| Small is Beau­ti­ful

Dun­can For­gan re­ports on the open­ing of Bukit Pan­dawa Golf & Coun­try Club, the first 18-hole par-3 cham­pi­onship course in In­done­sia de­signed by Bob Moore.

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Dun­can For­gan

Let’s have a look on the Bukit Pan­dawa Golf & Coun­try Club, the first 18-hole par-3 cham­pi­onship course in In­done­sia de­signed by Bob Moore.

For a des­ti­na­tion of rel­a­tively minia­ture di­men­sions, Bali sure packs a lot in. The so-called “is­land of the Gods” has been In­done­sia’s tourism su­per­star for a num­ber of decades and it is not dif­fi­cult to gauge its ap­peal. From buff surfers look­ing for the per­fect break to more cere­bral types seek­ing spir­i­tual so­lace and yo­gic ad­vice in the new-age hub of Ubud, the is­land caters ably for all sorts.

Given its abil­ity to make the very most out of a small pack­age, it might not be quite so sur­pris­ing that the lat­est world-class golf course to open on the is­land, Bukit Pan­dawa Golf & Coun­try Club, is the fur­thest thing pos­si­ble from your typ­i­cal 7,000-plus-me­tre mon­ster.

The course cer­tainly looks the part. Man­i­cured fair­ways play to­wards imag­i­na­tively land­scaped greens, some cut into cliffs, oth­ers back dropped by ver­dant rice pad­dies. The lay­out, mean­while, en­joys grand­stand views of the bril­liant blue In­dian Ocean from its perch on an el­e­vated chunk of land on Bali’s fa­bled south­ern coast­line. The views can be en­joyed out on the golf course or from the sanc­tity of a truly stun­ning club­house, with high-tech fa­cil­i­ties and top-notch F&B of­fer­ings that are the equal of any club in In­done­sia.

What’s un­usual about this new ad­di­tion to Bali’s golf­ing fir­ma­ment – a line up that also in­cludes the Greg Nor­man-de­signed Nir­wana Bali, the chal­leng­ing lay­out at New Kuta and the ac­claimed track at Bali Na­tional – is that each of its 18-holes is a par-3. In fact, it is the first 18hole par-3 cham­pi­onship course in In­done­sia.

De­signed by Bob Moore of Cal­i­for­nia-based JMP Golf De­sign Group and man­aged by Ac­corHo­tels, Bukit Pan­dawa G&CC (www. buk­it­pan­dawag­olf.com) is also the first phase of an un­prece­dented hos­pi­tal­ity project tak­ing shape on Bali’s south­ern coast­line, where the club’s own­er­ship group, lux­ury re­sort de­vel­oper PT Bali Ra­gaw­isata, is plan­ning to add ho­tels and res­i­dences man­aged by world-renowned brands Man­darin Ori­en­tal, Wal­dorf As­to­ria and Swis­sô­tel and a soon-to-be-an­nounced en­ter­prise that has long been syn­ony­mous with the finest things in life.

“We’re set­ting the stage for ev­ery­thing that’s to come here,” said Stephen Banks, gen­eral man­ager of Bukit Pan­dawa G&CC. “We’re equal parts ground-break­ing, eye-pop­ping and ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

Lo­cated on a spec­tac­u­lar lime­stone cliff top over­look­ing the world-fa­mous surf breaks of Bukit Penin­sula, Ac­corHo­tels’ flag­ship course in Asia of­fers 18 ex­quis­ite par-3 holes rang­ing from 117 to 244 yards in length.

From the back tees, it plays 3,027 yards, a few hun­dred yards longer than lauded Tur­tle Hill Golf Club at Fair­mont Southamp­ton in Ber­muda, which ranks among GOLF Mag­a­zine USA’s top 10 par-3 cour­ses in the world.

Some holes at Bukit Pan­dawa G&CC are back-dropped by the In­dian Ocean. Oth­ers are

ac­cented by wa­ter­falls, lakes or ter­raced rice pad­dies, all are sub­ject to the wind.

“It can be a real test,” said Banks, a for­mer play­ing pro­fes­sional from Manch­ester, Eng­land. “When the breeze is up - and it al­most al­ways is - there’s a good chance you’ll use ev­ery club in the bag. Even a driver.”

I can cer­tainly at­test to the verac­ity of the chal­lenge pre­sented by the course. Although I’m not a par­tic­u­larly con­fi­dent or ac­cu­rate driver of the ball, shorter holes tend not to cre­ate quite as much of a psy­cho­log­i­cal bind. And with 18 of them in front of me, I ap­proached the 1st tee at Bukit Pan­dawa in a pretty bullish (for me any­way) frame of mind. Moore, how­ever, has pulled some rather in­ge­nious tricks out of his de­sign bag with ju­di­cious length vari­a­tions and changes in el­e­va­tion that range from sub­tle to dra­matic forc­ing golfers to think their way from hole to hole. A pitch and putt this most de­cid­edly is not.

One stand­out hole is the 148-yard 13th, which is framed by three bunkers and fea­tures curved walls in the fore­ground and a tra­di­tional Ba­li­nese kul-kul tower in the back­ground.

In de­sign­ing Bukit Pan­dawa G&CC, Moore, whose firm is re­spon­si­ble for cham­pi­onship­cal­i­bre de­signs all over the world in­clud­ing the ac­claimed Royale Jakarta Golf Club in In­done­sia’s cap­i­tal, em­braced the con­tours and char­ac­ter­is­tics of a site that was rife with rock out­crop­pings, ar­chi­tec­tural ru­ins and sea views. In­deed, the ocean is vis­i­ble from 15 holes.

To round out the to­tal golf ex­pe­ri­ence at Bukit Pan­dawa G&CC, a 3,000-square-me­ter club­house in­spired by the an­cient tem­ples and tow­ers of Bali has been con­structed.

Con­ceived by ac­com­plished ar­chi­tects Antony Liu and Ferry Rid­wan from Stu­dioTonTon in Jakarta, the imag­i­na­tive, twin-block struc­ture was de­signed to blend into its nat­u­ral sur­round­ings through the lib­eral im­ple­men­ta­tion of lo­cal ma­te­ri­als (such as stone and wood), na­tive grasses and, above all, wa­ter, which flows seam­lessly through many of the build­ing’s spa­ces.

That in­cludes the sin­gu­lar fa­cil­ity’s signature com­po­nent, the rooftop restau­rant, which over­looks the ocean and course and fea­tures al fresco din­ing and lounge ar­eas that ooze ex­otic el­e­gance.

Fol­low­ing a round that fol­lowed my usual pat­tern of hideous golf­ing dys­func­tion­al­ity in­ter­spersed with flick­er­ing glim­mers of hope, an ice-cold Bin­tang beer is a wel­come re­ward. The fol­low­ing day I will travel to Ubud to get my head to­gether at the won­der­ful new Padma Re­sort in the heart of the jun­gle there. For now, how­ever, I take in the views of the course and the ocean be­yond and re­flect on a golf­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that en­cap­su­lates Bali’s “small is beau­ti­ful” ethos.

The 186-yard 13th hole

The haz­ardous 183-yard 9th

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