​Top 100 Golf Courses updates its Southeast Asia rankings

28 April 2020 Respond to this article

Top 100 Golf Courses updates its Southeast Asia rankings

Earlier this month, we published the second of three Asian chart releases, reporting on the South Asia countries of India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This ranking announcement now concentrates on the Southeast nations of Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

In this article, we report on the best golf courses to be found within a huge geographic area of four and a half million square kilometres, where approximately 650 million people live. We feature exactly two hundred courses across the eight countries that we’re revising so we think we have things pretty well covered across this subregion.

It’s not the easiest of geographical areas to keep a close eye on so we’re grateful for our reliable network of contributors keeping us fully informed. In particular, Kimi Hoshiyama, our China and Southern Asia correspondent consistently goes the extra mile on our behalf to ensure we stay ahead of the game in this part of the golfing world.


Indonesia

The top four positions in our Indonesia Top 30 remain unchanged, so the Jack Nicklaus Signature course at Taman Daya Golf Club & Resort near Surabaya holds on to its No. 1 status. Unveiled in 1995, this resort layout is set on a rolling landscape with deep valleys and drainage canals adding to the playing interest. It was once the exclusive preserve of members and their guests but green fee-paying golfers can now play here with a little prior notice.

Taman Daya Golf Club & Resort

Taman Daya Golf Club & Resort

The highest of four new entries arrives at No. 15 and it’s the 18-hole layout at Parahyangan Golf Bandung, which opened for business in 2018. Laid out by Bob Moore from JMP Golf Design Group, the course sits thirty kilometres from Bandung, where two distinctive 9-hole circuits have been routed around terraced rice paddies and fish farms, totally integrating golf with its environment.

Parahyangan Golf Bandung

Parahyangan Golf Bandung

Only nine courses make an upward move in the new listings and two of them progress four places. The first of these layouts is Riverside Golf Club, located midway between Jakarta and Bogor (at #13), which is a Bob Harrison design from when he worked with Greg Norman. The second is the Sea View course at the 36-hole Bintan Lagoon Resort on Bintan Island (at #21), and this Jack Nicklaus Signature course overlooking the South China Sea fully complements Ian-Baker Finch’s Woodland track at the resort.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Taman Dayu No change
2 Ria Bintan (Ocean) No change
3 Damai Indah (Bumi Serpong Damai). No change
4 Royale Jakarta (West & South) No change
5 Pondok Indah Up 2
6 Rancamaya No change
7 Jagorawi (Old) Up 1
8 Jagorawi (New) Up 1
9 Rainbow Hills (Forest & Mountain) Up 1
10 Bali National Down 5
11 Damai Indah (Pantai Indah Kapuk) No change
12 Bintan Lagoon (Woodlands) Up 3
13 Riverside Up 4
14 New Kuta Down 1
15 Parahyangan Bandung New entry
16 Emeralda (River & Lake) No change
17 Finna Up 1
18 Rimba Irian Up 3
19 Suvarna Jakarta (Blue & Green) New entry
20 Imperial Down 8
21 Bintan Lagoon (Sea View) Up 4
22 Laguna Bintan No change
23 Merapi Down 9
24 Mountain View No change
25 Gunung Geulis (East) Down 6
26 Southlinks New entry
27 Gunung Geulis (West) Down 7
28 Palm Springs (Resort & Island) Down 5
29 Black Rocks New entry
30 Ciputra (Valley & Lake) Down 4


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 30 Golf Courses of Indonesia click the link.


Laos

The landlocked country of Laos in the middle of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula has a new No. 1 and it’s the 18-hole configuration of the Vientiane and Long Thanh nines at Long Thanh-Vientiane Golf Club, on the outskirts of the capital. Part of a large residential project that will eventually include a hotel, school and hospital, the development is due to have a fourth 9-hole circuit completed this year, enabling six different 18-hole combinations to be brought into play.

