The Malaysia “Gems” Golfing Tour

By David Ong, GC Member
Singapore Senior Golfers’ Society

This trip was organised to replace the friendly annual match between SSGS and SGSM (Senior Golfers Society of Malaysia) which was scheduled for April, 2015 but subsequently put on KIV by SGSM.

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We hastily organised a trip between 10 to 15 May 2015 to compensate our members who were looking forward to the playing in some of the nice courses in Malaysia. The planning was to fly up to Ipoh and start the trip back to Singapore by bus. However, we found the cost of flying to Ipoh by Firefly was too costly and it was then decided to fly direct to Penang instead by Jetstar and begin our tour a little further north.

Twenty members signed up for the trip which made for a very comfortable journey in a luxury coach meant for thirty persons. There was also ample space for golf bags, luggage and the inevitable shopping!

We descended in the Jetstar plane to Penang Bayan Lepas International Airport on 10 May 15 at 5.30p pm and proceeded directly to Macalister Road/New Lane Hawker stalls to have a delicious dinner from the famous Penang hawkers. We then staggered back to check into the Cititel Hotel which was right in the heart of town. The evening was spent shopping at nearby stores for local products “good and cheap as everyone remarked!” especially the fragrant Penang salted fish.

Day 2 started with breakfast in the hotel after which we checked out and headed straight to the hilly Penang Golf Club at Jalan Bukit Jambul - Course and Slope Rating, White = 69.1/130. Formerly known as Bukit Jambul Country Club, it is a very mature course withgood maintenance. Overall, a very challenging course and very scenic. I remember teeing-off down high cliffs to Par 4 fairways and Par 3 greens. Verdict: Can play again!

After lunch in Penang, we travelled across the Penang Second Bridge towards Ipoh. The bridge is 24 km with 16.9 km over water. We check into the club rooms (upgraded!) at the Impiana Hotel in Ipoh and found the room very spacious with full facilities. We were all invited to high tea in the function room complete with beer and very nice snacks!.

That evening, we headed to the Pusing Public Seafood Restaurant which was certainly a favourite with the Ipoh-ites. The room was packed and when the food was served, we could see why! Delicious and sumptuous! They had huge lobsters from Holland swimming in the tanks and we couldn’t resist ordering the house special of Lobster with Superior Sauce on Noodles. The Ginger Kampong Chicken was also lip-smacking and together with a generous donation of a bottle of whisky by the Captain, we all had a wonderful dinner.

Day 3. As usual breakfast in the hotel and then off to the Royal Perak Golf Club. Unfortunately we were greeted by a morning rain shower but still managed to tee off at 10 am. With a course and slope rating of 72.4/133, we all managed to finish our games because the club did not practice cross over cut-off times. Thank you, Royal Perak!
After the game we proceeded to the famous Ipoh Towgay Chicken and then proceeded to pick up the special Ipoh snacks and goodies that all tourists have to buy!

We said good-bye to Ipoh after lunch and headed to Kuala Lumpur where we checked into the KLCC Impiana Resort &Spa (upgraded to Superior Rooms). Very centrally located next to the Twin Towers, we were impressed with the cleanliness of the rooms which had more than ample space.

The hotel bus took us to Imbi Road where we tried out the famous Bak Kut Teh, Hokkien Mee and one of us even bought a durian for himself! The Bak Kut Teh was a great disappointment. The restaurant knew we were tourists and tried to cut our throats by over charging us and even tried to sell us one of their recipe books! Those who went to have the special Hokkien Noodles had much better comments about the reasonable price and loads of pork lard added!

We spend two nights at the KLCC Impiana and were overwhelmed by the huge breakfast offerings which ranged from delicious nasi lemak to special fruit juices and an egg station. Much better than the food served in Penang and Ipoh!

Day 4 - we proceeded to IOI Palm Garden Golf Club (the course and slope Rating 68.0/123) in Putrajaya. The golf course was exciting and enchanting with beautiful landscaping evident when we played the course. The fairway and green condition were in immaculate condition! We had lunch in the club and returned to KLCC for a free and easy afternoon. Some of us went for massage by a blind organisation, Shujin Therapy Zone in Jln Tun Sambanthan 4, Brickfields 50470 KL. Very relaxing indeed!

Dinner that night was at the famous Oversea Restaurant at Imbi Road. It was again a sumptuous dinner with a very elaborate 4 Treasures Cold Dish, high quality Sharks Fin soup, a crispy suckling piglet, a very large and meaty fish head caught from the wild and others. The food portion per dish was very generous, so much so that we couldn’t empty most dishes.

Day 5 – after the usual breakfast, a group of eight members checked out and went to play at KLGCC using their reciprocal membership with SICC. The reminder members of the group checked out at 11.30 am to proceed to KLGCC to pick up the golfers and then we departed to Malacca.

We checked into the all-suite Hatten Hotel which is near to Makota Shopping Centre. We had dinner at a local teochew restaurant which was recommended by the tour guide which unfortunately was rather plain. Being a Thursday evening Jonker Street had no pasar malam but we still managed to enjoy some chendol and did some local goodies shopping at Sar Char Kong Shop.

Day 6 say us checking out in the morning after breakfast after which we headed to Ayer Keroh Country Club for our last golf game of the tour. Ayer Keroh Golf course need no mentioning as most of us had played there several times. Of course we were warned of the monkeys menace. Unfortunately for my flight the monkey made off with some bananas from our buggy! Fortunately the monkey dropped the handphone of my flight mate!

After lunch we said farewell to the Club Golfing Manager who was kind enough to assist in the searched for a dropped wallet of one of our members but unfortunately it could not be found.

We proceed back to Singapore by way of 2nd Link Tuas Check Point. We got special privileges from Singapore Custom and so didn’t need to unload our golf bags for scanning. From there, it was straight to Sime Road, SICC which we reached around 7.00 pm.

It was an enjoyable golf outing for all of us and we look forward to next year when maybe we can repeat the arrangement.