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Ria Bintan Resort – Ocean Course
Course Opened – 1999
Designer – Gary Player
Picture by David Scaletti

For golf travel packages to Bintan Island - click here

Pristine, peaceful and unhurried, the Indonesian island of Bintan may seem worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore but is less than an hour by ferry and a popular destination for that country’s somewhat fanatical golfers. Easily the best kept and constructed of the island’s courses is the Gary Player designed Ria Bintan Ocean Course.

The layout comes recommended primarily for a glamorous stretch of holes, the 7th through 10th, which play toward and then along the emerald waters of the South China Sea. The green on the short cross-sea 9th actually rests entirely within the ocean and is surrounded by large boulders that complete the dramatic picture. Both the 7th and 8th, with the sea as their backdrop, are good holes but elsewhere the golf is typically resort style with a greater emphasis placed on the visual than the strategic aspect of design. An example being the deep, grass faced bunkers, which make a striking feature from the tee but are poorly designed as their lips face tees rather than targets and allow good players to hit crisp long irons out of the shallow side and directly at the green.

Although the holes away from the beach are fairly nondescript and the bunker inside a bunker beside the 10th green is silly, the Ria Bintan experience is quite enjoyable. The panoramic sea views and blinding white sand beaches are superb and the few ocean holes good enough to make it worth a side trip for those in nearby Singapore.



Pinx Golf Club
Course Opened – 1999
Designer – Theodore G. Robinson

Part of a unique luxury hotel and golf retreat, the Pinx Golf Club is an exclusive facility set within pleasant surroundings on South Korea’s Jeju Island. With outlooks across the island’s blue coastline and a number of holes boasting views of the impressive Mt. Halla, this golf course is pure resort fare with lush green playing surfaces, cart paths and an abundance of manufactured water hazards.

The core of the course is quite good with the greens a standout, many are actually built up and designed with clever breaks and interesting contours. The best of the attractive complexes are those on the 5th, 9th, 11th, 13th, 14th and 18th. What hurts Pinx, however, is the lack of detail in the fairways, with almost no internal fairway shaping done despite vast amounts of earth being pushed to the sides to create symmetrical mounding. Bunkering is also a problem, the haphazard look and location of the round or sprawling bunker shapes often means that bad shots are unlucky to find trouble instead of being lucky to avoid it.

This successful and popular golf club has many positives, especially the clubhouse facilities and the incredible hotel, but serious shaping and construction shortfalls on the course ultimately keep it from being one of Asia’s absolute elite.