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.
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.