Golf and Golfing in Indonesia
Golf enthusiasts will be excited when they discover the wide variety of golf adventures that await them during their stay in Indonesia.
Indonesian golf courses appeal to every caliber of player from beginner/recreational to amateur to professional players. Not only the quality of the courses, but the spectacular settings in which many of the courses are located is increasingly attracting the golfers from around the world.
Golf courses can be found in and near major cities throughout the archipelago. In recent years, many world-class golf courses have been developed in incomparable settings - located on the shores of picturesque lakes, inside a volcanic crater, on ocean cliffs, surrounded by lush tropical rain forest, on mountain sides, amidst rice paddies, and in valleys with a panoramic view of mountains surrounding the course.
Just as in your home country, business is conducted and business relationships are cemented on the golf course. Many expatriate managers quickly discover the business advantages of playing golf with Indonesian and expatriate colleagues alike.
Golf courses in Indonesia
Golf courses are found throughout the archipelago from Aceh to Papua. Most golf courses are concentrated on the islands of Java near Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Surabaya, and on Bali. There are 43 golf courses within an hour of Jakarta alone!
Other courses can be found near smaller population centers or near tourism sites . in Bali, Aceh, Medan, Pekanbaru, Bintan Island, West Sumatera, Bengkulu, South Sumatera, Lampung, Batam, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Lombok, South Sulawesi, South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, North Sulawesi and Papua. Each course offers a unique golfing experience to enthusiasts.
Some of these courses are championship golf courses, including a few that are par-72. Courses in Indonesia have been designed by world-class designers including, Jack Nicklaus, Jack Nicklaus II; Thomson, Woveridge & Perret; Rodney Wright & Robin Nelson, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Greg Norman, Graham Marsh, Gary Player, Walter Raleigh Stewart and Desmond Muirhead.
Membership is available for most golf courses with annual play rights. Or you could choose to pay as you play on some courses. Prime tee-off times, of course, are always reserved for members.
Your company may allow you to use the corporate club membership so that you don't need to invest in an individual membership during your stay in Indonesia. In the greater Jakarta area, the cost ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 for annual memberships.
More exclusive clubs charge a joining fee upon the initiation of your membership, with regular fees charged on a yearly or monthly basis. Check out the Classifieds in The Jakarta Post as memberships are often sold second-hand by departing expatriates.
Some exclusive clubs charge a joining fee upon initiation of a life membership, with regular fees charged on a yearly or monthly basis. Check out the Classifieds in The Jakarta Post as memberships are often sold second-hand by departing expatriates. The price for life memberships can run as high as $20,000.
Green fees vary per course - from Rp 75,000 - 200,000 during the week and Rp 110,000 to 350,000 on weekend. Weekend green fees apply for public holidays.
What to look for when choosing a membership:
- Look at the secondary market, golf memberships of departing expats are often sold through classified listings in the Jakarta Post.
- Terms - Whether it is transferable, life, one year
- Whether or not the club is accessible. For instance, clubs around Bogor or Puncak can be frustrating to travel to on the weekends because of the heavy traffic to Puncak and Bandung.
- Whether or not the club is professionally run, preferably by expat management.
Caddies in Indonesia are predominantly young women. Caddy fees range from Rp 16,000-40,000. It is customary to tip directly to the caddy Rp 30,000-50,000 above the official fee. Some of the buggy courses use male caddies.
Golf Booking Services
If you have a city social/fitness club membership, see if they have any reciprocal agreements with golf courses.
There are several driving ranges in Jakarta, including: Senayan, Kemang, Prestasi Golf Andalan Driving Range in the CBD near the Club Store, Taman Aries in West Jakarta, Wijaya Driving Range and at most golf courses. Check the Jakarta Shopper's Guide for contact information for driving ranges and golf courses around Jakarta.
In Jakarta and other major urban centers, there are quality shops which sell a wide range of golf clubs and accessories, some are located in malls and most of the major courses will have a pro shop. Of course, golf equipment is more expensive in Indonesia than in the country of origin, but you may be pleasantly surprised with the variety of golf equipment that is available.
Pro Shops at the golf courses offer golf pros to help improve your swings and your game. A few of the golf pros are expatriates. Golf workshops are held occasionally, led by visiting pros.
A number of domestic and world-class events are organized each year by the multinational corporate community, golf clubs, various community associations and local businesses. Annual AmCham golf tournaments, and business organizations tournaments are a part of the sporting agenda for expatriate golfers. Prizes at these tournaments can be significant and winning the more prestigious tournaments is a big feather is someone's cap! Indonesian courses do host some international golf events.
Community Golf Clubs
Consult the sports clubs page on this site for information on expatriate community groups who gather to play golf on an informal basis. Vikings, Tee Set, and many others have developed and thrived over the years. Basically, most nationalities would have their own golf association/ society which plays every month at different courses. These clubs are a good time to mingle and get to know fellow golf-enthusiasts from your country, especially if you are new in town.
One advantage of playing with a golf club is that the club can help you to maintain your handicap - without having to take out an expensive individual club membership.
Golf enthusiasts will soon discover that golfing vacations are enhanced by the resorts that have been developed in connection with many of the courses around the Indonesian archipelago. Many offer cool retreats for city dwellers as they are located in mountainous areas. These resorts include facilities such as spa, swimming pool, driving range, tennis courts, sauna, whirlpool, golf carts, pro shops, restaurants and accommodation.
Golf and family resorts can also offer a nice weekend vacation for the family as well.
The Best and the Worst of Golf in Indonesia
Golf is special in Indonesia because:
- Courses are very scenic, well maintained, manicured courses, lots of flowers and are usually not crowded except on Saturday mornings.
- Playing golf is very affordable, so you get your money's worth
- The abundance of caddies makes all the difference because you don't have to carry your own bag! It's tough enough to walk for 4-4.5 hours without carrying those heavy clubs. Good service is received from caddies.
- Courses include international standard club houses with amenities such as international restaurants, bars, showers and locker rooms, Jacuzzi, massage and even manicure and pedicure services.
Problems encountered when playing golf in Indonesia include:
- Kids on courses selling used golf balls they retrieve from us duffers. Sometimes they even find our balls in the rough for sale back to us. Not good! This is a nuisance; however, some courses do not allow it or they have it organized so that it is not a problem.
- Some courses are very crowded on Saturday mornings. You should be aware that it could take up 5.5 hrs to play 18 holes on those busy days.
- Some courses are walking courses; some are cart courses. People who cannot handle walking distances in the tropical heat and high humidity should use the cart courses.
- Heat stroke is a real possibility, so drink lots of liquids out on the course, and don't forget your sunscreen.
Golf Map: The Official Golf Map of Indonesia, available free to visitors, is published by the Indonesia Tourism Promotion Board and the Indonesia Golf Course Association. Copies of the map are available from major hotels around town.
Golf Indonesia - Indonesia's Free Monthly Golf Magazine
One popular souvenir of golf enthusiasts is a golf ball cabinet, which you can have custom-made to display your tournament and special golf balls. These can be special ordered from the Cap Man.
Some Golf Courses in East Java, Indonesia
Golf Graha Famili
Citpura Golf & Country Club
Pakuwon Golf & Family Club
Abdulrachman Saleh Golf Course
Finna Golf & Country Club Resort
Glantangan Golf Course
Karangkates Golf Club Kalipare
Our sincere thanks to avid golf-enthusiasts John Kirkby, Patricia and Mike Kwiatkowski, and Isma Wootten for their contributions to this article!