Constantly ranked in the top 100 golf courses in the world by Golf Digest the West Course at TPC Kuala Lumpur was a true bucket list course for us and one of the main reasons we came to Kuala Lumpur. The accolades of the West Course are extensive (World Top 100, #17 in Asia), and we can confirm there is a reason why it receives all these awards!
Our 8:40 tee time was the same as the day prior when we played the East Course, and we arrived at the course almost as early, but there were already a lot of players mingling around, so we didn’t have the opportunity to go out early. As our tee time arrived, with first tee jitters in full effect, and our knees knocking, our caddy Jifri confidently gave us each driver and we proceeded to both find the fairway of the uphill first hole.
Just as Jifri explained the day prior, the West Course had many more players on it than we experienced on the East Course. I guess, if you only have time to play one, the West Course is going to be that one. However, even with more players, the pace of play was never an issue and we finished our round in slightly over 4 hours.
Longer than its neighbour, the West Course plays a lengthy 6968-yards from the black tees. Too much course for us, I played it from the 6605-yard blue marks while Menekse played it from the 5617-yard red marks. The West Course played home to the CIMB Classic, a PGA Tour and Asian Tour co-sponsored tournament that was played from 2010 through 2018 and was the first tournament ever sanctioned by the PGA Tour in Southeast Asia.
After our initial shots, we quickly felt more relaxed and began enjoying the beautiful golf course. We both missed some shots on the front, but were playing well.
Making the turn
Frustrated about our missed opportunities on the front, we made the turn ready to take on the back nine. The tenth is a long uphill par-5 that has ample room for driver. The green is backed by a beautiful TPC Kuala Lumpur sign that makes a great backdrop for pictures! Unfortunately, I didn’t get up and down from the greenside bunker for birdie, but was happy with par.
The eleventh is a long par 3, and unfortunately was one of the few holes we had to wait on. I’m not sure if it was the wait, or the yardage, but I couldn’t get comfortable on the tee, and proceeded to chunk my tee shot into the lake short. Double ☹ That was a disappointment, because I had been striking the ball well most of the day.
Both of us really enjoyed the stretch of holes from fourteen through eighteen, and looking back at the card, we both played them solidly. 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 Jifri mentioned that I was hitting driver well, and that I should give it a go. With water all 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! Determined not to leave my 30-foot eagle putt short, I struck my putt perfectly online, but with a little too much enthusiasm. It firmly hit the back of the cup but didn’t drop, and left me with a birdie putt hanging on the lip. I have been lucky enough to have 2 eagles on par-4’s before, but both have been many, many years ago.
Menekse likewise played the sixteen well, ripping her tee shot down the middle, then playing her second shot just short, but getting up and down to save par. Probably because we both played it well, we have added the sixteenth hole at the West Course to one of our favourite holes in the world!
Even though the West Course plays long, we both thought that it was a very fair course. It has the distance, but it isn’t too narrow which allows you to hit driver off most tees. Consequently, if you put your ball in the right spots you certainly have chances to score well. There are also some good undulations in a couple of the fairways, so you can get some roll which helps to counter the length. If you’re not on your game though, the demanding West Course could prove to be a tough day.
The green speed measured 10,4 the day we played, which while not being super-fast, they were in absolute perfect condition. It is critical though that you keep the ball below the hole. I missed a couple times long, and the downhill putt isn’t for the faint at heart!
Both of us played better on the West Course than we did on the East Course, and as a result we both scored better. My goal was to break 80 on both courses, and with a couple birdies on the back nine of the West Course, I was very happy that I did!
Inevitably, you are going to ask us which of the courses we preferred. As we mentioned elsewhere, we both agree that the West Course lived up to its top 100 ranking. And if we were forced to only choose one course, it would be the West Course!