Kota Kinabalu is a major city in the Malayan state of Sabah. It is the capital city of Sabah, which is found on the tropical island of Borneo. Many westerners still think today that Borneo is nothing more than a vast jungle. Kota Kinabalu proves them wrong. This state capital city has modern facilities and infrastructures, including four championship golf courses that make golf in Kota Kinabalu very popular with locals and visiting international golfers.
The four golf courses are Sabah Golf and Country Club in Bukit Padang, Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf & Country Club, Kinabalu Golf Club in Tanjung Aru, and Karambunai Golf and Country Club. The oldest among them is Kinabalu Golf Club (KGC), which first opened in 1933 when the city was still under British control. The club’s original 50 members were all British. KGC was momentarily closed during World War II when the Japanese seized the city, but reopened on September 23, 1948. KGC is located near the widely popular Tanjung Aru Beach and among major hotels such as the Casuarina Hotel and Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Beach Resort and Spa. It is only 10 minutes away from the city center by car. Some tourists prefer hiking all the way to the popular Tanjung Aru sub-district since this area hosts a number of important attractions such as the KK Yacht Club, Prince Philip Botanical Park, and the open-air food court that is well-loved by tourists for its delicious seafood dishes and cheap Malaysian noodles. Buses from Kota Kinabalu’s City Hall and Wawasan Plaza go directly to Tanjung Aru.
Meanwhile, the oldest 18-par golf course is the Sabah Golf and Country Club (SGCC), although much younger than KGC at only 32 years old. SGCC is known to be the most challenging golf course in Sabah, and probably one of the most inviting in Asia. It is located in the heart of residential Bukit Padang about 10 minutes by car from the city center and 25 minutes from the international airport. It has hosted important golfing events in Sabah, such as the Sabah Master Asian PGA Tour, World Amateur Inter-Team Golf Tournament and Asia Tour Qualifying School. The club also boasts of its other facilities such as a swimming pool, sauna, gym, squash and tennis courts, children’s room, and a karaoke bar.
The third golf course is Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf & Country Club, gorgeously located between the scenic South China Sea and lush tropical hills near the mighty Mount Kinabalu. Set within the posh 384-acre Sutera Harbour Resort, the 27-hole Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf & Country Club was designed by Graham Marsh. Nearby facilities within the Sutera Harbour Resort are five-star hotels, a marina, Mandara Spa and other recreational facilities.
Fourth and last is Karambunai Golf and Country Club, a semi-public golf course located on the northern area of Kota Kinabalu, about 30 minutes from the international airport by car. This modern yet traditional 18-hole, par 72 course was creatively designed by Ronald Fream, a renowned American golf architect. With Mount Kinabalu providing a picturesque backdrop, Karambunai Golf and Country Club stretches for 6,063 meters from the lush hills down to the beachfront, making golf in Kota Kinabalu truly unique in the world.