Course of the Month – The Els Club, Teluk Datai

November’s Course of the Month isn’t even finished yet.

What use is that you cry?

Given who’s designing it, and where, we felt you’d want to know about the famous name crafting a course without bunkers – that’s right no sandies – near a one-million year old tropical Malaysian rainforest with ocean views and Dusky Leaf monkeys for spectators.

Ernie Els, ‘The Big Easy’ took time out from his preparations for the World Golf Championships WGC- HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China to visit his newest golf course design project in Langkawi, Malaysia.

The Els Club at Teluk Datai is the South African’s newest project and is expected to open in early 2014 with the promise to deliver Asia’s most exotic golfing experience.

Els Club Teluk Datai golf course

The Big Easy’s new course has no bunkers – yep – no beach!

A golf course without Bunkers

The most interesting thing about Ernie’s latest design is there will be no bunkers, that’s right – no sand traps, beach, pots – just green green grass and water – oh and some serene vistas out over the Andaman Sea.

Els Design took the bold decision to shape a golf course around the natural rainforest fauna and the dramatic topography without bunkering.

“The golf course layout is very unique,” commented Greg Letsche of Els Design, the lead designer on the project.

When Ernie first laid eyes on the site, he wanted to create something that blended in with the natural greenery of the locations surrounds.

The lack of any bunkering adds yet more intrigue to the course and has meant the design process has had to be more innovative and creative than usual to add visual impact via clever design, rather than strategic bunkering,” continued Letsche.

Ernie Els doesn’t just throw up golf courses. His developments are exclusive and situated in some of the world’s most desirable destinations.

Ernie Els in Teluk Datai

Ernie Els ‘The Big Easy’ looking, well, cool as a proverbial cucumber

Ernie surveys 17th green overlooking stunning Andaman sea

His Malaysian project will be the third Els Club in the world, following The Els Club Copperleaf South Africa and The Els Club Dubai.

“It is great to be able to visit Teluk Datai and see at first-hand how the project is progressing,” said Els.

“The site here is one of the most unique I have come across anywhere in the world and the end product is going to be breath taking.”

The South African has partnered with Destination Resorts and Hotels (DRH), a strategic owner and developer of world class resort destinations, and Troon Golf – one of the world’s largest golf course management companies – and has the backing of the Malaysian government.

DRH has been entrusted by the investment arm of the Malaysian government to enrich Malaysia’s tourism landscape by developing sustainable resort destinations that will attract international travellers from around the world.

Malaysia is proving a lucrative partner for Els Design as the company will also be involved with DRH in the development of a golf course at a new resort on the Desaru Coast, planned to open in 2016. Vijay Singh will be designing the second 18 holes.

More on that when we get it!

You can read about Ernie’s Malaysian Innovations here:

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Global Golfer is a magazine for anyone who simply has to tee it up on their travels - from a sheep-shorn 9 holer on a Scottish island to luxury resorts in the Caribbean - we take you inside the ropes of the world's golf courses, resorts and bucket-list buddy trips.

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