is an interesting hole where you can either be ambitious or cautious. The corner of the dog-legging par-4 14th can be avoided, but if you get this wrong and you could land yourself in a pot bunker which could see you battling to get out for some time.
There’s mostly flat ground but it’s been played around with by the designers to make it interesting. Contouring and mounding the earth has proved successful, but it’s still an open course. There are some trees around so you still need to keep an eye on the ball. The greens are more sloping, and a good maintenance programme keeps the course in good shape all year round.
It is a challenging course, but it’s been a little over hyped. There are some excellent facilities so it’s definitely a must for a keen golfer and plenty to keep the entire family busy if they come along with you.
Penang Golf Resort, West Course
A flat course with plenty of interesting bunkers for players of all levels. There’s a resort which offers excellent facilities for families. It’s built on a former palm oil plantation and is part of a twin course; it’s also under heavy promotion as one of Malaysia’s best courses in the north. The two championship layouts of east and west are well designed; they are almost the same except the West course is a little less busy. The terrain is flat with the contouring and mounding of the earth to create some interesting shots. The bunkers have been well designed have their fair share of water hazards providing some challenging golf. The fairways are big and there’s an open feel that means you can hit with confidence.
Towards the end of each nine you need a careful approach. The water isn’t too threatening, but the innocent looking greens hide them well, so be careful. The pot bunkers pose some problems protecting the greens from the invasion of your ball. The greens slope more than the fairways do and an ongoing maintenance programme means you will find the course in good condition all year long.
It’s up against competition here in Penang, and it’s got a long way to go before it’s the best in the north, however, having said that there are some impressive and extensive facilities meaning that your family can come too and enjoy the day.