My friends often mistake golf as a boring and siong dang (expensive) game. Well, if you watch golf, it deadly boring, I tell you that. If you play golf (as opposed to watching it), it's actually like chess played out on a 6km walk, which is kinda good IMHO (exercise body and mind). And it's not that expensive, considering all the work that goes into maintaining a golf course, and the fact that we really, only get to play maybe twice monthly ....
Here's one such golf trip ... hope you'll realise it's not too different, from say, a road trip to Kuala Selangor to photograph the monkeys or a road trip to Klang for your Bak Kut Teh ...
Sometime in mid-Dec 2005, me and DP took a day off from work, since we all had leave to clear, and we took the short roadtrip north to the industrial town of Rawang. The destination? Templer Park Country Club (TPCC) for a round of golf. Cool. Plus I get to eat my aunts wantan noodles (her shop in Rawang ma ...)
TPCC had been on our list of 'to-play' clubs for sometime now. DP's cousin-in-law (got such word one ah, cousin-in-law) is the Asst. GM at the course, and he'd been asking DP to turn up for a game there forever.
I had just returned from Taipei, and wanted some warm weather; both of us didn't feel like teeing off in one of our normal courses, so ... TPCC was selected. We ruled out Staffield (actually, they ruled us out - no more flight time), and I didn't wanna play at Bukit Unggul (sian, always play there) ... and we both didn't want to face the cowgrass paradise at UPM (commando course, need to have strong arms and maybe a cangkul or two).
We always knew TPCC was one of the better maintained club in Malaysia, but we weren't ready for just how good is was ....
The clubhouse is nice and cosy - the locker room had a lot of Japanese influence (the club has Japanese owners) - there's a Japanese style public bath besides the standard shower stalls. And oh, cannot wear shoe in the locker room, which is a first.
The restaurant was simple and featured local Malay, Chinese and Japanese food - a fair selection for a golf course. Of course, the nearby Templer Perangsang is more known for its F&B, but this place holds its own.
The course itself blows you away. The fairway are mostly generous in both length and width, with the 1st nine just a teeny bit longer than the 2nd nine. Every hole - let me repeat this - every hole actually has some form of hazard or bunkering right before the green. You either challenge the bunkers (or water) or lay up and hope your wedge shot goes close.
The course itself is largely flat, no major undulations. However, there are many man-made mounds thrown in to spice up the stray shots.
If you drive badly, watch out ! The rough, even just off the first cut, is punishing. You'd wanna forget a day like mine, when I consistently hit a slice off the tee. After a couple of shots, the caddie just told me to aim, like 15-30 yards to the left ... coz she knew the ball will fly off tangent.
And the scenery is to die for ... you always have something special to view. Bukit Takun - you know - that hill that is prominent on the way from Selayang to Rawang - is actually right beside the course. It's a beauty.
The caddie we had (it was compulsory ... normally, we don't play with caddies) was great to talk to - knowledgeable about the course, and was able to read the putts well. One thing here is that they give you one of those 4 seater buggy instead of the normal 2 seater buggy, so the whole flight can fit on a single buggy instead. Good for the business golfer, I guess.
Being an old course, there are plenty of mature trees - which is a unique experience - much like Clearwater and Royal Selangor. The bunkers are all strategically located ... I hit some darn good shots by my standard, but they were all swallowed by the bunkers. In the end, this course is all about risk-and-reward golf ... where fortune probably favors the brave.
The last hole ... which I guess is a signature hole is a classic risk-and-reward hole. Off the tee (we played the white tee) you either attempt a 200 yard carry over a lake, which leaves you with a shorter 2nd shot, or you can take it all the way down the right, taking water out of the equation, but with a longer second shot.
DP being the long hitter challenge the water, and just about made it. I didn't take any chances, not wanting to drown more balls, so I bailed right.
Since I took water out on my first shot, I had to cross it on my second - and there's another problem - a few Road hole type - deep and steep - bunkers jealously guard the approach to the green, so I either lay up, or got brave. I laid up, to around 50 yard, stuck a wedge to 10 feet, and stupid 3 putted. Double - and it could have been par.
DP ended up on the beach bunker just after the water, overcooked his approach and like me, ended up with a double bogey. Shit.
OK - my score that day was nothing to shout about. DP, as usual, beat the crap out of my living daylights. Thank God I just enjoy the game.
For a round of golf which included the green fees, our caddy, the buggy rental, 1 meal coupon per person .. it set us back around RM160 on our weekday game. That's a good deal, considering the course condition and the facilities.
After the round of golf, which was played in good weather (cloudy, but not windy), we sat down, had our lunch and the compulsory beer :) and then we smiled as the rain came. For some silly reason, when both me and DP plays, it never rains on us. The rain ALWAYS come immediately after we finish our game one. How?
We love this course because:
- nice environment, facility and caddy
- good weekday package
- amazing scenery - the whole course is centered around Bukit Takun and some amazingly clear lakes/ponds
- sparsely played - we were never really chased by anyone, nor did we tailgate anyone
We hate this course because:
- in Rawang - have to drive far far to get here
- haiyo, this place ah, a lot of bunker, I tell you. Bring a cangkul. Better still bring a tractor.
- and also a lot of water. Normally not in play, but just in case you hit the odd slice / hook, balls will drown.
Read the Wikipedia golf glossary here so that u don't get wu tiong tiong with the terms.