Pondok Indah Golf Course

William Ashbee

Feb 7,2014

Hole #12, Par 3: “Every Hole is a Signature Hole.” Robert Trent Jones Jr. - Photo courtesy of Pondok Indah Golf Golf Course

 

Background
Designed and built for the 1983 World Cup of Golf, this classy track is somewhat unsurprisingly just downwind from the bright lights of Block M, in the upmarket residential are of Pondok Indah. A similarly urban setting to its closest competitor Senayan National, Pondok Indah Golf Course, takes the crown for Central Jakarta’s best course.

Established in 1976, this course is a Jakarta institution. Ever since Rex Caldwell and John Cook of the USA sat on top of the world in 1983 as World Cup Champions, Pondok Indah has retained its top billing for its class and quality. Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s original design underwent a major renovation in 2007, which was complete in 2010: to create its current manicured state of being. With the high quality Supreme Paspalm planted on the fairway and tee boxes, and tif eagle Bermuda improving the greens.
Whilst perhaps bordering on elitist, this stunning venue caters for the Jakarta movers and shakers as well as its promising juniors. Whilst the number of business deals completed is a complete mystery, the strength of its commitment to the younger generation is shown annually at the Telkomsel World Junior Golf Championship held in December. Attracting the best junior golfers from Indonesia and the South-East Asia region.

Course

Whilst the course was built for an acclaimed international professional golf tournament, it is remarkable how adaptable it is to cater for not just the pros. Most championship courses merely push tees forward for your average Joe, thus it is truly rare for a course to feel ‘right’ from all angles and tee boxes. For this reason, Pondok Indah is special.

Naturalists and twitchers alike will find distraction on every hole such is the extent and variety of flora and accompanying fauna on show. Our morning round of golf was accompanied by numerous varieties of birdlife and birdsong serenading us on every hole. Highly manicured and blending seamlessly into its surroundings, the golf here would struggle to spoil anyone’s walk.

Even playing after prolonged days of wet season rain the course condition could not be faulted. Supreme Paspalm grass gives the fairways a tight yet springy texture, you’ll even want to get out of your mandatory buggy and walk. The Eagle Tifol Bermuda type on the greens not only looks immaculate but offers a true and seemingly perpetual roll. The gleaming white bunkers are consistent, strategically placed and there was seldom a bare lie in sight, anywhere on the course. Like any good layout, PI will force you to use all fourteen sticks in the bag and test your full array of shot making.

Robert Trent Jones Jr. was perhaps flexing his right arm in the 19th when he said, “Every hole is a signature hole!” Even though standing on each tee feels intimate, isolated and different from the last, the Par 5 18th, both visually and in its design stands out. Ten holes previously, the 8th also lingers in the mind. 220 yards from the blue tees, bunkers all around a classic long Par 3 that will test the most accomplished golfers.

Bird’s Eye View of Pondok Indah – Photo courtesy of Pondok Indah Golf Golf Course

Facilities

The charming clubhouse, although not a behemoth, lavishly welcomes you to this inter-city oasis. A traditional locker room, range of function rooms and fully stocked pro shop cater for all needs, whether social or corporate.  Apart from offering some fine food, the veranda style restaurant-bar is certainly the best seat in town to watch friend or foe navigate the tricky three-shot 18th.

The modern three-tier driving range is a sight to behold in itself. Complete with a Golf Arcade and simulator where you can try and test, before you buy all the manufacturer brands of golf equipment on the market. Considered separate to ‘the club’, come to loosen up before your game, bring the kids in shorts and a t-shirt or escape from it all one evening. This contributor wouldn’t be surprised, come February 14th, to see couples hitting balls into a floodlit sky before descending to the Italian restaurant below. Maybe a stretch too far…

Caddies

Whilst female caddies seem to have become the norm, we were presented with two males, although there were plenty of females around. Highly professional, knowledgeable and discreet, we could not have asked for more. With differing forms of water on nearly every hole they should be consulted frequently.

Ambience

Perhaps hard to gauge on a weekday morning, it however seems obvious that PI has a tightknit and friendly atmosphere. With a well-supported junior section and numbers limited at weekends so that flights do not take longer than 4.5 hours, it is a thoroughly well run club.

Value for Money

A ‘stake’ in PI last traded hands for IDR 1.8 billion, a sevenfold increase in the past seven years. If you’re not willing to make such an investment, annual membership can be ‘rented’ for IDR 30 million. For those wanting the PI experience less frequently, Monday to Wednesday offers the reasonable rate of around IDR 1 million for 18 holes. A must on any Indonesian bucket list, you will enjoy it.

Pondok Indah’s modern and re-developed three tier, flood-lit driving range

Course

4.5/5

Facilities

5/5

Caddies

5/5

Ambience

4/5

Value

3.5/5

Total

20/25=80%

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