CHOICE RE­SORT

An ad­ven­ture awaits golf and outdoors fans alike at Da­mai Laut in Perak.

Golf Vacations (Malaysia) - - Contents - By Benny Teo

Com­bin­ing na­ture’s best with an 18-hole cham­pi­onship golf course steep in Malaysia’s west coast­line.

Kel­lie’s Cas­tle stands atop an atoll sur­rounded by what seemed like a moat, but is ac­tu­ally a creek named Raya River. It was built around 1915 by Scot­tish tin en­tre­pre­neur Wil­liam Kel­lie Smith to cel­e­brate the birth of his son. With a unique blend of Scot­tish, Moor­ish, and Tamil­vanan Indian ar­chi­tec­ture, it was sadly never fin­ished af­ter he had passed away from pneu­mo­nia dur­ing a short trip to Lis­bon and the ru­ins to­day left a story that con­tin­ues to en­thrall vis­i­tors who walk through its halls and rooms with ghosts of a dis­quiet past steep within its walls.

That a won­der­ful spec­ta­cle as this could be found on the drive up af­ter check­ing out of the Swiss-gar­den Ho­tel Kuala Lumpur on-route to its sis­ter re­sort at

Da­mai Laut is noth­ing short of sur­pris­ing, es­pe­cially af­ter a night spent walk­ing through the bustling streets of Bukit Bin­tang and Chi­na­town, where the 4-star rated city ho­tel re­sides.

A stay in its Deluxe Room of­fers 28 square me­tres of com­fort with ei­ther king or two sin­gle beds set in warm earth tones to pro­vide a calm­ing respite in the midst of Malaysia’s busiest city. An E-lounge lo­cated on the 11th floor of­fers sec­re­tar­ial ser­vices as well as af­ter­noon cof­fee and tea with some light snacks with a large al­fresco ve­randa for a bird’s eye view over the city.

But the jour­ney has al­ready be­gun and it is a four hour com­mute to Da­mai Laut that be­came six af­ter stop­ping over at Kel­lie’s Cas­tle, a lunch break and a stopover at Aeon Mall in be­tween.

From the mall, it is a short com­mute to the Swis­sGar­den Beach Re­sort and it is, as one would dis­cover, a na­ture lover’s par­adise with an eco­log­i­cally boun­ti­ful rain­for­est that stretches for miles. And it’s got a won­der­ful beach as well.

When we ar­rive last De­cem­ber, the re­sort had in­vited the most pop­u­lar hawk­ers from Pe­nang for a month of feast­ing on all man­ner of sump­tu­ous cui­sine, from Ah Pheng’s As­sam Laksa to Ah Cheng’s Wan­tan Mee to Ah See’s Northam Beach Café’s Chi­nese Pasem­bor, amongst about a dozen stalls. We were told that there will likely be more of such pro­mo­tions in fu­ture to look for­ward to.

A good spread of din­ing op­tions also awaits those who come to Da­mai Laut. Apart from the main res­tau­rant that serves up a lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional buf­fet, there is fine din­ing Thai res­tau­rant called Thai Taste that of­fers an ar­ray of choices from Tom Yum Goong, to Mas­saman Curry and Pad Krapow Moo Saap (Fried Basil and Pork).

There is also a nightly grill open for din­ner where guests may choose from a se­lec­tion of choice meats and seafood and have them cooked to per­fec­tion by an ex­pe­ri­enced chef on hand to do so.

Also new was a bevy of child-friendly ameni­ties like a newly opened “Young Cit­i­zens of The World” fa­cil­ity where kids of all ages can en­gage in fun ac­tiv­i­ties like ‘Wall Bat Ball’, an ‘Apps and Tabs’ zone, a movie theatre with bean bags and more.

There is also one of the most amaz­ing wa­ter play ar­eas in any re­sort where the play ground is ac­tu­ally big­ger than the ac­tual swim­ming pool. With a gen­er­ous stretch of beach and di­rect ac­cess by daily speed­boat across to Pangkor Is­land, there is so much that beach lovers can look for­ward to as well.

Out­door, fam­i­lies and cou­ples can en­joy a mul­ti­tude of ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing horse­back rid­ing, go­ing on an ad­ven­ture ride across the dense forestry with an All-ter­rain Ve­hi­cle, take a boat ride and go snokelling or scuba div­ing or even fish­ing. Just head to the recre­ational cen­tre lo­cated at the beach and all man­ner of fun can be had there.

Out­door, fam­i­lies and cou­ples can en­joy a mul­ti­tude of ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing horse­back rid­ing, go­ing on an ad­ven­ture ride across the dense forestry with an All-ter­rain Ve­hi­cle, take a boat ride and go snokelling or scuba div­ing or even fish­ing. Just head to the recre­ational cen­tre lo­cated at the beach and all man­ner of fun can be had there.

There is also pet­ting zoo for chil­dren should they wish en­gage with farm an­i­mals like rab­bits, chicks and ducks. There is a fam­ily of geese, how­ever, that while adorable to look at, will chase down any­one who dares come near and dis­turb their peace.

Well in­formed vis­i­tors are also known to bring buck­ets down to the beach where they can search for fresh, de­li­cious shell­fish that goes re­ally well with sam­bal chilli and a cold beer. They usu­ally end up hav­ing them by the pool deck en­joy­ing their catch with a lager and en­joy­ing the sun­set.

