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Bali is a volcanic island featuring dramatic elevation changes, from sea level to nearly 10,000 feet, offers some indescribable views. Little wonder that Bali is Indonesia’s No. 1 tourist destination, with a large majority of its economy tourism based. Stunning black sand beaches and amazing coral reefs are just two of the main tourist draws here. The heavily forested mountainous inlands are a stark contrast to the coastal beaches.
With all that natural beauty, it is little wonder that you can find some fantastic golf on Bali. The island’s location near the equator leads to tropical weather, meaning you can play year-round. Of course, the rainy season from November through March means you must keep a close eye on the weather.
Beautiful vistas are a feature of all golf courses in Bali, which otherwise can be quite different. Here are the five best choices for golf in Bali.
1. New Kuta Golf
New Kuta is unique among Bali courses with its links-style design. Bali is covered with trees and so is most of its golf courses. Not New Kuta, which goes along the coast and features many dunes and few trees.
This Ronald Fream-designed course can be quite the challenge. Consider the fourth hole, named Hati-Hati. That’s Indonesian for “Be careful.” And that is hardly the only difficult hole.
The 15th hole, called “Cliff Hanger,” offers 240-degree ocean views on a par 3. Distance is not what makes this hole difficult. Due to the geography of the hole, the wind can often be blowing in a different direction at the green than at the tee. This is the course’s signature hole, and is among the most photographed holes anywhere in the world.
This is a par-72 championship course with five tees, offering a fine challenge for golfers of all abilities. One thing to keep in mind, the greens have plenty of grain in them. The grain typically heads in the direction of the sea, and the ball will generally break in that direction.
2. Bali National Golf Club
Bali National is a par-72 course designed by Nelson and Hayworth Golf Course Architects. This course is located in the midst of the Nusa Dua tourism complex, meaning there will always be plenty of nearby activities off the course. The Nusa Dua has two different convention centers, several hotels, a shopping center, a museum, and restaurants, all along a three-mile long beach.
But golf is what we are here for and Bali National does not disappoint. The course first opened in 1991 but underwent major renovations in 2015. The most notable feature of Bali National are its fantastic tropical greenside flower gardens.
You may want to consider staying here at one of seven golf villas that sit astride the final two holes. Each of these luxury villas hosts up to six people and its own butler. You may need that kind of relaxing atmosphere after playing the last two holes.
The 17th hole features an island green that challenges even the best golfers. And 18 is no easy mark either, with a lake very much coming into play. This is one of the more challenging courses in Bali.
3. Handara Golf & Resort Bali
This course offers a complete contrast to the links-style design of New Kuta. Handara is the only Bali course located in the highlands. The course sits at more than 1,000 meters above sea level. That means considerably cooler temperatures.
Handara has been ranked as one of the top 50 greatest courses in the world by Golf Magazine, and is a true world-class golf destination unlink any other in Bali. The vibe here is considerably more laid back than the beach resorts. Situated among the crater lakes Buyan and Beratan, Handara’s stunning backdrop can almost make you forget about why you came.
But the golf is pretty stimulating. One of the oldest courses in Bali, Handara was renovated in 2015. This is an iconic Asian course.
4. Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club
Bukit Pandawa is another course unlike any other on the island. This is an 18-hole par-3 course. That means you can play this course in half the time of other courses. Don’t take that to mean the course is anything other than beautiful and challenging.
Ten of the 18 holes offer views of the Indian Ocean. Throughout the course, you will encounter both rocky outcrops and rice paddy fields. A number of waterfalls and other water features round out the aesthetic appeal of Bukit Pandawa.
There is no skimping on amenities, with a clubhouse and fully outfitted pro shop. A delightful restaurant serving international dishes is also found in the gorgeous clubhouse.
Take a moment and savor the beauty and challenge that the club’s 13th hole offers. The courses signature hole, the 13th faces the ocean with a green surrounded by three white-sand bunkers. Fronting the green is a rock wall with a tower sitting behind the green.
5. Bali Beach Golf Course
This may be a nine-hole course, but it more than makes up for it with a terrific layout. Bali Beach is noted for its mature trees and plethora of greenside bunkers. That puts a premium on shot-making at Bali Beach.
Wind is often a factor here. Thankfully, the greens are forgiving and softly undulating. Golfers also have the added bonus of a team of well-trained caddies to help navigate the course.
Bali Beach might well offer the best practice facilities anywhere on the island. A two-story driving range is the only one in Bali that is open at night. A pro shop carries the latest equipment.
Other amenities include a restaurant featuring a variety of cuisines, both Western and Asian. Bali Beach also has a number of meeting and event spaces, anchored by the theater-style ballroom.