Don’t know which country in Asia to go to for your next golf holiday, consider Malaysia – an emerging golf destination in Southeast Asia. Still wondering why? Our following article will sum up the distinctiveness of golf in Malaysia and some competitive reasons to choose it for your next golf escape.
Why Golf in Malaysia?
1. Rich Golf History
Malaysia is a vibrant and prestigious golf destination with a rich history. With over 200 golf courses spread across Peninsular Malaysia, as well as the islands of Penang, Langkawi, and Borneo, golf enthusiasts can enjoy a diverse range of experiences. From championship-quality courses nestled in lofty mountains to seaside greens along the South China Sea, Malaysia offers breathtaking settings for golf. Whether it’s playing amidst cool hills and tea plantations, in the heart of a bustling city, or within ancient rainforests, there are options to suit every preference.
Kuala Lumpur, often overlooked as a golf haven in Southeast Asia, surprises visitors with its impressive array of courses featuring great layouts and pleasant greens. Each course in Kuala Lumpur offers a unique experience with challenging obstacles and varied terrain. The city itself radiates an exciting and alluring charm, enriched by its diverse cultural influences and traditions.
The country’s golfing landscape has received accolades and recognition, with renowned designers like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, and Robert Trent Jones creating exceptional courses that seamlessly blend with the stunning surroundings. Notably, notable golfers like Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Greg Norman, and Padraig Harrington have chosen Malaysia as the site for their new golf course developments.
Malaysia stands out as a global golfing destination, hosting events from major tours such as the European Tour, PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, and Asian Tour. Recently, the country gained attention worldwide by hosting the inaugural EurAsia Cup, a thrilling competition between Asian and European teams in a Ryder Cup-style format. This further solidifies Malaysia’s position in the international golfing scene.
2. Excellent Tourism Infrastructure
Golf in Malaysia is the country’s top priority and receives full support from the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia. This ensures that travelers can expect excellent information, infrastructure, and regulations, guaranteeing a high-quality holiday experience. To further enhance the experience for visiting golfers, the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA), a non-profit organization, was established in 2011, bringing together golf courses and resorts, and setting unified standards to provide a consistent and enjoyable experience.
Malaysia is a peaceful and friendly country, offering a safe environment for travelers. English is widely used on road signs, following international signage standards, making it easy for visitors to rent a car and explore the country’s beauty at their own pace.
Getting to & around Malaysia is an easy task. Its capital, Kuala Lumpur, enjoys excellent connectivity with Asia and European countries through its modern airport, KLIA. It serves as the hub for two major airlines, Malaysian Airlines, and low-cost carrier AirAsia. Traveling between golf destinations in Malaysia, you can catch a flight (for long distances) and catch a train or ferry, or even hire a private car if it is in close proximity.
No matter where you are in Malaysia, there is accommodation available to suit every budget. From grand five-star luxury hotels and resort properties to cozy privately owned lodgings, the options are diverse. The addition of over 3,000 rooms in the 4 and 5-star categories further solidifies Malaysia’s position as a top global destination. The country is well-prepared to cater to the demands of the competitive golf tourism market.
The healthcare system in Malaysia is excellent, ensuring world-class treatments in case of emergencies. Medical travel to Malaysia is growing in popularity, as the country offers more affordable and quicker access to various surgical procedures compared to the West. The technology, hospitals, and practices used in Malaysia are at the forefront, even envied by doctors and surgeons in the USA and UK.
3. Year-round Golf Experience
With the tropical weather, it is possible to play golf in Malaysia throughout the year. The wet months alternate between the east and west coasts of the country. Even during the wet season on the western peninsula (April to October), golfing is still possible as thunderstorms typically occur in the afternoons. These showers are usually brief and serve as a refreshing way to cool down and reduce the humidity, making them a welcome break during gameplay.
4. Good Value for Money
Malaysia offers exceptional value for money with its wide range of hotel accommodations, golf courses, shopping experiences, dining choices, and vibrant nightlife.
