The Jewel In An Emerald Isle

Nestling between the virgin jungle and the clean sparkling waters of Nongsa Bay, Palm Spring Golf and Country Club in Batam offers 27 holes of challenging golf.

The club features three outstanding nine-hole layouts designed by American, Larry Nelson, amidst spectacular views of the lush greenery, hills and valleys. The recently completed nine-hole layout is known as the Island course, while the first and second nines of the Old course are now called Resort and Palm courses respectively.

The interesting thing about Palm Spring is that golfers can choose their own combination of 18 holes from the three courses to make up one round of golf. Or, they can simply play 27 holes at one go.

As a result of careful planning and engineering, the courses here can accommodate golfers of all skill levels, and beginners as well as professionals will find them equally challenging due to the clever pin positions. The courses also benefit from a varied topography with hills rising steeply to more than 35 metres above sea level and enjoy an extensive water frontage on both the sea and the Nongsa River.

The Island course is luxuriously enriched with natural features such as palm trees and mangrove vegetation. The layout gradually moves away from wide fairways to intricate hazards replete with grass and sand bunkers as well as trees and ponds.

A very challenging course where the 2nd and 3rd holes crisscross in between swamps, this S$6 million project uses Zoysia Matrella for the fairways while greens are turfed with Tifdwarf. On the 8th tee, straight drives are paramount as golfers who hook or slice their tee shots will be lucky to escape with a bogey.

In comparison, the Palm course incorporates a signature green on the waterfront and high level views across natural forest and mangrove swamps. Throughout the sculptured fairways and greens are carefully-tended, leafy trees and an abundance of flora and fauna. Fairways are planted with Serangooon, while the grass on greens is Tifdwarf.

Proper club selection is the key to success on the Palm course since many holes play either uphill or downhill. Breathtaking views of the ocean can be seen from several holes, and they have been strategically placed not only for the beauty that surrounds them, but also for the challenge of their location.

At 450 metres, the 5th is considered the most difficult par four hole on the Palm course. Drives must be straight and long as water threatens misdirected hits. Accuracy is crucial as the green sits far above the fairway landing area and the natural slope will send errant shots downhill.

In addition, the new 18-bay driving range serves as a good warming up place for golfers before they take to the course. The driving range is opposite a new 350 square-metre clubhouse which costs approximately S$11 million to build.

This elegant clubhouse, using tropical wood and bricks specially imported from Bali, is designed by Singapore's Tang and Teo Architects to give a local ambience and Balinese atmosphere.

The new clubhouse is complemented by a variety of leisure and recreational facilities including male and female changing rooms with own private lounge, saunas and steam rooms. After a particularly gruelling round of golf, male golfers can make use of the six private massage rooms that are located on the second level of the male locker room.

A Golfer's Cafe which caters local and western menus has also opened at the new clubhouse. Other facilities include a private function room with a capacity for 100 persons, games room, Pro Shop and restaurant. The old clubhouse will be used as a halfway house serving food and beverages. Part of it will be converted to guest rooms. Meanwhile, Palm Spring can make arrangements for members and guests to stay in nearby hotels at special room rates.

In addition to a good round of golf, members can take advantage of the many attractions of Batam. For those interested in water sports, there is sailing, snorkelling, water-skiing, and of course, generous stretches of white sandy beaches for relaxation. Non-golfers will also find much to keep themselves occupied. They can go jungle trekking or take short trips to the Nongsa River.

The jewel in an emerald isle, Palm Spring offers its members the perfect respite from daily life.

Golfing in Malacca

The state of Malacca is a legacy of history and charm which can be easily reached by an excellent network of roads from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, leading to all the historical places of interest to tourists.

Malacca rose to become a prosperous and powerful nerve centre for trade between the East and the West, and eventually it became an empire. The fame of this celebrated city spread far and wide, and this attracted conquerors from Portugal, Holland and England.

History is evident in every corner of Malacca. It is also the home to one of Malaysia's toughest and longest golf courses — the 18-hole championship layout at Ayer Keroh Country Club.

