Cliff Top Golfing on the Bukit in Bali
What can be more inspirational than hitting a golf ball over terraced rice paddies or more satisfying than sinking a putt while a soft ocean breeze washes over you?
That’s what golfers can expect at Bali’s newest golf course, Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club. Opened in October 2016, the only 18-hole, par-3 championship course in Indonesia sits high above the famous surf breaks of the Bukit Peninsula, on the island’s southernmost tip. And while the sea views are spectacular, your caddy helps keep your mind on the game, with expert guidance — if you need it — on how to play a better shot and improve your game.
When my caddy, Ilu, handed me a 6-iron, I was skeptical. But like all the caddies at Bukit Pandawa, she is astute and highly skilled. And after she had observed how I played, she nodded and said, “Yes, this is the club for this shot.”
She was right. Even though the green seemed far away, I was on in one shot. I was particularly grateful for the explanations I got on the greens, like how the ball would break and what line to take. Hats off to the expert caddies.
I was on the fifth hole when I saw a waitress wander over the rise with two cappuccinos. “This cannot be possible,” I thought. I had been dreaming of coffee, and then she appeared. The coffee was for another player, but I quickly ordered mine, and continued to play. Sure enough, it showed up at the next hole.
Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club is in a class of its own. It wraps around waterfalls, lakes and terraced rice paddies. Even for the highly skilled golfer, there are challenges on every hole. There are architectural ruins behind three holes and the ocean is visible from almost every hole.
Upon entering the spacious 3,000-square-metre palatial clubhouse, I felt immediately at peace. Water cascades down angled stone walls, which give an effect like the pyramids of the ancient world.
As you explore, you find a sauna, electronic lockers and more elaborate and enhancing water features in the VIP areas. This complements the spectacular views outside of the ocean, and contributes to a restful, flowing feeling.
The Dining Experience
The food at Kul-Kul Restaurant brings an innovative angle to golf dining fare. It is on par with fine dining.
My food arrived stacked on a three-level, tea-like tower. I am a pretty fussy eater with a gluten-free requirement, and I was pleasantly surprised when fresh-baked, gluten-free bread appeared with my meal. All the bread is made fresh every day on the premises.
The nasi goreng (fried rice) came beautifully presented in a wafer-thin egg wrap with pickled vegetables and two chicken satay sticks. I had the sampler — seared tuna, traditional warung-style chicken satay and wagyu beef.
On the second level, the outdoor Spike Bar is not only a lovely place to enjoy a bite and cold beverage after your round, it’s a great space for a wedding or function, thanks in large part to the breathtaking views it offers of the golf course and ocean.
The Pro Shop
If you want to hire international-branded clubs or maybe pick up some smart golf clothing or accessories, it’s all here at the pro shop. There is even a tailor service. Just speak to the pro shop manager and semua bisa diatur (“everything can be arranged”).
Fridays are a good day for golf, so why not time your tee-off to take in the “TGIF Friday Cocktail Sundowner,” where tapas and fancy drinks are rolled out on the lawn?
From 4 p.m. to sunset on every second Friday you can meet the mixologist, Ari, who is actually the No. 1 mixologist in Bali. I can assure you his signature cocktail infused with kaffir lime and homemade syrup is simply the best.
Story by Stephanie Brookes
Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club
Jl Gunung Payung No 8
Desa Kutuh, Badung, Bali,