Directions – Enhancing the Pleasure of Golfing

Directions January – June 2011

It’s been nearly 15 years since Tropicana Golf & Country Club was officially opened with much fanfare and excitement by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed on 13 January 1996. The full-facility clubhouse was the most modern and the largest then, and till

today, remains as the club of choice under the management of the Dijaya Corporation Berhad.

While the clubhouse has provided the best banqueting and recreational facilities in the Klang Valley for many years, the golf course which was opened for play in 1993 needed to be refreshed to keep up with other “modern” courses in the Klang Valley.

The multi-award winning clubhouse which is part of the Tropicana Golf & Country Resort has won the FIABCI award, Best Leisure Development award and lately “The Best Golf Course Development, Asia Pacific” awarded by Asia Pacific Residential Property Awards in

association with Bloomberg Television. It was faced with a need to reinvent and rejuvenate itself to remain competitive with the region’s best and to maintain itself as a premier property developer.

The owners then engaged the services of renowned Australian golf course design firm E&G Parslow to evaluate and start a new renaissance of golf excellence. After evaluations by E&G Parslow, a substantial multi-million ringgit budget was then allocated for the green

complexes to be redesigned and rebuilt with modern state-of-the-art technology, including newly shaped greens, greenside bunkers, surrounds and drainage works. Construction of the green complexes of Tropicana’s 27 holes started in August 2010.

“The golf course renovations were part of a multi-million ringgit upgrading programme that were initiated in 2009,” said Tropicana Golf & Country Club Senior General Manager, Herman Tan. “The upgrades also included work done to the Golf Registration lounge, golf-pro

shop, the Spring Garden Chinese Restaurant, the extended Grand Ballroom (900 pax sit down capacity) and Greens 2 & 3 function rooms. Recently Tropicana also saw the grand opening of an exotic restaurant known as Jojo Italian Restaurant. Currently, work is in progress on the Korean restaurant, and will be followed by the Coffee House and the Golfers Terrace.”

Herman added, “The golf course is nearly 15 years old and it was time for a redesign to keep up with the modern game of long hitters equipped with sophisticated clubs and balls. Our discerning members who are well-travelled golfers also needed a fresh challenge on their

home course. Therefore, we engaged the internationally renowned golf architecture firm E&G Parslow who has done numerous projects in Australia, China, Singapore and locally for KLGCC, Saujana and Glenmarie. The contractor for the construction work is the

experienced Tang Sun Lee Sdn Bhd who collaborated with E&G Parslow at KLGCC. The course will be challenging but not frustrating."

With the finer details in place, it will be interesting to see how the new Tropicana golf course with 18-hole night golfing will look and play.

"The original course played fairly open as a resort-styled course. With the changes, the new layout needs more strategy and care," said designer Geoff Parslow, a former Australasian Tour Professoinal. "The changes will offer more risk versus reward challenges compared with the original holes. The original greens had interesting slopes but were not as sophisticated as the new changes. Club members and guests will be playing every club in the bag and most importantly, a quality course."

'"Golfers will be tested more compared to the original 27 holes," explained E&G's Senior Designer, Jason Winter. "We plan to narrow some holes with tree-planting on some fairways. The characteristics is not going to be extremely tough but it adds penalty for poorly planned

drives. This planting shall additionally enhance the beauty of Tropicana. With this in mind, subtle changes to ponds and the introduction of wetland planting will not only beautify and improve water quality, but promote more desirable habitats to many species of birds and wildlife.

Selected tees and greens have been relocated closer to some of these ponds to create both greater strategy and course-management skills. Additionally, golfers will enjoy the ambience of teeing off and putting amongst the beauty of wildlife and the serene sounds of waterfalls, so close to the hustle and bustle of inner city life."

The new multi-tiered greens will be larger than the original greens and will be shaped to offer more pin-position options and will be planted with Tifeagle grass. The current length is 13,425 yards and will be maintained with certain holes being marginally longer or shorter based on new tee box positions to fulfill all levels of play. "There'll be new bunkers that will be in play to test a golfer's course management skills," said Winter. "Apart from that, the new technology and improved drainage system will replace the old out-of-date technology used for the former bunkers that were hard to maintain."

Tropicana's original layout was designed by Graham Marsh. The course was routed and built on a former rubber plantation with each hole costing an average of RM1.3 Million to construct.

With works underway, eager golfers will just have to wait until the first nine holes are completed by February 2011 and the rest to be completed by early 2012.

About E&G Parslow (M) Sdn Bhd

E&G has over 30 years experience designing golf courses throughout Australia and Asia. More than 60 courses in the region have been planned, desinged, redesigned and upgraded by the firm which has established international acclaim from their base in Kuala Lumpur.

The company was founded in 1973 by brothers Ted and Geoff Parslow. They combined their respective talents, their mutual love for the game and the environment the game is played on, to form the company E&G Parslow and Associates. Ted is a civil engineer while Geoff

is a professional golfer. Jason Winter is a senior designer and now partner and has worked with E&G for 17 years since completing his Environmental Design degree.

Between them, they have been involved in golf course consulting, design and construction for over 30 years and lent their distinctice touch to some of Australia's and Asia's most respected layouts.

Some of their work in Malaysia include the recent re-design of the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club and numerous clients in China, where E&G Parslow (Fareast) Limited was established in 1994.