The sprawling metropolis of Jakarta, at the western tip of the island of Java, is one of the region’s busiest cities. Home to almost 10 million people, the Indonesian capital’s CBD is constantly teeming with activity. Then, there’s the golf. In terms of quality courses and value for money, it’s tough to rival.
Within an hour of Jakarta’s city centre, there are almost 40 golfing venues from which to choose, at least a dozen of which can justifiably claim to be world-class. Among them are a sprinkling of hillside courses to be found along the Jagorawi Toll Road heading towards Bogor.
As with most Asian golfing destinations, it’s preferable (and cost-effective) to be signed in at a golf club by a member. So don’t be shy about introducing yourself to other golfers at a club. You might well be invited to join up. Golfing in Indonesia is fun!
RIVERSIDE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
Where is it? Some 20km south of Jakarta, Riverside Golf & Country Club (RGCC) is accessible via the Jagorawi Toll Road.
What’s it like? Set in 90ha of stunning countryside, this Greg Norman-designed course is notable for its beautiful natural surroundings. Opened in 1995, the par-72 course snakes through Jakarta’s countryside. Gentle hills and surrounding tropical forests provide the framework of the course, played through valleys of rivers and streams, waterfalls, and lush and colourful plants.
Natural ravines, waterfalls, rubber plantations and low-lying paddy fields serve as a wonderful picturesque backdrop.
As part of improvements that were instigated last year, greenery native to the area have been specially planted to give each hole a unique identity and botanical signature. On the course, a number of greens are placed just over deep ravines, encouraging the player to attack. But bailout options are always available for the average golfer. Another point that draws golfers to RGCC is Bogor’s cooler climate. Address: Desa Bojongnangka, Kecamatan, Gunung Putri, Bogor 16965, Indonesia.
Contact: tel 61 21 867 1533, fax 61 21 867 1535, email [email protected], www.riverside-golf.com
Price: Weekdays – US$22 for guests and US$24 for walk-in visitors. Special rates available for seniors on Wednesday and Friday and ladies on Tuesday and Thursday. Weekends and public holidays – US$68 for guests and US$80 for walk-in visitors. Cheaper rates are available if you tee off after 0945. Caddie fees are US$7 with buggies available at US$10.
Can I rent clubs? Yes. Sets are available for hire at the pro shop.
Handicap requirement: None.
Facilities: Warm-up at the driving range where lessons can be booked with Riverside’s qualified instructors. Pro shop was recently expanded.
After the golf: Renovated locker rooms offer sauna and massage. The restaurants and meeting rooms have been renovated
DAMAI INDAH GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB
Where is it? Damai Indah’s two courses are less than an hour’s drive apart along the border between Jakarta and West Java. Pantai Kapuk Indah Course (PIK) is in northern Jakarta, while to the west of Jakarta Central is the Bumi Serpong Damai Course (BSD).
What’s it like? Established in 1992 by Indonesian real estate magnate Ir Ciptura, Damai Indah Golf and Country Club boasts two outstanding courses. About 30 minutes by car from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, the PIK Course hosted the 1994 Indonesia Open, won by New Zealander Frank Nobilo.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr, the course, which plays to a par of 72, has been hailed as “The Spirit Of The Sea” as it draws its inspiration from the shoreline of the Java Sea. Palm trees line the gently rolling fairways, integrating into the coastal wetlands. Soothing sea breezes off the coast can quickly change, so bring along your best links game.
While water hazards are a prominent feature at PIK, the inland Jack Nicklaus-designed BSD Course, nestled among the hills of Bumi Serpong Damai city, is notable for its bunkering. Known as the “Spirit Of The Hills”, BSD was the venue for the 2004 Asia-Pacific Junior Championship. Nicklaus’ first Indonesian project is located within the Serpong Valley, with the Cisadane River snaking around surrounding hills that blend seamlessly into this par-72 course.
