Formerly called Bukit Jambul Golf Club and built in 1984, the Penang Golf Club has undergone a major facelift and reopened on November 2012 with new turf and some modifications to make it more challenging and exciting.
The original course design has been retained with cosmetic changes. The greens are larger and undulating, the tee boxes reshaped, bunkers filled with new sand and the areas around the bunkers improved, cart paths have been lengthened while most of the ponds are bigger with new retainer walls.
The course was the venue for the 31st Malaysian Open in 1992 which was won by Vijay Singh.
Being the only championship 18-hole golf course on Penang island, it is a course that welcomes locals and foreigners who want to check out the rolling fairways, manicured and undulating greens and enjoy the sights and sounds that come with it.
Those are familiar with the original cow grass turfed course would be pleasantly surprised to see the fairways and tee boxes turfed with Bermuda while the greens are layered with Tif Dwarf making them fast and exciting.
Playing on the Robert Trent Jones Jr designed golf course, golfers can get glimpses of the stunning panoramic view of Penang including the two bridges that link Penang island to the mainland which can be clearly seen from different holes.
The 6,393 yards (5,848 metres) par 72 course has sand bunkers at strategic places, water hazards encroaching into the playing area and rolling fairways that goes uphill and downhill making club selection and stance all the more important to hit the greens on regulation.
Luscious green vegetation and hills surrounds the course while iguanas, birds and other animals add to the scenario in bringing the players as close to nature as possible. Pine, Palm, Durian, Rambutan, Skyfruit, Angsana, Yellow Flame, Pulai, Tecoma, Neem and other tall trees add character to the golf course while the distant sea and the mainland can be seen while at play.
The 32-bay, two-tier, driving range which is 250 metres long provides practice for budding golfers and those who want to hone their skills. Professional lessons are also available for those interested in taking up the game with Japanese and local staff at hand to make the players feel at home.
Datuk Eiro Sakamoto who heads Taiyo Resort (PG) Bhd, which is managing the golf club, said the name Bukit Jambul was only known to the locals and since he planned to market the course internationally - Penang Golf Club is a better choice since Penang is already known worldwide.
Sakamoto said the newly refurbished course would be marketed in Japan, other Asian countries and Europe and his expectations for the course were that the members would be proud of the golf course and would welcome the local and foreign visitors who would want to conquer it.
With the new changes, the Penang Golf Club is surely in a position to entertain the locals and foreign tourists who visit the island for its many attractions and all you golfers out there must make it a point to play at the Penang Golf Club and enjoy the game and the challenges that it offers.