Situated close to Halim Perdanakusuma, Jakarta’s military airport, the 27-hole golf complex at Royale Jakarta Golf Club was constructed with Sea Isle Supreme Paspalum grass sown from tee to green on every hole. The course is one of several Indonesian layouts designed by the JMP Design Group over the last couple of decades and the three returning 9-hole loops (West, South and North) all play to a par of 36 with each circuit ending with a testing par five hole.
The following edited extract is from Volume Six of Golf Architecture: A Worldwide Perspective . Reproduced with kind permission. To obtain a copy of the book, email Paul Daley at [email protected].
“Royale Jakarta’s property provided JMP Golf Design Group with a wonderful canvas of rolling terrain and scattered specimen trees, facilitating the creation of a highly regarded golf course. The design style of this stand-alone golf course is consistent with parkland ideals, and is enhanced by its strong emphasis on long-range vistas – a rarity for the relatively flat topography of inner-city Jakarta.
The golf course is planted with Sea Isle Supreme Paspalum. The utilisation of a single species turfgrass for all playing surfaces is uncommon, yet it has been a success at Royal Jakarta. The surrounds of the golf course are accented with a colourful background of ornamental grasses and the introduction of both shade and flowering trees.
Many of the original rice fields have been cleverly incorporated into the design, providing both strategic and aesthetic aspects to the layout. The three individual nine-hole layouts were designed to blend in a seamless manner. Underpinning the design philosophy was a simple aim: to provide golfers with a consistent and enjoyable round of eighteen holes, regardless of which combination of nines was selected.”
The Indonesian Masters was first held at the club in April 2011 and Lee Westwood’s victory in the event saw him regain the world number one ranking. The Englishman returned to successfully defend the title the following year and he would go on to win the tournament after a playoff three years later, in 2015.
I have had the opportunity to play Royale Jakarta on several occasions and have never tired of it. The course always looks quite straightforward, but hardly ever turns out to be like that. The rough and the red grass somehow find a way to be in play. Elevated Greens, surrounded by bunkers demanding precise approaches is generally the norm. Not a single dull moment. Royale Jakarta is a must play course along with a couple of others in the populous capital city. The rest of the facilities are also top rate.
Royal Jakarta GC opened in 2008 and was designed by American architect Bob Moore from JMP Partners. The founding members of the club comprise many of the most successful business leaders in Indonesia and they have managed to site 27 holes on rolling terrain within the city precincts.
However at the time of writing Jakarta is home to approx. 10 million people, and is one of the largest cities in the world. The traffic is horrendous!
We were fortunate to have a police escort, but even so our movement was painfully slow- so the message is 'plan for the traffic' and leave extra time for gridlocks.
When you do drive in the gates at Royal Jakarta it is a green carpet of tranquillity after the hustle bustle elsewhere in the city.
The course has 3 loops of nine, named the north, south, and west. This is very much parkland golf with plenty of water hazards, but the strategic golfer would also be very aware of the bunkering which is both strategic, and plentiful.
The club has been one of the first to adopt the new Sea Isle Supreme Paspalum, and it is used right across the courses including tees, fairways, greens and rough, and looks good. It certainly gives a good cover, and when we played – just a few days after the Indonesian Masters – the rough was long and particularly hard to negotiate. The greens proved very tricky and I wondered if the paspalum was perhaps subject to graininess? Certainly on this day the slopes, speed and grain were challenging!
In its short history Royal Jakarta has already hosted major international events including the Indonesian Masters from 2011- 2016, and has a number of times been rated best course in Indonesia.
I recommend it to you!
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.