Fears that course maintenance restrictions imposed during the Malaysian government’s Movement Control Order (MCO) would impact Kota Permai Golf & Country Club’s ‘s renowned greens have been quickly allayed.
Prior to re-opening last week under the less stringent Conditional MCO which allows non-contact outdoor sports, Kota Permai, like all golf clubs in Malaysia, had been shut down for a total of 48 days.
“During that period we were only able to carry out basic golf course maintenance with a skeleton staff,” said Tang Meng Loon, director – club operations and townships at Gamuda Land, responsible for overseeing operations at Kota Permai and Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club in Johor Bahru.
“Only essential services were allowed to carry on operation and for that we needed to get prior approval from the Royal Malaysian Police. So, there were restrictions that prevented us carrying out the full range of course maintenance. Everything we did during the MCO was just basic maintenance like mowing, preventative pest control and some watering activities,” noted Tang, speaking in a series of Asian Golf Industry Federation podcasts with leading lights from the industry.
“Before we re-opened, we had quite a few inquiries from members expressing concern at whether we were maintaining the condition of the course – and particularly the greens. A lot of our golfing members at Kota Permai are good players who are quite competitive – and they’re always concerned about the green speed,” said Tang, whose greenkeeping team frequently have the putting surfaces running at 12 on the Stimpmeter.
When they stepped back onto the course, members were not only relieved to discover the Ross Watson-designed layout in playable condition, but also pleased that the greens were running true, if slightly slower than their usual pace.
“Our greens are always regarded as being at a good standard and running fast. Now we’re trying to keep that benchmark that we’ve set for the local industry and in the region.
“I believe we need around two weeks to fully get back on track. We’re executing a comprehensive maintenance programme so we can get back our pristine course condition. Now our focal point is tidying up the golf course, landscaping and keeping the course in neat and tidy condition,” said Tang.
The closure was particularly galling for Kota Permai members as the course had been in tip-top condition for the US$1 million Bandar Malaysian Open in the first week of March, won by American Trevor Simsby.
Former PGA Tour player Charlie Wi, who finished joint fourth, led the chorus of approval for the greens. “The greens are perfect. If you can get it started on line, you know you can make a lot of putts out here.”
Former Malaysian No 1 Danny Chia noted: “The course was fantastic. It’s one of the best around this area. The greens are fast.”
To listen to the full interview, visit agif.asia/agif-podcast