Presently at an important stage of its economic growth, Malacca is undergoing a great deal of development to boost domestic, regional and international tourism. Golf, a sport that is catching on fast, falls under the new development spotlight. New golf courses have sprung up liberally in Malacca and choice of accommodation ranges from luxurious city hotels to country village to beach resorts.

A'FAMOSA GOLF RESORT
Jalan Kemus, Pulau Sebang
78000 Alor Gajah, Malacca
A 25-minute drive from the heart of Malacca, A'Famosa Golf Resort is strategically located along the North-South Highway and boasts excellent accessibility with good roads linking to Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands, Penang, Johor and Singapore. A'Famosa is also the only golf resort in Malaysia that has a private runway for light aircraft as well as a helipad for helicopter landing.

Sprawling over 1,100 acres, this RM5 billion project will eventually include 36 holes of golf, a 300-room hotel, water theme park, equestrian, convention cum exhibition centre, orchard farm, sports complex and dry theme park/safari.

Designed by renowned Australian architect, Ross C Watson, the most unique feature of the course are the numerous rocks. Rather than clear away these boulders which were indigenous to the site, Watson has incorporated them into the design and created an unusual playing experience. Each hole is thus unique, accentuated by the original hilly contours.

Busy businessmen and executives, and those who prefer to be away from the sun may choose night golfing which can be played from Tuesday to Saturday.

AYER KEROH COUNTRY CLUB
P O Box 232, 75750 Melaka
Established in 1961, the 18-hole, 6,621 metres, par 72 golf course at Ayer Keroh is fraught with challenges designed to test the skills of golfers at all levels. Sculptured out of virgin jungle, the area is renowned for monkeys, thus allowing the golfer to feel at one with the natural surroundings.

The layout, designed by Yab En Abd Ghafar Baba, features rolling fairways, a picturesque lake and plenty of lush vegetations. The contours of the land range in height from 100 to 160 feet above sea level, giving rise to hills with sharp gradients. On a rotating basis, one nine will be closed for maintenance every Monday.

The club has hosted major tournaments such as the 1989 Benson & Hedges Malaysian Open, Asia Pacific Junior Golf Championship and Golf Malaysia Champion of Champions.

GOLDEN VALLEY GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
Km 25, Ayer Panas, Bemban
77200 Malacca
Designed and constructed by Japan's Obayashi Corporation, this 320-hectare resort encompasses three golf courses (Lake, Mountain and Valley), a resort hotel, theme park, premium housing and recreational facilities.

Mounds, about two metres high, form an integral part of all three courses. The combination of the springy Zoysia turf and the hillocks gives the courses something of the feel of Scotland's great links courses such as St Andrews, Turnberry and Troon. The St Andrew flavour is accentuated on the 6,025-metre Valley course where the second and eighth holes share one enormous green.

Each course has about 70 bunkers and water presents itself as hazards on all three courses, particularly on the 6,104-metre Lake course where it comes into play at every hole. The 6,045-metre Mountain course, on the other hand, features sloping lies, five holes fringed by water and multi-tiered greens.

TIARA MELAKA GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB
Developed by The Lion Group, this 400-acre property offers a 27-hole layout designed by Nelson Wright Haworth. The three nines, Lake View, Meadow View and Woodland View, wind their way across fully matured stands of trees, sweeping fairways and shimmering ponds.

Tiara Melaka demands a thoughtful strategic approach. The course has five tee boxes at each hole to challenge a whole spectrum of golfing abilities. Situated near Ayer Keroh, the design incorporates the mature trees of jungle vegetation plus lakes from the former tin mine into the natural terrain.

PANDANUSA GOLF CLUB
P O Box 36, Pejabat Pos Besar
75670 Malacca.
This golfing retreat on Pulau Besar, three kilometres off the coast of Malacca, boasts an 18-hole championship course amidst a 50-hectare tropical paradise. A 222-suite hotel resembling a Portuguese village include an international marina.

A premier golfing, business & meeting resort In Kuala Lumpur

Saujana, which originates from an old Malay expression, "se jauh di sana", means "as far as the eye can see". This aptly describes Hyatt Regency Saujana, a perfect holiday location superb for a relaxed break and astoundingly close to a golfer's paradise.

