Top 40 Golf Courses of Malaysia 2018

19 February 2018 Respond to this article

Top 40 Golf Courses of Malaysia 2018

It’s only thirteen months since we last refreshed our Malaysian chart positions so the next biennial update wasn’t due until January 2019. However, it became apparent over the last few months while researching our inaugural Asian Top 100 project that several countries really had to be reappraised sooner rather than later and so we’ve decided to bring forward our review process for this important Southeast Asian golfing nation.

TPC Kuala Lumpur West course

The bare overall statistics for our Malaysia Top 40 are that thirteen courses move up, twenty-two fall down, three drop out and two remain in exactly the same position as before. One of the two non-movers is our number 1 layout, the West course at TPC Kuala Lumpur, which has now successfully held onto the top spot for the last four editions of our published Malaysian rankings.

An early 1990s Nelson & Haworth design, the West course underwent a large-scale renovation by Ted Parslow and Jason Winter a decade ago and since then this longer, tougher layout has hosted a number of top professional tournaments, including the now defunct Malaysian Open and the CIMB Classic, which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the PGA Tour.

Three courses all tuck in behind KLGCC West, each of them climbing two positions in the new chart.

The Mines golf course

At number 2, The Mines is a late-1990s Robert Trent Jones Jnr layout, built on the site of the old Hong Fatt Tin Mine, which at one time was the biggest open cast tin mine in the world, an hour’s drive south of the capital. Fairways which were capped with a foot of sand during construction as a buffer against previously polluted soil have the additional benefit of being free-draining so this course always looks in great shape, recovering quickly after the monsoon season.

Last year, one reviewer described the course as “a good Trent Jones Jnr design (with) good bunkering (and) fast and firm greens… an enjoyable course which offers a good challenge,” while another person “enjoyed it thoroughly… the clubhouse is huge and the car park is full of Rolls and Ferraris… this is an interesting course with a great variety of holes… play the Mines if you can get a reasonable price.”

Ocean course at Els Club - Desaru Coast

At number 3, the Ocean course at Els Club - Desaru Coast – which was a new entry in our chart last time around – is an Ernie Els Design 27-hole layout in Johor boasting three returning 9-hole loops, the par-36 Coast, par-37 Ridge and par-36 Lakes. The course is one of two exciting new layouts (each with its own clubhouse) which are set out within a massive 4,000-acre property that runs along a 17-kilometre stretch of coastline facing onto the South China Sea.

At number 4, the Palm course at Saujana Golf & Country Club is one of two excellent 18-hole layouts at Malaysia’s first proprietary club that were designed by Ron Fream of Golfplan in the mid-1980s. Seven Malaysian Opens were held here from 1997 to 2007 before Ron was called back in to upgrade the Palm course in 2015, replacing two of the original holes on the front nine with another two. The Maybank Championship is now held at Saujana and only two weeks ago Shubhankar Sharma won the 2018 edition of this event when he posted an astonishing final round score of 62 to claim his second European Tour title of the season.

Valley course at Els Club - Desaru Coast

The highest placed of three newcomers in our new standings appears at number 8 and it’s the 18-hole Valley course at Els Club - Desaru Coast, which opened in March last year. It’s the result of an intriguing design collaboration between Ernie Els and Vijah Singh, who’s just starting out as a golf course architect with only a handful of projects to his name so far. We were really impressed with what we saw in the summer of 2016 when we had a look around the Al Houra course that Vijah co-designed with Graham Marsh near Tangier in Morocco so we’re not in the least surprised that this course is making such a big impact in our Malaysian chart.

Climbing five places to number 20, the New course at Royal Selangor Golf Club has been in play for almost a hundred years, though the club itself celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. Located less than three kilometres from the famous Petronas Twin Towers in downtown Kuala Lumpur, the two 18-hole layouts at this club can truly be described as the city’s “green lungs”. Both the New course and the Old course were upgraded in recent times by Nelson & Hayward, with the renovation involving “the reconciliation of many conflicting issues and goals” as explained to us by Brett Mogg from the respected design firm. The inaugural Maybank Championship event was hosted by the club in 2016 using a composite 18-hole course comprising the Old course front nine and New course back nine.

In the bottom half of the table, only three courses make upward moves: the Andy Dye-designed East and West nines at Orna Golf & Country Club in the state of Melaka (up two to #22), the 18-hole renovated layout at Penang Golf Club – originally built for Bukit Jambul Golf Club by Robert Trent Jones Jnr in 1984 – on Penang Island (up six to #28), and Arnold Palmer’s Mountain and Ocean nines at Damai Golf and Country Club in Sarawak state on Borneo which debuted in the mid-1980s (up one to #32).

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


To view further details of our newly updated Malaysian Top 40 click the link.

If you have any strong views on our revised Top 40 for Malaysia then we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us via the “Respond to this article” link at the top or the bottom of this page to share your thoughts with us. We don’t produce “definitive” listings but we do feel our rankings are the “most informed” so your opinions matter to us.

Jim McCann
Editor
Top 100 Golf Courses