Two of the Selangor founders, coffee planters John and Clem Glassford from Grantown-on-Spey in Scotland, were not to know that the club they helped to form back in 1893 would develop into one of the most elite golf societies in all of Asia.
From humble beginnings, the club moved to a prime spot near the city centre of Kuala Lumpur in the 1920s at the behest of the government, who built the members two 18-hole courses as compensation for the compulsory purchase of their original course.
Damaged during World War II, the Old and New layouts were renovated by the club’s professional Tom Verity, who, along with a number of willing workers, ensured play would resume as quickly as possible after hostilities ceased.
Selangor attained its Royal status in 1963 and a couple of years later the final piece in the club’s golfing jigsaw was fitted with the construction of the 9-hole Sulieman course, giving the club a fantastic 45-hole facility.
Such is the clever design of the nines at Royal Selangor and their proximity to each other, members are able to play four different combinations in addition to the straightforward Old and New, so for instance, a West composite course uses the back nine of the Old and front nine of the New and so on for East, North and South courses. Indeed, when the club hosted the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia in 2016 (which Australia's Marcus Fraser won), it was played on a composite course comprising the front nine of the Old course and back nine of the New course.
Visitors should note that the use of caddies is compulsory when playing at Royal Selangor.
“One of the Asia’s most historical golf courses, The Royal Selangor Golf Club, has occupied its current site close to the centre of Kuala Lumpur since the early 1900s. Although the club occupies a lofty position in Malaysian and Asian golfing circles, its golf courses spiraled downward in prestige, due to a combination of deteriorating conditions and the inevitable comparisons with more modern golf courses throughout the capital.
Nelson & Haworth was engaged to completely renovate both New and Old Courses. The goal was to raise the quality, playing conditions and strategies of both courses, while respecting and building upon the traditional nature of the courses and their largely flat, tree lined character.
The renovation of RSGC involved the reconciliation of many conflicting issues and goals. Although the large trees that line the course embody the very soul of RSGC, they had also seriously choked down the course over the years and were largely responsible for the poor turf conditions. Many needed to be removed to improve playability.
The retention of most of the existing trees limited the available grading solutions as there was a need to "tie-in" golf course elevations at the tree line. This limit in grading solutions also presented a problem with solving the drainage problems of the course.
For the most part the existing routing was retained in order to limit the clearing of trees. However there were a small number of significant changes that have had a major impact upon the club. Large among these changes was the moving of the tennis courts from in front of the clubhouse to a less prominent position. This enabled golf to re-occupy the prime position in front of the clubhouse.”
January 29, 2010