When we think of the world’s finest golf courses, our minds often drift to those showcased on the PGA Tour and broadcasted on TV, such as Augusta National, Pebble Beach, and St. Andrews. However, hidden amidst the golfing world are some truly magnificent courses that deserve equal recognition. In this discussion, we will unveil some of the best golf courses in Asia, getting you to realize that golfing in Asia is truly an extraordinary experience.
Must-Play Golf Courses in Asia
Hirono Golf Club, Japan
The Hirono Golf Club, often referred to as the “Pine Valley of Japan,” is an exclusive and private golf course located near the port city of Kobe. Originally designed in 1932 by Charles H. Alison, the course faced adversity during World War 2 when it served as a runway, resulting in significant damage. However, through the efforts of Toyohiko Inui and Osama Ueda, who restored it using Alison’s original plans, and later brought back to life by Martin Ebert, the course regained its former glory.
Measuring 6,925 yards from the back tees, the course may not be excessively long, yet it presents a supreme test of golfing skills. This serves as a testament that thoughtful design can create challenges even without resorting to a 7,500-yard monster course. Regarded as one of the best golf courses in Asia, the Hirono Golf Club has hosted major Japanese championships and notably the prestigious Japan Open.
South Cape Owners Club, South Korea
Debuting in 2013, the South Cape Owners Club is a relatively new addition. Situated on Namhae Island, just off the southeast coast of South Korea, this stunning course was designed by Kyle Phillips. Perched on a dramatic clifftop property, it treats golfers to breathtaking panoramic ocean views throughout all eighteen holes. Despite its modest length of 6,685 yards, this par 72 18-hole golf course poses a significant challenge with its cliffs and numerous obstacles, making it an exciting test for any golfer.
Notable highlights of the course include the awe-inspiring 135-meter par 3 on the 14th hole and the challenging 204-meter 16th hole. Both boast picturesque waterside greens framed by towering cliffs, creating a memorable experience for players. South Cape Owners Club takes its place among Asia’s most remarkable golf courses, offering a unique blend of natural beauty and golfing challenges.
Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, Hong Kong
Among the several excellent golf clubs in Hong Kong, The Clearwater Bay Club stands out as the most captivating. Often referred to as “Hong Kong’s Pebble Beach,” this golf course boasts an unparalleled seaside location, gracefully nestled on a fishhook-shaped peninsula extending into Clearwater Bay. The panoramic views alone make it a worthwhile destination.
Situated along the picturesque coast, many of the highest-ranked golf courses in Asia find their place here, and for good reason. Recognizing its stunning setting, Asian Golf Monthly crowned The Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club as the best course in Hong Kong, while Golf Digest featured two of its holes – the 3rd and 14th on its prestigious list of the 38 best holes in all of China.
With a membership comprising over 3,000 international players from around the globe, the club enjoys a diverse and vibrant golfing community. Moreover, despite its establishment in 1982, the course recently underwent a comprehensive renovation, leaving it in better shape than ever before.
The Els Club Teluk Datai, Malaysia
Ernie Els, a remarkable four-time major winner, has not only excelled as a player but also carved a niche for himself as one of the world’s finest player-turned-designers, creating stunning golf courses across the globe. Recently, he unveiled a collection of even more exclusive golf facilities known as The Els Clubs, reflecting his taste in everything, from clubhouse style to menu offerings (currently consisting of three exceptional venues).
Nestled within an expansive 8,000-acre (3,200-hectare) nature preserve, The Els Club Teluk Datai earned the prestigious title of Malaysia’s most scenic course from the World Golf Awards immediately upon its opening. The course meanders through ancient rainforests and leads down to the very edge of the mesmerizing Andaman Sea. Notably, the course’s signature hole is a par-3 that spans a rocky ocean inlet, leaving a lasting impression on all who play it.
Lush with tropical flora and frequented by playful monkeys, the course is expertly managed by Troon Golf, a globally recognized leader in luxury golf services and course maintenance. For added convenience and comfort, carts are included in the green fees, and caddies are available as an optional amenity.
>>> Check out more must-play golf courses in Malaysia rather than the Els Club Teluk Datai.
Ba Na Hills Golf Club, Vietnam
Ba Na Hills Golf Club, designed by Luke Donald and managed by IMG, stands as a world-class facility nestled at the foothills of the renowned Ba Na Hills on Vietnam’s central coast, conveniently situated just 25 minutes away from downtown Da Nang. Consistently recognized for its excellence, the club has been honored with the prestigious title of ‘Vietnam’s Best Golf Course’ for six consecutive years and also secured the fifth spot for ‘Asia’s Best Golf Course’ in 2021.