Lying just 23 kilometres from downtown Kuala Lumpur and within a stone's throw from the airport, the hotel combines the quiet air of a country club with the convenience of the nearby capital.

Situated on a 162-hectare site, the hotel is surrounded by two championship golf courses and a large man-made lake. This 386-room hotel, which comprises a complex of four-storey, low-rise buildings, offers a complete range of services for accommodation, recreation, meeting/conference and business activities.

The guestrooms at Hyatt Regency Saujana carry a theme that reflects the exotic heritage of Malaysia interspersed with a contemporary look. They are housed in five blocks of four-level buildings, each with its own courtyard with a Malaysian name — Block A (Sri Cahaya), Block B (Sri Pelangi), Block C (Sri Mahkota) and Block D & E (Sri Kenangan).

Measuring an average of 42 square metres, each of the well-appointed guestrooms are air-conditioned and equipped with a mini-bar, refrigerator, colour television, international direct-dialling facilities and teletext. All guestrooms enjoy a scenic view of the swimming pool and lake or the golf course and country club in the distance.

Located on the ground floor of Block B is a Business Centre which houses a private office, a conference room and a lounge area. The centre provides business travellers with complete secretarial services and office facilities such as telex, photocopier and facsimile. It also handles courier services and travel arrangements.

Apart from that, the hotel boasts a state-of-the-art Saujana Ballroom capable of accommodating 500 guests for theatre-style meetings, 400 guests for banquets and 700 guests for standing cocktails. The ballroom is column-free and its dome-shaped ceiling with designed lightings give a star-studded night sky effect, making it a popular venue to organisers of social events.

The hotel also has six function rooms which can seat up to 80 people each, allowing for flexibility to cater to small or medium-sized meetings. Every function room offers a view of the undulating, green acres outdoor — a refreshing change for meeting participants who usually work from totally walled-up rooms.

In addition, three new meeting and banqueting space housed in two separate buildings overlooking a lake are being complemented by a pre-function area/courtyard for coffee breaks and outdoor banquet functions. The first building, Zamrud, can accommodate up to 240 people and can be divided into two self-contained sections for 120 seating capacity each. The second building, Topas, can accommodate up to 120 people.

Regency Club, Hyatt's exclusive "hotel within a hotel" concept, offers a superior level of personalised service. Concierge services are provided by the Regency Club Butlers who are stationed in the Regency Club Lounge. The butlers assist guests with arrangements ranging from dinner reservations, hotel and flight confirmations, city tours to speedy check-outs.

For recreation, there is the Saujana Golf and Country Club which is nestled alongside the Hyatt Regency Saujana. Golfers have a choice of two 18-hole golf courses designed for championship play by the renowned golf course architects, Ronald Fream Design Group.

The two par 72 courses here, namely Palm and Bunga Raya, are designed with enticing, difficult and memorable greens. They make for exciting play for golfers of all levels of ability. The naturally undulating terrain, man-make lakes and rows of cultivated palms add extra dimensional elements.

The 6,565-yard Palm course, well known to golfers in Malaysia and the region, is respectfully dubbed "The Cobra" for its testing and challenging play. The 6,400-yard Bunga Raya course, on the other hand, has a wide expanse of undulating greenery that creates a sense of freedom and space. The absence of thick woods and steep ravines makes this layout look deceptively easy, but be warned, many have regretted underestimating it.

Besides the two golf courses to delight enthusiasts of the game, Hyatt Regency Saujana offers tennis and squash, a Fitness Centre, jogging track and an outdoor swimming pool. A wide range of services which include a general store, beauty salon and gift shop complete the resort complex.

At the Fitness Centre, Hyatt guests can make use of the spa, Turkish steam bath, Finnish dry rock sauna, hot and cold plunge pools and gymnasium. The Centre also offers a relaxing massage and has a lounge for guests to meet socially after a workout. A physical fitness specialist is on hand to advise on the individual's diet and supervise the various exercise programmes.

