South Asia’s Unique Sus­tain­able and Golf Cour­ses

Award-win­ning ar­chi­tect and our reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor Paul Jansen dis­cusses the ten most unique and sus­tain­able golf cour­ses in South Asia.

HK Golfer - - By Design -

About Paul Jansen

Paul is widely re­garded as one of golf’s most well-trav­elled Golf Course Ar­chi­tects. Af­ter hav­ing schooled in South Africa, he be­gan his ca­reer in the U.S. be­fore re­lo­cat­ing to Europe where he worked for Nick Faldo De­sign on a va­ri­ety of projects in Europe, Africa and South­east Asia. In 2011, Paul es­tab­lished Jansen Golf De­sign & Con­struc­tion with a fo­cus on cre­at­ing highly sus­tain­able golf cour­ses that pro­vide strate­gic, stim­u­lat­ing and mem­o­rable golf that is fun.

Hong Kong Golf Club (Old Course) - Hong Kong

Let’s start with the Old Course at Fan­ling, which is a charm­ing af­fair. Holes are fresh and orig­i­nal and de­rive their beauty and unique­ness from the sur­rounds. The golf course is marked by nu­mer­ous un­con­ven­tional fea­tures in­clud­ing cross­ing holes and nu­mer­ous blind shots and high­lights that golf can be quirky and fun.

Royal Colombo Golf Club - Sri Lanka

The old­est golf club in Sri Lanka (est. 1880) is sit­u­ated in the heart of the city on only 96acres. The most re­mark­able fea­ture is the rail­way line that di­vides many of the holes on the front nine. Dur­ing the week trains fre­quently pass the golf course and add to its over­all charm.

Nuwara Eliya - Sri Lanka

The Nuwara Eliya Golf Club is per­haps the most unique golf course in all of Asia. Sit­u­ated at nearly 2,000m above sea level and the fo­cal point of the town, this 18-hole golf course is routed on less than 100 acres. Be sure to take a course map at the start be­cause holes don’t fol­low any for­mula rather bob­ble about the land­scape like a roller coaster. Cross­ing holes are the norm, blind shots are fre­quent and fea­tures such as roads and fences needed to be sur­mounted on route to the hole. Pedes­tri­ans use the golf course to get from A to B, and dur­ing my visit, some of the fair­ways were be­ing used as a place of gath­er­ing. An un­for­get­table jour­ney of dis­cov­ery.

Delhi Golf Club - In­dia

In­dia’s most pres­ti­gious golf club - in the mid­dle of the city of Delhi - con­sists of 27 holes laid out over 220 acres of prime real es­tate. The golf course in­cludes the 9- hole Pea­cock course and more famous Lodhi course which has hosted the In­dian Open on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions and is a strong test of golf. The golf club is iden­ti­fi­able be­cause of a large num­ber of tombs that dot the property and of­ten at stag­ing ar­eas. Add to that birds such as pea­cock won­der the course freely and add to the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence.

Carey Is­land Sports Club Malaysia

Carey Is­land Sports Club is surely Malaysia’s most quirky golf course. The orig­i­nal nine holes were built in the late 1920’s for the lo­cal band of Euro­peans liv­ing on Carey Is­land - about 1-hour drive from the hus­tle and bus­tle of Kuala Lumpur. The nine-hole golf course of­fi­cially only opened in July 1930 with a fur­ther nine holes added the past few years. Thank­fully the orig­i­nal nine re­main un­touched and make for a real ad­ven­ture. Imag­i­na­tion and cre­ativ­ity are re­quired to plot your way around the property all the time mak­ing sure to ap­pre­ci­ate the nu­mer­ous golf fea­tures like im­pres­sive trees, veg­e­ta­tion, fences, ditches, roads and home­steads.

Ba­gan Golf Club - Myan­mar

Ba­gan is a truly amaz­ing place and ev­ery­one should vis­ited at least once in a life­time. In an area no larger than Hong Kong, you will find up to 3,000 an­cient pago­das - built be­tween 9-11AD dot­ted about the ter­rain in ran­dom or­der. It just so hap­pens that the Ba­gan Golf Club is routed to take ad­van­tage of 14 such mon­u­ments with much more framing the golf course in the dis­tance. It is like play­ing golf back in an­cient time.

Popa Golf Club - Myan­mar

If the town of St An­drews is the best back­drop in golf, then the Popa Taungkalat Monastery is a close sec­ond as it looms large in the dis­tance when play­ing the Mt Popa Golf course - a few hours drive from Ba­gan. The nine-hole golf course at the foothills of Mt Popa is main­tained by the lo­cals in­clud­ing their cat­tle. The golf is as var­ied as it comes and hazards in­clude roads, gul­lies, trees, bunkers, fences, cat­tle… and the rest.

Yay Tagon Taung Golf Club - Myan­mar

A round of golf on most golf cour­ses in Myan­mar can put you back as lit­tle as $5 in­clud­ing at the won­der­ful Yay Tagon Taung Golf Club - about an hour drive from the city of Man­dalay. This 27-hole golf fa­cil­ity em­braces the term “less is more”. The golf course is un­com­pli­cated with few man-made fea­tures which al­lows the golfers the op­por­tu­nity to ap­pre­ci­ate the beau­ti­ful sur­rounds much more.

Jagowari Golf & Coun­try Club In­done­sia

There are only a few golf cour­ses on the planet that are routed through thick jun­gle thicket, and many of these can be found in the re­gion sur­round­ing Bo­gor - about an hour drive out­side of Jakarta - whereas as many a ten golf cour­ses are bounded by im­pen­e­tra­ble bush and fast flow­ing river streams sys­tems. One of the most im­pres­sive is the 45-hole fa­cil­ity at the Jagowari Golf & Coun­try Club. The holes are well crafted and take you on a jour­ney of dis­cov­ery around the property. Each hole is alive with the sound of the jun­gle, and the at­ten­tion to de­tail is sec­ond to none. As one of Asia’s best golf cour­ses, it is also re­fresh­ing to see the use of na­tive broadleaf car­pet­grass on the fair­ways which re­quires very lit­tle in­put. Wel­come to the Jun­gle.

Royal Bangkok Sports Club - Thai­land

The Royal Bangkok Sports Club could per­haps best be de­scribed as an ob­sta­cle course. It is an un­be­liev­able scene on what is per­haps the best multi-use sports fa­cil­ity any­where. Golf holes zig-zag around the property all the time try­ing to avoid the mul­ti­tude of un­usual golf fea­tures that dic­tate the play - like the race track or cricket field or driv­ing range build­ing.

The Old Course at Fan­ling is a charm­ing af­fair

The Old Course is marked by nu­mer­ous un­con­ven­tional cross­ing holes and blind spots - this is the famous 10th aka Tommy Tucker

The rail­way line that di­vides many of the holes

of Royal Colombo on the front nine

The Nuwara Eliya Golf Club is per­haps the most unique golf course in all of Asia

The famous Lodhi course which has hosted the In­dian Open on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions

Carey Is­land Sports Club is surely Malaysia's most

quirky golf course

It’s like play­ing golf back in

an­cient time at Ba­gan

Popa Taungkalat Monastery is a close sec­ond to St An­drews as the best back­drop in golf

Yay Tagon Taung Golf Club em­braces the term “less is more”

Each hole is alive with the sound of the

jun­gle at Jagowari

The Royal Bangkok Sports Club could per­haps best be de­scribed as an ob­sta­cle coursen­gle at Jagowari

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