Designed by Australian architect Ross Watson in the late 1990s, the course at Kota Permai is the centerpiece of an enormous residential development that’s situated less than half an hour’s drive from downtown Kuala Lumpur.
The course occupies a 170-acre site and although golfers experience several elevation changes during a round, there are no blind holes or super-elevated greens that only show the top of the flag. Small lakes and ponds feature on half the holes and their interconnection gives the impression of water flowing through the property.
The signature hole is widely regarded as the treacherous 364-yard 2nd, where water to the left threatens the tee shot before crossing in front of the green to the other side. A lone pot bunker lurks in the middle of the fairway and this trap, along with a couple of sleepered greenside bunkers, has to be avoided at all cost in order to post a low score at this hole.
Kota Permai has hosted a number of prestigious competitions in the new millennium, including the Volvo Masters of Asia in 2002 and 2004, Regional World Cup Qualifying in 2005 and the 48th edition of the Malaysian Open in 2008.
Ross Watson kindly provided the following article exclusively for Top 100:
“Unlike most sites in Malaysia earmarked for integrated golf and residential development, the Kota Permai site did not require significant earthworks. The natural topography was well suited to golf and as a result much of the original oil palm plantation was retained as buffers between holes and adjacent to real estate along the edges of the course.
Overall the impression Kota Permai gives is that it has been there for a long time and this was evident even in its early days. The layout flows beautifully through the rolling terrain with each hole memorable by its distinctive setting and individual challenge.
The Malaysian Open has been held at Kota Permai with great success and much praise from the touring professionals. From the outset, the course has been consistently voted in the top three courses in the country and in fact has been the No.1 layout on several occasions.
Again as with all my courses it is a thinking man's course requiring good course management to handle the "risk and reward" challenges that are constantly being thrown at players. This style of course always proves to be popular, teasing and beckoning players of all standards to try again.”
Don’t be put off that Kota Permai is a golf course in a residential development. It is a great Asian golf course presented in superb condition.
Holes are generally played without the intrusion from other players. It is very fair and challenging, with lakes and the tree lined fairways leaving a lasting impression.