Bali's Top Golf Courses
Known for its holiday resorts and stunning beaches, the Indonesian island of Bali is also home to four exceptional and unique 18-hole courses, making it the perfect getaway for an Indonesia golf holiday.
Bali, the Indonesian paradise renowned for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant culture, offers more than just idyllic vacations. It's also home to some of the world's most captivating golf courses. These courses seamlessly blend the island's natural beauty with the artistry of golf course design. The best golf courses in Bali are not only an invitation to test your skills, but also an opportunity to immerse yourself in breathtaking surroundings.
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There are only four 18-hole golf courses in Bali and each in their own way offer a unique experience and you should not visit Bali without playing at least one of them. Whether you're blasting long drives within the crater of an extinct volcano at Handara Golf Resort Bali, playing nervy approaches over the sea on the stunning clifftop surroundings of New Kuta Golf Club, or holing out on the lightning-fast greens at the award-winning Bali National Golf Club, you're sure to be intoxicated by the golfing wonders this magical island has to offer.
Here's our rundown of the very best golfing experiences available in Bali:
A unique and stunningly beautiful championship course spectacularly set inside the crater of a volcano
One of the oldest golf courses in Bali and something you will talk about long after you have returned home, Handara Golf Resort Bali has garnered numerous awards over the years, including being honoured by Golf Magazine as one of the “Top 50 Greatest Golf Courses in the World" - one of the very few courses in Asia to have ever made this list.
If there's a problem with this course, it's the fact that it’s at least two hours’ drive from the southern beaches of Bali, which makes for a long day, but the journey is more than worth it. The course is actually located inside the crater of an extinct volcano at a height of 1,400 metres; the scenery is spectacular and the resort has great views over the surrounding mountains, the lush green vegetation and the lake in the distance.
The big advantage of playing at elevation is the fact that temperatures are much cooler than on the coast, averaging around 14 - 25°C for most of the year. At certain times of the year the course can be affected by early morning mist but it usually clears after the sun comes up.
The course itself is home to some spectacular holes full of severe elevation changes, tricky doglegs and thoughtfully located hazards. With the jungle running close to the edge of most fairways, wayward driving will at times be heavily punished, but overall the course is challenging but fair, and a lot of fun to play.
A round here is all about the experience - when did you last play golf inside a volcano?
The elevation changes mean there are a few blind drives, so we’d recommend that you book more than one round here if you are determined to set a good score – it’s easy to get into needless trouble the first time around. The greens have the reputation of being amongst the best in Bali, running straight and true and full of subtle breaks. There are quite a few hills to negotiate here so unless you are pretty fit it is probably advisable to take a cart.
We could go on and on about the course itself, but in truth a round here is all about the experience - when did you last play golf inside a volcano in such a spectacular setting? Any ugly scorecards here will be more than upset by the jealousy-inducing contents of your camera roll.
Given the distance from the main tourist areas, it's worth considering staying overnight at the onsite resort, which has been considerably upgraded; this makes it possible to get in a second round, where you'll no doubt score better, before heading back. Other facilities here include a surprisingly good pro-shop, a driving range which offers golf lessons and a Japanese bath with sauna and massage treatments. You can hire clubs and shoes here as well if you don’t have them with you.
Location: 2 hours from Nusa Dua / 1 hour from Ubud
Green Fee Price: $SGD 119 (~$90 USD) for 18 Holes + Shared Cart
An award-winning championship course rated as amongst the very best in Indonesia
We played the original course at Bali National Golf Club many years ago and thought then that it was a great layout – indeed good enough to be voted by Fortune magazine as one of the Top Five Golf Courses in Asia back in 1997. Unfortunately the course went into a gradual decline and the decision was made to totally renovate the course.
It turned out to be a great decision, as designers Nelson & Haworth created an entirely new course which is unrecognisable from the previous layout. Reopened in 2013 it has been receiving rave reviews and has won a host of awards, including the Asian Golf Awards gong for Best Renovated Course in Asia Pacific (2014) and Best Course in Indonesia (2018).
The course sits right in the middle of the Nusa Dua Beach hotel complex and is very conveniently located for anyone staying in the area, and following the completion of the bypass road it is now only 15 minutes from the airport. The course offers a choice of four tee boxes, but unless you are a real masochist or a seriously good golfer then it’s probably best to have a relaxing round off the Resort tee boxes (equivalent to the white tees).
The course is in immaculate condition, with hardly a blade of grass out of place. It’s a pleasure to play here – we loved the way the way they have used native grasses in front of some of the tee boxes and also around the bunkers, which really softens the look of the course. The greens are particularly challenging, lightning fast with plenty of undulations, so if putting is not your strong suit then you are in for a long day. Thankfully you can rely on the advice of the caddies, who are usually excellent here.
The course is in immaculate condition, with hardly a blade of grass out of place
The front nine are played in amongst the trees but the back nine opens up a bit and the course finished on a really high note with two superb finishing holes. The 17th is a spectacular par 3 with an island green - the only solid ground is the tees boxes and the green, everything else is water. Just aim for the centre of the putting surface and pray!
The 18th is a 400-yard dogleg par 4 with a waste bunker all along the left and a water hazard fronting the green; your approach will be made all the more difficult as you will probably have an audience watching on from the clubhouse as you finish.
