Swing ina­toc­tion

Think­ing of im­prov­ing that golf swing while on va­ca­tion? MATT ZIS delves into where to travel like a tour Pro.

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Sport -

F or pro play­ers like our own Brett Rum­ford, pic­tured above at the Emi­rates Golf Club in Dubai, golf is travel.

The Royal Perth Golf Club mem­ber jour­neys the world play­ing events on the Euro­pean Tour, and while the travel el­e­ment can be ar­du­ous at that level of pro­fes­sional sport, the golf get­away is dreamed of daily by am­a­teur club golfers and hack­ers alike.

Whether it’s for dream­ing or plan­ning your group’s get­away, here are our top picks for your next golf­ing ad­ven­ture.

1

The Dunes at Shen­zhou Penin­sula Hainan Is­land, China

GET­TING THERE You can fly into ei­ther of the is­land’s two main cities, Haikou and Sanya, from most ma­jor air­ports in China or from other Asian des­ti­na­tions. Al­ter­na­tively, if you’re in Guangzhou, Bei­jing or Shang­hai, why not take the train? Trains are loaded on to ferries to cross the sea, with pas­sen­gers re­main­ing in the train cars. From ei­ther Haikou or Sanya, a high-speed train con­nec­tion to The Dunes at Shen­zhou Penin­sula takes less than an hour.

TO PLAY RMB1700 (about A$338), in­clud­ing cart hire and cad­die.

THE LOW-DOWN Not sur­pris­ingly, given China’s rise as an eco­nomic and busi­ness power, golf is one of the fastest-grow­ing in­dus­tries in China. The Dunes at Shen­zhou Penin­sula is one of the coun­try’s best, even though it is not tech­ni­cally lo­cated on China’s main­land. Hainan Is­land, an is­land prov­ince off the south­ern­most tip of main­land China, is earn­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as China’s Hawaii and is home to some 20 cour­ses, with the list topped by The Dunes at Shen­zhou Penin­sula. The Tom Weiskopf-de­signed course fronts the South China Sea and has a full 36 holes, the best of which run right along­side the area’s pris­tine beaches and bays.

2

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Coun­try Club Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia GET­TING THERE Fly di­rect from Perth to Kuala Lumpur with AirAsia X and Malaysian Air­lines, or via Singapore or Bali on other carriers.

TO PLAY Mem­ber’s guests pay RM318 (about A$105); vis­i­tors fork out RM424 (about A$140). Expect to pay about A$50 ex­tra for cart hire and cad­die.

THE LOW-DOWN Home to sev­eral past Malaysian Open events, this course is set in the heart of Kuala Lumpur just 20 min­utes from the bustling city cen­tre. You’d be hard-pressed to re­mem­ber that once you’re strolling the fair­ways and greens. It has two 18-hole cour­ses – East and West – with West be­ing the cham­pi­onship course. You will need to be a mem­ber’s guest to play the West course (pic­tured), and a word of warn­ing – with wa­ter a chance on no less than 13 holes, this op­por­tu­nity is not for the faint-hearted. Malaysia is also home to more than 200 golf cour­ses and its rel­a­tive prox­im­ity to Perth makes KL an ob­vi­ous hub for a first-time golf trip. And if time and money are no ob­ject, don’t miss the op­por­tu­nity to skip across to Langkawi and play The Els Club Teluk Datai – a course de­signed by none other than Ernie Els. At RM650 (about A$215), this spec­tac­u­lar 18-hole of­fer­ing is nes­tled be­tween rain­for­est and the An­daman Sea, with sev­eral sig­na­ture holes along­side and across turquoise wa­ters.

3

Springfield Royal Coun­try Club Hua Hin, Thai­land GET­TING THERE Thai Air­ways flies di­rect from Perth to Bangkok ev­ery day. From Bangkok, make your choice of car, bus or train to travel to Hua Hin.

TO PLAY THB3500 (about A$130) plus an ex­tra THB1050 (A$39) for cart hire and cad­die.

THE LOW-DOWN Like with any trip to the Kingdom of Thai­land, des­ti­na­tion di­ver­sity rings true for golfers on tour. Chiang Mai in Thai­land’s far north is char­ac­terised by trop­i­cal jun­gle and moun­tain­ous ter­rain and its golf cour­ses are no dif­fer­ent. Hua Hin, about two hours south of Bangkok, is a beach­side re­treat loved by the well-to-do. The nearby golf is on par, too, es­pe­cially at Springfield Royal Coun­try Club and its sig­na­ture 9th (or 18th, depend­ing on which of the 27 holes you play). On the 500-yard, par-5 fin­ish, play­ers must make good with their drive and sec­ond shot to be in po­si­tion to make a short chip on to an is­land green. While in Hua Hin, golfers can also en­joy Banyan Golf Club, just 40km south and con­sid­ered one of the coun­try’s best.

4

Barn­bougle Tas­ma­nia, Aus­tralia

GET­TING THERE Fly to Ho­bart or Launce­s­ton via Mel­bourne, Ade­laide or Syd­ney. Or for a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence, take your own ve­hi­cle and cross the Bass Strait from Mel­bourne on the Spirit of Tas­ma­nia ferry. Barn­bougle is about an hour’s drive from Launce­s­ton.

TO PLAY Barn­bougle con­sists of two cour­ses – The Dunes and Lost Farm – and each costs $99 to play.

THE LOW-DOWN Tas­ma­nia is home to two of Aus­tralia’s top 10 cour­ses in Barn­bougle. But it’s the sheer vol­ume of cour­ses packed into our sev­enth state – no less than 65 at last count and all within driv­ing dis­tance of each other, save for a cou­ple of rip­pers on King Is­land – that make the is­land a cool Aus­tralian get­away for lo­cal golfers. Barn­bougle Dunes (pic­tured), rated Aus­tralia’s No.1 public golf course, gives play­ers an ex­pe­ri­ence as close to the game’s Scot­tish ori­gins as can be achieved on Aussie soil. Un­du­lat­ing, open fair­ways over­look the wa­ters of Bass Strait and the breath­tak­ing land­scape mir­rors the wild coastal links cour­ses on of­fer at the tra­di­tional home of golf. Barn­bougle Lost Farm is next door but a dif­fer­ent and cer­tainly quirky chal­lenge (for starters it’s a 20-hole course, not 18), with greens hid­den among the dunes and along the coast­line.

Pic­ture: Getty Images

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