The Buccaneer

The oldest family-run hotel on the largest of the US Virgin Islands, The Buccaneer lies three miles east of Christiansted and a convenient 30-minute drive from the Alexander Hamilton Airport.

Spread out over a 300-acre tropical estate, this luxurious resort has facilities few other Caribbean resorts can match — three beaches, a full water sports facility, eight tennis courts and an 18-hole championship golf course.

Originally a 17th century estate, The Buccaneer combines the charm and grace of the original plantation with the elegant amenities of today. Set around buildings which date to 1653, its architecture and history reflects that of St Croix.

It was in 1653 that Charles Martel, a knight of Malta, constructed the first building on Estate Shoys where The Buccaneer is located. This French Greathouse, which overlooks the present swimming pool, was placed out of sight of the sea to protect it from the roving foes. Later, after the Danes bought the island in 1733, Governor von Prock built his home on the estate, turning the French Greathouse into a sugar factory and erecting the sugar mill which is preserved as it was in the days when sugar was king.

Michael Shoy, from whom the area known as Estate Shoys received its name, bought the estate from von Prock and began growing cotton. Later the Heyliger Company raised cattle here.

Finally in 1948, the Armstrong family, who had owned and operated the cattle estate since 1922, opened The Buccaneer for business with eleven guest rooms. The old buildings were restored, made into hotel rooms and named as the pirates might have named them. Indeed one of the Martel family, turned pirate in 1721, was driven ashore by the British and his ship burned in Christiansted Harbour. The treasure he reputedly carried ashore has never been found, although repeated searches have been made on the old family estate.

Guest rooms at the Buccaneer range from accommodations perched on the sea's edge to courtside tennis cottages and oversized, luxurious rooms in the main building. Many of the resort's facilities were recently renovated and refurbished by famed White House interior designer Carleton Varney. There is also a shopping arcade with an art gallery, a fashionable ladies' boutique, sundries/gift shop, and a health spa.

The Buccaneer Hotel, which itself reflects the whole economic history of the island, was the first hotel in St Croix to be built and operated by an island family. The Armstrong family, owners and managers of the resort, are of English/Scottish descent. The children of the present owner, Robert and Elizabeth Armstrong, are the ninth generation of Armstrongs on St Croix.

Although The Buccaneer is a great deal larger than when it first opened, every effort has been made to retain the gracious atmosphere of the original plantation.

The Buccaneer's par 71, 18 holes championship golf course encompasses 6,268 yards. Designed by Bob Joyce, the course's spectacular scenery and Caribbean views have been critically acclaimed.

This challenging layout offers a wide variety of holes, calling for a return to "shot making", as well as affording some of the most breathtaking views in the Caribbean. Golfers are encourage to bring along their cameras, as they will face more than a test of their golfing skills.

At the 2nd hole, two small ponds dot the fairway just over 200 yards off the tee. Due to the elevated tee and the prevailing winds, however, they come into play. A 5-wood or 3-iron should set up a short iron to the green.

The 18th, measuring 429 yards, is an excellent finishing hole. There is normally a prevailing left to right wind and out of bounds down the right side and behind the green. The good news is, due to the elevations and the slightly helping wind, the hole plays shorter than the yardage. This is another hole where it is advisable to bounce the ball onto the green.

The Golf Pro Shop, located in the clubhouse, is open every day with lessons by appointment available from the resident pro, Tim Johnston. There is a fleet of golf carts and full, matched sets of clubs available for rental. The Pro Shop also carries a complete line of clothes and equipment. Golfers are, however, advised to bring their own golf shoes.

On St Croix, the commonly-used language is English, though one will hear others such as Spanish, French, Danish or Crucian. The climate is great for people with hay fever, asthma or arthritis. The US Virgin Islands have the reputation of offering the best weather in the entire Caribbean. Day after day the sun shines, but when there are showers, they are apt to come at night or in the early morning and pass over quickly. A full day of steady rain is rare.