Address: Pantai Indah Kapuk (PIK) Course, Marina Indah, Penjaringan, Kapuk, Jakarta 14470, Indonesia; Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) Course, Bumi Serpong Damai Course, Jl.Bukit Golf I, Sektor VI, Serpong, Tangerang 15310, Indonesia.
Price: PIK Course – US$35 for members’ guests on weekdays and at weekends; US$41 for walk-in guests on weekdays and US$96 at weekends. Special ladies’ rates on Fridays are US$20 for members’ guests and US$23 for walk-ins. BSD Course – US$30 for members’ guests on weekdays, US$74 on Saturdays, US$71 on Sunday morning and US$58 on Sunday afternoon. Rates for walk-in guests are US$31 on weekdays, US$86 on Saturdays, US$82 on Sunday morning and US$71 on Sunday afternoon. Special ladies rates on Thursdays are US$18 for members’ guests and US$20 for walk-ins.
Can I rent clubs? Yes, hire clubs are available at both courses at US$8 and US$2 for shoes. Buggy hire is available at both courses.
Club hours: Courses open six days per week. PIK Course closed on Mondays and BSD Course closed on Tuesdays for maintenance.
Handicap requirement: Handicap certificates not required.
Facilities: Both locations have driving ranges as well as putting and chipping greens. Both courses have fully stocked pro shops. The PIK Course’s night golfing surcharge is US$5.
After the golf: Clubhouse restaurants at both locations offer a wide variety of cuisine, from regional delights to Western favourites. Drinks and snacks are served at the club bar. Members can wind down at the Fitness Centre and Spa.
EMERALDA GOLF CLUB
Where is it? Another course that is easily accessible via the Jagorawi Toll Road. Taking the Cimanggis exit, Emeralda Golf Club is about a 30-minute drive out of the Sudirman district, Jakarta’s city centre.
What’s it like? Set among the coconut plantations and rice paddies of Gunung Putri, the 27 holes of the Emeralda Golf Club are designed by golfing legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Completed in 1997, Emeralda gives golfers the unique opportunity to choose a different combination of nines on which to play.
Originally, it was planned to build 36 holes, but the region’s economic crisis resulted in nine holes of the Nicklaus course being put on hold. Palmer’s River and Lakes nines measure a combined 6,475m and play to a par of 72, while Nicklaus’ Plantation Nine is a par-36 and measures 3,300m. A former venue for the Alfred Dunhill Masters and Volvo Asian Match Play Championship, Emeralda returned to the spotlight this year when it hosted the Indonesia Open, won by Englishman Simon Dyson. Water and bunkers feature prominently throughout the course.
Address: Deas Tapos, Kecamatan Cimanggis, Bogor, PO Box 38 Depok 16957, West Java, Indonesia.
Contact: tel 62 21 875 9019, fax 62 21 875 9021.
Price: US$16 on Mondays; US$18 on Tuesdays to Fridays; and US$55 on weekends.
Can I rent clubs? Club hire is available at the pro shop. Buggies are also available for hire.
Handicap requirement: Handicap certificates not required.
Facilities: As well as a driving range, there’s a putting green where you can gauge the pace of the greens before heading to the course.
After the golf: Muscles aching after your game? Then make the most of the club’s massage service before heading to the clubhouse restaurant which offers a wide variety of cuisine and is open for lunch, dinner as well as snacks.
JAGORAWI GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
Where is it? Situated in the Cikeas River Valley, Jagorawi Golf & Country Club (JGCC) is about a 40-minute drive out of Jakarta city centre, via the Jagorawi Toll Road. JGCC has its own exit and entrance (Karanggan – Gunung Putri).
What’s it like? Hailed as the crown jewel of Indonesian golf clubs, the exclusive JGCC offers 45 holes, of which, 36 have achieved championship status through staging the Indonesia Open.