Long Thanh-Vientiane Golf Club

Long Thanh-Vientiane Golf Club

Rank/ Course Move
1 Long Vien (Vientiane & Long Thanh). Up 2
2 Luang Prabang Down 1
3 Lakeview New entry
4 Dansavanh Down 2
5 SEA Games (A & B) Down 1


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 5 Golf Courses of Laos click the link.


Malaysia

Nine golfing layouts in our Top 40 remain in the same position as last time and one of the non-movers is our national No.1, the West course at TPC Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, retaining the top spot for the fifth successive edition of our Malaysian rankings. Venue for the now discontinued CIMB Classic tournament between 2013 and 2018, this is a Nelson & Haworth design that was extensively renovated by Ted Parslow and Jason Winter to toughen it up at the start of the new millennium.

TPC Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club - West course

TPC Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club - West course

The biggest climber in the new listings is the course at Impian Golf & Country Club, reversing a three-place fall in our 2018 chart with a nine-place rise to No. 20. Designed by Ross Watson, the course is draped across a 142-acre property as two returning circuits, the Golden nine and the Negara nine, with a number of the holes carved through a hardwood tropical rainforest.

Impian Golf & Country Club

Impian Golf & Country Club

The first of two new entries appears at No. 32 and it’s the Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II co-designed Legacy course at the 36-hole Forest City Golf Resort in Johor. In contrast to the tight Classic course which opened at the resort last year, the older Legacy layout is characterised by wide fairways that run through mangrove swamps bordering the Pulai River, with many of the holes flanked by these water hazards and sandy waste areas.

Rank/ Course Move
1 TPC Kuala Lumpur (West) No change
2 Saujana (Palm) Up 2
3 The Mines Down 1
4 Kota Permai Up 3
5 Els Club - Teluk Datai No change
6 Shan-Shui No change
7 TPC Kuala Lumpur (East) Up 7
8 Tiara Melaka (Lake & Meadow) Up 5
9 Horizon Hills No change
10 Els Club - Desaru Coast (Valley) Down 2
11 Templer Park Up 5
12 Sungai Long Down 1
13 Royal Selangor (Old) Down 3
14 Palm Garden Down 2
15 Els Club - Desaru Coast (Ocean) Down 12
16 Legends (Nicklaus) Up 1
17 Saujana (Bunga Raya) Down 2
18 Orna (East & West) Up 4
19 Eastwood Valley No change
20 Impian Up 9
21 Gunung Raya Down 3
22 Royal Selangor (New) Down 2
23 Labuan International Up 1
24 Tropicana (East) Down 1
25 Staffield (Western & Southern) No change
26 Clearwater Sanctuary (Raintree & Lakes). No change
27 Dalit Bay Down 6
28 Glenmarie (Valley) Down 1
29 Penang Down 1
30 Amverton Cove No change
31 Damai Up 1
32 Forest City (Legacy) New entry
33 Kelab Golf Negara Subang (Putra) No change
34 Royal Perak Up 1
35 Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Down 4
36 Mount Kinabalu Up 4
37 Cinta Sayang Up 2
38 Berjaya Hills Down 2
39 Palm (Cempaka) Down 1
40 Johor G&CC New entry


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 40 Golf Courses of Malaysia click the link.


Myanmar

Our new No. 1 for Myanmar is the course at Myotha National Golf Club, which is an 18-hole layout from Schmidt-Curley Design that debuted in 2018, forming the sporting centrepiece of a master planned community outside Mandalay. Packed with dramatic elevation changes, this 8,000-yard goliath is grassed with Zoysia to help foster firm and fast playing conditions. Bunkers, in the words of Brian Curley, are “strong and bold, in keeping with the scale of the property,” while greens “are often large (with) strong slopes including backstops and bowls”.

Myotha National Golf Club

Myotha National Golf Club

Rank/ Course Move
1 Myotha National New entry
2 Pun Hlaing Golf Club. Down 1
3 Yangon New entry
4 Royal Mingalardon Up 2
5 Bagan Up 2


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 5 Golf Courses of Myanmar click the link.


