Our arrival at TPC Kuala Lumpur
TPC Kuala Lumpur was one of the main reasons why we decided to spend a few weeks in Kuala Lumpur. With 36 holes, and the West Course consistently ranked in the top 100 in the world by Golf Digest, this was an absolute must play for us, and was at the very top of our list in Malaysia. So, when we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, it didn’t take long for us to begin looking into when we should go and have a look. On one of our first mornings we decided to take our clubs to hit some balls on the driving range and see if we could become acquainted with the course. Just to see for ourselves what all the fuss is about.
Being one of the few TPC Clubs outside the US, and the only one in Asia, let’s just say that our expectations were very high when we arrived. And to say that our expectations were exceeded, would be an understatement!
Felt like home!
I remember entering through the gate and seeing the Clubhouse from our Grab car for the first time. Our first impression when we arrived was wow- this is beautiful! And this is huge! As we stepped out of the car, we must have had that deer in the headlights look, because neither of us was sure where we wanted to go first! The Clubhouse, the Pro Shop, the caddy shack, and cart barn- it was all there for our taking!
We left our golf bags at the stands near the cart barn and decided first to have a look in the Clubhouse. The beautiful Spanish style Clubhouse looks like it was transported from California, and the appearance really reminded me (James) of when I lived in San Diego and worked at Torrey Pines. So immediately it felt like home.
The Clubhouse is, well, huge- and we mean huge! We read that it is 250,000 square feet, and we really wanted to have a look around. And upon entering, we were immediately warmly greeted by the friendly staff. Asking if we could have a look at the Clubhouse, they suggested to give us a tour, which we gladly accepted!
Touring The Clubhouse
Touring the Clubhouse, we were overwhelmed by the amenities. We found a 6-lane bowling alley, a huge well-equipped fitness centre, a florist, an Olympic sized swimming pool, 6 restaurants (!), and fantastic changing rooms. To our surprise, there is even a movie theatre! We couldn’t think of a better place to grab a bucket of popcorn and watch the greatest movie of all time- Caddyshack! Right honey?! Honey?
Walking the halls we also noticed all the fantastic golf course photos- taken by one of the best golf photographers in the business, and our friend Jacob Sjoman.
And the trophies- TPC KL has played host multiple times each to both the CIMB Classic, a PGA Tour/Asian Tour co-sponsored tournament, as well as the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia tournament. It has also played host to the Malaysian Open on multiple occasions. Our guide explained to us that the TPC KL is the only golf club in the world to have hosted such major international events in the same year for three consecutive years.
Some Amazing Facts
We really were wondering what a huge operation TPC KL must be, and we asked a lot of questions related to the size. TPC KL services around 70,000 rounds a year. We found out that there are about 300 staff that work at the Club. There are 48 full time caddies and approximately 150 part time loopers. The greens maintenance staff is 36 permanent workers, with another 106 on contract. And there are 150 buggies! Thank you for your time, and especially for your patience in answering all our questions!
After touring the Clubhouse, we made our way over to the Pro-Shop. And there we found the largest Pro Shop in all Southeast Asia. And it has, literally, everything! Are you in need of a gold-plated set of irons? Check!
After seeing everything we could see, we finally made it to the driving range, one of the original reasons we went in the first place. We went to the counter to pay for a bucket of balls but were reminded that the Club is a cashless course. And, since our credit cards were stolen and we hadn’t received our new cards yet, our immediate thought was oh no, we came all the way here with our clubs and can’t hit any balls!
Nearly heartbroken, I started walking back to the range with my head hung low. About halfway back, I was approached by another friendly member of the staff. He must have sensed my downheartedness and asked if there was anything we needed. I spared him the story of our stolen credit card but mentioned that we only had cash. He then used his card and offered us 100 range balls. This is what great clubs do, they ensure the player is happy and well cared for. Look up customer service, and this example will be there.
The driving range, let’s be honest, was the only disappointment of the Club. We were told that they have stopped investing in it because it is scheduled to be replaced. Which is probably quite overdue in our opinion, so it will be nice to see an improvement. The other downside is that you buy a range card that is good for 240 range balls or more. But 240 is the minimum. So, if you are visitors like us, and want to hit a few balls prior to your round, your only opportunity is to pay for 240 balls. Once the new range is built, we would love to see the option for a player to be able to hit 20-30 balls, or at least something less than 240 balls!
Bucket List Golf
Outstanding facilities aside, what we really came to TPC KL was for the golf. We don’t want to give it away here, so all we’re going to say was that the golf was spectacular! But, if you would like to read why it was spectacular, you can read about our day at the East Course, followed by our round at the West Course.
Inevitably, you are going to ask us which of the courses we preferred. In the end, 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!
All and all, this probably is our overall greatest golf experience that we have had thus far since we began our full-time golf journey. It’s due to a combination of things, most notably the quality of the golf, as well as how we were treated like members of the entire staff. However, our experience was made unforgettable by 4 individuals; Zalikha, who set the entire tone by greeting us like members upon our first step into the Club; Illiyyin, who took time out of her schedule to show us the property (without an appointment) and who had the patience for all our questions and schedule changes; Rick who offered us his range balls; and finally our wonderful caddy Jifri, who did his very best to keep us on the straight and narrow both days- a difficult task indeed!