A personal destination review from Stephen James Havrilla Group General Manager for The Els Club Malaysia.
After 20 years with Troon Golf and having the pleasure to be part of many different golf properties from around the world, it still amazes me when I see a destination like Desaru Coast. It is more than just a golf heaven here, there is so much to do for the whole family you will definitely need a few days to spare.
Desaru Coast spans over 3,900 acres along a pristine 17km beachfront facing the South China Sea, and is easily accessible via road, air and sea. The destination is also home to renowned hospitality brands for luxury resorts and lifestyle products such as the Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, The One & Only, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas and even the Desaru Coast Adventure Water Park, which make it a perfect vacation destination away from the main city of Johor Baharu and our neighbouring country of Singapore, which is just a short ferry ride or a two hour drive across the causeway.
I enjoy many things about Desaru Coast and the surrounding areas such as the many beaches, the local food stalls in the heart of Desaru, the Desaru Fruit Farm with their wildlife, fresh fruits and mango fields. You can also enjoy the local seafood right on the beach front, but be careful that some of the dishes can get a bit spicy but still a must try.
The 45-hole Els Club Malaysia boasts two Championship courses, each designed by a world golf hall of famer. The Ocean Course is designed by the club’s namesake and four-time major champion, Ernie Els which consists of three nine holes and are all very unique and flow with the natural contours of the land and boasts views along the seaside.
Further North West you will find The Valley Course, which is designed by three-time major champion Vijay Singh and is considered our Championship Course with a completely different test. This course has several elevation changes and is cut into the natural forest with spectacular views of the sea and surrounding area. I would say it is the hardest 18-holes you will play in Malaysia, so bring you’re A-game.
Having been based here for a year now, I consider Malaysia my home and I can start to see why so many people travel to Malaysia to enjoy the tropical weather, the friendly locals and the never-ending sunshine. Everywhere you go in Malaysia you’ll be greeted with friendly smiles and that holiday vibe. Whether you’re coming for a round of golf, a day at the beach or just to try the local delicacies, there is really no reason not to stop by Desaru Coast and enjoy ALL that it has to offer.