Bali National Resort

BALI, INDONESIA

Story & Images by Sam Gole, Discover Golf Magazine

Bali is emerging as a world-class golf and accommodation destination. Its flagship golf facility is Bali National Golf Resort, which boasts a superb championship golf course and luxurious villa accommodation.

If you are a golfer who appreciates a premium play and stay golfing experience, you’ll value Bali National Golf Resort. Having made two trips to the ‘Island of Gods’ within 12 months, I can attest Bali National features a superbly shaped and challenging golf course. And its Villa accommodation is first-class.

Conveniently located at Nusa Dua in the South Kuta area, Bali National Resort is only a 20 minutes’ drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport. The immaculately presented 6,552-metre layout enjoys spectacular views over the majestic backdrop of Gunung Agung and the Indian Ocean.

Formally known as Bali Golf and Country Club, the 18-hole championship layout was redesigned by Nelson & Haworth Golf Course Architects, and officially reopened on March 1, 2014. The major transformation included the successful remodeling of new fairways and green complexes. The renovation project was so successful, Golf Inc. Magazine awarded Bali National Golf Club as the 3rd Best Renovated Golf Course in the World 2015.

The impressive course includes two distinctly different nines—both expertly crafted. The undulating front nine is routed through lush vegetation—the colourful tropical backdrop is stunning. While the back nine features expansive bunkering systems and the layout strategically wraps itself around spectacular, but hazardous water systems.

Bali National is bookended with two cracking holes. The beautifully framed 446-metre, par-4 first hole, is one of the best opening holes I’ve played in Asia. The 18th hole is superb too, with water snaking its way along the left side of the fairway and in front of the green. At 372 metres, this closing hole isn’t long, but it’s a par-4 with plenty of bite.

But while both holes will make an impact, they won’t be the only course highlights to leave their mark. There are 16 other excellent holes that will impress—it’s the consistent quality of the layout that sets Bali National apart from many resort courses. (A selection of hole images and descriptions follow this story).

Various tee options at each hole allow all golfers to enjoy playing their round at Bali National. Head to the ‘Championship Tees’ if you’re a low marker seeking the toughest challenge. It’s a serious test from the tips, but Bali National offers a fair contest, so you’ll be rewarded for solid ball-striking. If you’re a higher marker looking for a head start, move up to the ‘Resort Tees’. With around 1000 metres less to cover across the 18 holes, accuracy rather than distance will be the key to scoring well.

All golfers, regardless of where you start each hole, can expect superb course conditions throughout the entire layout. The presentation of Bali National is excellent. Manicured paspalum fairways provide you with the ideal surface to launch your approach to each pin. And once you’ve landed on the well-guarded and generously proportioned targets, putting out on the smooth tiff eagle greens is a joy.

For a real thrill, the renovated layout features a new 17th hole, which replicates the famous par-3 island hole at TPC Sawgrass in Florida. You must find the green for your ball to stay dry.

Bali National Golf Villas are another recent addition located within the resort. Opened in June (2015), seven luxurious villas overlook the challenging and stunning 17th and 18th holes. Each spacious villa can accommodate four guests or more—ideal for small groups sharing a relaxing holiday getaway. Villa services include the personal butler, who is exclusively appointed to meet guests’ wishes. Villa facilities are equal to the best in Bali. Each villa boasts a private pool and cabana, outdoor dining, luxury fittings and a lush tranquil setting. The resort also features Mandara Spa where you can enjoy a private spa experience in the privacy of your villa.

With its excellent golf, villa and wellness offer, Bali National Resort is the ideal golf play and stay paradise.

Hole 1: 446m, Par 4
A beautifully framed golf hole welcomes golfers on tee box 1, with two choices for one’s first drive of the day. Big hitters may take on the waste bunker and sail out over the tree in the centre of the fairway. The more conservative route will utilise the generous right side fairway, where anywhere right of the ‘lone tree’ should leave you with a reachable approach shot.

Hole 3: 392m, Par 4
The uphill narrow fairway gets tighter for longer hitters and it’s better to stay on the fairway’s left side to avoid the tree lined crevice on the right which ensures a blind approach shot! A generous sized green protected by bunkers awaits, which depending on the pin position can make a one or two club difference to one’s approach shot!

Hole 4: 144m, Par 3
A deceptive uphill par-3, where, if in doubt, take one more club, being sure to avoid the stonewall terraces on the right. Be warned, while putting avoid looking too often at the truly spectacular Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest volcanic peak!

Hole 6: 213m, Par 3
The uphill sixth is a great par-3. Club selection is critical. There is very often a swirling wind at the green, which has two distinct levels. Hitting the level where the pin is placed will avoid a putting surprise or two, or three!

Hole 9: 366m, Par 4
The beautiful front nine finishing hole dictates a drive centre left of the fairway. You must avoid the babbling brook down the right side and ensure the best angle for your approach shot to an elevated island green. Club selection for the approach shot is critical, as being either short or long can be ‘wet’!

Hole 10: 312m, Par 4
The safe drive is to the centre of the fairway, but it will leave you with an approach shot to a small target green over a deep greenside bunker. The ‘tiger’ line is to carry the right side waste bunker off the tee, which will place one’s ball closer to the best angle for the approach shot to the green.

Hole 11: 544m, Par 5
This is a superb dogleg par-5 that features a large pond and waste bunker to be cleared from the back tee. The second shot must not be right, as a lake awaits down the right side of the fairway to the green.

Hole 12: 215m, Par 3
Good club selection together with a committed hit are necessary on this spectacular par-3. You must take on the lake to an elevated green, which is guarded by a deep green side bunker.

Hole 15: 359m, Par 4
This relatively short but strategic 359-metre, par-4 includes a lake carry from the tee box that could make for an interesting drive. You must also remain in the centre of the fairway to assure yourself of good position for the approach shot to an elevated green.

Hole 18: 372m, Par 4
A par 4, dogleg left, draped by a lake and waste bunker all the way down the left side of the fairway, brings you to the 18th green directly in front of the clubhouse terrace. It’s a stunning closing hole, which requires your final approach shot to be played over the lake.

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