Sculpted by Thomson and Wolveridge, the Old Course measures 6,019m and plays to a par of 72. The front nine was opened in 1979 with the back nine following two years later. Short though it may seem by modern championship standards, the tight, tree-lined fairways punish over ambitious shots. The drive at the par-five first is one of the most daunting you’ll encounter anywhere. If you were anticipating an easy ride on the adjacent New Course then think again.
Opened in 1991, the course is one of Asia’s toughest tests. Stretching to 6,322m, strategically placed deep-faced bunkers lie in wait to challenge your powers of escapology. A choice of four different tee boxes allows golfers of all levels to enjoy this course. There’s also the nine-hole Z-Nine course, created by Jagorawi’s owner and founder Mr Zakir, in conjunction with Max Wexler. Leaving much of the surrounding nature untouched, the par-35, 2,867-metre Z-nine is tricky with many of the fairways crafted around the Cikeas River.
Address: Jalan Karanggan, Cibinong, Bogor 16910, West Java, Indonesia.
Price: As a private club, guests must be introduced by a member or accompanied by a letter of recommendation from a member. Guests staying at the Lodge at Jagorwai are allowed to play the courses.
Weekday green fee is US$35, while it’s US$70 on weekends. Caddies are available at US$6 for 18 holes, while golf carts can be hired for US$17 (for two players).
Can I rent clubs? Hire sets are available at the pro shop for US$10.
Handicap requirement: Letter of recommendation from a member is required.
Facilities: If something is lacking in your bag, head to the Hole In One pro shop, which features a wide range of equipment and accessories. Warm up with a bucket of balls on the grass driving range or at the putting and chipping greens.
After the golf: Whether you’re just visiting for the day or staying at the Lodge at Jagorawi, which consists of eight standard and two deluxe rooms, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. If you’re in need of revitalisation, head to the spa for a massage or relax in the Jacuzzi or sauna.
he Batten Restaurant offers an expansive menu that includes cuisine from all over the world. Non-golfing members of the family can spend their time horseback riding, jungle trekking, swimming in the club’s spacious pool area or playing tennis. In 2003, JGCC became home of the Batavia Polo Club.
GUNUNG GEULIS COUNTRY CLUB
Where is it? About 500m above sea level in the mountainous area of Bogor, Gunung Geulis Country Club (GGCC) is an easy 45-60 minute drive out of Jakarta, along the Jagorawi Toll Road.
What’s it like? Translated into English, Gunung Geulis literally means “Beautiful Mountain”. And it lives up to its name. The mountain views from both of the club’s 18-hole courses – designed by Thomson, Wolveridge and Perret – are exceptional. Making the most of its outstanding location, the par-72, 6,075-metre West Course, the first hillside course in Bogor, serves up stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains at almost every hole.
Built on hilly and rocky terrain, wayward shots that fail to find the narrow fairways frequently ricochet out of bounds. Intimidating as the West Course may seem, it’s the shorter, par-72, 6,056-metre East Course that is considered the more difficult. Complementing the contours of the surrounding hills, it offers two distinct styles of play within different areas of the mountain. The first nine, dubbed the Valley Course, is situated within the lower mountain valley, while the second nine, the Hill Course, is on the mountainside.
Address: Jalan Pasar Angin Gadog, Ciawi Kedunghalang, Bogor, Indonesia 16720.
Contact: tel 61 21 573 2258, fax 62 21 573 2251.
Price: US$12, weekdays and US$27, weekends.
Can I rent clubs? Yes, at the pro shop.
Handicap requirement: None.
Facilities: Facing the stunning hillsides, the driving range offers an ideal location to warm up. Chipping and putting greens are available.
After the golf: Within the locker rooms is a Japanese hot spa. There’s also a Health Centre. For non-golfers, the Sports Centre has swimming pools, tennis and badminton courts and a gym. If it’s a complete golfing experience you’re after, then stay at one of the 36 luxury Gunung Geulis cottages overlooking the East Course. The clubhouse restaurant serves local, regional and Western.