ARE MALAYSIA’S GOLF COURSES TOURIST FRIENDLY?
An overseas email enquiry from a reader in Hong Kong revealed some answers and warrants a debate on this subject.
In early September, I received this email:
“Dear Mr Ho, I enjoy reading your magazine whenever I have the opportunity to visit Malaysia.
I wonder if you could be so good as to recommend a course that my wife, daughter (8 years old) and I could play on our next visit to KL? We would look to play 9 holes.
In response to your article about rejuvenating Golf Tourism (September issue), my experience and observation is that the golfing community in Malaysia is not terribly interested in golf tourism and many golf clubs carry by institution and tradition the snobbery of the old colonial clubs (without I am afraid to say much to be snobbish about if one should ever be snobbish about golf).”
Not wanting to let this reader down, and to instill some faith in our golf courses, I immediately asked some managers about his enquiry for a fun golfing day with his family.
After all he did mention, “my experience and observation is that the golfing community in Malaysia is not terribly interested in golf tourism”.
And he was right. Only three courses replied back, saying that they will only need to pay for the usual buggy and green charges, and that the child must be accompanied by an adult.
I duly replied and the gentleman was extremely thankful that at least there were three courses in the Klang Valley that were willing to allow his child on to the course.
While I felt a sense of pride to have assisted in promoting golf in Malaysia, I could not help but feel disappointed with some of the individuals that failed to reply.
Are they not happy to receive in-bound golfers? Does their silence tell us that they do not allow 8-year-olds to play on their golf course?
This constipated silence is coming from managers of courses who have regularly cried out to publications for help in publicizing their properties.
Golf rounds must be up I guess, or maybe they do not have an S.O.P. in place to handle such enquiries.
This case reminds me of another email that I received years ago.
It was from a travel agent from Australia who arranges a few golf tours annually to Malaysia that includes Sabah and Sarawak.
His tours normally have a headcount of 20 to 30 golfers.
According to him, out of the 20 courses that he sent emails to, only five would reply to his enquiry for a quotation on green, buggy and caddy fees.
So if these courses failed to reply to an email enquiry on their website, then why did the powers that be even bother spending millions of Ringgit on golf tourism in the past?
Let’s hope cases like these are lessons for the industry leaders to learn from and improve.
We wouldn’t want our nation to be out of bounds to golfers, do we?