A stunning course with its own challenges

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KUALA LUMPUR: This year’s CIMB Classic will be played on the West Course, an international championship Par 72 course. The course first opened in 1991 and in 2008 it was redesigned by renowned international golf course architects E&G Parslow. The wall-to-wall Paspalum Seashore Grass variety, offers pristine playing conditions, while the course has some interesting challenges. Here is a hole-by-hole look at what awaits the players.

Hole 1 — 366m, Par 4: The optimum tee shot is to fade a drive from the centre bunker left, up on to the flat area, past the right bunker, leaving a short iron to the well-bunkered green. The green offers many interesting hole locations, which will require careful club selection and precision, if attacking the flag.

Hole 2 — 406m, Par 4: A relatively wide fairway but requiring placement left or right depending on the hole location — a “thinker’s” tee shot. For the long hitter, a 3 metal would be a wise selection as a driver could find the lake. If the hole location is back left, the tee shot to the right side of the fairway would be advantageous. For a back right or central hole location, a tee shot to the left side of the fairway is advisable. A precision mid to short iron is required for this huge undulating green, protected by four large bunkers and the lake to the left.

Hole 3 — 460m, Par 5: A powerful drive just to the right of the centre bunkers gives the long hitter a chance of reaching the green in two. However, if the tee shot finds a bunker, a difficult mid to long iron shot to the green would be required for the third shot. The green sites are well-bunkered, and beware, a poorly executed shot or incorrect club selection finding front bunkers extends a severe penalty, leaving the more difficult shot in golf — the long bunker explosion. Back hole locations are difficult and players must be careful not to go through this undulating green.

Hole 4 — 128m, Par 3: Though short, this hole requires great care in club selection and precision in shot making as the green is fairly narrow from front to back. With the sloping green, it is advisable to be short of the hole to have a birdie chance.

Hole 5 — 474m, Par 5: A real fun hole will see potential eagles rewarding a long and accurate drive to the go zone. There will be many bogeys, or worse, for bad thinkers. The green is well protected by a pond and two strategically positioned bunkers. Long putts are extremely difficult on this large undulating green.

Hole 6 — 384m, Par 4: A careful tee shot of approximately 230m to the left of the fairway bunker is the optimum position to approach the green. A tongue of rough extends from the fairway bunker to the path, and may catch the longer tee shot. The green is well protected by bunkers and presents many challenging hole locations.

Hole 7 — 343m, Par 4: Though a short par 4, this is a real “thinker’s” hole. Great care must be taken with club selection from the tee. Only the real power hitter can attempt to carry the left bunkers, with a reward of a relatively easy pitch shot to the green. The pond to the right and the fairway bunkers are quite punishing. The approach for the undulating green requires great precision, particularly with front, or rear hole locations. Be careful, through the green is a potential disaster!

Hole 8 — 186m, Par 3: A mid to long iron shot is required, preferably below the hole for aggression with the birdie putt. The left half of the green is well protected by two bunkers, while the right half of the green offers ease of accessibility.

Hole 9 — 369m, Par 4: A tee shot of approximately 220m offers a wide landing area, just short of the left fairway bunker, leaving an approach with a mid to short iron. Going with driver requires great accuracy with the pond cutting into the fairway right and the Pulai trees strategically positioned to the left. The perfect drive will be rewarded with a relatively simple pitch shot remaining.

Hole 10 — 495m, Par 5: An aggressive drive requires great accuracy with the lake to the right and bunkers on the left. A negative tee shot to the left will find the rough with a difficult second shot with the ball well below the feet and trees to negotiate. The cross bunkers, just short of the green to the right, demand a long explosion shot and should be avoided. The approach to the green requires much thought and intelligence with this narrow, well-bunkered green.

Hole 11 — 215m, Par 3: An aesthetically pleasing, strategically demanding hole. A medium to long iron tee shot is required. Best to leave the tee shot short of the hole location leaving an uphill birdie putt, but be careful of the water.

Hole 12 — 438m, Par 4: A great hole. An accurate tee shot is necessary to avoid the fairway bunkers as an approach to the green from these bunkers is extremely difficult and sometimes foolish with the pond and stream protecting the green. A large, receptive, undulating and well protected green awaits the precision approach.

Hole 13 — 420m, Par 4: A very difficult hole. Although there are no fairway bunkers, length and accuracy is required with the uphill tee shot. A solid mid to long iron will be necessary to reach the elevated undulating green which is protected by three large bunkers. There will be more bogeys than birdies on this hole!

Hole 14 — 327m, Par 4: A superb short par 4 hole with the lake left and to the green front. Strategically positioned bunkers are situated to allow many options. Aggression is not recommended. The best way to play is a tee shot of approximately 215m, fading off the trap positioned on the lake side of the fairway. This will leave a solid wedge approach which is necessary to achieve enough back spin and an uphill birdie putt.

Hole 15 — 182m, Par 3: A visually beautiful hole and strategically difficult. Hole locations should be respected and players must not short side themselves. The green is well protected by the lake and bunkers, and is quite undulating leaving difficult long putts.

Hole 16 — 291m, Par 4: Fun, excitement and decision time. Players must choose whether to go for it or play safe. The recommended smart way to play the hole is to hit the tee shot to the first bunker right and leave a firm wedge shot to this narrow, undulating green. Hole locations can add to the difficulty and if the pin position is forward, beware of the hidden green side bunker, short right.

Hole 17 — 307m, Par 4: Take out your camera as this is one of the most beautiful holes in the world of golf. The fairway is split by a meandering stream, with exotic plants and flora. The hole location determines whether the tee shot should be to the right or left fairway. If the hole location is back right, the left fairway is the preferred line of attack for a birdie. However, a long and accurate drive is necessary to carry the stream and to miss the left bunkers.

Hole 18 — 580m, Par 5: A long and accurate drive between the bunkers is essential if your mind is set to attack. If the green is not reachable, extreme care must be taken in laying up as four strategically positioned bunkers are awaiting the errant or poorly calculated shot. The undulating green is well protected by bunkers and demands precision with the approach. — CIMB Classic

The beautiful 17th hole of the West Course at KLGCC

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 28, 2014.