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Golf Australia Express : November 2012
TRAVEL ANY PLACE ONCE KNOWN as “The land below the wind” must appeal as a golf destination. After all, golfers love a windy challenge. Throw in pristine jungles, the tallest mountain in South-East Asia, wildlife reserves, an eclectic mix of cultures, rich colonial history, affordability, a moderate tropical climate and some wonderful golf resorts and you’ve got a perfect golf tourism destination. Welcome to Sabah— Malaysia’s most eastern state on the northern tip of Borneo. Before praising Sabah’s golf virtues, let’s set things straight about the wind: Sabah does have wind, or pleasant, cooling coastal breezes. What it doesn’t have are the typhoons that regularly batter the coastlines of destinations to Borneo’s north-east, usually in February/ March and September/October. Sabah’s capital, Kota Kinabalu, is what many residents of major metropolises might describe as the perfect entry point for a golf holiday. Such as it is, the ‘city’ known as KK has less than half a million residents, is only 10 minutes from the airport, sits handsomely beside the turquoise waters of the South China Sea, and has a championship golf course on its doorstep. What more could you want? Perhaps another stunning track? Consider your wish granted, with another beautiful golf resort course along the coast just 45 minutes away, complete with an on-site orangutan wildlife sanctuary that, in itself, provides a totally unique experience. Located closer to the Philippines than the Malay peninsula, Sabah is a potpourri of cultures and religions. Its three million inhabitants comprise 32 ethnic groups that live in peaceful harmony. Almost a third of the population is Filipino or Indonesian and 10 per cent are of Chinese origin. Formerly known as British North Borneo, Sabah and much larger neighbouring Sarawak are Malaysia’s two most eastern states of Borneo. They joined the Malay federation after North Borneo achieved independence from Britain in 1963. SABAH’S TWO PREMIER GOLF courses are, respectively, part of Sutera Harbour Resort and Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort. IT'S A PLACE YOU'VE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF. YET SABAH—A MULTICULTURAL STATE IN NORTHERN MALAYSIA—IS FAST BECOMING A POPULAR DESTINATION FOR THE TRAVELLING GOLFER. WITH A COUPLE OF OUTSTANDING PREMIER COURSES AND PLENTY TO SEE AND DO, THE SECRET OF SABAH IS WELL AND TRULY OUT. The verdict? A big thumbs-up for Sabah as a legitimate golf tourism destination.
Summer of Golf 2012-13