Philippines

The Country Club course was ousted from the top rung of the Philippines Top 30 when we last re-appraised this country but it has immediately bounced back from the runner-up slot to regain the No. 1 position. Situated to the south of Manila, between Santa Rosa and Canlubang, this Tom Weiskopf-designed layout has recently been extended, allowing it to host major national events like the Philippine Open, with the last three editions of this event held here.

The Country Club

The Country Club

Only six other courses improve their chart standing and the one to make the biggest impact is Anvaya Cove Golf & Sport Club near Subic Bay, which gracefully glides up four places to No.3. Kevin Ramsey of Golfplan laid this one out within a substantial seaside residential development and there are two distinct 9-hole circuits, “Mountain” and “Seaside,” with the front nine set out around housing further inland, followed by a back nine that heads towards the shore before returning to the clubhouse.

Anvaya Cove Golf & Sport Club

Anvaya Cove

The highest new entry arrives at No. 16. and it’s the Tagaytay Midlands course at the Tagaytay Highlands resort mountain resort located around sixty-five kilometres south of downtown Manila. Developed in the mid-1990s as a retreat for those wanting to escape from the capital, the resort is split into three residential communities, with two of them, Highlands and Midlands, boasting their own 18-hole course. Such is the extreme terrain here, the two clubhouses are connected by a funicular transport system.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Country Club - Philippines Up 1
2 Sta. Elena (Makiling & Banahaw). Down 1
3 Anvaya Cove Up 4
4 Manila Southwoods (Masters) No change
5 Sherwood Hills Down 2
6 Orchard (Palmer) Down 1
7 Wack-Wack (East) Up 1
8 Manila Southwoods (Legends) Up 3
9 Riviera (Langer) Down 3
10 Mount Malarayat Down 1
11 Eagle Ridge (Andy Dye) Down 1
12 Eagle Ridge (Nick Faldo) No change
13 Luisita No change
14 Canlubang (South) No change
15 Summit Point Up 3
16 Tagaytay Midlands New entry
17 Canlubang (North) No change
18 Manila Down 2
19 Pueblo de Oro Down 4
20 Eagle Ridge (Isao Aoki) Up 1
21 Ayala South Links Up 1
22 Calatagan Down 3
23 Mimosa (Mountain View) No change
24 Rancho Palos Verdes Down 4
25 Eagle Ridge (Greg Norman) Down 1
26 Eastridge New entry
27 Tagaytay Highlands Down 2
28 Camp John Hay Down 2
29 Valley (South) Down 2
30 Pradera Verde Down 2


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 30 Golf Courses of the Philippines click the link.


Singapore

Unfortunately, golf in Singapore has contracted in the last few years as the government has taken a rather hard-line stance of not renewing land leases with golf clubs. The national plan in the early 1990s was to increase the number of courses from 22 to 29 but there are now only fifteen still in operation. As a result of this decline, we’ve reduced our Top 15 to a Top 10.

The Serapong course at Sentosa Golf Club maintains its strong grip on the No.1 berth at the top of the chart. Designed by Ron Fream of Golfplan back in the early 1980s, the layout was renovated fifteen years ago by current general manager Andrew Johnston when he worked with Bates Golf Design Group. Now he’s heading an in-house team that’s just embarked on an intensive 3-month upgrade, having only recently carried out a redesign of the Tanjong course.

Sentosa Golf Club - Serapong course

Sentosa - Serapong course

The Sentosa’s fairway drainage is being improved, bunkers are to be relined and new white sand installed, greens are undergoing a “drill and fill” enhancement program, and tees are to be resized, re-lasered and re-grassed with Platinum Paspalum. It’s this sort of ambitious project which keeps Serapong ahead of the pack so, for the current host venue for the Singapore Open, upgrade work like this is totally understandable.