Encompassed by breathtaking mountain ranges, this stunning property provides a picturesque setting for golf enthusiasts. The championship golf course boasts 18 holes and a par 72, striking a perfect balance of challenge, enjoyment, and excitement for players of all levels and abilities. Catering to diverse skill sets, the course offers five sets of tees, ensuring a pleasurable round of golf for golfers of all standards. From the Professional tees, spanning an impressive 7,857 yards, to the friendlier white tees at 6,022 yards, each hole offers a unique and engaging experience with an exciting mix of playing lengths.
Tokyo Golf Club, Japan
Established in 1913 and having undergone two relocations before settling on its present site, The Tokyo Golf Club, affectionately known as “Little Edo,” boasts a storied history. This exquisite par 71 18-hole golf course was originally designed by Komyo Ohtani, who received his training in England. Later, the course underwent a restoration masterfully handled by Gil Hanse. Though not remarkably long by modern standards, The Tokyo Golf Club efficiently preserves its par by offering an array of challenges throughout the course.
As a members-only course, playing here is a rare privilege reserved for the fortunate few who receive an invitation. One of the course’s signature features is the two green complexes on each hole, aptly named Asaka and Chichibu. Approaching the elevated greens, the fairways progressively narrow, while the extremely demanding rough demands pinpoint accuracy from players. In this captivating setting, precision and skill become paramount for a successful round of golf.
Nine Bridges Golf Club, South Korea
Situated on the volcanic Jeju Island, south of South Korea’s continental landmass, lies the exclusive and private Nine Bridges Golf Club. The course was masterfully designed by Ronald Fream and David Dale. What sets this golf club apart is its unique blend of American course design amidst a Scottish ambiance. Expansive stretches of land provide the canvas for the two nines to meander through pine-clad rolling terrain, sheltered by the majestic Mount Hallasan, the tallest mountain in South Korea. Some may even deem it one of the highest golf courses in Asia.
An enchanting feature of the course comprises eight stone bridges artfully spanning the site’s lake and meandering creeks. The ninth bridge, metaphorical in nature, symbolizes the strong connection between the club and its esteemed members and guests. Established in 2001, Nine Bridges Golf Club harmoniously blends exceptional golfing with an awe-inspiring setting, thanks to its stunning location, meticulous design, bent grass fairways, and impeccable conditioning. The club’s prestige is further amplified by its history of hosting the LPGA from 2002 to 2005, making it the first club to host the LPGA in Korea.
Yokohama Country Club, Japan
Established in 1960, Yokohama Country Club boasts two exceptional 18-hole layouts, the East and West courses, both envisioned and crafted by architect Takeo Aiyama. Notably, the West course had the honor of hosting the prestigious 1978 Japan Open. In 2014 and 2015, the West Course underwent a significant revitalization led by Coore and Crenshaw, wherein the old double greens were reconstructed and replaced with single greens.
One standout feature of this remarkable golfing destination is the additional “19th” hole on the West course, a unique par 3. This special edition allows players to settle any ties that may arise after the regulation round over the 18-hole layout. As they make their way off the course to the locker room, golfers enjoy the delight of playing a little short hole, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to their experience.
Shanqin Bay Golf Club, China
Nestled in the southeast of Hainan Island, near the tranquil village of Bo’ao, lies the awe-inspiring Shanqin Bay Golf Club, one of the best golf courses in Asia and a remarkable testament to the successful collaboration between America and China in the realm of golf. The esteemed designers behind this golfing gem are none other than Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
A round at Shanqin Bay promises a thrilling journey through diverse landscapes, as you navigate cliffs, chasms, dunes, and lush vegetation. The golf course boasts stunning scenery and unique topography, adding to its allure. Shanqin Bay Golf Club beckons golf enthusiasts to indulge in an extraordinary experience, encompassing both outstanding golfing challenges and captivating natural beauty.
The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, Vietnam
In 2014, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip made its debut, proudly bearing the signature design of Greg Norman, marking his second golf venture in Vietnam. Located 80 miles southeast of Ho Chi Minh City in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip captivates with its coastal plateau setting, where towering seaside dunes embrace the scenic fairways, all crafted on sandy loam soil.
Stretching 7,007 yards and boasting a par of 71, this course presents an exhilarating challenge, with the coastal winds adding an intriguing element to its difficulty. Playing here is a truly remarkable experience, sure to leave a lasting impression. Notably, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip proudly stands as Vietnam’s first integrated casino and golf resort, offering a comprehensive package of delights for visitors. Among its offerings are a luxurious 5-star hotel, a selection of ten restaurants, and a variety of entertainment outlets, making it an all-encompassing haven for golfers and leisure seekers alike.
