Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles founded the modern Singapore in 1819 when he established a British trading post on the island and Raffles Country Club, to the west of the main commercial centre, is named in his honour.
Set within a 365-acre estate, the Lake and Palm 18-hole layouts at Raffles were designed by Robert Trent Jones II and in 2001, the design company of Nelson & Haworth was commissioned to remodel the Palm.
This work kept the same routing and mainly involved improvements to drainage and enhancing the turf quality with a great deal of sand imported and much subsoil drainage added.
The Palm is the tougher of the two tracks, hosting the Asian PGA Championship in 1997 and 1998, and it’s a course for straight hitters as water is involved at nearly every hole – golfers of a hydrophobic disposition need not tee it up here!
The par four 18th is a marvelous finishing hole that measures a little under 400 yards and is rated as stroke index 2 on the scorecard. The drive has to flirt with marshland on the left of the fairway then the approach must carry the edge of the Tengeh Reservoir if the green is to be reached in two blows – quite a daunting end to a round on the Palm.
Sadly both courses at Raffles Country Club will cease to operate in 2018 due to Singapore’s land authorities non-renewal of the lease.