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Kota Permai or KLGCC?

Posted by mynormas on November 17, 2014

Well, Kota Permai have done it again; they have made their members and staff proud that they are again voted the best (or second best) golf club in Malaysia. I have no doubt whatsoever that they deserve it and I believe wholeheartedly that it is no mean feat; no easy task and I would like to congratulate them on their achievements.

Or was it the other way round? Did KLGCC win best golf course in Malaysia? Does it matter? As I see it, even if Horizon Hill (its the third nominee) were to be voted the best golf course in Malaysia this time around, KLGCC and Kota Permai will always be the top two golf courses in Malaysia; never mind the arguments about who decides or how many votes or what grounds, anyone who has played or visited either of the two clubs would not quibble about the details. They both are really good golf courses.

Oh. By the way, this post was written on Saturday and scheduled to appear on Monday, so I don’t really know who won yet. But the event I’m referring to is the Asian Pacific Golf Summit in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore November 14 and 15. Why do I write Saturday and post Monday? According to statistics, the time most people visit this website is early morning on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so I don’t bother to post anything on other days.

So, my personal opinion is that the magazine that gives out this award should list out the top 5 clubs in Malaysia because really, the top 2 is already a foregone conclusion. Just tell us who are number 3, 4 and 5; to me, these clubs would be the real winners.

No, I am not irked or envious of these two clubs. I currently am free-lancing and don’t work at any particular golf club anymore and I am proud to say that I used to work at one of the two champion clubs and the other club’s superintendent was formerly a colleague of mine. He has learnt from me just as I have learnt from him. Whatever award they won makes me feel good.

Neither do I think that the success of the two clubs are due to bottomless or big budgets. I know of clubs that have  comparatively big budgets but wouldn’t come close to the standards of the two champions. No, their succes is the sum total of skill/professionalism of the Course Superintendent and staff of the Maintenance Department, the teamwork of the management/staff from other departments, the cooperation of the members/committees and the support of the bosses/owners.

I’ve seen clubs who, as soon as they were given money; they bought a fleet of new machines (common) or put in lights for night golf at the last three holes (true story) or put bigger pillars at the clubhouse (rumour) or bigger VIP rooms (its the VIP who released the money, presumably); even when the greens are crying out for renovation. Or the fairways badly needed drainage. Nope. Money helps, but it ain’t what makes these two clubs champions.

What this win reminds me of is a conversation I had with my kids when they were in primary school. I told them that their number or position in class are not important, because “if you are in a class with a lot of students that don’t really care about their performance, being number 1 simply means that you are the best among mediocre students, which may mean you are actually no better than the student who are number 20 in a class of high performers”. Well, words to that effect anyway; they were 7 or 8 years old then, plus I’m improvising to match the situation now; I wouldn’t be using those exact words but you get what I’m saying.

What I am trying to say is that I sincerely believe Kota Permai and KLGCC should be aiming for higher and competing at a bigger stage by now. Ya, ya, they call you the best club in Malaysia; accept the title, that fact actually is beyond doubt even if you don’t get that award anymore! Unless conditions deteriorates for the next few years, Kota Permai and KLGCC are already ranked as the best clubs in Malaysia, so move on. Take the award but pour energy into being recognised at a world level, is my point.

I know, I know, Kota Permai and KLGCC has won other international awards for example being voted the top 10 golf course in Asia Pacific or the top 100 clubs in 205 countries respectively (among many others I’m sure) but I believe the celebrations, pride, honour and PR for these achievements should exceed the celebrations for being the best course (or 2nd best) in Malaysia.

Except for once in a while, in a tournament or two, here or there, this boy or that girl will win and make Malaysian golf proud for a while, then they’re gone; we don’t have a golf personality recognised world-wide! Wouldn’t it be nice to have one, or two Malaysian golf clubs famous all over the region, if not the world?

A few years ago I remember seeing someone in Saujana wearing this t-shirt that say ‘Top 500 Courses in the World’ (or was it 100? or 1000?) and because there are an estimated 35,000 golf courses in the world that would make him prouder than being number 1 in Malaysia (estimated number; 200),

I would also like to call on other clubs in Malaysia to step up their maintenance and be in the same league as these two. Especially clubs like Tropicana, Glenmarie, Penang Golf Club, Sutera Harbour, etc that are not far behind in terms of quality and even expectation.

Okay, I’ve heard the excuses too; “these award are based on votes and I don’t have the votes” or “the awards have no meaning” (this usually comes from the losers) but really? Or try this “The awards thing is a PR game lah”. So you mean your maintenance is the same like Kota Permai and KLGCC and you lost only because you can’t do the PR? Hmm…

Whatever, but you’re already maintaining the course, so why not take a few more steps and make the maintenace a little bit better? Perhaps step up the PR game too if thats what you really believe.

Raise the whole standard of Malaysian golf courses lah. Make Kota Permai and KLGCC work harder to retain the title, which they should already be blase about anyway already (“Another best-golf-course-in-Malaysia title? Yawn. Fine, put them in the cabinet with the others”).

Perhaps Kota Permai and KLGCC need not worry about the numbers game (No 23 in the world or Top 3,000 or Best of UN countries or whatever) anymore; it could also be a leadership or brand of some kind. For example, the Audubon certification – an environmental thing for golf courses all over the world.

Then perhaps, just perhaps, it adds impetus or momentum to the other smaller clubs to also up their game. Maybe it’s a long shot, but whats to lose? At the very least, we will get two world-class golf clubs and a few other clubs that can actually vie for the Malaysian best golf club title.


5 Responses to “Kota Permai or KLGCC?”

  1. jyliew said

    Thanks for the great article. Since you worked in these golf clubs before, by any chances do you have the contacts of 2nd hand golf ball suppliers? You may email me ☺


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