Malaysia’s top 5 golf courses near Singapore

By Ken Hunter

GOLF is on the upswing in Malaysia. With more than 200 golf courses, the Southeast Asian country has something for golfers of all ages, from top golf tournaments to luxurious golf beach resorts.

Lush tropical rainforest surrounds many of Malaysia’s golf courses. Pic: jneilson23, Flickr.

Lush tropical rainforest surrounds many of Malaysia’s golf courses. Pic: jneilson23, Flickr.

One of the most popular golfing areas in Malaysia is Johor, home to the most golf courses in the nation.

Malaysia’s second-most populous state, Johor lies across Johor Strait from Singapore.

Many of Johor’s courses can be found in and around Johor Bahru, the state capital and Malaysia’s second-largest city. Johor Bahru lies about 300 kilometres (186 miles) southeast of Kuala Lumpur.

A Malaysian golfer drains a putt. Pic: Brandon LLW, Wikimedia Commons.

A Malaysian golfer drains a putt. Pic: Brandon LLW, Wikimedia Commons.

The Johor–Singapore Causeway and the Malaysia–Singapore Second Link connect Johor and Singapore, so it’s easy to travel back and forth if you crave some cross-border golfing action.

Here’s a look at five of the top golf courses in Malaysia that are located near Singapore:

Palm Resort Golf and Country Club

 

A three-minute drive from Johor Bahru’s Senai International Airport, this club consists of the Allamanda, Cempaka and Melati courses. Named after Malaysian flowers and trees, these 18-hole courses occupy 800 acres and challenge golfers of all levels.

The Allamanda course is a “resort course” featuring stunning scenery, demanding sand bunkers, and carefully looked-after greens.

The 7,156-yard Cempaka course is a championship course with unforgiving doglegs, narrow fairways, nine holes of water, and more than 60 sand bunkers.

The Melati course, meanwhile, is the longest of the three courses, measuring 7,205 yards. It has 35 sand bunkers and six water hazards. The course also features Malaysia’s longest hole, at a punishing 684 yards.

Palm trees line many of Johor’s golf courses. Pic: gtknj, Flickr.

Palm trees line many of Johor’s golf courses. Pic: gtknj, Flickr.

Pulai Springs Resort

Pulai Springs has two 18-hole championship USGA-class courses: the 6,819-yard Pulai course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., and the 6,582-yard Melana course designed by Peter Dalkeith Scott.

Pulai Springs’ two golf courses are named after local features: pulai trees can be found on both golf courses, and the Melana River flows through the resort.

A highlight of Pulai Springs is its 36,576-square-metre (120,000-square-foot) clubhouse. The clubhouse features wood carvings by master craftspeople from Indonesia and Malaysia, and is designed to resemble an ancient royal Malay palace.

Ponderosa Golf and Country Club

Located only eight kilometres (5 miles) from the Johor-Singapore Causeway, this 18-hole, par-72 course’s strategically placed sand and water hazards compensate for its relatively short length.

Remodeled by Ronald Fream in 1996, the 6,384-metre (7,072-yard) course also challenges golfers with its tricky greens and strong winds.

Ponderosa Golf & Country Club is located 15 minutes from central Johor Bahru. Pic: gtknj, Flickr.

Ponderosa Golf & Country Club is located 15 minutes from central Johor Bahru. Pic: gtknj, Flickr.

Facilities at Ponderosa include a Chinese restaurant, pro-shop, driving range, tennis courts, and an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Ponderosa also bills itself as “Malaysia’s Southern Gateway to Night Golfing,” if you want to shoot a round under the stars.

Tanjong Puteri Golf Resort

This resort, about 35 kilometres (22 miles) northeast of Johor Bahru, features three championship courses: the Plantation course, the Village course and the Straits course.

The 6,454-metre (7,058-yard) Plantation golf course opened in November 1992. The site of a former oil palm plantation, the course was designed to maintain and enhance its natural setting. Oil palm trees border the fairways, for example, as well as fruit trees on holes 4, 6, 7, 14, 15 and 17.

Oil palm trees in Malaysia. Pic: Pizzaboy1 (Craig), Wikimedia Commons.

Oil palm trees in Malaysia. Pic: Pizzaboy1 (Craig), Wikimedia Commons.

Work on the 18-hole Village course started in August 1994. The 6,414-metre (7,014-yard) course, designed by Akira Mamiya, includes 13 holes that have water bodies bordering their fairways or greens.

The 18-hole Straits course roughly follows the coastline of Johor Strait. This 6,163-metre (6,740-yard) course challenges golfers because you have to contend with hilly terrain, rocky outcrops and strong prevailing winds from the strait.

The Legends Golf Resort

The original concept of this resort included three championship courses: one designed by Jack Nicklaus, one by Arnold Palmer, and one by Gary Player. Only the Nicklaus course and nine holes of the Palmer course have been finished, though. The Gary Player course remains in the planning phase.

The par-72, 18-hole Jack Nicklaus course opened to golfers in 1997. This 6,710-metre (7,338-yard) course features views of the neighboring palm oil plantation. Don’t be surprised if monkeys stop to check out your game on the back nine too.

Monkeys like this one might stop to watch your game on The Legends Golf Resort’s back nine. Pic: Lohb, Flickr.

Monkeys like this one might stop to watch your game on The Legends Golf Resort’s back nine. Pic: Lohb, Flickr.

The nine-hole Arnold Palmer course, opened in 2009, is of the “highest international standard.” This 3,326-metre (3,637-yard) course, challenges golfers of all levels with greens guarded by sand bunkers, grass hollows and trees.

The Legends Golf Resort is about 55 kilometres (34 miles) northwest of Johor Bahru.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about travelling to Malaysia, please visit the Tourism Malaysia website

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About the author…

Ken Hunter (Japan)
Ken Hunter is a freelance writer based in Japan, where he has lived since 2003. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, circle him on Google+, and follow him on Twitter.