Bali, Indonesia: Bali’s evolution as an international golf destination has gained new standing with the opening of Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club, the fifth golf venue on the Island of the Gods and the first 18-hole, par-three course in Indonesia.
Designed by JMP Golf Design Group’s Bob Moore and managed by Accor Hotels, Bukit Pandawa is also the first phase of an unprecedented hospitality project taking shape on Bali’s southern coastline.
The club’s ownership group, luxury resort developer PT Bali Ragawisata, is planning to add hotels and residences managed by world-renowned brands Mandarin Oriental, Waldorf Astoria and Swissôtel and a soon-to-be-announced enterprise that has long been synonymous with the finest things in life.
“We’re setting the stage for everything that’s to come here,” said Stephen Banks, General Manager at Bukit Pandawa. “We’re equal parts ground-breaking, eye-popping and extraordinary.”
To drive home the level of excellence golfers can expect at Bukit Pandawa, the course partnered with BMW to hold a novel, grand opening tournament for 160 invited players, each of whom had 18 chances to win a range of BMW-brand vehicles.
“I’m not sure there’s ever been a tournament where at each hole you could win a car – let alone a premium car – with an ace,” said Djie Tjian An, President/Director of PT Bali Ragawisata. “Even though we didn’t see a hole-in-one, everyone sure had fun trying.”
Located on a spectacular limestone clifftop overlooking the world-famous surf breaks of Bukit Peninsula, Accor Hotels’ flagship course in Asia offers 18 par-three holes, ranging in length from 117 yards to 244 yards. From the back tees, it plays to 3,027 yards.
Some holes at Bukit Pandawa are back-dropped by the Indian Ocean. Others are accentuated by waterfalls, lakes or terraced rice paddies. All are subject to the wind.
“It can be a real test,” said Englishman Banks, a former playing professional. “When the breeze is up – and it almost always is – there’s a good chance you’ll use every club in the bag. Even driver.”
One standout hole is the 148-yard 13th, which is framed by three bunkers and features curved stone walls in the foreground and a traditional Balinese kul-kul tower in the background.
Given how short the par-54 layout is compared to standard 18-hole set-ups, Djie Tjian An anticipates it will be especially popular with short-stay visitors and families.
“So often, a golfer might pass on the opportunity to play on vacation or during a business trip because it can burn a large portion of the day,” he said. “But here, that’s not an issue. A round takes no more than a couple hours to complete.”
In designing Bukit Pandawa, Moore, a Partner at JMP, a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation, embraced the contours and characteristics of a site that was rife with rock outcroppings, architectural ruins and sea views. Indeed, the ocean is visible from 15 holes.
To round out the total golf experience at Bukit Pandawa, a 3,000-square-metre clubhouse inspired by the ancient temples and towers of Bali has been constructed.
Conceived by architects Antony Liu and Ferry Ridwan from StudioTonTon in Jakarta, the imaginative, twin-block structure was designed to blend into its natural surroundings through the liberal implementation of local materials (such as stone and wood), native grasses and, above all, water, which flows seamlessly through many of the building’s spaces.
That includes the facility’s signature component, the rooftop restaurant, which overlooks the ocean and course and features al fresco dining and lounge areas.
“We’re extremely proud of this project,” said Liu, one of Indonesia’s foremost modern tropical architects. “It perfectly harnesses what’s so great about the location – the views – and it has so much character, to boot.”