And then, there is the golf. Da­mai Laut Golf & Coun­try Club had been voted by Malaysia’s Par­golf mag­a­zine’s Peo­ple’s Choice Awards as amongst the top 3 most scenic as well as most im­proved golf course in the coun­try in 2016 and 2017 re­spec­tively.

It lies be­tween the mouth of the Sem­pit river and the road of Malakka on the grounds of the re­sort and pro­vides a grand view of Pangkor is­land and the trop­i­cal for­est of Teluk Kopiah.

A Ron­ald Fream de­sign that stretches 6,600 me­tres from the back, it has nine holes over­look­ing the Straits of Malacca and the other nine with a view of the es­tu­ar­ies of the Dind­ing River. There is a Sin­ga­porean con­nec­tion with for­mer pro­fes­sional golfer Lam Chih Bing hold­ing the course record of 66 there since 2006.

Built in 1997, both the Lakes and Hill nines of­fer con­trast­ing chal­lenges to play and is still an en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence that beck­ons golfers to come at it again and again to try to tame it.

The Lake Nine, or front nine, is as its name sug­gests, filled with wa­ter haz­ards in the form of ponds and lakes with holes one and eight the only two left with­out. Apart from avoid­ing these wa­ter bod­ies, there are many other chal­lenges to play­ing this nine, in­clud­ing bunkers, palm trees that lit­ter along and some­times in the fair­ways, and the el­e­va­tion changes that re­quire pre­cise club se­lec­tion and shot mak­ing.

Case in point would be the Par 5 2nd. Af­ter a chal­leng­ing first hole, the sec­ond gets the golfer think­ing from the tee­box. A dra­matic hole that snakes be­tween a lake and jun­gle, the open­ing tee shot must be safe. Long driv­ers can carry the wa­ter hazard to

the right but any­thing short or too far right, will end up in wa­tery grave.

From there, the course de­scends to­wards a flat­ter, more man­age­able ter­rain but be­ware of wa­ter bod­ies that con­tinue to be­fud­dle and en­trap through­out this Lake Nine holes.

The Hill Nine, or back nine, ar­guably con­tains some of the best holes of this course. It runs along much more hilly ter­rain and are shaped by nu­mer­ous sand bunkers. There­fore, the is­land green at hole 13 is not sur­rounded by wa­ter, but in­stead by sand.

Mem­o­rable holes such as the sig­na­ture 15th that doglegs from left to right. With a nar­row fair­way that slopes sharply down about 100 me­tres from the green and dan­ger on both sides, the clever play here is a small cut off the tee that sets up a short iron into a beach­side green flanked by co­conut trees and grass bunkers with Se­nan­gin Bay in the back­ground.

At the 18th, the fin­ish­ing hole is one to re­mem­ber, or for­get, depend­ing on how it is played. A blind tee shot awaits at the dog­leg right hole with a rock in the mid­dle. The play here is to hit a fade and carry the rock for the ball to land, and roll down to­wards a fair­way pro­tected by trees and wa­ter to the right, and thick, slop­ing rough to its left.

The tar­get is also a tough one to aim at. At the end of the hole, the green juts to the right so any ap­proach must be high and land soft, car­ry­ing both trees and river. A mag­nif­i­cent end that will get golfers talk­ing about when they re­turn to the club­house for a 19th hole snack.

And to en­cour­age vis­it­ing golf fans, this year, the golf course is in­tro­duc­ing a Da­mai Laut Golf Se­ries

2018 com­pe­ti­tion where par­tic­i­pants com­pete in six com­pet­i­tive matches that be­gan in March and will end in De­cem­ber’s fi­nal leg.

A BMW 118i M Sport awaits any­one who is skill­ful and lucky enough to score a hole in one at the right place. Ad­di­tion­ally, There will be two cat­e­gories for prizes in each leg – a Gross and Nett win­ner - as well as four nov­elty prizes and five lucky draws. This year­long event is open to all, re­gard­less of whether they are lo­cal or for­eign­ers.

A trip here may take a long while but the jour­ney and the des­ti­na­tion is cer­tainly, well worth the ef­fort.

At THE 18th, THE fin­ish­ing Hole Is one to re­mem­ber, or For­get, DEPEND­ING on How It Is played. A BLIND TEE shot Awaits At THE DOG­LEG RIGHT Hole with A rock In THE MID­DLE. THE play HERE Is to HIT A FADE AND Carry THE rock For THE Ball to land, AND roll Down to­wards A FAIR­WAY pro­tected By trees AND wa­ter to THE RIGHT, AND THICK, slop­ing rough to Its left.

PRE­VI­OUS SPREAD: Aerial view of the golf course with Pangkor Is­land in the back­drop.THIS PAGE, TOP: The new wa­ter play­ground at the Swiss-gar­den Beach Re­sort.BOT­TOM, CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT: Poparazzi thrill ride; Nerf Gun Shoot­ing Gallery at the “Young Cit­i­zens of The World"; Da­mai Laut Ballroom suit­able for large meet­ings and con­ven­tions.

CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT: Sig­na­ture 15th at the Da­mai Laut Golf Club; Deluxe Premier Sea View Room; Arts and craft at “Young Cit­i­zens of The World”; Horse rid­ing along the beach.

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