5 Best Golf Courses in Malaysia
We travelled throughout Malaysia for 3 months and were astonished by both the country as well as the depth of quality golf courses it provides the traveling golfer.
According to the R&A, there are 248 golf courses in Malaysia as of 2019. While we didn’t play all 248, we have played more Golf in Malaysia than any other country in the world other than our home countries of the US and Germany. We played a wide spectrum of courses; from the exclusively private to the muni, and from the resort all the way to the, well, let’s just say the less than memorable during our 3-month journey. It is from these travels that we have created a list of the 5 Best Golf Courses in Malaysia. We are positive that any one of these courses would make your golf trip to Malaysia all the more memorable.
So, get your passport ready, pack your sunblock and golf clubs, and book your flight.
If you don’t know Malaysia, you should. Located in South East Asia, it boasts year-round sunshine, wonderful people, and delicious food. And the 90-day visa-free entry for many golfing travellers is a tremendous bonus. We found the country to be extremely modern, clean, safe, and very easy to get around. English is spoken everywhere, which makes it even more accessible. Malaysia is also a place where multiple cultures have met and lived together, which means that the food in this multi-cultural environment is incredible. Make sure you try a big bowl of Laksa, as well as Kolo Mee! It is also a country full of friendly smiling people that are genuinely interested to get to know more about you!
Getting to Malaysia
With direct flights to Kuala Lumpur from Europe, Australia, and the US, getting to Malaysia couldn’t be easier. And with a 90-day visa on arrival for most countries, entry is a breeze.
Getting Around in Malaysia
Traveling around Malaysia is uncomplicated and effortless. Similar to Uber, Grab is available throughout the country and is a must-download app upon your arrival. Kuala Lumpur is well serviced by an extensive Metro system, as well as buses. The remaining peninsula can be easily reached by flights with AirAsia, or by buses. Cars can also be rented quickly and easily. Another money-saving app is GoCar, which is a self-service car rental platform that we used while in Johor. Just make sure you have an International Drivers Licence if you want to use GoCar. Driving is done on the left in Malaysia, so it is familiar to many traveling golfers. There is also a train that runs north and south on the peninsula, but we did not use it. And ferries are readily available to take you to Langkawi and the other islands.
Best Time of The Year to Play Golf in Malaysia
Located in the tropics, weather in Malaysia is consistent year-round. This means that it is most likely going to be hot and humid. We travelled the entire west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and all the way to Borneo, from the beginning of May to the very last day of July 2019. We found the weather to be quite hot and humid in nearly all locations. It was hot during the day during our one month stay in Kuala Lumpur, and we could almost set our alarm for the daily rain shower that came at 3 pm. It rained more than we expected while we were in the Cameron Highlands as well as Langkawi. But in general, we found the weather never to be an issue.
The Five Best Golf Courses in Malaysia
But, we’re here to talk about the golf, so let’s get straight into the details. Here is our list of the 5 Best Golf Courses in Malaysia.
Number Five- The Mines Resort and Golf Club
Often in our travels, we find that the unplanned things on the road are the best. A town that we didn’t know existed. A restaurant down a back alley that we stumbled across. A secluded beach that has the perfect sunset. Sometimes golf is the same. Coming in at number five on our 5 Best Golf Course in Malaysia was The Mines Resort and Golf Club.
Starting on ten, it didn’t take us long to arrive at one of the greatest holes on the course, the par 3 eleventh (our second). It might only be 169-yards long from the tips, but don’t let the yardage fool you into thinking that a 3 on your scorecard is a given. From the tee, there is nothing between you and the green, except that deep jungle filled ravine.
In one word, the sixth hole was brilliant. At 291-yards, this par 4 begs you take driver and go for it off the tee. But with water all down the right side, and a bunker left, it forces you to think. We love a golf hole that offers more than one way to play.
On the scorecard, it says ‘The Mines Experience’, and ours was an experience that we will never forget! The day we played was only a few weeks ahead of their Club Championship, and the course was in tournament-ready shape. The greens were firm, ran true, and had a consistently quick pace of speed. The fairways were generous, but not overly easy to find, and were maintained to perfection.
The Mines was another confirmation that often the best things in life are unplanned!
Number Four- TPC Kuala Lumpur East Course
Number four on our 5 Best Golf Course in Malaysia was The East Course at TPC Kuala Lumpur. Making our way to the first tee, we christened the early morning dew of the fairways with its first steps of the day. We started strong, me paring the opening three holes, including the wonderful but tight 409-yard par-4 third hole.
The back nine of the East Course absolutely shines! The 435-yard par-4 eleventh was our favorite. A tee shot down the right side is essential because the left is littered with beautiful fairway bunkers. Our caddy Jiffri gave the line down the right, but to no fault of his, I found one of those beautiful bunkers!
