KOTA Permai Golf & Country Club, situated in Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam, faces a big challenge in hosting the US$1mil Malaysian Open in two month’s time.
But it is a task that the club is looking forward with much relish and one that they believe they can handle without too much of a fuss.
That is the view of Gamuda Land club operations and townships director Tang Meng Loon. Gamuda are the proprietors of the golf club, which falls under Tang’s watch.
Speaking to TeeUp this week, Tang said they were well aware of the challenge they faced in “pulling off” a successful hosting of the event, which makes a return to the local calendar after a five-year absence.
“This will be the first time we host the Malaysian Open in 12 years, ” said Tang.
“The last time we had it here was back in 2008. So it has been quite a while since we undertook to serve as the venue for the national Open.
“But we are prepared for it. We know what will be expected for us to competently host the tournament and I can assure you that things are at an advanced stage in our preparations to do so.
“Of course, we also remind ourselves that this will not be an easy task, but we do believe that we have the capacity to pull it off, ” he added.
“Kota Permai, as you know, not so long ago undertook a renovation exercise to modernise the clubhouse by installing new change rooms, among other amenities.
“This project alone cost in the region of RM14mil and now with the other amenities in place, we believe we have a clubhouse that can comfortably accommodate the field – world-class international players who are treated the best.
“Now we have turned our attention to the course itself and presently there are several areas of upgrade and enhancement that we are working on, ” explained Tang. “Among these, is the re-shaping of some of the bunkers and the replacement of sand.
“We have 74 bunkers here and we are not removing any, nor are we adding any. What we are doing is carefully re-shaping those that we feel need a bit of help.
“We are working with the Asian Tour in the setting up of the course, as they know what they want, ” said Tang. “What we have assured them is that we can get the green speed up to 11.5 or even 12 on the Stimpmeter.”
Tang added that it was interesting to note that some of the members were “looking forward” to the tournament itself.
“They are just as excited about having the Malaysian Open back, as we (the management) are, ” he said. “And it is a good feeling because it is a collective feeling of all wanting to do well.”
Touching on the parking, which was a bit a of an issue the last time out, Tang said: “There is ample parking space within the surrounding areas and we will have shuttle buses in place to ferry the fans and spectators to and from the clubhouse.
It should not be a problem.”
The last time the Malaysian Open was held at Kota Permai, the Ross Watson design measured 6,980 yards and played to a par-72.
These numbers could change, depending on how the Asia Tour, who will co-sanction the tournament with the Japan Golf Tour, decides to set it up.
In 2008, the longest hole was the par-5 18th that stretched 565 yards, while the shortest on the layout was the downhill par-3 14th. It measured just 165 yards.
That year, India’s Arjun Atwal beat Peter Hedlbom, the then defending champion, in a play-off to take the title at Kota Permai. They both finished on 18-under 270 in regulation.
The 2008 Malaysian Open, sponsored to the tune of 2mil euros by Maybank, is also remembered well for Danny Chia sharing the halfway lead with Nick Dougherty and Jyoti Randhawa.
The local favourite joined his more illustrious competitors on 12-under 132 after the second round. Chia would eventually go on to finish in a tie for 41st place with a seven-under 281 total.
Chia, who is expected to be part of a 40-strong Malaysian contingent that will include veterans and amateurs, and 20 players from the Japan Tour, will be hoping for a stronger finish this time around
– just as Kota Permai too will be hoping to stage a successful event in the face of challenging conditions.
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