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Glenmarie GC in Malaysia a must-play round of Asian golf

Tim McDonaldBy Tim McDonald,
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Glenmarie Golf and Country Club is regarded as one of the best in Malaysia. (Tim McDonald/GolfPublisher.com)

Looking for great golf in Asia? The Glenmarie Golf and Country Club is generally regarded as one of the top-10 golf courses in Malaysia, with two excellent courses.

SELANGOR, Malaysia - If you just can't get enough of the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club - its sits on nearly 400 acres and sports two 18-hole golf courses spread out under a 100,000 square foot clubhouse - have at it again when the sun goes down.

Malaysians, like so many Asians, have taken to golf like a mongoose to a Cobra, and so many of the golf courses, including some of the better ones like Glenmarie, are lit by floodlights.

Lighted golf courses may seem like a gimmick in the U.S., not to mention a nightmare for the maintenance crew, but in Malaysia it's just another way to prolong the pleasure of golf.

Glenmarie is about a half hour's drive from the Kuala Lumpur airport, along the country's excellent road system, and is the main golfing attraction in the Klang Valley, hemmed in by the Titiwangsa Mountains to the north and east and the Strait of Malacca to the west.

It was once the Glenmarie Rubber Estates, where oil palm was produced, and it's a high-falutin', private course where the Malaysian elite loll about in the ample facilities, including swimming pools, luxurious locker rooms (equipped with a sauna) and excellent practice facilities.

The old rubber estate makes for excellent golf terrain, with rolling hills and some nice, moderate elevation changes, with relatively open interiors on the two golf courses. Fairways are bordered by strange, exotic, Malaysian trees, including not-so-exotic palms.

It's a beautiful course, generally regarded as one of the top-10 in Malaysia, with immaculate conditioning and lovely, ornate landscaping. The brick cart paths are a nice touch.

There is also a lot of water, mostly lateral.

The Garden course is a little longer than the Valley course, at 6,432 meters, while the Valley measures 6,325 meters (at 0.914 meters for every yard).

The courses were designed by Max Wexler, who did a lot of courses in Malaysia, as well as in Thailand, and he drew up a lot of uphill tee shots and interesting doglegs.

"Is very good," said Steven Jane, a reporter with the Economic Daily news in Taiwan. "One of best to play in Malaysia."

Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Malaysia: The Verdict

Glenmarie is a must play in the area, if you can get on. The club has 1,800 members and reciprocal arrangements with private clubs in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and New Zealand.

Both courses have Bermuda fairways and Bermuda Tidward greens, and the medium-sized greens are often elevated, and have some challenging slope and undulation.

The club has a good caddie program; most of the caddies are females from Indonesia, and they won't hesitate to tell you if you ask for the wrong club.

"Eight-iron, please."

"No, I think 9-iron for you. You big, strong boy."

The club opened in 1993 and has Malaysia's only international golf academy on the grounds.

It's owned by a company named the Horsedale Development Berhad, which is developing the whole area into mixed-use industrial, commercial and residential properties.

Stay and play

The course is attached to a Holiday Inn, but this is nothing like what you'd expect from a Holiday Inn in the U.S. This Holiday Inn puts on the ritz, and the prices reflect that - much to my chagrin when I had a couple of post-round belts at the bar.

Room rates are reasonable, though, starting around $90 (200-300 Malaysia ringgits plus various fees and taxes) on the Internet.

All of the rooms have views of the gardens or golf courses.

For eats, there is the 24-hour Kites Restaurant, the Keyaki, which serves mainly Japanese food, and Cenderawasih, serving Chinese food.

To work off all that Asian food, there are squash and tennis courts, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a well-equipped fitness center.

There is also a jacuzzi, sauna and steam bath. Massage is available as well.

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Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

 
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