Accommodations: 150 deluxe villas, suites and rooms cascade from the hilltop Greathouse to the ocean's edge, all commanding breathtaking views of the Caribbean or mountain-side. Each room features a dressing area, spacious bath and a private balcony or terrace that opens to the cool breeze of the trade winds. Guests can choose from tennis villas, deluxe oceanfront and oceanview rooms and suites, deluxe ridge rooms as well as spacious rooms and suites in the Greathouse building.

Getting there: St Croix is accessible from major cities throughout the United States. American and Delta offer direct service to the Alexander Hamilton Airport. Inter-island carriers include Liat, American Eagle and Dolphin. Connecting air service is also available from Puerto Rico.

Valderrama Golf Club

The name Valderrama comes from one of Andalucia's old estates that formed part of what is now the Sotogrande area. One of the first to build a house here had been Jaime Ortiz-Patino, who had come under the spell of Andalucia's famed beauty. Ortiz-Patino's family had ancestral links with Spain but for a long time he himself was almost wholly occupied in directing the family's worldwide mining interests from a base in Geneva where he resided.

Ortiz-Patino built his home by the third green on the Sotogrande Course but he came to have a special regard for the second Sotogrande New, then Las Aves. He formed the view that it could become even better than it was already, and he was later to find that Robert Trent Jones Sr., who designed both courses, shared this view.

It so happened that a window of opportunity opened and Ortiz-Patino was able to acquire Las Aves, renaming it Valderrama. Additional land was also acquired and Trent Jones was offered carte blanche for a major re-design.

One of their first decisions was to re-number the holes, changing the 1st to the 10th, the 2nd to the 11th, and so on. The back nine are now more testing than the outward nine, and the change has also brought a number of other benefits, such as bringing the player past the clubhouse when going from the 9th green to the 10th tee.

Valderrama has great natural beauty and is especially proud of its hundreds of gnarled old Cork Oak trees. Within the golf course, over 500 olive trees, some hundreds of years old, have been brought from distant locations and planted where they can define the course and frame target areas. These olive trees are of particular importance at the 7th, 11th and 14th holes.

As for the golfing qualities of the course, these can be very simply stated: it has no hole of less than championship quality, and it is consistently kept in superb condition.

The first of these statements might well have been disputed until the major re-design of the 17th hole was undertaken. ("A long, slogging par 5," Peter Dobereiner once wrote of it, "where the only requirement is to move the ball forward.") Now, Valderrama's last four holes are adequate to provide a stirring finish for the world's greatest players.

Valderrama's greens are immaculate, and for championship play they can be brought to the very slickest condition. Some are severely contoured and can be difficult to read.

On any golf course, especially one near the sea, the wind can be an important factor. Like other courses along the Costa del Sol, Valderrama is unusual in that it has two prevailing winds. The Poniente (from the West) is hot and dry in the summer after crossing the plains. With anything less than first-rate management, the Bentgrass greens would not survive its blast. The humid but more temperate Levante (easterly, from the sea) causes less of a problem — except to the golfer!

The fairways at Valderrama have been described by the top pros and leading golf writers as the best in Europe, if not the world. They are covered with the finest strain of Bermuda grass, Tifway 419, so too are the tees and roughs. On the greens and aprons, the grass is Pencross, a variety of creeping Bentgrass. The roughs around the greens are Pencross mixed with three varieties of Ryegrass.

Opened to visiting golfers, the green fee for a round of golf on this course is on the steep side but with a five-star rating to be maintained, one hardly expects bargain basement prices.

The clubhouse was built by traditional craftsmen in the Andalucian style. The invitingly cool entrance is approached through a deightful courtyard flanked by buildings on each side. The club's terrace restaurant is perfectly located, and diners can enjoy serene views of the golf course that spreads out before them.

All these features are carefully preserved in the newly enlarged clubhouse, which includes two very well-appointed men's and ladies' locker rooms. An integral and aesthetically pleasing part of the new architectural design is the Golf Museum, housing the president's golf collection.

The museum includes works of an artistic quality that place the collection apart from most other assemblages of golfing artefacts. It was built up unobtrusively over a period of years before being put on display when the new clubhouse was opened and is distinguished not by the number of its items but by their relevance, coherence and quality.

