Els Club Desaru Ocean, Malaysia
Adding three new loops of nine to a rapidly expanding body of design work, Ernie Els has unveiled his latest gift to the world: The Els Club Desaru Coast Ocean Course. The name is a mouthful, the three new loops look like being a handful. Created in three unique environments, the three nines meander through natural wetlands and lakes as the course climbs up through spectacular rolling terrain that looks out across the South China Sea. The views are spectacular but water, as the name and location would suggest, is an ever-present threat. For further incentive to experience this part of the world, note that The Valley course is next on Els’ ‘To Finish and Open’ list. A joint collaboration with Vijay Singh, it brings Desaru’s valleys and streams into play.
The Big Easy’s Approach
Ernie explains to Golf World the approach he took to laying out Desaru’s Ocean.
What were your first impressions of the land at Desaru?
“It was pretty unique in that I could immediately envisage how this course would sit. That is always
a ‘tell’ for me when I approach a project. Of course ideas evolve, but what never changes is that initial reaction and the influence it has on the creative process.”
What was so unique about it?
“It just instantly felt like the land was tailor-made for us to create three loops of nine. We always look at the development site and plot the best fit to match the landscape and overall feel of the destination. Here, it was clear from the start that we had enough land to do something a bit different.”
So what can we expect?
“Three distinct challenges. The three nines feature some serious water hazards, particularly on The Coast and The Lakes, and The Coast plays along the shoreline so the wind is obviously a factor. The Ridge nine is hillier and reaches the highest part of the property and features some serious elevation changes.”