First up was the East Course! With an 8:40 tee time, we were eagerly out of our apartment early. You probably know by now that we don’t travel with our own transportation, and we attempt to rely on public transportation in all our travels- even to and from golf courses whenever possible. We left early because we had to take 2 different metros and then still had to take a Grab.
We arrived a good hour before our tee time, paid our fees, and made our way to check in with the Caddy Master. We noticed that there weren’t many other players around yet, a fact that the Caddy Master must have also noticed because he said that we could go whenever we were ready. Even though we like to hit a ball or two before we played, we had just played a couple days earlier at Carey Island Golf Club and thought, why not.
The East Course at TPC Kuala Lumpur plays 6597-yards from the championship tees with a par of 71. I moved forward one tee and played it from the blues, which measures 6243-yards. Menekse played it from the reds, which at 5295-yards, is a very good test of golf. The East Course was home to the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia tournament, which ran from 2010 through to 2017.
With our caddy Jifri on our bags (ok, cart), we made our way to the first tee and off we went, christening the morning dew of the fairways with its first steps of the day. Excited to play, we both started strong, me paring the opening three holes, including the wonderful but tight 409-yard par-4 third hole. We then got into a little four-hole funk, before finishing the front nine par, par.
I think Jifri was the first to notice our visitor on the downhill ninth, a large water monitor! We have seen these dinosaurs in our travels before and have even witnessed a fight while at Kelab Golf Seri Selangor, but this guy was huge! Thankfully, he seemed uninterested in us.
The Back Nine
The back nine of the East Course absolutely shines! The 435-yard par-4 eleventh was, visually, our favourite. A tee shot down the right side is essential because the left is littered with beautiful fairway bunkers. Jifri gave the line down the right, but to no fault of his, I found one of those beautiful bunkers! The eleventh is a hole that will not be soon forgotten!
Another of our favourites 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 safely found the centre of the green, and I could finally exhale again. The shot even called for a little celebration!
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!
Unfortunately, that was Menekse’s favourite ball that she had been using and playing well with. As we left the green, Jifri must have said something to one of the greens crew that was working nearby, because by the time we reached the sixteenth tee, she was surprisingly once again in possession of the same ball! Thank you Jifri!
The East Course- an “Exceptional Risk – Reward Design”!
We had the course almost to ourselves the entire day, or so it seemed because we rarely saw any other players. Jifri said that is due to the fact most players want to play the West Course and may not have time to play the East. That is too bad, because both of us enjoyed the East Course. While it plays shorter, we thought it definitely has more trouble in terms of bunkers and water then the West Course had.
After finishing our round, we made our way back to the cart barn. Since we enjoyed being in Jifri’s capable hands, we asked the Caddy Master if we could be in his service for the West Course as well. And since we were playing the next day, the Caddy Master also allowed us to store our clubs overnight in his locked office. Little did he realize that not having to take our clubs back to our flat via the metro felt like winning the lottery to us!