The most impressive positive move in the rankings is made by the Dendro and Vanda nines at Orchid Country Club, which lies next to the Lower Seletar Reservoir, advancing four spots to No. 10. Host to the Singapore Open in 1999, the course was also used by the Asian Tour for the short-lived Singapore Classic professional tournament from 2010 to 2012.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Sentosa (Serapong) No change
2 Sentosa (Tanjong) No change
3 Tanah Merah (Tampines) Up 1
4 Tanah Merah (Garden) Up 2
5 Singapore Island (Bukit) No change
6 Laguna National (Masters) Up 2
7 Laguna National (Classic) No change
8 Singapore Island (Island) Up 2
9 Seletar No change
10 Orchid CC (Dendro-Vanda). Up 4


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 10 Golf Courses of Singapore click the link.


Thailand

Having started out with a Top 10 for this country ten years ago, we’ve gradually included additional courses to our Thai table to create a Top 50 chart. There’s been quite a shake-up with this, the fifth revision of our inaugural listing, as there are only five non-movers and eight new entries.

The course at Ayodhya Links is still the national No.1, a position it’s held for the last eight years. Originally designed and built by Peter Thomson and Ross Perrett, the entire layout was subsequently raised by Founder/Chairman Pitak Intrawityanunt to prevent the possible recurrence of flood damage suffered in 2011.

Ayodhya Links

Ayodhya Links

Our US Consultant Fergal O’Leary posted a review six months ago, saying “the greens have interesting shaping and certain pundits laud over them. I appreciated them for the setting they were in, and the character that they add. Some are better than others for sure… I was more captivated by the commendable chipping areas and the routing”.

The highest new entry at #26 is Grand Prix Golf Club’s track which is located an hour’s drive north of Kanchanaburi. This golf facility was developed by Dr Prachin Eamlumnow, Chairman of the Bangkok International Motor Show, with holes laid out around a series of lakes in two returning 9-hole circuits. A sizeable river bisects the property, adding to the challenge, as do quite a number of split fairways and multi-tiered greens.

Grand Prix Golf Club

Grand Prix Golf Club

The biggest rise in chart position is made by the Rajjaprabha Dam Golf Course (up nineteen to #31), lying close to the Khao Sok National Park, where a dramatic 18-hole layout was carved from a dense rainforest by the electricity Generating Authority of Thailand at the start of the new millennium. It’s one of Thai golf’s best-kept secrets due to its remote location.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Ayodhya Links No change
2 Amata Spring Up 2
3 Alpine Golf Club Down 1
4 Siam (Old) Down 1
5 Banyan No change
6 Blue Canyon (Canyon) Up 3
7 Thai Down 1
8 Laem Chabang International (B & C). Down 1
9 Black Mountain (East & North) Down 1
10 Santiburi No change
11 Red Mountain No change
12 Blue Canyon (Lakes) No change
13 Chiangmai Highlands Up 1
14 Siam (Plantation) Up 1
15 Royal Gems Golf City Up 2
16 Singha Park Khon Kaen Up 3
17 Navatanee Down 4
18 Rajpruek Up 2
19 Nikanti Up 2
20 St Andrews 2000 Down 2
21 Kirimaya Up 4
22 Springfield Royal (A & B) Down 6
23 Chatrium Soi Dao Chanthaburi Up 13
24 Toscana Valley Down 1
25 Gassan Legacy Up 3
26 Grand Prix New entry
27 Santiburi Samui Down 5
28 Siam (Rolling Hills) New entry
29 Mission Hills Phuket New entry
30 Laguna Phuket Down 6
31 Rajjaprabha Dam Up 19
32 Alpine Golf Resort - Chiang Mai Down 3
33 Royal Bang Pa-In Down 7
34 Riverdale Down 7
35 Siam (Waterside) Down 4
36 Lam Luk Ka (East) Down 1
37 Lotus Valley Up 2
38 Mountain Creek (Highland & Creek) Down 5
39 Suwan Down 7
40 Panya Indra (A & B) New entry
41 Burapha (East) Up 7
42 Blue Sapphire (Ocean) Down 12
43 Watermill New entry
44 Royal Ratchaburi Down 6
45 Dynasty New entry
46 Bangsai (B&C) Down 6
47 Chee Chan New entry
48 Dragon Hills Down 14
49 Subhapruek Down 12
50 Royal Hills New entry


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 50 Golf Courses of Thailand click the link.


