A tight, water heavy and high quality course with some truly memorable holes. Expensive, but worth it.
Twice host of the Asian PGA Championship back in the late 1990s, the Robert Trent-Jones Jr designed Palm Course is the more illustrious of the two excellent courses at Raffles Country Club. The lakes, ponds and waters of the Tengeh Reservoir pose most of the most searching questions on this excellent layout, with water featuring on all but three holes. In combination with contoured fairways that are narrower than its sister course and some extensive greenside bunkering, it makes for a tough proposition, especially off the tee.
The first hole perfectly encapsulates the ethos of the course: a long par-5 where your drive has to find the narrow band of fairway in between water hazards to both sides, while the approach to the green must contend with a long series of bunkers lining the right hand side of the fairway. After that comes an excellent par-4, the hardest hole on the course thanks mainly to the very tough approach shot you'll need to play over water and sand. The green at the par-3 3rd is tiny, no more than 10 yards across at its widest point and the large bunkers to both sides mean there's no room for error. The 4th is a right angle dog-leg with a tricky tiered putting surface and the 5th is a driveable par-4 with a very large undulating green - when the pin is at the back of the green it becomes a de facto dog-leg too, and the bunkers protecting the front of the green mean that going for the pin from the tee is not risk free. The last truly great hole on the front nine is the par-5 8th, a shortish par-5 that snakes right and left through a series of water hazards. You'll need to be able to play controlled fades and draws here to do well.
There's no let up after the turn, the 10th another hole that dog-legs around water. A large fairway bunker in the middle of the fairway means that the safe landing zone is pretty hard to find. The 12th is another gem, a short par-3 where the green is protected by water on three sides and a large shallow bunker behind. However, the closing holes will probably live longest in the memory. The 15th is a short par-4 that dog-legs around a beautiful area of protected jungle, while the par-5 16th is a wonderful, snaking par-5 where the hole is split in three by a water feature cuts the middle part of the fairway away from the rest. The water is back in play just before the green making getting there in two a daunting, if achievable prospect. At the par-3 17th you hit from a tee box surrounded by water to a large green protected by a huge bunker, and the round ends with the second hardest hole on the course. Here, your drive must flirt with marshland to the left of a fairway which sharply turns to the left. You have to carry the edge of the attractive Tengeh Reservoir to reach the green in regulation, an exhilarating final approach that been the cause of many a dropped shot.
While there are occasional reports of sand on the fairways, the course is generally in excellent condition. The traffic noise that invades a couple of holes towards the end of the front nine is a minor annoyance, but an easy one to forgive. Away from the course itself there are full practice facilities including fairway bunker (handy in light of the number of sand traps you'll face), large pro shop, fitness centre, sauna, swimming pool as well as tennis and squash courts. A golfer's terrace serves local and international food, snacks are available at the lakefront cafe and the wine bar is the perfect place to unwind and relive your best shots. A round at the Palm Course at Raffles Country Club will be a highly enjoyable and challenging addition to any Singapore golf holiday.
Like the sound of this course? Book Your Golf have access to discounted green fees and tee times at Raffles Country Club and can help you put together the perfect Singapore Golf Holiday package.