Situated in a former jungle area called the Cikeas River Valley, the Old course at Jagorawi Golf & Country Club (originally named the Garden course) opened in 1979 when an initial 9-hole circuit was built. Another couple of years would pass until the second nine was ready for play.
The first “new era” golf project in Indonesia, the Old course was laid out by the respected design team of Peter Thomson, Michael Wolveridge and Ron Fream. All in all, it took six years for them to construct the eighteen holes and a similar amount of time ensued before the New course came along.
Thomson and Wolveridge again worked on this second 18-hole layout but the third main member of the team this time was Max Wexler, who would later build another 9-hole circuit (along with Mr Zakir, the owner here), thus bringing the number of holes in use at Jagorawi to 45.
The New course is a good bit longer than its older sibling but it’s also a little wider and more forgiving, allowing big hitters to let loose with the driver. That said, the toughest hole on the card is the 337-metre 12th, where it’s recommended to use a fairway wood or even an iron off the tee in order to keep the ball in play on a very tight fairway.
Numerous elite golfing competitions have been held on the New course, including a couple of Indonesian Opens, but perhaps its best claim to fame arrived when it hosted the golfing element of the Southeast Asian Games in 2011.
Ron Fream kindly provided us with the following comments:
I was with the original course and brought Max Wexler onto the site from St Kitts in the Caribbean, where he had directed construction for me at the original Royal St Kitts between 1973 and 1976.
At Jagorawi, Max fit in like a local, living in a thatched two-roomed hut on site with an electricity generator and a kerosene powered refrigerator (to keep the beer cold), with local village women acting as his house keeper, cook and laundry lady.
Max stayed on after I had separated from Thomson and Wolveridge. When the second course was done, Max joined with the owner, Mr Zakir, to do the “Z nine”. Max then came to Singapore to help build the original Garden course at Tanah Merah with me.
Incidentally, the name of the Garden course came from the local name given to the first Jagorawi course as so much landscape planting was done to recover the former rice paddy and rubber tree plantation there.
At Tanah Merah, land was all reclaimed so replanting was important. Max got a Singapore residence permit then joined with the club chairman to do a second course. Thereafter, Max designed several new Malaysian during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Unfortunately, the Jagorawi Old course now requires some serious remodeling but the family does not have the desire nor the money to fully redo the layout. The Tanah Merah Garden course will soon have to face reconstruction, perhaps even relocation, due to pending Changi airport expansion.