Home Travel Kuala Lumpur is gaining prominence as the upcoming golf tourism hub in Asia.

Kuala Lumpur is gaining prominence as the upcoming golf tourism hub in Asia.

Embracing Greens and Glory: Kuala Lumpur's Ascent as an Emerging Golf Tourism Hub in Asia

by Lafin

While Thailand and Vietnam currently hold the title of South-east Asia’s leading golf destinations, Malaysia is rapidly emerging as a compelling alternative, attributed to its affordability and diverse range of courses. What sets Kuala Lumpur apart is its unique position, boasting a dozen golf courses conveniently located within a 45-minute drive from the bustling downtown tourist district. In a region where land scarcity often results in golf courses being situated far from city centers, Kuala Lumpur stands out as an exception.

Let’s delve into four of the finest golf facilities in Kuala Lumpur.

Saujana Golf & Country Club

Saujana golf

Woven into the picturesque landscape of Kuala Lumpur’s western outskirts are two challenging 18-hole golf courses at Saujana. Designed in 1984 by American golf architect Ronald Fream, the Palm Course and Bunga Raya Course were intended for championship play, hosting the Malaysia Open nine times. As a newcomer to the sport, I recently took on the Saujana Palm Course and found myself equally mesmerized and intimidated by its tropical beauty and challenging layout.

Standing on the first tee box, the lush fairways and palm trees created a captivating scene. However, the real test awaited on the second tee, facing what Saujana claims to be “the most difficult hole in Malaysia.” A deep ravine separated me from the elevated green, presenting a daunting challenge 163 yards away. This hole was just one of many memorable encounters on a course featuring meticulous fairways and slick greens.

Before venturing onto the course, I warmed up at Saujana’s practice facility, which includes a 300-yard driving range and a short game area for putting, chipping, and bunker play. Golfers can appreciate Saujana’s scenic beauty before or after their round while enjoying a drink or savoring spicy Malaysian cuisine at the Golfers’ Terrace.

For those looking to experience Saujana’s golfing excellence, an 18-hole round at either course costs $120 per person on weekdays, including a shared buggy, and $150 on weekends. Golf enthusiasts wanting to play both courses might consider staying at the adjacent Saujana Hotel, with room rates starting from $55 per night at this five-star property.

Sungai Long Golf & Country Club

Sungai golf

When my initial tee shot veered off course into the greenery of Sungai Long’s first hole, a sense of foreboding enveloped me about the challenges ahead. However, like many golfers, initial nerves gave way to a sense of relaxation, paving the way for what would turn out to be one of the most enjoyable rounds of my life.

Contributing to this enjoyment was the serene beauty of the 18-hole course, nestled amid jungled hills in the southern outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. The allure deepened as I gradually decoded the layout, a creation of Jack Nicklaus, who shares the title of history’s greatest golfer with Tiger Woods.

Sungai Long presented a varied landscape, demanding power to traverse lakes, technique to escape bunkers, and a delicate touch to navigate its layered greens. The course’s design, overseen by Nicklaus, unfolded as a test of skill and strategy.

Perched above Nicklaus’s masterpiece, Sungai Long’s expansive clubhouse offers impeccable amenities, including pristine change rooms, a swimming pool, and the Golfer Terrace—an open-air restaurant and bar. Despite being a high-quality course, Sungai Long maintains affordable green fees, with an 18-hole round starting at $55 on weekdays.

Royal Selangor Golf Club

Royal golf

Nestled amidst downtown Kuala Lumpur’s skyscrapers, Royal Selangor Golf Club stands as one of Asia’s most distinctive courses, boasting an impressive 45 holes. Its historical roots trace back to 1893, when the city was still a town, and it later relocated to its current downtown location in 1918.

As I navigated the course alongside senior Royal Selangor members Ezani Abu Bakar and Michael Chin Fook Tow, I was enlightened about its rich history. Despite its urban setting, the course is enveloped in greenery, featuring colossal rain trees that provide an unexpected serenity in the heart of the city.

The course, intricately designed and comprising five nine-hole layouts, strikes a delicate balance. Each segment offers a level of complexity to challenge seasoned golfers, yet remains accessible enough not to overwhelm players with varying skill levels, such as myself.

Following our round, we indulged in a satisfying meal within the expansive confines of Royal Selangor’s clubhouse. This multifaceted facility also houses amenities like a pro shop, change rooms, a barber, sauna, and massage facilities.

Golf enthusiasts can experience Royal Selangor by invitation or through reciprocal playing arrangements with affiliated clubs, making it a unique and historically significant destination for the avid golfer.

Impact Golf

Impact golf

Located just 15 minutes east of downtown Kuala Lumpur, Impact Golf offers golfers the ideal setting to equip and prepare themselves before tackling the challenging courses in the region. This expansive facility boasts a two-storey driving range, state-of-the-art coaching spaces, and an impressive club-fitting studio.

At the helm of Impact Golf is chief fitter and seasoned golf coach Eric Chong. Leveraging high-tech video systems, Chong records and analyzes a customer’s swing and ball striking. Based on this data, he provides tailored recommendations for the length, weight, and lie angle of the club that best suits the individual. The unique aspect is that this equipment is custom-built on-site. While this personalized service is priced at $64 per hour, the fee is waived for customers making a club purchase exceeding $640.

For those looking to refine their golfing skills, Impact Golf offers lessons from its team of instructors, starting at $57 per hour. Notably, the roster includes one of Asia’s most renowned golf mentors, Steven Giuliano, who recently joined Impact Golf after serving as the director of instructions at Singapore’s prestigious Laguna National Golf Resort Club. This comprehensive offering makes Impact Golf a go-to destination for both equipment customization and skill enhancement, ensuring a well-rounded golfing experience.

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