Annual host of the the Singapore Open and once voted best course in Asia, this immaculate and challenging parkland course more than justifies the expensive green fees. A must-play.
Heralded as the "No.1 Championship Golf Course in Asia" by Asian Golf Monthly and "Best Golf Course in Singapore" by Golf Digest, the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club is an exciting and immaculately maintained course that each year plays host to the Barclay's Singapore Open. According to the course's own promotional material, there's no one signature hole - there are 18 of them. While that might be overstating it slightly, this is in fact a genuinely stunning course, full of cleverly designed and varied holes. Extensive bunkering in landing zones mean you have to think your way round, and the large lagoon that features strongly on the front nine means that there are ample opportunities to drop shots. The course is beautiful, with an ever shifting set of spectacular views of the ocean, the city skyline and even the faraway island of Batam in Indonesia. On the back nine you can enjoy the sight of the cable cars ferrying people across the narrow channel separating Sentosa from the mainland.
There are some really tough holes here, as you would expect of a course that taxes the professionals. Your drive at the dog-leg left Par-4 3rd must have pinpoint accuracy to find the small area at the corner of the dog-leg that doesn't have the long tree on the outside of the corner in your way. Taking a driver and trying to run down the slope of the corner can produce results, but most people trying it end up on the downslope which makes the approach to a very ominous green-site all the tougher. The par-5 4th offers multiple routes to the green thanks to a split fairway- you can either hit the ball to the first landing area on the right and from there play safe around the lagoon, or you can pull out the big dog and go left and try to carry the extensive bunkers that protect the landing area. If you can pull that off, you'll certainly be able to reach the green in two on this great risk/reward hole. However, there are no guarantees that when you reach the green you'll be able to get down in two putts, as the green is tiered and riddled with confusing breaks; further, if you're unlucky enough to fin the pin at the back left, you'll find the green falls away towards water so attacking the pin is a risky proposition, and it's all too easy to putt the ball into the drink.
The 15th is often a game breaker in tournaments. The narrow fairway of this straightaway par-4, rated index 1, runs right along Singapore harbour and the whole hole slopes towards the water, especially behind the green which is very well protected by bunkers. You'll often find yourself happy to have found sand as the lesser of two evils here. It all ends memorably with a classic risk/reward affair with more bunkers than any other hole. A par-5 that snakes around a very picturesque lake, you must try and cut as much of the corner as you dare off the tee. Very few people will attempt to get there in two, as the tiered green juts out into, and slopes heavily towards, the water. A plaque 200m from the pin marks the spot from where, in 2007, Angel Cabrerra holed a six iron for birdie to win the Singapore Open by one stroke. It's hard to resist dropping an extra ball to try to match him.
All three types of turf used here - Paspalum on the tee boxes, Zoysia on the fairways and Tiffeagle on the greens - are well maintained and ensure that playing conditions are immaculate. If you play around the time of the Open, you'll find the SubAir-equipped greens to be scarily fast and there will barely be a blade of grass out of place on the undulating, well sculpted fairways. The newly renovated clubhouse features luxurious locker rooms, a wide variety of top drawer food and drink options, and great views over the course. If you're planning a Singapore golf holiday and you don't mind paying expensive green fees for the very best courses, then a round at the stunning and challenging Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club should certainly form part of your itinerary.
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