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.

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - Editor’s Letter - PA­TRICK HO Ed­i­tor pa­trick@bluinc.com.my

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?

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