The Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club golf course at Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort is set within a wonderful 400-acre tropical estate which lies between the Tambalang and Mengkabong rivers in the north east of Sabah, on the island of Borneo.
Designed by Ted Parslow of Parslow and Winter Golf Design, the course is configured with two returning nines, each of which are looped around a landscape that was once nothing more than forested jungle and mangrove swamp.
Water features rather prominently on this wetland layout – only two holes, at 8 and 10, are free of any aquatic hazard – but fairways are generally wide enough to allow golfers a little latitude off the tee.
The sequence of holes from 10 to 13 form Dalit Bay’s version of “Amen Corner,” and this stretch is highlighted by the tee shot at the 11th, which plays to the green across the Tambalang River, in the direction of nearby Mount Kinabalu.
Getting to this part of the world is no easy trek. I was on a media visit when the sponsoring organization added a side visit to Sabah and a few of the courses there.
I played the course during the late winter months and when one makes the trek to this area of the world the stifling heat and humidity can be overpowering when one has so little time to adjust.
The overall resort is quite comfortable -- with easy access to the South China Sea.
The sad reality is that Dalit Bay is nothing more than a standard fare resort course. There are a few holes of note but nothing that screams out to book a reservation and head there.
The par-4 7th and 9th holes are quality mid-length par-4's -- accuracy is the key to succeed at both. The par-3 11th offers an attractive glimpse of the adjoining South China Sea to a nicely contoured green.
The par-5 3rd is also quite good -- with water a major concern item down the right side. Fortunately, the inward half of holes has the better consistency. Just be sure to have plenty of sunscreen and a bucket hat because the sun will be punishing.
by M. James Ward