This article was written by golf enthusiast Jordan Fuller.
The capital and largest city in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, is a bustling metropolis with a fantastic skyline highlighted by the tallest pair of twin towers in the world, the Petronas Towers. Situated in a place where the Klang River and Gombak River meet, Kuala Lumpur’s name means “muddy confluence” in honor of the turbulent waters coming together. Its tropical rainforest climate means temperatures year-round hover between 60 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, typically.
And that’s where golf comes in. Kuala Lumpur boasts a number of fantastic golf courses that take advantage of the beautiful weather. Here are five of the best.
1: Royal Selangor Golf Club
The oldest course in Malaysia, Royal Selangor Golf Club opened in 1893 when coffee farmers decided that it was high time to build a golf course in Kuala Lumpur. Since then, Royal Selangor GC has been built and rebuilt several times in various forms, and today remains a championship course that often plays host to professional events. During the Japanese occupation in World War II, the course was shut down to plant banana and tapioca fields. It was swiftly rebuilt, however, and a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed swimming pavilion was added in the 1950’s.
At present, it boasts 45 holes of great golf, with two full 18-hole courses and a separate 9-hole option. It’s always been encouraging of women’s and junior golf, with amateur tournaments held each year. The country club also plays host to a professional tennis tournament each year, the WTA Malaysia Open. The golf courses are kept in tip-top shape and feature great views of the nearby skyline extending above its tree-lined fairways. The club plays frequent host to government officials, diplomats, dignitaries, and celebrities.
While it’s a private club, they welcome public play prior to 8:30 am on weekdays, so get there early and experience a unique piece of Malaysian history.
2: Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Golf Club
This 27-hole golf facility is located about a half-hour drive west of downtown Kuala Lumpur. Designed by 5-time Open Champion Peter Thomson, it’s a links-style course that blends in beautifully to the surrounding habitat. As befitting any course designed by a man who made his name winning on the classic courses of the Open Rota, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Golf Club has a classic feel, as if it was carved from the landscape rather than designed by an architect.
The relatively narrow fairways are surrounded by out of bounds and numerous water hazards, so accuracy is at a premium here. The best hole is the Sultan Course’s #2, the dragon par 5. At 540 yards, it’s reachable in two for longer hitters, but you have to hit a straight drive to a narrow landing area. You can also play conservatively and make it a relatively easy three-shot green-in-regulation, but the difficult two-tiered green still makes pars hard to come by.
3: Saujana Golf & Country Club
The Saujana Golf & Country Club is a one-stop resort that caters to all your vacation needs. With two championship golf courses (one of which has hosted the Malaysian Open nine times) and a beautiful on-site resort hotel, it’s one of the premier golf destinations in Asia.
The Palm Course is the tougher (and arguably better) of the two courses, though both are rewarding experiences worth revisiting time and again. Its signature holes are the difficult par 3 second with a tee shot over a deep ravine, and the giant 605-yard par 5 third hole that follows it. A local caddy is necessary here, as there’s a ton of local knowledge that will help you avoid making some really big numbers.
The attached resort offers beautiful golf course views as well as a swimming pool, sauna, spa, fitness center that will help you to do some workouts and several dining options. Saujana Golf & Country Club’s ambition is to be known as the #1 golf destination in Malaysia, and they’re working hard to achieve that goal.
4: Glenmarie Golf & Country Club
Glenmarie Golf & Country Club is a 36-hole facility that’s in absolutely pristine condition. It may seem odd to praise a course’s drainage, but in a place that’s prone to sudden downpours, that’s an important consideration. Glenmarie is one of the best-draining golf courses you’ll find anywhere; it becomes playable mere minutes after torrential downpours that would have most other courses closed all day.
Both tracks were designed by renowned architect Max Wexler and opened in 1993. The Garden Course is classified as a resort course and will feature more birdie opportunities. The Valley Course is a challenging championship course that’s hosted the EurAsia Cup international golf tournament. Nestled amongst the rainforests, the courses boast beautiful flora and fauna with numerous trees and water hazards waiting to wreak havoc with wayward shots.
5: TPC Kuala Lumpur
You know that TPC Kuala Lumpur will be a tip-top destination because it’s earned the TPC designation that PGA Tour fans will know well. It hosted the CIMB Classic on the PGA Tour from 2013-2018, a tournament with such notable champions as Justin Thomas, Marc Leishman, and Ryan Moore.
The East and West courses each boast 18 holes of terrific golf, especially after a thorough redesign in 2009/2010. The greens are fast and pure, and the fairways firm and fast. While you may not find yourself shooting -26 over 4 rounds as Leishman and Thomas did, you’ll still enjoy many birdie opportunities rewarding accurate iron shots.
With scenic mountains on the horizon, perfectly manicured fairways and shimmering lakes, the courses offer lots of risk/reward opportunities. With little margin for error, you may find yourself shooting 75 one day and 95 the next.
As you can see, Kuala Lumpur is a rich golf destination with a fantastic climate for golf and a wide variety of options. Make sure you have a great travel bag to keep your clubs safe while you’re flying between destinations. A light but durable bag with firm structure and clever design is important to keep the delicate graphite shafts found in today’s premium drivers safe and sound on your journey.
Follow Jordan Fullers blog, Golf Influence, for more insider golf tips.