Robert Trent Jones Jnr designed the Pondok Indah layout in the mid-1970s. As it’s located very close to Jakarta city centre, acreage comes at a premium so fairways are laid out side by side in two concentric circles, with housing located both in the middle of the property and all around the perimeter of the layout.
The outward nine holes are routed in a clockwise direction and the inward nine runs in the opposite way, inside the front nine. Just to complicate matters a little further, the Grogol river also snakes its way through the course, coming into play at several holes on the back nine.
After almost thirty years of operation, the architect reappraised the course early in the new millennium and by 2010 it had undergone a complete renovation. Tees and fairways are now grassed with Supreme Paspalum whilst greens have been re-laid with Tifeagle Bermuda.
The course’s biggest claim to tournament fame came in 1983 when it hosted the 30th edition of the World Cup of Golf, with Rex Daldwell and John Cook winning the event for the United States. Back then, a trophy was also awarded for the best individual 4-round score and this was claimed by Dave Barr of Canada.
The more central location about Pondok Indah in comparison to the other top Jakarta golf courses could be misleading unless you are staying very close to it. The traffic in this part of Jakarta can get insane, so the central location may not mean much. Anyway coming to the golf course, I have always found it enjoyable, having played here about half a dozen times. Being in the heart of the city, means that the land is quite tight, which results in limited width on several holes. If you find your shots going left especially on the front line, you may be in for a hard time, if not teeing up again. And room for error is quite small. Besides, the course is a regular tournament host, which means the roughs can be severe at times. The finishing par 5, 18th is a classic dogleg left playing alongside a lake to an elevated green. The preceding hole though, it has to be said, is quite an insipid par 3. It almost seems like they ran out of ideas and had only that much space left. The 17th hole aside, Pondok Indah is amongst the top 4-5 golf courses in Jakarta. You can read more about Pondok Indah and the other top golf courses in Jakarta on my blog
I remain undecided about this course. I'm also not really sure why the local hype about this course. Maybe it's one of the better ones in Jakarta, but that's based on good conditioning, clubhouse facilities and some pretty plants. There's not really much else that's memorable, because the course itself is mostly flat and the routing more dictated by housing, a (typically for Indonesia, rubbish strewn) watercourse and therefore the available land. But it is the current host course for the Indonesian Open and when I played it was the practice day for an annual junior golf championship which was being attended by players from about 20 nations. I suspect tournaments may be more to do with location in the capital city of Indonesia rather than the quality of the course.
It's a parkland style course, with tropical grasses and flora throughout, compulsory caddies and, usually, the most expensive green fees in Jakarta. Bunkers and water ponds are in expected places but for me there was certainly no real design interest. I can remember that I had a couple of birdies and a couple of wipeout holes where I put errant shots in the water, but I can't remember anything about those holes. The 18th is the only I can recall as it's an interesting par 5 that doglegs left on the second shot and requires an uphill carry, over a pond, for those looking to reach the green in two. I suspect not many would have the opportunity to attack this hole.
Good but not great.