The clubhouse at Bali National Golf Club features outstanding locker rooms and a great restaurant and terrace overlooking the 18th green. There's also a driving range and you get a free bucket of 25 balls to use prior to your round.
While it’s not cheap to play here, the price compares quite favourably to other top courses in Asia, and given the quality of the golf course and the beauty of the surroundings, it's worth every penny.
Location: 20 mins from Kuta / 30 mins from Seminyak
Green Fee Price: $SGD 183 (~$138 USD) for 18 Holes + Caddie + Shared Cart
Spectacular links-style clifftop course twice voted Indonesia's best
A relative newcomer to the Bali golfing scene, New Kuta Golf Club opened in 2007 to wide acclaim, and has since been showered with awards: it was included on Rolex's list of the Top 1,000 Golf Courses in the World as well as picking up the title of Indonesia's Best Golf Course at the World Golf Awards in 2017 and 2018.
The course is dramatically set on a cliff-top location on the southwest tip of Bali, about 20 minutes form Nusa Dua and 30 minutes from the airport. Although the aerial pictures of the course look spectacular, you only really get a sense of its dramatic location on the holes that run close to the edge of the cliff. The course claims to be a links-style course, and while there are a number of bumpy fairways that are only sparsely populated with trees, the bracing sea breezes that make bump and run a better bet than target golf aren't really a factor throughout.
Some of the more memorable holes include the par-3 6th, affectionately know as “Fream’s Island” after course designer Ronald Fream, which plays to a green surrounded by sand. The hole is very exposed to the wind, increasing the chances that you'll be walking towards the green with your sand wedge in hand.
The best holes on the back nine are on the stretch from 14 through 16 that will have you constantly reaching for your camera as you play along the cliff edge. The view from the 14th tee is spectacular, and only gets better as you negotiate the numerous fairway bunkers, with the bay coming into view as your reach the green.
You'll be constantly reaching for your camera as you play along the cliff edge
The 15th is a very short par 3 perched right on the edge of the cliff with incredibly 360 degrees views over the sea and the beaches either side, while wonderful views over Balangan Beach are on offer from the 16th tee. It's a difficult par 5 with an undulating fairway, thick rough and a large green surrounded by bunkers – this hole definitely is reminiscent of a Scottish links course.
By the time you have finished your round you'll have earned a cold beer, meal or even a massage in the spacious clubhouse overlooking the 9th and 18th greens. The proshop has a large selection of golfing goodies from some of the most famous brands in golf, and there is an excellent driving range and Golf Academy if you wish to brush up your game. The prices here compare to the other premium courses in Bali but they do offer some Twilight rates which are very good value.
Location: 20 mins from Bali Airport / Nusa Dua
Green Fee Price: $SGD 151 (~$114 USD) for 18 Holes + Caddie + Shared Cart
A hugely enjoyable par-3 course with stunning views overlooking the ocean, and the ideal place to tune up your short game
The newest addition to the Bali golfing scene, having opening in 2016, Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club is located high up on top of the limestone cliffs near the Bukit Peninsula, offering wonderful views of the ocean and the breaking waves. It’s an unusual golf course in that it consists of 18 par-3 holes, but don’t mistake this as some cheap 'pitch & putt' course as it is maintained to very high standards. It’s an ideal golf course to play when you are on holiday as it offers panoramic views from all over the course.
It is a par 54 layout and most people get around in about two hours. There's enough water and sand in play to penalise wayward tee shots while providing a pleasing aesthetic contrast to the lush paspalum playing surfaces that ensure good year-round conditions, although the greens are fairly generous, which is a good thing given the swirling coastal winds.
While you'll be taking a mid iron off most of the tees, there are a few shorter holes where you only need a nine-iron or a wedge, and two longer holes where you'll likely need a wood, with the 2nd hole playing to 244 yards from the back tees.
The most exciting hole is the signature 13th, which measures just under 150 yards and is surrounded by bunkers with curved stone walls in front and a ornate tower behind it. The rest of the golf course is extremely picturesque with dramatic rocky outcrops, terraced paddy fields and great views over the white-sand beaches.
The clubhouse is reminiscent of a Balinese temple but includes all of the facilities you expect including locker rooms, a pro shop and a number of restaurants and bars. As expected, the welcome and customer service is of a high standard. Overall, it's well worth the short trip from Nusa Dua for a round at Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club, as it'll prove a hugely enjoyable day out on your next golf holiday in Bali.
Location: 10 mins from Nusa Dua
Green Fee Price: $SGD 127 (~$96 USD) for 18 Holes + Caddie + Shared Cart
In conclusion, Bali's golf courses mean that this tropical island is a golfer's paradise set in one of the world's most picturesque destinations. The island's courses are more than just sporting venues; they are a canvas where the art of golf meets the natural beauty of Bali. Offering diverse challenges and breathtaking scenery, they cater to all skill levels, promising an unforgettable golfing experience.
As golfers navigate meticulously designed fairways with oceanfront vistas, dense tropical foliage, and strategic bunkers, they find themselves immersed in the island's tranquil charm. Bali's golf courses epitomize the essence of combining sport with the splendor of nature, making them a must-visit for golf enthusiasts seeking a tropical golfing escape.