Gunung Merapi (translated as “Fire Mountain”) on the island of Java is Indonesia’s most active volcano. It’s been designated as a Decade Volcano for particular study, along with fifteen others around the world, due to its destructive eruptions and close proximity to large areas of population.
Yogyakarta lies 30 kilometres to the south and the course at Merapi Golf sits in between the city and the volcano, with fairways set out across its ancient lava flows. Developed as a public facility by businessman Yuwono Kolopaking when he retired in the late-1980s, the course is his way of giving something back to the local people.
The layout has not been without its problems in recent years. Following the last eruption of Mount Merapi in 2010, holes 9, 10 and 17 were covered in ash but the locals rallied together and quickly restored the course. Heavy rain that immediately followed also helped to wash the powdery residue away.
Merapi Golf is a parkland course set on the slopes of the mountain of the same name; an active volcano in the Special Region of Yogyakarta, in central Java. Surprisingly, for a course set on slopes of a mountain, the elevation changes are quite tame, but the lush mountain jungle is certainly present along fairways. Other course defences are plenty of well placed bunkers and regular dog-legs requiring some blind shots if you want to attack. Plenty of views of the dominating Mt Merapi, but it's not enough alone to make the course any more than a good layout. A few too many holes run back and forth and seem repetitive and the conditioning was just acceptable when I played in July 2018.
Weekday greenfees were a reasonable IDR650K which includes a compulsory caddie and powered cart. Clubhouse had a bar, locker room with showers and a small golf shop. It was, like the course, fine but not spectacular. Journey time to/from the course and central Yogyakarta was just over an hour.
At position 14 in Indonesia I think this course is a little over-rated: it would sit more comfortably in the mid to lower 20's.