It is a tradition in my current company to have a golf round before our management off site. It goes even further: one of the main decision factor in determining the meeting venue is whether the place has nice golf course! *grin*
Our meeting this time is held in Makassar, South Sulawesi. And of course we’re targeting to play in recently opened Paddy Valley golf course. Located in Maros area, 25 km from Makassar city center, it takes about 45 minutes from Makassar airport to the golf course. Spare a bit of time if you plan to play here, as sometimes the traffic can be bad due to smaller roads to pass.
Arrived in the complex, the first impression of the course: it’s hot and dry. Many areas are still under development, and during my visit the paddy field was brown and dry. Not too promising.
Luckily, when we arrived at the course, it’s a contrasting view. First we were welcomed by a modern club house, which is sitting on top of the hill, enabling you to view the beautiful landscape surrounding the golf course from restaurant terrace. Lush green fairways and beautiful course design are apparent.
For those of you who have played in Royale Jakarta, you can immediately relate the course design with those in Halim. But with much better scenery surrounding the course. The course is designed by the same designer of Royale Jakarta Golf Course. So you will find many holes here remind you of the holes in Royale (including the tough undulating and fast greens!). Heck, the locker key in the club house also applies the same system in Royale!
Anyway, our round begun about 1 pm. Playing with my 2 office colleagues – Avi and Sandi, we started from Hole 1. The hole has interesting design, with the tee box perched on side of the hill, overlooking the (luckily) wide but short fairway below. For long hitters, you may opt to leave your driver and get your 3 wood or hybrid to land your ball safely on the flat fairway surface. From that, it’s about 130-140 m to the green. It is a par 4 with medium difficulty. I skied my first drive, and landed 180m from the green (darn). My hybrid only carried it 5 meters short of the green. I was unable to make up and down, so had to settle with bogey. Not a bad score, considering the first time I played here.
It proved to be a really good score. As couple of mistakes plus mishits got me triple bogeys on the next two holes. Blimey. The course itself is not difficult. It’s relatively shorter than Royale, but the greens are tough. Its undulating surface and fast speed require you to land your approach near the hole, otherwise three putts will become frequent visitors to your scorecard.
The next hole, Hole 4 is the Handicap 1 hole. Interestingly, it is a Par 3 hole. I never played in a course where Par 3 is the most difficult hole. It is 175 meter from blue tee and across the large pond. The green is wide but the green is nothing but easy. It has different elevations from front to back, and really fast. But golf is a strange game. I made my first par in this hole. A real mood booster after those back to back triple bogeys.
So then I continued playing with new optimism. Finally got my swing back and I managed to make another par on next hole, Hole 5, a long Par 5 hole. Alas, when we started to enjoy our game, the nature had different idea. It was cloudy since we started the round. But it was quickly turning into an alarming weather after an hour playing. Dark clouds hanging, and we jus hoped there won’t be lighting.
But our hope vanished when we saw the first lightning on the cloud above us with the roaring thunder shortly followed. It’s only about time before the horn was blew, signalling any round played should be suspended. And it was. So we had to ride our cart back to club house as the rain started to fall heavily.
Luckily for us it only lasted for an hour. The sky was cleared and the course management allowed the players to come back playing on course. Well, this rain was blessing in disguise. My friend who played in this course the week before said that it was really hot and humid. But because of rain, we got an excellent weather, as the temperature cooled down. And also it also a testament to the good management of green and fairways in this course, as the heavy rain did not leave any water flogging the course. On plus side as well: the green became more friendly, slower. More manageable. So we continued playing our remaining holes in better mood. It was quite long way to come to this course, it would have been a heartbreaking moment if we could not continue our game.
In the end, we had a very good experience in this course. It was beautiful and challenging. The final hole, the Par 5 Hole 18 is also a great closing hole. Difficult, but could be had. Large pond on the right side would bring fear to the slicers. And its small green located on top of the hill. I was lucky to get up and down for par (not to mention winning a small wager). What a satisfying way to end a round in Padi Valley.
In overall, I’m happily to report that Padi Valley adds to the growing list of beautiful courses in Indonesia, standing proudly in par with more renowned course like Nirwana in Bali, or Taman Dayu in East Java. Recommended!