Valderrama's infrastructure is of a like quality. The maintenance area and equipment, pump house, service roads and golf-cart paths are equalled only by the best North American courses, and Nick Faldo once described the practice facilities as the best in Europe.

Getting There: Valderrama Golf Club is slightly more than an hour's drive from Malaga where the airport is located. Access is through the main Sotogrande entrance, right off N340 going west and then inland for around 2.5 kilometres.

Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club

In the real estate market, being in the right place at the right time and having knowledge of the market can be two crucial ingredients affecting the success of a project. The Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Florida, could serve as testament to this.

The original developer had already invested more than US$100 million in the property when Grand Harbor Associates, along with two other financial partners, seized the opportunity to acquire the property for US$32.5 million during a downturn in the real estate market. At that time, extensive environmental work had been done and the centrepiece for the development, two 18-hole championship golf courses designed by respected architects Pete Dye and Joe Lee, was completed.

As one of their first decisions, the three principals agreed that for the project to reach its ultimate goal as a club, a first class clubhouse was needed for the 879-acre waterfront country club community. When they purchased the property, each of the golf courses had its own temporary clubhouse and the original plan called for the building of two permanent structures, but the new developers felt a single clubhouse tying the two courses together was more fitting with the type of community they wanted Grand Harbor to become.

The developers also revised how the two courses would be used. The north course, now called the Harbor Course, was originally to be opened only to homeowners in the development while the south course, now called the River Course, was to be for hotel guests. However, to open both courses to all members made more business sense.

To carry out their plans, Grand Harbor Associates hired Sandy & Babcock Inc., based in San Francisco, to design the clubhouse. Sandy & Babcock designed an Italianate/Mediterranean style structure characterized by a clay tile roof with wood brackets and trellises which provide filtered shade to the terraces. The stucco building is accented by cast stone detailing indigenous to the Florida coast.

This two-storey clubhouse is approached via a formal circular drive which slopes up to a porte cochere and bridge accessing the main entry located on the second level. A series of separate dining rooms with outdoor terraces and the bar/lounge, (as well as administrative and kitchen functions), have been placed on the top floor to capitalise on sweeping views of the golf course. The lower level, with direct access to the tees, is equipped with men's and women's locker rooms, spa facilities, weight and aerobics rooms, golf pro shop and a snack bar.

The interior of the clubhouse is designed to blend with the exterior architecture. Extensive lighting accentuates details such as hand-finished open trusses, hand-applied patterned stucco, barrel vaulted ceilings, and a dramatic main lobby and fireplace. French doors open to the terraces and frame stunning views.

It comes as no surprise then that the clubhouse received the 1994 Aurora Award for its exceptional overall architectural design, landscape architecture, interior design and its overall appeal as a recreational facility.

In addition to the main clubhouse, a separate structure contains 10,000 square feet of golf cart storage. This one-storey wing is connected to the main club by a breezeway, and is designed for expansion as club membership increases.

One of the most outstanding features at Grand Harbor, both within the communities and on the golf courses, is the vast amount of wetlands and natural vegetation that weaves throughout the property. In all, 74 acres of fresh water lakes were constructed on the golf course including 24 acres of vegetated littoral shelves. More than 500,000 plants were added to create these inland wetlands which filter storm water runoff, provide habitat for aquatic animals and wading birds, and add colour and texture to the lake edges.

Grand Harbor has an oceanfront beach club that was fashioned after many of the Mediterranean beach clubs such as the Monte Carlo Club. The property includes poolside service, a Mediterranean seaside setting for dining and a 4,500 square feet pool surrounded by private cabanas situated on the Atlantic shoreline. This property is one of the few beach clubs in Vero Beach that has private cabanas and private access to the beach.

While Grand Harbor sits in a resort setting with upscale housing and a beach club, the emphasis is clearly on golf.

The Harbor Course, a 6,468-yard, par 71 course, was designed by Pete Dye Inc. of Delray Beach and opened for play in January 1989. This course uses all of Pete Dye's trademarks like expansive lakeside bulkheading, undulating fairways, pot bunkers and a variety of grasses. Residential properties surrounding the course are situated to garner wide, multi-hole vistas.