>>> You may also like: 10+ Best Golf Courses in Southern Vietnam 2023
Ayodhya Links, Thailand
Ayodhya Links stands as one of the most exclusive and prestigious golf courses in Asia. Established in 2007 by Thailand’s elite and wealthiest individuals, membership in this distinguished club is strictly by invitation, ensuring only the highest echelons of Thai society grace its clubhouse.
At the heart of Ayodhya Links lies a breathtaking 70-acre lake, lending a captivating allure to the overall ambiance of the club. Spanning a formidable 7,639 yards from the championship tees, the course is a true test of skill, with only one par 4 measuring less than 400 yards from the backmarkers. With 79 strategically placed bunkers and undulating greens demanding precision and finesse, Ayodhya Links challenges golfers of all levels.
The course’s stature was further elevated when it hosted the prestigious “Amazing Kingdom of Thailand: World Club Championship 2016,” solidifying its position as Asia’s grandest golfing grounds.
Hoiana Shores Golf Club, Vietnam
Nestled along the picturesque shoreline of Hoi An in central Vietnam, Hoiana Shores Golf Club offers a golfing experience like no other. This exceptional golf course proudly stands as the first masterpiece in Vietnam by Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects (RTJ II), boasting mesmerizing vistas of the Eastern Sea and Cham Islands. Widely regarded as one of the finest golf resorts in Asia, Hoiana Shores is a true gem for golf enthusiasts.
Stretching across 7,004 yards with a par of 71, the 18-hole golf course showcases TifEagle Bermuda greens and Zeon Zoysia fairways and tees, adding to its allure. The pinnacle of your round at Hoiana Shores awaits on the back nine, where holes 15, 16, and 17 boast greens close to the shoreline, offering a breathtaking encounter with the sea’s gentle breeze. The 16th hole stands out as a masterpiece, guiding your journey along the coast, and delivering unforgettable moments.
Sentosa Golf Club – Serapong Course, Singapore
At Sentosa Golf Club, the Serapong Course stands as one of the two remarkable golfing gems. Originally crafted by Ronald Fream in 1982, this course recently underwent an impressive revamp, further enhancing its splendor. It offers a truly picturesque setting, boasting a magnificent view of the Singaporean skyline and overlooking the iconic Changi Airport.
Spanning an impressive 6,675 meters with a par of 72, this championship course has been the esteemed host of the Singaporean Open from 2005 to 2019, welcoming the best golfers from around the world. Its excellence has not gone unnoticed, as it earned the title of the ‘Number 1 Championship Golf Course in Asia’ by Asian Golf Monthly in 2007 and was recognized as the ‘Best Golf Course in Singapore’ by Golf Digest in 2009.
>>> Refer to our list of the best Singapore golf courses for more choices for your next golf holiday.
TPC Kuala Lumpur Golf Club, Malaysia
Situated in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, TPC Kuala Lumpur, formerly known as Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, stands tall as one of Asia’s premier golfing destinations. Boasting the distinction of being among the best golf courses in Asia, this exceptional facility is just a short 20-minute drive west of the bustling Kuala Lumpur city center. Offering a delightful array of 36 holes, golfers can choose between the East and West courses, each promising a unique and memorable experience. If you have the opportunity to play here, the Championship West course is an absolute must-try.
Completed in 2008, the West course sets the standard for immaculate playing conditions, paying exquisite attention to detail. In 2010, it proudly hosted the thrilling Malaysian Open for the first time, and its success continued for the following five years until 2015.
Kawana Resort (Fuji Course), Japan
Renowned as Japan’s own Pebble Beach, Kawana Resort boasts another masterpiece by Charles H. Alison. Just a two-hour drive from Yokohama, this golfing paradise welcomes enthusiasts to its Fuji Course, where breathtaking Pacific Ocean views unfold from atop the dramatic cliff edges. Established in 1936, the course presents an idyllic blend of plateau greens nestled amidst lush woodlands, with the majestic Mount Fuji gracing the horizon.
A true testament to dynamism and natural beauty, the Fiji Course at Kawana Resort offers both a physically challenging experience and captivating aesthetics. Over the years, this splendid course has hosted numerous prestigious golf events, including the esteemed World Amateur Golf Team Championship for the Eisenhower Trophy in 1962. Most recently, it served as the iconic venue for the renowned Fuji Sankei Classic, further solidifying its status as an exceptional golf course in Asia.
Asia is home to a plethora of remarkable golf courses, but the ones we’ve selected truly stand out with their rich histories. These exceptional courses have earned their place as the best in Asia, not just for their heritage but also for their impressive size. So, if you find yourself in any of these Asian countries, be sure to explore these extraordinary gems! Don’t hesitate to inquire us now to plan a perfect golf holiday with several golf games at these notable golf courses in Asia.