Located just outside Tawau on the south east coast of Sabah in eastern Malaysia, Shan-Shui Golf Club is acknowledged as one of the finest golf courses created by the respected design company of Nelson and Haworth. In fact, three years after it first opened its doors in 1997, the 18-hole layout was awarded the title of “Best course in Asia” by Golf Monthly magazine.
The course is set within a 365-acre former rubber estate with views of the Sulawesi Sea from the highest parts. The architects make the most of the site’s wonderful array of vegetation (including rare Honey Bear and Strangler Fig trees) and a meandering expanse of water named “Crocodile River”.
Two of the holes – the par five 5th “Sulu Split” and par four 15th, “The Creek” – have been ranked amongst the best in Asia with the latter receiving the accolade of one of the best golf holes in the world. The tee box for this hole sits on a ridge beside the Crocodile River. From there, tee shots must find a flat area within a cocoa plantation before an approach can then be played to a green that sits beneath coconut palms with a stream to the right.
Visitors should note that buggies are compulsory at Shan-Shui – not a bad idea if a hasty retreat has to be made when one of the crocodiles from the river decides to go on a wander!
Shan-Shui adjoins a tropical national park and despite its remote location, the 7,365-yard course played host to the Asian Tour’s 1998 Sabah Masters, which saw Scotland’s Simon Yates claim his maiden Asian Tour title.