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Teluk Intan Golf &CC

Posted by mynormas on November 8, 2016


The town of Teluk Intan is situated about 170km northwest of Kuala Lumpur. It doesn’t sound very far but it is actually 50km away from the North-South Expressway and you have to drive along a rural road flanked by oil palm plantations. Yet about 20 minutes away from this town, lies a golf club. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been asked “There’s a golf club in Teluk Intan?” when I mention the club. Its actually a good club; simple design, flat fairways, decent greens, cheap fees and few golfers.Truth be told, I was their consultant for about three years. I avoid talking about my clients because I think of it as a client privilege that I don’t talk about it, but we’ve mutually parted ways and I feel that I just had to write about this golf club.

map-tigcc-far

Gives meaning to the phrase ‘in the middle of nowhere’ right? Be the first of your friends, or rather, be the first WITH your friends to try the course and the town. To you non-Malaysians, I just want to point out that that’s the Malacca Straits on the left.

First, lets talk about Teluk Intan town itself. Legend has it the original name of the place was Teluk Mak Intan; ‘Teluk’ is the Malay word for bay and ‘Mak Intan’ is said to be the name of a beautiful lady who happens to be the daughter of a prominent business man based there (it wasn’t a town yet back then). Other sources (Wikipedia) says that she was a prominent business woman herself.

When the British colonialists came to the area, they decided it was a good place to set up a port to transport all the tin mined from the surrounding areas so they built a railway line (now defunct), a port (ditto),  a town (still there) and presumably a golf course (not immediately but one was built eventually).

The then-Resident of Perak, Sir Hugh Low in 1874 wanted to give the place an administrative status and it became a town. Probably some ambitious lower-rank bureaucrat finds it difficult to pronounce ‘Mak Intan’ (Hugh Low himself was said to pronounce it as ‘Malunting’) and/or thinks it wise to stroke the ego of the then acting-governor of the Straits Settlement, Sir General Archibald Anson and renamed it as Teluk Anson in 1882. Gee, I wish I had creative (read: ass-kissing) subordinates like that. It wasn’t till 1982 when the then Sultan of Perak, DYMM Almarhum Sultan Idris II changed the name back to Teluk Intan.

The golf club was originally in the Teluk Intan town itself but in the 1990s the local authority offered the club members a bigger piece of land enough for 18 holes in exchange for the 9-hole club and clubhouse in town. The local authority actually owned the land so I don’t think the members had much choice anyway. The local authority still owned the new club and they found it more efficient to lease the club to an operator.

The new course was what one would call a flat course, mainly because it was built on a flat piece of land with no hills whatsoever that they can use to shape the course. It was also close enough to the river that flows to the sea that it had a high water-table that limits any digging to shape the course too. The green was… different and what I mean by that is that it is different from most clubs and different from one green to the other too. But hey… as I said earlier, the greens were more decent than a few Klang Valley golf clubs I’ve seen so let’s not make too big a deal about that.

Its quite a ‘lonely club’ in the sense that if you look at it from the air, all you see surrounding it are oil palm plantations. Here’s a picture of it at night. The picture in the daytime is a little bit crowded with clouds.teluk-intan-google-earth-lonely-club

I suppose originally it was maintained with a complete fleet of machinery but like many golf clubs in Malaysia, no plans were made with regard to long-term machinery replacement and they keep losing machines. On top of that, they also lose workers and after that, golfers; when the novelty of a new golf club and in fact, the novelty of golf wore out. Fewer and fewer golfers came by until one day some KL golfers forgot there was a golf club in Teluk Intan.

A few years back, one of the original investor in the operating company left and the remaining investor, a self-made rags-to-riches guy decided to take positive steps to rebrand or renew the club. I was engaged for a one-year period and a hefty sum of money was forked out to purchase new machinery.

A year later there were obvious improvements and even the local council praised the changes at the club. Of course this is all comparative, either in terms of current condition compared to its condition in previous years and to other clubs in the area. I was asked to stay on as consultant for two more years after that. I guess you could say I was the de facto superintendent.

More importantly this, this is a case of a little club that tried. It wanted to improve and it did its best to improve. It would be a shame if golfers continue to ignore it. The operator, the owner, the committee and the staff worked hard to improve it with limited resources. I’ve seen urban clubs with better resources, experienced staff and educated superintendents that don’t give a hoot about course conditions, preferring to play the victim game and blame the weather, the budget, the construction, the boss, the committee, the grass, the previous superintendent; anyone but themselves.

Teluk Intan G&CC is the only long-term client that insists I do a presentation at a meeting to their biggest boss every month, where he will then question the superintendent and club manager. Other clubs make do with a written report that usually go unread or perhaps misunderstood (except perhaps by the superintendent who sometimes ignore it). There is also another exception to this; one club who insisted on written reports and whose superintendent was being targeted for early retirement went through my reports with a magnifying glass, accusing the superintendent of NOT implementing my recommendations. He was – diligently. Which resulted in his greenspeed increasing from an average of about 7’6″ to 9′ plus (one green had a reading of 11′ +) in two months WITHOUT reducing their cutting height. Don’t get mixed up: this is not Teluk Intan G&CC I’m talking about: this other club’s superintendent’s job is now safe; mine wasn’t; my contract wasn’t renewed and seven months later, this club up north close to the border of Thailand (are you reading this?) still haven’t paid me my fees yet. Teluk Intan pays me regularly.

In Teluk Intan G&CC, the green fee is cheap, the fairways are nice, the greens are small, the bunkers are shallow and the design is what I would describe as ‘Highway’ type of design, y’know, the kind where bunkers are in the rough and the fairways are like roads leading to the green. The cost of hotel and food in Teluk Intan is pretty low too.

It is perfect for new golfers or hackers or for those who like to play without pressure of other golfers, without feeling being cheated by high green fees with bad greens or just to have fun playing on a totally different course. I know your home club is good, but how many times can you play the same course over and over again?

Should the temptation of ‘cheating’ on your club arise, call Teluk Intan Golf and Country Club at: 016-417 2661 and speak to Khairul Anuar, he’s the friendly Club Manager or just go to their website for more details. While you are there, don’t forget to visit the leaning tower of Teluk Intan and other attractions too and do stuff.

 

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