Surfing the web recentlyI stumbled across a blogger on the other side of the world that attracted my attention: Gilagolf. Gilagolf is a malay term meaning “Golf Crazy” and this kindred spirit plays golf courses in Malaysia and blogs about them.
There is a real art to writing a critical review, and he has it down. I'm a big fan of this genre and appreciate that not everyone loves every course. He gets an A+ for honesty. Also, him and I philosophically agree that many courses are over-hyped. His writing is very opinionated and is also laugh out loud funny.
Commenting on Fraser's Hill Golf Course: "It’s impossible to recommend this course to anybody, except people who intend to commit suicide. Terrible, terrible experience." On the courses amenities: "No card, no balls, no lockers, no maintenance, no nothing." You won't believe the pictures of the course he has within the post, it looks truly awful. His description of the dog following him around the course is hilarious.
The full write-up of Fraser's Hill is here.
I love his rating system of courses, especially his lowest rating: "Absolutely Astoundingly Crap", which is one rating lower than, "Waste of time and money."
His pictures are truly interesting; While they are obviously playing the same game we play, it looks a lot different. I was particularly struck by the narrowness of most of the courses and some of the geographic land formations (like the one at the top of this post). Malaysia is a mountainous, hot and tropical country that gets a lot of rainfall and the pictures and descriptions show this to great effect. I also like his maps and scorecards within the blog. Getting to courses here looks more like trying to deciper a treasure hunt map than anything else.
His write-up of the Selsa Hills Course, also gets extra style points: "The worst fairway in the whole world can be found here, in Selesa Hills Golf Course," and "Please don’t even think about this course. You’re better off standing in a driving range and have people hit their driver straight at you." He pulls no punches, "Make the turn and it descends into being plain, boring and crappy again. The first nine is a like a girl before marriage. After the turn, it’s post marriage, she becomes lazy, fat and hideous."
Like him, I am also always struck by the raving reviews you see in magazines and on web-sites, especially where the actual experience can be so different. In this vain, he re-writes a marketing piece done for the people at Bukit Unggul, replacing the original flowery prose with his own version below:
“Very few golf courses in Malaysia leave a lasting memory… Bukit Unggul Country Club is NOT one of them. Craved into a 65-hectare valley, the par 71 5,858-metre long 18-hole course is an unnatural piece of crap mutated by renowned American architect, Ronald Fream, who is also a suspect in the latest crime of defacing golf courses around the world. Golfers who play here for the first time instantly realize how screwed they are with each hole of wrong yardage and sadistic treelines that eat your balls. Golfballs, that is..”
“Playing he (sic) sadistic course demands a beretta 9mm and a precise shot to the head to end all misery. Here, a non existent fairway and green maintenance programme by the management ensures a muddy, dirty experience for all golfers, and especially for beginners, remind them just how lousy and useless they are and that they should stay home and curse the day they took up a golf club. Its un-maintained Bermuda Tifways fairways and tees, and bouncy Tifdwarf (do we actually give a darn what Tif actually is??!) greens exist harmoniously among a luch, majestic tropical rainforest, filled with wild boars and monkeys who will not hesitate to attack and kill golfers, simply to make play a true test of agony, like middle age torture, or wearing a corset at your crotch.
Bukit Unggul Country Club is simply an forgettable experience. However it will often return randomly as a nightmare that will revisit you night after night until your dying day.”
There, now that is what I call truthful advertising. Enjoy!