KLGCC aims to be number one

Source: The Star Online
9 Sept 2007

THE refurbishment of Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) is rapidly progressing and well on its way to positioning the club as one of Southeast Asia's premier golf destinations.

Indeed, as pointed out by Ahmad Kushairy Ghani, KLGCC's Executive Director, it is their intention to establish Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club as the "number one" course in Malaysia, and going by the developments undertaken thus far, there is nothing to suggest otherwise.

Work is at an advanced stage on the construction of the first phase - the second nine holes of the West Course - which began early February this year, and is scheduled to be re-opened later end of this year.

The front nine of the West course, meanwhile, is scheduled to re-open mid next year, then each nine of the East again in successive six months. After that the multi-million dollar upgrading exercise both 18-hole layouts is expected to be completed around the middle of 2009.

Members of the Malaysian Golf Course Superintendents Association were last week treated to a site visit of the club, and enlightened on the progress being carried out by contractors Tang Sun Lee and overseen by Golf Course Architects E&G Parslow (M) Sdn Bhd.

In his brief to the gathering, Marcus Mortlock, KLGCC's Senior Course Superintendent and Construction Manager, said they experienced a few setbacks due to inclement weather – primarily earthworks areas becoming eroded or unworkable, but added that these have been resolved and that they remained optimistic about achieving their targets.

"Heavy rains caused us some discomfort and it meant that we had to go back to certain areas and re-do them again," said Mortlock.

"But, despite this, we are happy with the progress so far and still have our original targets in sight."

Senior designer with the design company E&G Parslow, Jason Winter, said the upgrading of the West Course embraced, among other issues, the "reconstruction of all tee complexes, bunkers and greens, and sand capping of all fairways, as well as the installation of more than 40 new bunkers.

"Basically, the layout of the course will remain unchanged," said Winter. "However, the course will be more challenging for tournament play and the upgrading works will enable a consistently high standard of maintenance.

"Consequently, there is a fair bit of remodeling being undertaken as all the tees, fairways and greens are being re-done.

"To this end, all the tees boxes are being reconstructed, made larger and re-leveled. Also, holes 6, 8, 11, 15, 16 and 18 have had new tees installed or re-constructed."

Winter added that the course was not lengthened significantly due to space constraints, and that it would now measure somewhere in the region of 6,349 metres off the championship tee boxes; with the outward nine stretching 3,120 metres and homeward nine 3,229 metres.

More than 40 new bunkers have been added for a total of close to 100 peppering the layout - including 10 alone on the 18th. This par-5, which will measure some 580 metres, will surely serve as an interesting and demanding closing hole.

All the existing sand hazards will have been reshaped or reconstructed, come the completion.

All the fairways and light rough are being sand-capped with extensive sub-soil drainage beneath. Also, some areas are being reshaped for better strategy and/or maintenance.

While all the greens are being reconstructed, the surrounding areas of the putting surfaces are being reshaped too.

Effectively, the average area of the greens will be increased from 343 square metres to 576.

The West Course's drainage system is also being upgraded, with its relocation on no fewer than eight holes. Work is also being carried out on the buggy path,. There is also a reconstruction and reshaping exercise on other sections of the path.

With regards to the water hazards, all edgings are being reconstructed, with extensions or additional wetlands targeted on holes 5, 9, 10, 13 and 15. In the case of No. 9, a new lake is being installed to add a great deal more character to the hole.

Also, a new maintenance complex and compound is to be erected at a cost of some RM3mil.

"All this work and much more," said Winter, "will definitely make KLGCC's West Course more of a thinking course."

A single-handicapper himself, Winter, added: "On many holes we have narrowed the landing areas or added options from the tee to add to the degree of difficulty and decision making, especially for the longer hitters and tournament players."

Meanwhile, Tan Cheng Hock, Project Director of Tang Sun Lee, delivered an overview of their operations at KLGCC in his address to the superintendents' meet. This included a slide show with some detailed explanations.

Before the day's event came to a close with a round of golf, R. Perumal, chairman of the superintendents' association, thanked KLGCC for hosting them and said that they had gleaned much from the visit and that they were keen on undertaking similar trips to other golf clubs.

He also thanked the host club, KLGCC and the sponsors of the various prizes and donations received for the golf game that followed.Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) has ridiculed talk of the golf course, or parts thereof, being turned into a residential development.

This was the view expressed by Ahmad Kushairy Ghani (pic), KLGCC's Executive Director, when he addressed a meeting of the Malaysian Golf Course Superintendents Association at the club.

"We have heard the rumours," said Kushairy. "But that is all they are – just rumours. We have not deviated from our aim of making Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club the number one golf club in this country.

"And while it is a project of major proportions, that is what we intend to accomplish because that is what we set out to do from day-one."

Kushairy, who also said that he was satisfied with the progress of the project, the contractors, golf course architects and his staff at the club, was speaking at a day-long site visit to KLGCC by members of the superintendents association.

The West Course, closed at the moment, is expected to be completed by the middle of next year and the East a year later

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