Located in the foothills of the Puncak rests the Gunung Geulis Country Club, about 50km from the business centre of Jakarta. Take the Jagorawi toll all the way to Ciawi then take the left fork towards Puncak and after approximately 4 km there is a lefthand turn with a large signpost for the golf course. The course is 400m–500m elevation above sea level, offers cleaner air and cooler temperatures than other courses in Jabodetabek, and upon arriving the golfer will feel a sense of escape from civilisation in this truly wild, tranquil and relaxing setting. The iconic clubhouse is large in scale and a welcoming site, unique in design, with its circular blue roof, designed by the famous Australian architect Kym Hughes. There are 36 holes on offer, with the original West Course opened in 1992, and the newer East Course which opened in 1994. Both courses were designed by Thomson, Wolveridge and Perret, world famous golf course designers.
Jakarta is one of the biggest cities in the world and has many issues that people living here have to deal with every day. However, it is also home to some of the best golf courses in the world and for a casual golfer/hacker like me, I get the chance to play on some of these world class courses for very reasonable prices.
So when I was invited recently to have a game at Gunung Geulis I jumped at the chance, especially as I had never played this particular course before.
It was an early start so traffic was light on our way to Gunung Geulis in the Bogor hills. It took us approximately one hour from Ampera in South Jakarta, but to be safe you should give yourself at least one and a half hours.
After a light breakfast we headed off to our buggies and were greeted by our friendly caddies in their bright orange uniforms. We had a few practice putts on the large practice green and then hit the first tee box.
There are two 18-hole courses at Gunung Geulis, and we were playing the West Course on this visit.
We made our way down to the first hole—and all I could say was “wow”—a spectacular view greeted us, with the surrounding countryside in full view and the fairway at least 100 yards below the tee box. It was a relatively short par 4, but had danger on both sides. This is a hole you don’t just tee up and smash. We must’ve spent at least five minutes looking at the views and taking pictures before hitting off. Luckily there was no one waiting behind us.
As first holes go in Jakarta, I definitely have never played any as spectacular as this. I smashed on and luckily found the fairway and the day’s fun was underway. If the remaining 17 holes were half as spectacular as hole 1, we were in for a fantastic day.
As we moved slowly through the front nine I can definitely say we were not disappointed. Every hole at Gunung Geulis is so very different within amazing surroundings. Jakarta’s traffic and pollution are a distant memory as you move your ball with caution around this beautifully designed course.
For the more serious golfers and low handicappers, I think this course would also really appeal—no holes are the same or even similar. All the holes have their different obstacles, whether it’s a dog leg left or right, bunkers or water in front of the green, or the trees that line each fairway—the challenge is there.
We got through the front nine and my caddie told me my score, which I conveniently can’t remember for this piece, but it was relatively decent.
It did not matter though and I was ready for the back nine and looked forward to grabbing another few pars. Birdies would be pushing it a little.
Again the back nine did not disappoint and was a further breath of fresh air altogether—as on certain holes you could easily think you are playing golf at one of the top U.S. courses and the following hole would not look out of place in Ireland or Scotland, with small pot bunkers protecting the green.
My caddy on the 12th was getting a little frustrated with my constant slice of the tee or as I like to call it, my natural fade—she mentioned maybe I should aim a little further left when driving. She said it with a smile and throughout the whole day had been extremely professional and friendly.
The course manager later explained to us that it was Gunung Geulis that was the first course to introduce girl caddies to golf in Jakarta, a pretty smart idea looking back.
set myself a target of 1 over for the final three holes. After the 16th and 17th I needed a hole in one of the par 4 to hit the target of 1 over, so even though I gave it a good try, it did not come off. I am not one to count the scores, so walked up the 18th and sunk my putt for par and shook hands with my playing partners and said quietly to myself, “I will be back”.
To sum up—I would highly recommend Gunung Geulis West Course to any golfer in Jakarta. It really is one of the best courses around. It’s one of the best for a few reasons. To name a few: spectaculars views, hole variation, beautiful peaceful surroundings, and excellent caddies.
Did I mention the caddies’ bright orange uniforms?
All in all it was a fantastic day’s golf in a wonderful location. I will be back up there soon for sure.