Golf: A course for pros and S'pore swingers

Ernie Els of South Africa hitting a shot during round two of the 2014 Venetian Macau Open in Macau.

The "Big Easy" has a two-pronged plan to make his Els Club Teluk Datai Course in Langkawi a hit.

His goal is to hold an Asian Tour event there to grow the prestige of the course he designed, while also targeting social golfers from Singapore to boost the club's coffers.

The plans were announced at the opening of the picturesque course here yesterday.

Said the senior vice-president of The Els Club Malaysia, David Townend: "We have a big focus on the domestic market, Malaysia is key to us, and Singapore.

"At this point of time, it's where we get the most direct flights from."

Four-time Major champion Els also told The New Paper that he has plans to stage an Asian Tour event in his first South-east Asian course.

Said the South African: "You can play events here. It's a much more player-friendly golf course, so it's a little easier.


"I think the professionals will really eat it up but, just because of the beauty and accessibility, I think it will be a wonderful place for an Asian Tour event. "We will be talking and trying to get something here."

Malaysia already boasts four Asian Tour events, including the CIMB Classic which begins tomorrow at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

Singapore hosts one event, The Championship, which is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.

There is already an Els-designed course on the Asian Tour - next month's Dubai Open will be held at The Els Club Dubai.

World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Els' course in Langkawi does not feature bunkers, something he joked his compatriot Gary Player - a renowned bunker specialist - wouldn't be too pleased about.

But he debunked the notion that a golf course without bunkers would be too easy.

He said: "We've got a lot of trees here and a lot of them are in strategic places.

"So you've got to shape the shot around tree trunks... and the stream that comes across the course.

"I believe when you play this course you're not going to even think about bunkers."

This article was first published on October 29, 2014.
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