The River Course, on the other hand, was designed by Joseph L. Lee Golf Course Architects of Boynton Beach. This par 72 course covers 6,787 yards. The course, which had a grand opening in September 1989, was designed to take advantage of the vegetation and environment that surrounded the golf course. The 12th and 14th holes were particularly special because it gives the golfer an unrestricted view of the river. Hole 12 is a par 3 where the tee is elevated over vegetation and wetlands with a little fairway onto the green. The 14th hole borders on the Indian River. The tee looks over estuaries to a main landing area over wetlands and then to the green.

The fairways and tees at the Grand Harbor courses are covered with 419 Bermuda. Tifdwarf was used on the greens, collars and approaches. An interesting feature was created by the original developers of Grand Harbor near the first hole of the River Course. Faced with a 15-acre lake that needed to be retained for drainage purposes, an Aqua Range was created. The range uses golf balls that float and are retrieved at the edge of the lake. In addition to serving as a unique feature for golfers, the range also created attractive housing lots with lake frontage. Besides these, there is a full practice range at the Harbor Course that includes greens, sand traps and a practice fairway.

The links to the south

The Golf Course
On elevated ground in Batam, just 20 kilometres south-east of Singapore lies the tropical resort that is SouthLinks Country Club. This S$110 million investment occupying 213 hectares of lush rolling green offers a mix of the best country club lifestyle and two of the most challenging golf courses in the region.

SouthLinks' design philosophy is based on the blending of lush woodlands and undulating plains so that nature is left virtually undisturbed. From its elevated position, one can capture breathtaking views of the coastline, the Singapore city skyline in the north and quaint Nagoya in the east.

The two 18-hole championship courses here are designed by renowed Japanese golf course designer Mr Hisamitsu Ohnishi. A man whose portfolio includes some of the most beautiful golf courses in Japan.

The first course is laid out in traditional links-style, where the broad expanse of treeless, open fairways is bordered by menacing roughs. Being near the sea, attention should be paid to the prevailing winds which may affect the flight of the ball. Every green has been designed to allow several different pin positions, creating a variety of challenges for golfers of different skill levels.

The greens have been seeded with Bermuda Tifdwarf, while the fairways have been turfed with zoysia matrella to provide a good lie.

Apart from being the only club in Batam with night range facilities, the driving range at SouthLinks is also the only one to use quality Dunlop golf balls.

The Clubhouse
The distinctive Riau-style clubhouse combines Indonesia charm with international space planning. The 4,400 square metres of built-in space is carefully laid out for the convenience of golfers and guests. High, vaulted ceilings give an added dimension to space in the fully air-conditioned interior while warm, soothing colours complement timber beams, woven rattan and other natural material finishes for a cosy ethnic ambience.

There's also a host of superb facilities here as well. These include a well-equipped gymnasium, tennis and squash courts, swimming pools, a children's playground, games room and video arcade for the whole family to enjoy. Not forgetting a Japanese Ofuro to provide soothing relief.

For food and entertainment, guests can either wine and dine at an authentic Japanese restaurant or at the international restaurant in the club. And of course for those wanting to mix business with pleasure, a host of conference and function rooms is available in the professional Business Centre.


The Project
The developers of SouthLinks are some of Asia's most dynamic companies with considerable experience in design, planning, construction, management and membership marketing of golf courses. The largest shareholder is PT BatamIndo Investment Corporation. Those in the corporation include the Salim Group, Singapore Technologies Industrial Corporation and Jurong Environmental Engineering. Other developers of SouthLinks are the Sumitomo Group, Obayashi Corporation and Sembawang Corporation Investments (S) Pte Ltd.

The SouthLinks project is supported by both the Indonesian and Singapore government, and internationally managed by Singaporean, Japanese and Australian experts.

Getting to SouthLinks is a breeze. It's just a 35-minute ride on a high-speed ferry from Singapore, followed by a 12-minute private bus journey from the berthing terminal at Sekupang.

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