Kota Permai Golf & Country Club: A famous venue with big ambitions

Published on September 25, 2020

When American rookie Trevor Simsby holed a four-foot birdie putt to beat Andrew Dodt, from Australia, in a sudden-death play-off at the Bandar Malaysian Open in March, it not only sealed his first win on Tour but the occasion also helped cement an important relationship that has lasted over two decades.

Kota Permai Golf & Country Club, the tournament’s venue, has been the proud host of events on the Asian Tour since first staging the Volvo Masters of Malaysia in 1998 – the year the club opened.

And over the past 22 years it has staged a wealth of Tour events, including: two Malaysian Opens, the Selangor Worldwide Masters twice, six Volvo Masters and a pair of World Cup Qualifiers.

It has been a special venue on Tour ‒ something that Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant will agree with having won the 2001 Volvo Masters of Malaysia and Selangor Worldwide Masters in 2012 on Kota Permai’s pristine playing surfaces.

Hole No. 2 at Kota Permai GCC

Many will also remember American Kevin Na ‒ aged just 19-years-old ‒ winning the Volvo Masters of Asia at Kota Permai in 2002, before departing on a highly successful and lucrative career on the PGA Tour.

In August, the popular Kuala Lumpur venue took another exciting step forward with its’ Tour association by becoming part of Asian Tour Destinations – an exclusive network of world-class golf venues, with direct ties to the Tour.

The other current Destinations venues include: Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore, Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin, Thailand, and the Classic Golf & Country Club in New Delhi, India. Additional world-class Destinations will be added to the network over the coming months.

The Asian Tour Destinations brand offers a wide range of benefits to its members and the Tour, helping them to achieve their commercial and strategic goals.

It provides an affiliate membership programme between the associated venues – which have a collective membership base of 7,500 golfers.

Also, being a part of the network means that each venue is certified Tour calibre and operates a comprehensive range of facilities and services to their members and guests under tournament-ready conditions all-year round.

Among the core benefits, Asian Tour members will be able to play and practice at each venue – allowing for the members at each club to enjoy direct engagement with the region’s best golfers.

“This is a very exciting development – one we have eagerly been anticipating. In terms of what we are looking forward to, it is pretty much threefold,” says Tang Meng Loon, Director of Club, Township & Property Management at Gamuda Land – the owners of Kota Permai.

“Firstly, more involvement with the Asian Tour – to be a host venue for tournaments or a platform for any programmes sanctioned by the Tour.

“Secondly, seeing Tour players here at Kota Permai away from tournaments will be amazing. We will be able to get their feedback for improvements, plus members and guests will really enjoy seeing them here, whether playing, practicing or socializing in the clubhouse. It’s going to be great to see them here and it will definitely increase interest to play here.

“Thirdly, we will be able to foster interclub relations with the management teams of the other Asian Tour Destinations’ partners, exchange advertising and promotion support, and welcome their members to Kota Permai, relishing the chance to host them.”

Hole No. 16 at Kota Permai GCC

In addition, by aligning themselves to an even greater degree with the Asian Tour, the club are hoping to achieve one of their key objectives: to see their venue continue to rise from being one of Malaysia’s top golf club’s – a position it proudly holds today – to one of the premier golfing Destinations in the region.

“We want to provide the best possible experience to all who walk through our doors and we want to constantly improve in all areas. With Asian Tour Destinations, this is now very possible,” added Tang.

The club currently has over 4,000 members and averages 5,900 rounds a month. And it is well known for being the ultimate recreational hub, for as well as boasting an 18-hole golf course – designed by Ross Watson – it also has a pro shop, driving range, gymnasium, badminton, squash and tennis courts, swimming pools, sauna and steam baths, F&B outlets, function rooms, and a children’s playground.

Says Tang: “We have a constant drive to improve in all areas – whether it be in operations, branding, marketing, strategic partnerships, or administration.

“We are continuously working on the maintenance and upgrade of the golf course, plus the provision and upkeep of world-class club facilities and amenities that offer excellent customer service.”

This policy of progression has resulted in the club being the recipient of a host of important accolades – including the coveted “Malaysia’s Best Golf Course” award in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018 at the World Golf Awards. And, it has also earned similar honours at the Asian Golf Awards over the years.

And, the club have weathered the storm caused by the coronavirus pandemic by gradually resuming business.

“As per government directives, we had to close the club and cease all operations earlier in the year. Since the beginning we have followed the strict standard operating procedures but we are delighted to say we are almost back to normal – just operating under the ‘new norm’ of things,” said Tang.

Simsby, for one, will be happy to hear that.

Said the American after his win: “I really felt good about the golf course, and was in awe of how good the condition was. It was in tremendous shape all week.”

Trevor Simsby of the United States