Vietnam

Two years ago we added five courses to our Vietnam chart, fashioning a Top 25. Such is the pace of golfing progress in that country we’re now extending our standings to a Top 30 and, with two courses falling away from our last revision, we’re actually adding seven new tracks this time around.

The big news is that the Greg Norman-designed course at Bluffs Ho Tram Strip holds off a very strong challenge from a couple of new 18-hole layouts that come crashing into the national chart at #2 and #3 to continue as the No. 1 course in Vietnam. A reviewer last year termed this “an outstanding course… very well-conditioned” with “a great variety of holes [and] green complexes [that] are beautifully engineered”.

Bluffs Ho Tram Strip

Bluffs Ho Tram Strip

Tom Doak included Bluffs Ho Tram Strip as one of the eighteen “Gourmet’s Choice” courses in Volume 5 of The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, with one of his co-authors, Masa Niishijima (our International Consultant), writing: “above all, The Bluffs makes good use of the unique dunes terrain, and at every hole you feel connected to the ocean, even if you can’t always see it”.

Incredibly, only two tracks make any forward advance in our new table: the first is the Dunes course at the BRG Da Nang Golf Resort (up two to #4) which was Greg Norman’s first Vietnamese design when it opened a decade ago, and the second is the B and C nines at Chi Linh Star Golf & Country Club (up four to #14), where the first professional event (the Carlsberg Masters) in the north of the country was hosted back in 2004.

BRG Da Nang Golf Resort - Dunes course

BRG Da Nang - Dunes course

The two highest-placed newcomers make their chart debut quite a bit ahead of the others.

The course at Hoiana Shores Golf Club is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design (new at #2) that opened just last year, situated close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An on a coastal property of pure sand. The architect describes his experience of working in the region as “a lovely treasure hunt that ends with us finding a golf course project hard by the sea. Where great land meets the sea, great golf can happen.” It seems like that’s exactly what has transpired here.

Hoiana Shores Golf Club

Hoiana Shores Golf Club

Hard on the heels of RTJ2’s new production, yet another Greg Norman course enters the chart at No.3. KN Golf Links Cam Ranh, Norman’s 3rd Vietnamese course and his 104th worldwide, is also situated on the South Central Coast of Vietnam, with fairways occupying a landscape dominated by enormous sand dunes. According to the designer, “the scale and natural topography of the property lends itself to a great variety of golf holes. It plays links because there’s a lot of up and down and natural contouring to the layout [and] it’s a lot of fun”.

KN Golf Links Cam Ranh

KN Golf Links Cam Ranh

Rank/ Course Move
1 Bluffs Ho Tram Strip No change
2 Hoiana Shores New entry
3 KN Golf Links - Cam Ranh (Links). New entry
4 BRG Da Nang (Dunes) Up 2
5 Laguna Lang Co No change
6 Ba Na Hills Down 2
7 Sky Lake (Lake) No change
8 FLC Quy Nhon (Mountain) Down 6
9 FLC Quy Nhon (Ocean) Down 6
10 BRG Kings Island (Kings) New entry
11 Montgomerie Links Down 3
12 Van Tri Down 2
13 BRG Legend Hill No change
14 Chi Linh Star (B&C) Up 4
15 Dalat at 1200 New entry
16 Vinpearl - Nha Trang Down 7
17 BRG Kings Island (Mountainview) Down 1
18 Dalat Palace Down 7
19 FLC Quang Bin (Ocean Dunes) New entry
20 Sky Lake (Sky) Down 8
21 Stone Valley New entry
22 FLC Quang Bin (Forest Dunes) New entry
23 FLC Samson Down 8
24 Phoenix (Champion) Down 3
25 Vinpearl - Phu Quoc Down 8
26 Tan Son Nhat (C&D) Down 12
27 BRG Kings Island (Lakeside) Down 5
28 Tan Son Nhat (A&B) Down 8
29 Sea Links Down 5
30 Vietnam (East) Down 11


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 30 Golf Courses of Vietnam click the link.

Jim McCann
Editor
Top 100 Golf Courses