Where else can you find a luxurious 5-star hotel room, complete with breakfast, for approximately US$150? Even purchasing a can of Coke costs less than 50 cents, thanks to the favorable exchange rate of 4.55 Malaysian ringgit to 1 US dollar. While dining at upscale restaurants may match North American prices, exploring local eateries can be incredibly affordable, with an average cost of around US$5 for a meal, perfect for those seeking adventurous culinary experiences.
When it comes to golf, recent studies by Golf Travel Consulting, Inc. have shown that green fees in Malaysia are generally lower compared to competing destinations like Thailand. For approximately US$100, golf enthusiasts can enjoy playing at top-notch golf courses in Malaysia, offering an excellent value proposition.
5. Golf & Other Activities Combined
Apart from golf, there is an abundance of activities for you to enjoy. While staying in the lively city of Kuala Lumpur, make sure to visit the iconic Petronas Towers, the world’s tallest twin towers that even made an appearance in the movie “Entrapment.”
Whether you prefer fancy shopping malls, bustling bazaars, or vibrant markets, Malaysia has it all. In fact, Kuala Lumpur has emerged as the world’s newest retail hotspot, with CNN recognizing it as the best city for shopping in Southeast Asia. The city boasts an impressive concentration of shopping malls, including the renowned Suria KLCC, where you can indulge in a shopping extravaganza.
After indulging in retail therapy, treat yourself to a traditional afternoon tea at the nearby Mandarin Oriental or pamper yourself with a well-deserved massage at one of the many world-class and award-winning spas.
If you’re ready for a change of scenery, venture into the beautiful rural regions of Malaysia. Explore the country’s rich plant and animal diversity, including exotic species and endemic treasures like the Orang Utan. Discover the wonders of Sabah, often referred to as the “Amazon of Asia,” where you can search for Borneo’s endangered animals such as elephants, rhinos, tigers, orangutans, and long-nosed monkeys. Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting a traditional Iban longhouse and don’t miss the opportunity to witness the majestic orangutans in their natural habitat near the Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club. This unforgettable experience can be perfectly combined with golf in Malaysia.
6. Mouth-watering Malaysian Cuisine
Malaysia’s multiculturalism has transformed the country into a paradise for food enthusiasts, and Kuala Lumpur is an ideal city for immersing oneself in the vibrant atmosphere of rooftop bars. The culinary landscape offers an extensive range of delectable dishes that reflect the country’s diverse cultural heritage. Whether you crave local delicacies from bustling hawker stalls, traditional banana-leaf cuisine, cosmopolitan dishes, or the pinnacle of fine dining experiences, the choices are abundant and diverse.
For the adventurous palate, exploring the inexpensive and flavorful local street food found at every corner is a must. Meanwhile, those seeking familiar flavors will find a wide selection of international restaurants that cater to various culinary preferences. Malaysia’s unwavering passion for food and its reputation for exceptional quality is truly unmatched.
Best Golf Destinations in Malaysia
The history of golf in Malaysia traces back to 1892 when the prestigious Royal Selangor Golf Club was established. Over the years, this iconic course has undergone extensive expansion and refurbishment, yet it maintains its status as one of the finest and most exclusive golf destinations in Malaysia.
The golf courses in Malaysia, whether in East Malaysia or West Malaysia, boast exceptional quality and can easily compete with the best courses in Asia. In this country, you can choose to golf in Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Kedah, Perak, Penang, etc. Each destination has its unique course layouts and offers golfers a distinctive experience that will not be repeated. The golf scene of Malaysia has also been enhanced by the fame of famous golf course designers, such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Greg Norman, etc. who have brought out the best of local features in corporating with unique course designing style.
The best golf courses in Malaysia can be named TPC Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, Els Club Teluk Datai, Royal Selangor Golf Club, Tiara Melaka, etc.
Are these reasons persuasive enough to get you on a golf holiday in Malaysia? With world-class golf courses, convenient tourism infrastructure, a good combination of golf and non-golf activities, etc. Malaysia offers golfers more than they can imagine. Actually, leaving is the hardest thing you have to do while on a Malaysia golf tour.