In 2006, the Marina Bay golf course was set out by architect Phil Jacobs – who, in a long career working for Gary Player, designed courses like Fancourt (Links) in South Africa and Ria Bintan (Ocean) in Indonesia – and the fairways lie on reclaimed land that was earmarked for recreational development.
Measuring 6,542 metres from the back tees and playing to a standard par of 72, this links-style public course weaves its way around ten man-made ponds on a pretty flat site that features almost a hundred strategically placed pot bunkers of various size and depth.
The toughest hole on the front nine is the long par four 8th, where only the longest of big hitters will get onto the green in two blows, provided they avoid the small bunker in the middle of the fairway that lies just short of the angled green. The signature hole arrives at the 119-metre 13th, which plays to an island green that’s surrounded by a wooden retaining wall.For those who choose to play in the late evening, the course is fully floodlit from Wednesday to Friday but, if time is too tight to play a round, golfers can always practice on the adjoining four-decked driving range, where 146 bays are open for business from 7.00am to 10.45pm every day.
I played Marina Bay in Singapore a few years back as I was in town for a convention. It was the closest option to the Marina Bay Resort and is a public golf course with an enormous practice facility and offering night time play. I played with rental clubs. I found the course to be what one would expect on a golf course in Singapore.....water on ten holes as well as water behind several of the greens. As such it felt very much like I was playing a golf course in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina or a typical public course in Florida.
I think Mr. Jacobs got as much as he could out of the land he was given but perhaps the course would be better served with a little less use of water. The course is well bunkered but the greens are uninteresting. The pace of play was good.
I thought the course offered some good holes such as 5, 8, 14, 17 and 18, all of which are par 4's except for the finishing hole. I did not think the golf course offered any good par 3's. The island green par 3 thirteenth hole seemed too much of a copy of TPC Sawgrass, even the pathway to get to the green is the same. There are some manufactured hills.
Overall, I have this course rated very low of the 705 different courses I have played. Play it only if you want to check the box that you have played in Singapore. More importantly, arrange a round in advance at a better golf course.
A flat and in my view, uninteresting public golf course close to the centre of Singapore's CBD, but unfortunately symptomatic of all public courses that think they are much better than they really are: great expense; no substance. The compulsory carts with colour GPS mean little when the holes blend into one another and the space of the course feels overly cramped. (noting that the tees I played were over 6100m, so length isn't the issue - just missing a fairway and ending up on the adjacent fairway is) Up and back, up and back cartball. Also the hire clubs were of poor quality. The light towers which allow night golf also seem gimmicky, but of course I was playing in daylight with no need of them.