Golf Indonesia Course Review: Pondok Cabe Golf
Looking back at the Green on the par 5 Hole # 9 from the clubhouse
Pondok Cabe Golf is an 18-hole championship golf course located adjacent to Pondok Cabe airport, Tangerang Selatan, about an hour’s drive from Jakarta’s SCBD.
The course was developed in the early 1990s and is owned and maintained by Pertamina.
Pondok Cabe Golf was designed by Thomson & Wolveridge, who have successfully designed a challenging golf course, with plenty of character and charm for us to savour. In terms of value for money, it’s fantastic.
The course uses cow grass or what locals prefer to call rumput gajah (elephant grass). Although less soft and spongy than Bermuda or paspalem turf used on Jakarta’s more modern courses, don’t let this put you off. This grass is natural to Indonesia and far easier to maintain, so even in the rainy season the course is always immaculate and consistent throughout. On our recent visit, the fairways were well mowed with the ‘lines’ effect you see on television at professional events.
Being located next to Pondok Cabe Airport – a military and service airport – there will be frequent passing noise from small planes, but there are plenty of birds, which will remind you to enjoy the walk on this well-kept course. On our visit on an early Wednesday morning, regular military paratroopers could be seen descending at regular intervals from the sky.
From the black tees, the course is a firm test at 6,264m. Hole #1 is a great opening challenge; a downhill right to left dogleg towards a green well-protected by bunkers. I took a solid 3-wood and a 6-iron – the downhill green will be an early test for your iron-play. The course has plenty of memorable holes and the variety of the par-4s makes for an interesting round. They may not play long but often require good course strategy and shot-shaping skills to score well.
Hole #6 is a classic example of one of these par-4s, from an elevated tee box and playing 340m from tee to green. A long stream, then OB runs down the right side and the greens blind from the tee. The fairway opens up to the left but allows for a longer second shot. Play safe over the fairway bunker with a solid drive, aiming for the distant 100m marker on the left side. Don’t be greedy and try to cut the corner, or you’ll be punished with either a wet or lost ball.
Both the front and back nine finish with classic par-5s; hole #9 a long 523m from the tips, hole #18 505m from the tips – hole #9 being my favourite of the two. From the back tees, the fairway appears narrow with a bunker positioned 250m to catch the mid- to-long drives. From there, a solid 5-wood will leave you with a sand wedge into the green with a chance of a birdie.
The fairways are tree-lined, which is always nice on the eyes, and the plantations are well-manicured. The greens are a little on the slow side but faster and more fun to putt on than other cow-grass courses like Pangkalan Jati or Halim 1 & 2.
There is a decent sized driving range facility onsite with very affordable ball prices. There are also a couple of chipping areas, bunkers and putting greens to practice your short-game skills before and after your rounds. Pondok Cabe is a good practice location for those who live in the Kemang, Cinere, Cilandak or Lebak Bulus areas. As balls are cheaper then both Pondok Indah and Cilandak driving ranges.
Clubhouse food and beverage offerings are ample, affordable and tasty. Beer is very well priced – on the cheaper side compared to other golfing establishments. Large bottles of cold Bintang beers are always in stock, even on weekends.
Possibly the largest green in Indonesia? the 10th and 16th Green are joined together.
Male and female caddies available. Male caddies are more senior as female caddies are still relatively new to Pondok Cabe.
Down-to-earth vibes, pleasant, cosy – a course with real golfer’s charm – Pondok Cabe Golf ticks all the right boxes. If you’re looking for an affordable round of golf, a good walk, all amongst challenging course conditions, you’ve found the right place. Golf at Pondok Cabe is money well spent.
Pondok Cabe could well be the very best in value for golfing here in Jabodetabek. For those who can sneak in a midweek round of golf, Rp.230,000 for 18 holes of quality golf is unmatched, and for what you get for your money, it’s fantastic.
A championship-standard layout designed by Thomson & Wolveridge, even the weekend and public holiday rates of Rp.525,000(am) and Rp.410,000(pm) are very affordable for the quality offered. Understandably, the course doesn’t offer the luxury clubhouse facilities and luxurious locker rooms, but the spacious clubhouse is pleasant and decent food and cheap beer is sold for the hungry and thirsty golfers among us.