While it could be better maintained, this is an enjoyable and severely undulating championship course with some of the largest bunkers you'll encounter. Take water and sunscreen, as there isn't much shade.
Orna Golf & Country Club, located a short distance from Melaka, has played host to a number of prestigious competitions and has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most challenging courses in Malaysia - to qualify for the Asian Tour, you've got to be able to master this tricky course. It comprises three nine hole loops (the East and West that make up the main championship course and the easier North) that stretch over rolling terrain dotted with large waste bunkers, lakes and creeks.
On the tee of the 1st, a short par-4 dog-leg right, you'll immediately be struck by the undulations which are par for the course here. You'll almost never get a flat stance so you're iron game has to be in good nick if you are to score well, and even straight shots run the risk of catching a severe slope and cannoning off into oblivion. While the rough isn't too thick, it's the bunkers that offer some the most testing challenges. On the 10th, large twin bunkers protect the landing zone for tee shots and others in front of the green mean you can't hope to sneak onto the front. The par-5 11th features a long stretch of waste bunkers await the wayward hooker on the run up to the green, and the long par-4 14th features a massive bunker dead centre of the fairway. Given you'll probably require a good drive and a fairway wood to reach the green in regulation, finding this bunker will leave you struggling not to drop shots.
The Bermuda fairways are slightly patchy in places, and even where you find unbroken grass they are quite hard, which means you get good roll on your drives but less spin control on your approaches. While the greens are an enjoyably roller-coaster-like affair, but a better maintenance programme is required to produce consistent speeds. Aesthetically, the open nature of Orna Golf & Country Club (there's much less jungle than other courses in the area) allows for some great views, and the long strips of sand next to water, like a little beach, look brilliant. However, this absence of jungle and mature trees means that there is little shade, and on hot days it's wise to come prepared with sunscreen and hats.
The most enjoyable hole is the signature 12th, a 200 yard par-3 that plays from an elevated tee to an island green that is reminiscent of the 17th at Sawgrass; also worth mentioning is the unconventional par-5 16th whose fairway is split by a lake that runs from tee to green, offering alternate routes to the elevated green.
The North nine plays much shorter at just 3173 yards and is best avoided in favour of the proper challenge offered by East and West unless you are a high handicapper looking for a morale boosting score.
Overall, it's a good bet for a round of golf in the Melaka area. The design is worthy of a championship course and while the maintenance doesn't quite deserve that accolade, there are plenty of challenges, mainly from the severely undulating playing surface and some of the biggest bunkers you'll ever experience. When you take into account the very reasonable green fees, a round at Orna Golf & Country Club has much to recommend it.
Like the sound of this course? Secure a tee time and take advantage of the discounted green fees on offer by adding Orna Golf & Country Club to your Malacca golf holiday.
If you are travelling to other parts of Malaysia ask us to help you to organise a Malaysia Golf Package which features tee times at Orna Golf & Country Club.