Built on the former site of the largest open cast tin mine in the world, The Mines Golf Course is the centerpiece of a resort complex stretching across more than 1,000 acres and encompassing five million square feet of interior space.
Robert Trent Jones, Jr. was called in to design the Mines golf course as the condition of the land was so bad that many thought that it could be impossible to develop. Trent Jones needed to do a lot of re-engineering to repair the soil and stabilize the land. As such the fairways are lined with a foot of sand to serve as a buffer against polluted soil and also to provide great drainage especial during the frequent monsoon rains.
The Mines has won prestigious awards such as a Top 100 Course, #2 Course in Malaysia, a Top 10 Course in Asia. The Mines also hosted professional events such as the World Cup of Golf won by Tiger Woods in 1997, the Kuala Lumpur Open and is a regular Asian Tour event venue.
The Mines plays 6,191 meters from the championship tees, but is nonetheless a golfer-friendly layout. The course requires accurate approach shots to well-contoured greens, but the fairways are wide and accommodating off the tees. Grassy roll-offs, hollows, and tight chipping areas encourage short game artistry. The Mines is a masterpiece of environmental restoration
The front nine is laid out through natural and jungle bounded terrain, with occasional water hazards complementing the impressive bunkering, which can be especially deep and protective around the excellent greens. Natural elevation changes are used to create some of the most memorable holes. Two such gems, are the risk-reward, downhill, short par-4 6th (with a deep swale awaiting anything hit left), and the plunging par-4 9th with its knee-trembling tee-shot and panoramic backdrop.
Perhaps the show-stealer on the front-nine is the par-3 2nd, played across a jungle-filled ravine, towards a wonderfully imposing tree, the roots of which appear to be more above than below ground. The jungle of the front-nine gives way to a lakeside back-nine, where many challenging holes are played alongside the large Mines Resort lake (formerly the heart of the huge tin mine).
At the 12th you play toward the remarkable Palace of the Golden Horses, billed as Asia’s most extraordinary hotel. The giant edifice – whose architectural influences somehow span both the Taj Mahal and Las Vegas – looms behind the green as you play the longest par four on the course. Whether jungle-side or lakeside, the Trent Jones’ layout never ceases to challenge with the quality of presentation always impressive. The par five 17th is a strong hole that Tiger Woods made to look laughably easy in the 1999 World Cup. A plaque commemorates Tiger’s eagle three.
The Mines Golf is one of Malaysia’s best golf courses and should be played by all Malaysian golfers. However, visitor tee times must be booked through specialized golf travel agents as the course is billed as strictly private.