Another of our favorites was the 140-yard island green par-3 fifteenth, which is probably the signature hole of the East Course. With the pin placed on the far right of the green, I took my chances with a firm 9-iron and took aim to the centre of the green. I made a good swing, made good contact, and held my breath watching and hoping. After what seemed an eternity, it found the centre of the green, and I could finally exhale again.
Menekse struck a solidly hit 6-iron, which she pulled ever so slightly. The ball landed on, but didn’t have enough stick to stay, and unfortunately took one hop and went in. There is nothing more frustrating in golf than a well-hit shot that doesn’t produce results! But we both really enjoyed the challenge!
Perhaps overlooked by its more famous neighbor, do yourself a favor and make sure to include the East Course in your playing itinerary- you will not be disappointed!
Number Three- The Els Club Desaru Coast
We knew that The Els Club Desaru Coast was going to be an exceptional golf course. What we didn’t know was that we would be treated like VIP’s! With our names etched on lockers in the locker room, number three on our 5 Best Golf Course in Malaysia was The Els Club Desaru Coast.
The second hole on the Coast nine is a long 575-yard par 5 that we promise you will never forget! Standing on the tee, you can’t help but be wowed by the beautiful fairway length bunker that runs down the entire left side. The hole bends left, so the bunker is always in play.
The 163-yard par 3 third is most likely the signature hole of the Ocean Course. The beach runs along the entire left side of the hole, and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore is bound to play in your mind. Menekse found the left side of the green and had a nice view of the ocean. Make sure you get some good selfies here!
After changing in the locker room and getting one last long look at our names on the lockers (we still can’t believe how awesome that was!), we went into the pro-shop to thank them for our great day. We were personally greeted by the Director of Golf. He inquired about our day, and we told him about our world golf adventure. As we stood there chatting, I couldn’t help but reflect on our entire experience and how we were treated like long time members at every opportunity. This is how you dream to be treated as a guest! The Els Club Desaru Coast truly understands how to make the traveling golfer feel like a VIP!
Number Two- The Els Club Teluk Datai
Coming in at number two on our 5 Best Golf Course in Malaysia was The Els Club Teluk Datai, probably the most beautiful golf course that we have ever seen!
The ocean comes into view once you finish the fourth hole, and it is here where the golf course will blow you away. You will not believe your eyes when you reach the 179-yard par 3 Fifth hole, curiously named Illusion. It is anything but an illusion, because believe it or not, that view is real! You may want to pinch yourself to ensure that you select your weapon of choice wisely here. With the Andaman Sea as the backdrop, if you over club you will need to bring your passport because that is Thailand in the background!
With an uphill sharp dogleg right from the tee, club selection on the sixteenth hole named Paradise Found is important I elected to play it safe and hit 5-iron off the tee. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough club (for me anyway) to reach the bend in the fairway. Now that we have played it, we know that a hybrid or 3 wood would have been the better play. This would have allowed us to get to the top of the hill so that we would have had a view of the green. And oh, what a beautiful view it is. I guess we can live with making bogey on Paradise Found.
With ample landing areas and generous greens, Teluk Datai wasn’t the most difficult course we have played. To us, however, the shear difficulty isn’t a measure of memorable golf. But, without a doubt, The Els Club Teluk Datai is the most beautiful golf course in all our travels!
Number One- TPC Kuala Lumpur West Course
We really loved the stretch of holes from fourteen through eighteen. The sixteenth is a short 318-yard par-4 that just begs you to go for it! I am usually more of a conservative player and normally would pull a 6 iron out of the bag without thinking twice. But our caddy Jiffri mentioned that I was hitting driver well and that I should give it a go. With water down the left side, he said the play was to hit it up the right side past the last bunker and then try to catch the slope of the fairway. Exactly as he described it, I hit my driver spot on, catching the right side of the fairway and flying the last bunker. From there it rolled down the slope and on to the green!
Menekse played the sixteen equally well, ripping her tee shot down the middle, playing her second shot just short, but getting up and down to save par. We have added the sixteenth hole to our list of favorite holes in the world!
Even though the West Course plays long, we thought that it was very fair. And if you put your ball in the right spots, you certainly have chances to score well. There are some good undulations in a couple of the fairways, which helps to get some roll to counter the length. The green speed measured 10.4 the day we played, which while not being super-fast, they were in absolutely perfect condition.
Malaysia, an Incredible Golfing Experience
Traveling and playing golf through Malaysia for 3 months was an incredible experience, one that we will cherish forever. There is no doubt you should add Malaysia as your next golf travel destination. And when you do, make sure you play our 5 Best Golf Courses in Malaysia- we promise that you will not be disappointed!